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# Geometry Station Activities by Walch

With little time to plan, I jumped right in to a set of station activities for my semester – block Geometry classes!

My first run was with the parallel lines / transversals stations (I know its a bit out of order, but it will be okay!).

I instructed students to take out one sheet of graph paper and we folded them in half, labeling Station 1 & 2 sections on one side and Station 3 & 4 sections on the back side.   Students were in groups of 3 or 4.  I know the big idea is to move around to the various stations – but my new room is too small :(.  Rather than running a ton of copies, I made 3 complete sets of the statin instructions and placed them into page protectors.  Students completed their work on the graph paper.  When complete, they would exchange their station instructions for another station set located in front of the room.  This way students do not have to wait on other groups to complete before moving on.

Using a different color for each station, I highlighted the station # and any Words Worth Knowing (thanks everybody is a genius blog!).  Two of the lessons called for spaghetti, I used toothpicks.  Each student will also need protractors.  The stations are not dependent on one another, so order of completion did not matter.

The discussions were great because students’ angle measures were not equal to their group members’ but the same “patterns” occurred.  I probably like the discussion questions component of the activities best.  Each student responds to a given set of questions in writing.  Then they must pair up with someone who was not in their original group to discuss their responses.  Simple misconceptions are quickly cleared up during this time.

The layout of this lesson allows students to talk about and look for patterns during the station groups.  They process their new information as they write responses and allowed to share verbally again with a partner.  Finally, as a whole class we debrief the entire lesson(s).   This format really supports the literacy strategies discussed this summer in our twitter book chat #lit4math.

I like that no prior knowledge was required for students to successfully learn about transversals and the special angle relationships formed when parallel lines are present.

I have compared the listed CCSS for Geometry Station Activities to the suggested Geometry standards of Appendix A and this book addressed over 75% of those standards.  Only the measurement and any probability suggested for Geometry are not included in this book.  There are 16 station sets and I have my students for 18 weeks…my thought is to use at least one per week, as appropriate…  I’ll share more as we get in to the semester.  But for this first run, I say 2 thumbs up.

*Station 4 deals with corresponding angles – and I reworded Question #1, because it was misleading.  Anytime you use investigations, you should definitely go through the entire lesson / activity before presenting it to your students.  (duh?) I see this happen too often, teachers just pull out an activity and pass out to students with little/no knowledge of what students will expect / questions they will ask.  The book also gives a list of possible student misconceptions to watch for.

If your students are not used to this layout of lesson – it may take a little more time to get them through it.  Once students got a feel for it, the last stations went more smoothly and quickly.

I hope to hear more from others who are using station style lessons. @tbanks06 also shared some experiences with stations for #myfavfriday and said its the best \$40 you’ll spend this year!  Shop around – I found all 3 of my station books for under \$85 total.

Got to give a little shout out to HoppeNinjaMath – welcome her to math teacher blogging!

# Station Activities for Algebra I

I began working on creating cards for the activities needed in this book:.  I typed the “index cards” needed for several of the lessons.  Feel free to borrow/tweak and use in your classroom – and share – please, just don’t sell “my cards.”  You can find the card sets I completed here.

I am now teaching Algebra 2 and Geometry, so the Algebra I project is not going to get completed anytime soon.  Sorry.

# Literacy Strategies for Improving Mathematics Instruction

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Wrapped up our twitter book chat this week over

#lit4math – Literacy Strategies for Improving Mathematics Instruction by Joan M. KenneyEuthecia HancewicLoretta Heuer .

You can read (here) how I am not a fan of writing and words.  Literacy – communication – its all the same, in my opinion;  You can read, write, speak – but its all to share/get information, right?  I do realize the importance of providing students with strategies that will help them succeed, to give them opportunities to write and talk about their thinking can be a key component in their learning to help expand their understanding of certain concepts.  I look at this chance to learn about literacy in math as a way I can learn with my students – to be open that words are my weakness – but by facing my fear – something I struggle with – I can help them realize words are not the enemy either.  I am able to help them learn this “new language” called math and share ways of conquering it !

Though this book did not end as strongly and wow! as it began, it was worth my time.  Chapter 1 really pulled me in, causing me to think about my classroom, questioning some of my strategies and left me craving more!  It showed me how students – who are not as math-minded – can struggle because they view concepts differently.  Chapters 2 and 3 – gave me tools / suggestions of ways I could provide students with opportunities to share – ways I could become more aware of their thinking – and prepare for their struggles.  Through our chats, I was able reflect how I could improve things I am currently doing – but also looking at new ways of viewing mathematical text and ideas (literacy really isn’t a 4-letter word).

The remainder of the book, well, I was diasppointed – but would still recommend at least a skim – because there are some key ideas – but mostly, some great articles/research mentioned you may wish to take a look at as well.

I’ve linked to catalog from Storify of our Twitter Chats – again, some good thoughts – good articles and links.  Also, take a look here, Teaching Statistics Blog offers some reflection with posts from reading the book in 2010.

June 11 – Chapter 1 Mathematics as a Language

June 14 – Chapter 2 Reading in the Mathematics Classroom

June 18 – Chapter 3 Writing in the Mathematics Classrom

June 21 – Chapter 4 Graphic Representation in the Mathematics Classroom

June 25 – Chapter 5 Discourse in Mathematics Classroom

June 28 – Chapter 6 Creating Mathematical Metis

All in all – it really boils down to becoming aware of those struggles students will encounter and being ready to help them bridge past that struggle.  Notice I didn’t say be the bridge – productive struggle is a good thing.  We must give them opportunities to read, write and share – expanding their understanding by listening to other learners.  When they write about their thinking – cognitive demand is much higher.  We must listen to their conversations – not always answering their questions, but providing them with questions that will move their thinking deeper.  When they talk, discuss, even argue over a solution – they have greater opportunities to build connections as opposed to a sit-n-get teacher centered classroom.

My summary:

‏@pamjwilson to get students actively engaged, the tchr must 1st be actively engaged- listen, question, be less helpful #lit4math