#myFavFriday- Estimation180

I was out in the hall greeting students this morning.  When I came into class, were they all sitting silently in their seats prepared for the wisdom I was about to impart?  No. 

They were up at the board, rulers in hand, measuring fingers out, moving the rulers from man to lamppost to shadows and back again.  Then there would be a heated discussion about why the answer was 19′ 6″ and not 19′ 3″.  Then they would rush back to their desks and do some calculations, then back up to the board again.  I just sat back to watch.

After things appeared to die down, I said, “… Are we ready?”  NO! shouted several students, and they ran back to the board to do more measurements.

This, along with the reasons below, are why Mr. Stadel’s Estimation180 site is my #myFavFriday today.  After reading Fawn’s post about this site, I did a new estimation in my class each day this week.  The students are loving Fawn’s idea of using Instant Classroom to randomly choose someone who can put their estimate online.  This has quickly become one of the best things we do each day!

Reasons why I love Estimation180:

1. I began doing these estimations on Tuesday in class, then when I told the kids on Wednesday that we were doing another one, one student yelled, “YES!”

2. One student has been stopping by after lunch before going to her locker and coming to my class just to see the new estimation on the board.

3. One of my students came late to class the other day and was incredibly upset that we had already done the estimation.

4. They all love guessing what the next day’s estimation will be.

If you haven’t done this yet, start tomorrow!  (or maybe wait until Monday)


#myFavFriday- Sticks

Wow, it feels good to blog again!  I have been so busy this week and have really missed writing this blog and reading everyone else’s.

My school doesn’t have bussing, so all of the kids stand by grade level along the curb and their parents pick them up (families stand together).  It is actually a much faster process than it sounds because we have it down to a science.  Today at the curb, one of my kids came up to me, held out his two index fingers, and said, “Do you want to play sticks?”  I just stared at him like he was insane.  Then another student ran up and said, “STICKS!  I’ll play!!”  and held out his two index fingers as well.  Suddenly they were hitting each other’s fingers, bumping their fingers together, putting fingers up and down, and groaning and cheering while I stood there completely clueless.  Within a few seconds we had a crowd around us with several groups playing sticks.  Maybe you are all reading this thinking that I am completely clueless and how did I survive my childhood without playing this game, but for the rest of you- here is what the kids taught me.

You both start with two fingers out, one on each hand.  One person hits their one finger on the other person’s one finger.  One finger plus one finger equals two fingers that person two should now have up on that hand.  Then person two goes.  He can hit his two fingers on the one hand or the one finger on the other hand to combine with player one’s fingers to make player one now have two or three fingers up, depending on the move player two makes.  I am doing my best to explain this game, but man it sounds complicated!  You can always split your fingers that are up onto two hands or combine them to one hand.  When the other player hits your hands to make five, you have to put that hand down until you want to use it again to split your fingers.  When both of your hands are down, you loose the game.

The point is this: suddenly I had a whole group of students, figuring out ways to make groups of 5, add and subtract numbers so quickly I couldn’t follow wht was happening, split different numbers using many strategies in order to prevent the other player from making a group of five… and eveyone was cheering and totally into it!  It was so fun!  At one point, I had two students slow down and walk me through the game so I could learn the rules.  One student made a move and I stopped him and asked why he would do that.  He looked at me and simply said, “I’m a master at this game.  This is one of my tricks.”  I could practically hear the “duh” coming out of his mouth.  So awesome!

They did manage to convince me that they had invented this game years ago, but I was able to find some information online.  It appears to more commonly be called chopsticks.  Either way, it was a great way to end our Friday!

Wikipedia Link

You Tube Video

#myFavFriday- Middle Schoolers

I blogged earlier about my journey that brought me to middle school, but to sum up, I never planned on this grade level.  But these kids do things every day to remind me that I am exactly where I should be.  Here are two of my favorites from this week.

Student 1 to me: Do you like teaching?

Me: Yes, do I seem like I like teaching?

Student 1: YES!


Student 2: I used to hate math, and it used to be really hard for me.  But this year I finally understand!  Now I like it!

Student 3: I know! Me too!


I know this post is short, but the feeling and excitement behind it is much bigger.  Thanks to my crazy, awesome, hilarious kiddos!  I really do love spending my time with you, even when you don’t want to spend your time with me 🙂



Review Game

I missed the announcement that #myFavFriday last week was supposed to be about review games, so I thought I would add my favorite today!  It is very simple.  All you do is choose the problems that you want students to work on, and cut up small sheets of paper (I do 1/4 page).  Put a box in the center of the room with the desks in a circle around it.  Give out the problem, students complete the problem, then crumple their papers up and throw them to the box.  When everyone has finished, I check the box.  Your answer must be correct and show all work in order for you to get a prize (candy).  If it is incorrect, no candy for you!  Very easy to do, and students love throwing things and crumpling paper.

