Monthly Archives: February 2015

Cubing? #challenge #mtbos #cubinginclass

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So my superintendent, @fordmich, shared a list of instructional strategies…

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Great list, should tag it as a reminder for when I am planning? But cubing? What is it?  So I looked For the Teachers and  some samples.  Oh.  I can do that.

It reminded me of @druinok’s Function Dice and Function Operations activity…that inspired a popular pin  Polynomial Stations. ha, Pinterest even suggested a pin from my own blog the other day… 

I have also used foam dice to generate coordinates on several occasions.

So I am challenging anyone reading this post to create an activity (no matter your content area/grade level) using the idea of “cubing” as linked in the samples above and use it in your classroom before the end of February.  Blog your idea, share your experiences, reflect and make suggestions on ways to improve next time!  Either post a link in comments or tag me in a tweet. 

Afterall, teachers…we are our best resources!

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First/Last Five #slowmathchat A1

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I appreciate @mjfenton’s slow math chat, great little bits to make me pause and ponder daily. 

Years ago, I just @jenncrase’s Flashback Layout daily, 4 MC & 1 OE question.  Each day focused on a specific strand for review: Number/Computation, Geometry, Algebra, Functions, Prob/Stats. 

The past 2 years my bell ringers have evolved into a variety of thinking of math thinking.  I try to change our line-up every 6 weeks or so, just to help students experience a variety.

Friendly Class Starters I have used in our rotation:
Estimation 180
Number Talk Tuesday
Would You Rather Wednesday
Counting Circles
Graphing Stories
Visual Patterns
Three-Act Thursday
Test Prep Tuesday
Flashback Friday

This Semester we began with Make A Difference Mondays.  Students were given short articles (What Do You Stand For?) featuring teens who overcame obstacles to better themselves, their school or community.  Each week they have a quick prompt to respond to based on the article.  This is a great way to help students start the week on a positive note. 
Week 1 was on goal setting and the following day we created these hands-reaching for our best, on the fingers they listed short term and long term goals.  The palm contains the legacy they wish to leave behind.

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This month, each day contains Flashbacks from Geometry and Algebra I in efforts to review common topics they may see on next month’s statewide ACT.  On Friday, they take a short review assessment to practice.

My last 5 minutes is an area for growth. I KNOW the importance of student reflection and wrap up.  However, my timing is off and I run out of time and students are sometimes rushed.

I like:
Post-it note quizzes
2 – minute reflection: 1 thing to remember, 1 question they still have, 1 aha moment, 1 improvement to make
On an index card…Watch-fors:  reminders of common mistakes to watch for
What was easiest part of lesson? Why? What was most difficult part of lesson? Why?
Odd Man Out – give 4 examples of what we are learning, they tell which one doesn’t belong and tell why.
Steph O’Reillys suggestion -students create and solve their own problem based on the day’s lesson.  She even includes some of them on upcoming assessments!

Beginning and end are critical to setting the tone as well as reinforcing take a ways.  Looking forward to reading what others are doing!

First/Last Five #slowmathchat A1

Standard

I appreciate @mjfenton’s slow math chat, great little bits to make me pause and ponder daily. 

The past 2 years my bell ringers have evolved into meaningful time.  I try to change our line-up every 6 weeks or so, just to help students experience a variety.

Friendly Class Starters I have used in our rotation:
Estimation 180
Number Talk Tuesday
Would You Rather Wednesday
Counting Circles
Graphing Stories
Visual Patterns
Three-Act Thursday
Test Prep Tuesday
Flashback Friday

This Semester we began with Make A Difference Mondays.  Students were given short articles (What Do You Stand For?) featuring teens who overcame obstacles to better themselves, their school or community.  Each week they have a quick prompt to respond to based on the article.  This is a great way to help students start the week on a positive note. 
Week 1 was on goal setting and the following day we created these hands-reaching for our best, on the fingers they listed short term and long term goals.  The palm contains the legacy they wish to leave behind.

image

This month, each day contains Flashbacks from Geometry and Algebra I in efforts to review common topics they may see on next month’s statewide ACT.  On Friday, they take a short review assessment to practice.

My last 5 minutes is an area for growth. I KNOW the importance of student reflection and wrap up.  However, my timing is off and I run out of time and students are sometimes rushed.

I like:
Post-it note quizzes
2 – minute reflection: 1 thing to remember, 1 question they still have, 1 aha moment, 1 improvement to make
On an index card…Watch-fors:  reminders of common mistakes to watch for
What was easiest part of lesson? Why? What was most difficult part of lesson? Why?
Odd Man Out – give 4 examples of what we are learning, they tell which one doesn’t belong and tell why.
Steph O’Reillys suggestion -students create and solve their own problem based on the day’s lesson.  She even includes some of them on upcoming assessments!

Beginning and end are critical to setting the tone as well as reinforcing take a ways.  Looking forward to reading what others are doing!

Isn’t There a Formula?

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Last week I offered some review each day on coordinate skills, as we have ACT coming up next month.

Rather than posting 2 points and the midpoint formula, I only wrote the word midpoint and 2 points, then asked for a point they knew was NOT the midpoint.

As they responded with wrong answers, I asked them to convince me (ode to @steveleinwand) -how did they KNOW it wasn’t the midpoint?  And their responses were varied from number sense to a graphical picture, always referring to betweeness, not exactly in the middle.  I cheered them on-that their reasoning here could help them eliminate wrong answers on ACT.

Someone asked, isn’t there a formula? Me: Yes.  Do you know the formula? …  well.  Does anyone KNOW the formula? …. silence…  finally, a student asked, Is it something like x1-x2 divided by 2? And y1-y2 divided by 2?

Hmmm. I wrote it down and said, let’s try it.  The result, students quickly said, no, that doesn’t work, explaining why.

My issue with giving a formula and working multiple problems…about 60-70% (my guesstimate) forget the formula, not because they can’t use it, but because they never move it from their working memory to long term, it’s not internalized.  They use it for an upcoming test, then trash it and move on to something else.

In both classes, students intuitively found the distance between the coordinates, divided by 2, then counted that many units from either endpoint.

As I asked my students why so many were not math fans, one student stated – because there’s only 1 way to do the problem and if you don’t get it, you’re doomed.

I said to her, you are exactly right. And you are exactly wrong. 

There’s never just 1 way to solve a problem.  But often times, students are only presented with 1 way.  So when they don’t get it, they give up. 

In the end we had multiple ways suggested to find the coordinates of the midpoint, and they were all correct. Similar to these…

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It continues to make me sad that students think there is exactly one way to do every problem.   I am slowly trying to change their mindset.