February 27, 2014

Keep Me Sane!

We as teachers have all kinds of tricks to keep ourselves sane and maximize time in our classes. I thought I'd share a few of mine with you today. I know these are fairly common tricks among teachers, but here's my take on them.

#1. I don't pass out anything out. Almost ever.
As kids enter my room I always have my projector set to a "First Things First" list. This tells them exactly what they need to pick up and do before the tardy bell rings. This usually includes things like ruler, 3 markers, scissors, papers from the counter, etc.

#2. I don't pass out anything out. Almost ever.
Sounds familiar?! Ha! Right next to their supplies area is their mailbox crates, as they have been named. My school has block scheduling so I teach three classes each day. These are my "b day" class numbers. If you spin the crates around 180 degrees the signs then read "2, 3, 4" for my "a day" classes. Every student has a hanging file with their name. After I have graded any work it goes in their file. It is their responsibility to check their files. Some students also store their INBs in their files if they don't need them that night. This is rare though.

#3. Welcome Back forms.
Whenever a student is absent I fill out one of these forms. I usually do this at the beginning of class while I take roll and students are working on their warm up. It is a wonderful little form! All the stuff for the day gets stapled to it, I often staple a seminar pass to it so students can come and get extra help on what they missed. The whole stapled package then goes in their files from #2. Here's an example from a recent absence.

When they return, they grab it and know exactly what they need to turn in and complete. No more asking the blood-boiling question "what did I miss?" Or even better "did we do anything when I was absent?" What is that question, by the way?!?! No, we all just sat around the mourned the loss of you. HA! Anyway...

#4. Turn in numbers.
These might be my favorite part of my classroom. seriously. They should probably have been #1, oh well. Save the best for last? Anyway...
These are pockets like these and these that I ordered my first year of teaching. They have held up wonderfully!!! Including through four classroom moves.

Mine are four separate organizers with nine pockets each. I have the pockets labeled #1-28, class periods for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and then two empty pockets. My students are each assigned a number alphabetically and that's how they turn in all homework. You can see very slightly in the top right corner of the picture a piece of paper taped to the wall. This is a class list for each class with students' number, just in case they forget. When I tell students to turn in their work they walk over, put it in their pocket, and sit back down. I can instantly see who turned in their work and who didn't and *best part* it's alphabetized! I grab the papers out in order and I'm ready to go straight to my grade book. After my grade book, I head to the student mailboxes (#2) which are also in alphabetical order and quickly drop the work in the appropriate file. Easy!

Also, the class period pockets on the bottom two rows are for late/absent/redo work. Anything that my students turn in as a class goes in their personal numbers #1-28. Anything that isn't being turned in as a group goes in the class period numbers. This is confusing to them a little at first, but after a couple weeks of training during the start of the year they've got it. As I mentioned in my retesting post, my students are continuously fixing and correcting assignments. My pocket system really helps me manage. Throughout the day students are putting things in their class period numbers. Some even run in real quick from the hallway between other classes to drop work off. They never even have to find me - just drop their papers! At the end of each day this is typically what it looks like...

I just grab all the work for each class period. I then know which class period to go to grade book and which mailbox crate to head to. Yay for saving time!

February 26, 2014

Algebra 1: Unit 7

In an effort to stay more up to date (oops!) I am uploading my latest unit of Algebra pages.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE sequences! That was definitely not the case during the first year that I taught them, but it is now!

We started doing Mathalicious' iPod Depreciation problem. Again, my love for Mathalicious continues to grow! I wanted my students thinking critically about the differences and similarities of linear and exponential functions. There were some awesome debates and lots of wonderful math happening during this problem.

Again, just like in this post, since Mathalicious is a subscription site I covered up the math :( Awesome activity and awesome site!

The next day we used two situations (one linear and one exponential) to talk about how closely related sequences and functions are. We completed these notebook pages.

the arithmetic side flipped open.

the geometric side flipped open.

Today we came back and completed three more problems, then did a card sorting activity. After the students had correctly sorted their cards, they stapled their little packets together and taped the whole thing into their notebook.

This card sorting activity worked wonderfully!! There was one recursive arithmetic, one explicit arithmetic, one recursive geometric, and one explicit geometric. I had many students say this made a world of difference for them. They understood what represented terms, when they were and were not allowed to plug in n-values, and how to recognize the differences between types of sequences. I was little hesitant to do the sorting activity and am SO glad I did! Lots of great math discussion!!

Your copies in case you want them below...

February 23, 2014

Algebra 1: Unit 5

More of the picture dump mentioned here.

  Students created scatter plots on these pages based on the data we collected during the first week. 
It was fun to use the flip-out "out data" page we created months ago. Remember it here

Monopoly is from Yummy Math, here.

8th Grade Math: Unit 6

More of the picture dump mentioned here.

Only part way through this unit right now so I'll be adding more pictures soon

Students worked in groups using laptops to locate a picture in real life with parallel lines. They then emailed me that picture, I printed them off real quick, and we went from there. Mine are house blinds :)

8th Grade Math: Unit 5

As mentioned here, this going to be a {relatively} wordless picture dump :)

I introduced systems using Mathalicious lesson called "Flicks"
I reformatted their student handout to fit on notebook pages. 
As much as I'd LOVE to show you all the glorious math underneath those Mathalicious icons, I don't feel like I should. 
But you should definitely go buy a Mathalicious subscription and check it out!

We did solving graphically, by substitution, and by elimination on three different days. 
We filled out the pages seen below "Solving a System of Equations By..." and then did the corresponding areas on the next pages: one solution/no solution/infinitely-many solutions.
We when we took solving graphically notes we also did the solving graphically section of each one/none/infinite page. 
After we had all the one/none/infinite pages complete we talked about what we noticed and drew some conclusions.

I tied the one/none/infinite of systems to the one/none/infinite scales we did back here.
This worked really well for most students.

We wrapped up the unit with a Systems Project seen below. 

Algebra 1: Unit 6

Part of the picture dump mentioned here.