After we created the awesome foldable the other day, I had the kids practice actually translating, reflecting, and rotating shapes on the coordinate plane.  As expected since it happens every single year, translations and reflections do not seem to be too difficult, but rotations are a complete mystery to so many students.  I wish I had a magical cure for this.  As I said to my kids, if there was a way that I would teach this better or explain it better, I would!  But this is just something you have to work on and practice.  I feel like so many kids are just looking for the easy solution and when something is hard they give up so easily.  Sigh.  So it was clear after the first day that they would need some more practice, I created another practice page (using the amazing kutasoftware!) and we just did a ton of practice the next day in class.  It was nothing special.  I think bells and whistles are great for many many things, but this was just one thing these kids needed to repeatedly practice on.

One of my students asked me, “how old is this worksheet?”  And I told him, “Well I made it last night when I realized that you guys would need more practice, so about 18 hours old.”  So then he asked me, “Well why would you make something new?  You said you taught this before, right?  Why not just use what you did last year?”  Great question!  So I told him:

I would like to think that I am getting better each year.  While I have taught the same basic concepts every time, when I look at what I did last year, I can always find some way to make it better, more engaging, etc.  I also have different kids each year.  Some kids need more practice on certain things, some don’t. 

I think when I sit back and just take out last year’s worksheet without thinking then I am probably ready to be done teaching.  That being said, I do take a ton of pieces that I have used in the past and move them around and rework them.  Every time I create something, especially huge projects, I think to myself, “How awesome that I won’t have to do all of this stuff again next year!  I will be so relaxed.”  Ha.  I do feel like what I am doing this year is so much more intentional, so I think this may be one of the years that I can actually use a lot more of than other years.

Back to transformations.  I still did not feel as though the kids were where I wanted them to be, and I thought it would help if they actually had something to manipulate.  So I created a project that I will post on more soon as we get into it.  We just started today.  The kids will be creating a design and translating, rotating, and reflecting it around the coordinate plane.  Hopefully doing this with the actual template they are creating and using the exact same shape will help them to understand how they are different and how to do them.

And, yes, my proudest moment was figuring out how to print the coordinate plane on regular graph paper.  And, yes, I know I could have just bought it.  But I already had this paper.



2 thoughts on “Transformations

  1. I teach middle school as well, and I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate that you post lesson resources and honest reflections. I’ve started doing the same, and I just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration.

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