Monday, June 27, 2016

Graphing Lines Coloring Activity #mathdollardeals


Summer is such a great time for reflecting on how to improve for the upcoming school year. I have been working on some new activities that my students love with concepts I think need more practice. My high school students love an excuse to get out the highlighters, markers, or even crayons to add a little color to their practicing. I created this coloring activity for students to practice matching equations of lines to their graphs - and it's on sale today for only $1 as part of Secondary Math Dollar Deals! The picture at the top has 12 equations in a mixture of slope-intercept, standard, and point-slope forms. Students then look at the graph and determine which equation it matches. They assign each group of graphs a color and then color the corresponding equations. They coloring is simple enough to provide a brain break (and an opportunity to self-check as they go), but not so time consuming that it takes away from the math. 

I'm teaming up with some awesome other TPT sellers to bring you $1 products every Tuesday all summer. It's a great chance to stock up for next year! 



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"What if I don't have a favorite book?"

One of my end of the year activities this year was to complete a reflection. It asks students about themselves and the class. I was interested to read what advice my students had for my future students and what they took away from my Algebra class, but the reflection I came away with was much different.

Student 1: What if we don't have a favorite book?
Me: Well, you can put two favorites if you can't decide.
Student 1: No, I mean I don't have any favorite books.
Student 2: Me neither. I haven't read a book in years.
Student 3: I haven't read a book since I got a cell phone.
Student 4: I just put 'N/A' - doesn't that mean it doesn't apply to us?

I was so saddened by this realization that my students don't read ... at all. Since I'm their math teacher, I never really thought about it, but this activity brought it right to my radar. I started to walk around and look - about half my students actually had favorite books that are appropriate for their Lexile level and current enough that they have read them recently - and these students (generally speaking) did pretty well in my class this year. And the students who can't remember ever reading a book - or haven't - didn't do as well. Even though I teach math, I see a direct correlation between those who read and those who don't and their success in my class. Not only do the readers perform better in class, they are better spoken, and more persistent when it comes to finishing work. They usually score higher on standardized testing too.

This is not new information that kids don't try to read, but I think we are trying to correct it in the wrong way. We spent exorbitant amounts of money on intensive reading programs - in my 8 years, my school district has tried at least three. How about instead of another program, we put a book in their hand? How can we motivate teenagers to read?  I'm going to do my part to model good reading skills (when reading word problem aloud) and talk to the kids about what they are reading. I've heard the saying a million times -"every teacher is a reading teacher," and I'm going to make sure I'm doing my part to embrace it.

I'm also going to do everything in my power to foster my children's love for reading. My son, almost 4, loves pick out books for us to read and bedtime and will often fall asleep looking at books. My daughter, 1, currently chews on books, but must think they are delicious! I don't know when kids lose that passion (many told me it happens when they get a cell phone), but I am going to do my best to keep that fire ignited in my own kids - I know without a doubt, it is tied to academic success.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Function Notation Drag and Drop/ Open Middle


The state of Florida decided to up its assessment game two years ago - no longer are there many multiple choice questions on the EOC. One of the most challenging question types for students is drag and drop. (Every time I say this phrase someone asked me if I said "dragon drop," hence the silly graphic). This week Sarah Cater blogged about "Open Middle" questions, which are the same idea as these drag and drop questions. Math = Love: Evaluating Functions Puzzles - Open Middle Style




Here is a question I tried out with the kids this year.



My problem is easier than the one she created because I added the equal sign to narrow down their choices a bit, but I would love to scaffold to the more challenging problem she created. I have one-to one-laptops in my classroom, so we practiced on the computer on the Web site Nearpod. If you have technology available, you should absolutely try this Web site. I created this slide with the "fill in the blank" option. I love that students get practice manipulating the problem on the computer, just like the EOC. They also receive immediate feedback when they finish and I receive a report letting me know their score. You can see the question like my students did by navigating to the Web site and entering the PIN SMUBZ. This was a great test of students' perseverance and problem solving techniques - a lot of students thought it looked impossible at first but by the end they figured it out. 

If you don't have access to computers, try the paper version. I am attaching two versions one with the equal signs and one without (for more of a challenge). 

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