#myFavFriday #2

Hands down one of my favorite resources is the AIMS Education Foundation.  If you have not looked into these books, please do so, you won’t regret it!  They have materials available from K- 9th grade in math and science.  I don’t know anything about the science stuff, but the math ones have been some of my favorites for years.  I had the opportunity to go to an AIMS training a few years ago, and as a part of the training, I received 2 free books, then I actually won 2 books while I was there.  In addition, I went with a friend who also got the 2 free and won 2 herself!  We were in AIMS heaven.  I have also purchased several of these to use as well. 

If you visit the website there are a few free sample activities if you are interested in checking their stuff out.  There is also a huge list of several puzzles on the website too.  You can buy their books on the site or you can purchase individual activites to download immediately. 

Some of my favorite books they have:

Problem Solving, Problem Solving Book 2, The Effects of Changing Lengths, Solving Equations, and Statistics and Probability.

Check it out!


A Big Thank You

I am overwhelmed.  Not in the “omg how am I ever going to get this all done before the school year starts” kind of way, but in the “how can I possibly keep track of all of these amazing ideas that I have learned about this summer” kind of way.  At the beginning of the summer, I was following one blog.  I also had a few websites that I wanted to look at when I had more time so I created an email titled ‘examine further’, pasted all of the links in there, and sent it to myself.  Great idea, right?  Until the email has now turned into about 20 back and forth emails to myself spanning almost 100 links and has given birth to the ‘print’ email with an equal amount of links.  And all of this was before I got deep into blogs, at this point I was just skimming the surface.  Then I found out about greader.  If you are a reader of blogs and don’t use greader to organize things, do it now.  You can star and tag posts that you like and then come back to them later.  Only there’s one more problem, now I have over 100 posts starred that I still need to come back to.  When I check my greader app during the day and see 20 new posts, I get excited, but also know they are just going to lead me to more amazing projects! 

I went through my blog list and tagged all of the posts that I needed to get done before the school year starts.  Then I dedicated my night tonight (isn’t this what all of the cool kids are doing on Friday night?) to creating whatever I needed to create to make those ideas happen.  Here are some of the amazing things that I have found:

Translating Words Into Math– This is a catchy way of having the kids remember which words go with certain operations.  I love the visual.  I also love that she does parentheses words and turn around words.  This is one of my very favorite blogs to read.  Katie, if you are reading this, never stop blogging!  I love your ideas!

Operations With Integers Review Game– Another amazing find from Middle School Math Madness.  I think what I like best about this activity is that students will need to look carefully for things like the numbers that will divide evenly in order to fit the quotient rule and also they will have to think about what being “greater than” a negative number really means.  I think students would automatically think of a larger negative number.  Thanks again, Katie!

Classroom Expectations- I love having these expectations typed out clearly for all to see.  The best one is the one about coming in and asking NO QUESTIONS.  One of my biggest pet peeves is students who run up at class time saying something along the lines of, “iforgotmyhomeworkbecausemylittlesisterwasbeingapainandmybookisinmydad’scarandcanilookoffMary’sbookfortodaywewon’ttalkIpromise.” While I am just standing there with my hand out ready for a handshake and a hello.  Transitions between classes are too crazy for me to hear 28 questions, take attendance, check in homework, and finally get a sip of that coffee.  And I also liked this post because of her other poster:

 This reminds me of one of my favorite teammates who often says to the students, “Oh I’m sorry, I only argue at 7:30 or 4.  If you want to discuss this then, I’m available.”  I love that.








Frayer Model–  I also planned out a little of what I want to do for my vocabulary for this year.  I have not focused on this as much as I should in the past, so I want to make this a focus this year.  I have seen it on many blogs, and here is one of them.

Dry Erase To Do List– Finally, I worked on my version of the to do list featured in this blog.  I think putting papers in page protectors and using white board markers is going to be my new favorite thing this year.  So many great applications!  Unfortunately, I am still learning this blog thing and have no idea how to insert a picture of the document I created.  Or how to insert the word document.  So if someone is reading and wants to fill me in on how to do that, I would be happy to update this post!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the people who have inspired me this summer.  I will be forever changed as a result.  I feel like I am in a daily professional development session that is actually fun, I learn more than many of the PD sessions I have been in, and I can be in my pjs and no one will know.