Transformations

One of the very first posts I found when I discovered the blogging world was this one that I saw on pinterest.  I think I found it this summer.  Ever since then I have been so excited to do this lesson with my kids!  I changed up the foldable a bit since I teach dilations in a different unit, but the basic idea is the same.

I also talked up the foldable quite a bit to the kids today and they returned my enthusiasm with a healthy amount of middle school fake excitement.  But I appreciated it anyway 🙂

Transformations

Transformations Foldable

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Angle Relationships

I read this post by Angie over at Coefficients of Determination, and she basically sums up everything about my teaching that has changed this year.  Last year, I had the kids do a ton of graphic organizers.  I don’t think this was a bad thing.  It is just that foldables are so much more interactive and engaging and they also provide a great way for students to study for assessments.  This specific post showed a graphic organizer that Angie had used in the past that she changed into a foldable.  I took her foldable and made something very similar, except I used the 4 angle relationships that I teach vs the ones she teaches.  I loved how her foldable allowed students to fold the words so they were on top or the pictures so students could study either way.

Angle Relationships Foldable

Last weekend I was looking for a book for one of my students, and I found my set of K’nex from when I was a kid.  BAM!  Brilliant idea.

I gave the kids a set of K’nex and they needed to create each one of the four types of angle relationships we had learned about.  They loved it.  Can’t wait to think of more things I can do with these.  Plus, I want to get all of the old directions and build the K’nex rollercoaster I had as a kid.

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Test Review

I did this activity from Amy over at square root of negative one teach math for my test review this week.  It was so awesome!  I created the activity and then I told the special ed teacher what we were doing and as I was explaining it I realized exactly how chaotic it sounded!  All of the kids… WALKING AROUND THE ROOM?  TALKING??

I created 8 stations and divided the kids into groups of 3-4 to rotate through the stations checking their answers on the next problem as they went.  Then when things were done we went over any questions they had. 

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When they finished early at a station, they worked on the writing prompt that I gave them.  I am trying to include more writing in my class to get the kids used to how much writing will be on the upcoming common core assessments.  I started off with something pretty simple (or so I thought) this time and just had them solve a problem and explain why the answer made sense.  The problem was a percent of change problem- Find the percent of change from 30 to 15.  So the basic explanation was the answer (50% decrease) makes sense because 15 is half of 30, and 50% is equal to a half.  Many kids did really well on this, but several struggled with the difference between explaining why the answer made sense and telling me how they did the problem.  This is what I plan to work on next!

Mortgage Performance Task

My kids have been learning about interest and my husband and I have been working on selling our house and buying a new house to make room for our soon-to-be family of 5 (!), so I figured I would combine the two and made an activity involving both.

I thought it was a pretty good activity, but then I read the responses from my first class and I was blown away!  I was so pleased to see how many of them thought outside of the box when they gave me their responses.

The activity: I gave them a house price and 4 different loan options.  I changed the rate, loan term, and down payment for each loan option.  Students had to find the interest and total repayment price of all 4 loans and then explain to me which choice was the best and why.  I figured it would be pretty cut and dry that students would tell me that the lowest price was the best option.

But then several students gave me some very intersting answers, that I graded just the same as those who gave me the cheapest option, some even received above our grade level score (3.0 is grade level, 3.5 and 4.0 are above).  Some of these responses included:

Option __ is best because it is the second cheapest option, but you pay off the loan in 15 years instead of 30, so you own the house earlier.  Great answer!  Love it!

Option __ is best because even though it isn’t the cheapest, the monthly price is _____ which is cheaper than __’s monthly price, so it is more affordable right now when you might not have as much money.  (While you also need to balance long term thinking, I still think this is pretty awesome, especially since we didn’t do any work figuring out the monthly payment!)

All in all, I would definitely do this activity again in the future, and I hope you guys like it too!  Make sure you chance the intro, unless you and I have the same last name, you are also expecting twins, and you are also buying a new house.

Before I close, I want to mention 2 things-

1. I am SO excited for the stuff I will be doing for my next unit when we start geometry.  There are many wonderful things from other people’s blogs that I have tagged long ago that I am finally going to be able to use!  Stay tuned!

2. I totally forgot how much I love http://kutasoftware.com/.  If you aren’t familiar, go there.  Right now.  I mean it.  I do not have a membership and it is still one of the best resources I have ever used.  It is amazing!

iPads

Ok, blog world, I need your help.

All I wanted was an iPad.  I wished and hoped and worked to find a way to get one, and it happened.  My principal was able to get the money for 10 iPads for our school to share, and I currently have one in my room that stays there most of the time.

