Monthly Archives: November 2013

8 Videos to Engage Students in SMPs


I started off my Friday at NCTM with Ed Dickey from South Carolina.  It was a wonderful session-lots of laughter but some great opportunities to build SMP into instruction as opposed to trying tomaddress them as stand alones.

A series of tweets reminded me of one of the videos in his session…

a comedian, Brian Regan speaking about Girth as he prepares for a move.  It was a great way to add laughter to the classroom, yet introduce a topic related to SA or Volume or anything related to 3D figures/containers.

Here is a link to the Louisville NCTM handout but the PPT can also be found in the link above to Ed Dickey’s site.

Student Reflection on HW


When I get back from a conference, I have the best intentions of sharing, but its nearly 3 weeks later and I am just starting to get caught up…only to realize there are less than 3 weeks of instructional time before Christmas break. 

Starting to stress in my Geometry blocks classes…similarity (although I tied in some with our congruence unit and they used dilations in our transformations unit…) right triangles and circles…then a super dooper quick approach to modeling via 3-d problems.  Anyone have an amazing project that ties circles and right triangles together?  Anyway, a bit off topic, because the stress causes me not to focus.

  I attended a session led by @ottensam sharing different approaches to ensure we are integrating the SMPs in our instruction.  He was very engaging and shared some simple, research-based strategies.

A great idea he shared was to change up the way we approach homework.  One simple suggestion was to ask students to eflect on the problems…which were most alike? Most different?  Why? Which one did you think was easiest? Most difficult, why?  I had students to do a quick write using this idea this past week.  Once they were finished, they had to meet with someone they did not sit next to and share their responses.  Finally, I called on students, asking them to share -not what they had written- but something they had heard. 

I am always amazed at student responses when I use startegies similar to this and could kick myself for not being more intentional, more often.  Several shared exact similar/different pairings but for totally different reasons.  I love it, being able to see and hear their ideas and thinking. 

Hinged Mirrors & Polygons


The last session I attended on Thursday afternoon at NCtM last week was with Erin Schneider from a
Louisville, KY.   Several hands-on and open ended tasks, sharing and talking.

The hinged mirrors were fun to play with and I wondered how I could use them in my classroom.


The hinge is placed either off the edge of a sheet of paper or on the edge of a paper.






Convince me its a square.

How can you create a rhombus that is not a square.

What happens as the central angle gets smaller? Larger?  
For my students, I feel this allows them to really see a polygon diseected into several triangles from the central angle.

What Did the X Say? #matheme #MTBoS


Just completed our Overview of Function Families unit in Algebra 2.  I often ask students to look at the ‘X’ – it tells the story of what will happen when they graph the function…  The math that goes with x will tell how the graph is affected… or the patterns found in numerical representations of tables.

So, when I return to school on Monday, I think the assignment will be a collaborative project…to create a parody “What Did the X Say?” 

What Did the Fox Say Lyrics

Is it possible someone would like to play along…maybe a version for other topics as a matheme?

Thinking About Etymology, Again…


If so many of our ‘at-risk’ students struggle with literacy, can we as teachers be smarter in how we present vocabulary, reading choices in class and providing better tools for students to develop their understanding of concepts and terms?

We are getting ready to take a look at polygons, interior/exterior angle sums…in the past, I have always listed names of polygons based on number of sides…but is that really correct? Afterall, polygon is many-angles…  Should I change and reference the list names based on number of angles?  Doesn’t that make more sense when we look at the history of the word?


Triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon, 11-gon, dodecagon…the only one I see in the list that actually references sides is quadrilateral…  I remember seeing the term quadrangle in one of my daughter’s elementary assignments a few years back…that makes more sense, right? 


So then that lead me to diagonal…dia, something to do with “-gonal” angles… maybe connectiong angles?  And there’s diameter…dia, something, to do with “meter” a measurement.  And diagram…dia, something to do with “gram” something written…


diagonal (adj.) 1540s (implied in diagonally), from Middle French diagonal, from Latin diagonalis, from diagonus “slanting line,” from Greek diagonios “from angle to angle,” from dia-“across” (see dia-) + gonia “angle,” related to gony “knee” (see knee (n.)). As a noun, from 1570s.

diameter (n.) late 14c., from Old French diametre, from Latin diametrus, from Greek diametros (gramme) “diagonal of a circle,” from dia- “across, through” (see dia-) + metron “a measure” (see meter (n.2)).

diagram (n.) 1610s, from French diagramme, from Latin diagramma, from Greek diagramma”geometric figure, that which is marked out by lines,” from diagraphein “mark out by lines, delineate,” from dia- “across, out” (see dia-) + graphein “write, mark, draw” (see -graphy). The verb is 1840, from the noun.

So dia-is across, -gonal is angle, segment connecting angles…

I believe I will change how I present this to my students this year, which will allow them to connect this “new knowledge” to future concepts based on the history of the roots…

Curious about other’s ideas, suggestions.  Please share.