Here’s the problem.  I really don’t know what to do with it.  Now before you recommend your favorite apps to me, here are my problems.

Every time I read another blog or google great math apps, I hear about the following things

  • Whiteboard apps- There are a million.  I think they are a great idea.  I have played around with them and they seem pretty cool.  BUT they just don’t work with what I do with interactive notebooks.  It is kind of hard to demonstrate what I want the kids to write on a foldable on a whiteboard app.  And the success I have been having with the notebooks tells me that process is much more important than an app.
  • Math games/practice- Again, there are a million.  And I have had kids play them when we have some down time or during our homeroom time.  But with 1 iPad, that means 1 kid playing 1 game for that 15 minute period.  Is this really the best use of the iPad?  I mean it is clearly better for that 1 kid to play rather than it sitting on my desk, but I don’t feel like it is worth it to me.  Maybe I just need to create more of a schedule for kids to do this and find specific apps for specific skills I want certain kids to master.
  • Seating chart makers- While I think this would be really helpful and nice… did I really just get an iPad only to have it make me seating charts?

Those are the standard apps that I see recommended.  Nothing that has shattered my world so far.  I just hate hate hate that I fought so hard to get this, then I am at a loss.  So solve my problem for me.  Give me something inspiring to do or somewhere to look to find amazing ideas.  I refuse to let this iPad go to waste!

Percents

I don’t know what is going on with my kids this week!  The motivation factor has totally disappeared.  Students aren’t doing homework and aren’t prepared for class.  But more than that, all of a sudden the motivation to understand the material is suddenly gone.  I hope this lack of motivation comes back cause it is rough in 7th grade right now!

On to better things, even if the motivation is gone, I feel like we’ve done some ok lessons this week.  Percents are hard for a lot of kids, so I’ve done a lot of basic practice stuff instead of fancy stuff. 

Monday we worked on percent increase and decrease with this activity:

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Then Tuesday we did a foldable on commission and sales tax.  This one has me baffled.  I am truly struggling to understand why the kids don’t get this.  I agree that commission may be something they aren’t familiar with at all, but sales tax should be something they see all of the time.  I know they don’t figure it out when they go to the store, but I guess they really don’t know where that total price comes from. 

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Then today we worked on simple interest.  This was by far the best day as far as student comprehension.  I felt much better at the end of this lesson like maybe we were actually on the same page!

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Wish me luck in bringing back that motivation to my students tomorrow and next week!

#msSunFun- 2012 in Review

#msSunFun

August 2012 was when I first read about the mathtwitterblogosphere.  This was a major turning point in my professional career.  Until now, I hadn’t really read a whole lot of blogs, and I certainly NEVER planned on writing one.  But August was when I really started reading blogs that lead me to more blogs that lead me to more blogs that lead me to the Math Blogging Initatiation and I decided to jump.  I jumped into something I really had never been on my radar ever before.  But something told me to try it.  And through this, I met so many other people who were doing exactly what I was doing and we started sharing ideas.  Now, as of January 13, 2012, I am amazed to say I have had over 9,000 views of my blog.  That shocks me.  What is even more shocking is that people from 53 countries have viewed my blog.  How can that be?  Blogging has changed what I do professionally.  It has made me a better teacher because I get feedback from others and I have an open space where I can ask questions and share my thoughts without judgement.  It has been an amazing experience.

Other than the whole experience in general, by far the coolest thing that blogging has lead me to has been what I was able to do in my classroom this year with the book If the World were a Village.  Simply posting my project on here lead the author, David J. Smith, to contact me eventually leading to him Skyping with my students.  I have also seen the project that I made posted on several other websites, which I still cannot fathom. 

So thank you to those amazing bloggers who came before me and who have responded to my questions and comments with nothing but support and love.  I am honored to call myself a blogger alongside such inspiring people.

Percent of a Number

I forgot my flash drive at home, so I can’t attach any of these files, but if you are interested, just let me know!

Yesterday and today we worked on finding the percent of a number.  Our textbook shows two different methods- using proportions and writing sentences.  I think the writing sentences method is much much easier for the kids to understand.

So I started with a half sheet of paper.  On the paper were the only words students would see in these sentences.  After the words, I had the students write in the translation.  We talked about how in Spanish class they translate English into Spanish so today we are going to translate English into math.

What (or what number)-  X

Percent- %

Of- *

Is- =

Then I gave them this worksheet to glue in on the next page:

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We translated the first few together.  So “What percent of 84 is 21?” became “X% * 84 = 21”.  We talked a lot about how you simply go word by word and translate each word into the math sentence.  Then we can solve the multiplication equation.

I felt like this part went really well.  Even the students who typically struggle with math really got it and they understood the process.

Then I gave students a list of 5 sentences that all had the percent given but the original number was missing, so “10% of a number is 80”.  Without translating into math or solving the problems, students were asked to put these 5 sentences in order from least to greatest answer.  Then students wrote about why they put the problems in this order.  This was a major struggle for them, but I think that is good.  They just have no experience writing about math and writing about their thinking.  I plan to do a lot more practice with them on this!  After writing, I put them into groups of 3-4 and had them compare and discuss their answers.  I thought this was really valuable as well.  So many kids had drastically different answers because they really didn’t understand how to put the numbers in order in the first place.  (Which I saw and anticipated from the beginning and I was ok with this because it would provide much more discussion when they disagreed.)

Overall, I loved what we did with this lesson and what the kids took out of it!

EDIT: Here are the files that I didn’t upload earlier!

Percent of a Number Note Page

Percent of a Number Performance Task

Percent of a Number Activity

Liebster Award

Thank you SO MUCH to Hodges Herald for nominating me for this award!  I am still in shock that anyone actually reads what I have to write.

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and help spread the word about new blogs.

THE RULES:

You must post 11 random things about yourself.

Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.

Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.

Choose 11 blogs that you love (with less than 200 followers and link them in your post)

No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!

Randomness:

1. I am a super human fast reader.  Insanely fast.  Like a book a day fast.  (To clarify, this does not mean that I actually do read a book a day these days… cause it turns out I am an adult and I have responsibilities.  Bummer.)

2. I have a 19 month old daughter who is hands down the coolest human being I have ever met.

3. My husband and I will be welcoming TWINS into the world in July.

4. I have been with my husband for almost 10 years.  It was honestly a “love at first sight” type of deal.  We have always just known we were supposed to be together.

5. I love love love America’s Next Top Model.

6. I have 10 ear piercings, my nose, and my belly pierced.  Belly has long grown over, cause being 30 with a belly ring is not my style (no offense if it is yours!)  Nose was taken out when I got an adult job and I miss it.  I wore a tiny little stud and it rocked.

7. I am 5’7″.  My husband is 6’8″.

8. I am the oldest in my family.

9. I always need covers or a blanket on.  Even in the summer.  I like the weight.

10. I mix applesauce with my macaroni and cheese.  Always have since I was a kid.  And these two babies are obsessed with it as well.

11. My favorite book is The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury.

Questions for ME:

1. What do you do to unwind?

I love doing puzzles.  Not crosswords or number puzzles, just random ones from different games magazines.

2. Do you take summers off or work?

I used to teach summer school, but don’t anymore with my daughter.  I do get work done for the upcoming year so that I am not crazy stressed before the school year starts.  Then I still end up being crazy stressed before the school year starts.

3. Do you commute?

I drive about 15 minutes to work.  Not bad!

4. What’s your favorite indulgence?

A nice dark beer.  Not for a few more months though 🙂

5. If you weren’t a teacher, what do you think you’d be doing right now?

I was always interested in interior design and architecture.

6. Do you have kids? Do they go to the same school where you work?

I have a 19 month old and 2 more on the way.  As much as a would love it if I could keep them with me every single minute of every day, the current plan is not to have them at my school.

7. Read any good books lately?

Juggling Twins… or Raising Multiples… or TwinSense… Not pregnant with twins?  Then try The Night Circus.  I adored it.

8. Cook nightly or dine out?

My husband or I cook most nights, but can’t resist going out or bringing something home every once in a while.

9. Night out on the town or quiet night in?

Quiet night in.  100%

10. How many “teacher bags” do you own?

I think just 2.

11. Six weeks or 9 weeks? or something else?

I may have total pregnancy brain, but I don’t know what this means 🙂

Blogs I am Nominating:

Algebrainiac

Writing to Learn to Teach

Axis of Reflection

Change Over Time

Flip! Learn! Share!

High Heels in High School

I know that is not 11, but many of the blogs I read are blogs that have been around for a while!  I had a hard time finding how many followers these guys had, so hopefully they fit the criteria!

My Questions for You:

1. What got you interested in blogging?

2. How long have you been blogging?

3. Do you have any children?

4. What is your favorite food?

5. What is your favorite part about teaching?

6. What is your favorite candy?

7. How long have you been teaching?

8. What is your favorite hobby?

9. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

10. What is your favorite TV show?

11. What are you most proud of?