Everyone Loves Coloring Giveaway!

I have had so much success with coloring activities in my class that I spent a lot of this summer making some fun ones for my Algebra 1 class to use this year! I have even compiled them into a bundle that for $10 for 8 activities (and any more that I make will be added for free).

Today is your lucky day because you have the chance to win a FREE Algebra Coloring Activities bundle PLUS a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers  - "Worth playing for?" All you have to do is follow my store on Teachers Pay Teachers to earn an entry. If you are already a follower, just make a smiley face :) in the Follower Number box!

This giveaway ends when the clock strikes midnight on Tuesday, so enter now! I will email the winner. "May the odds be ever in your favor!"

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm also teaming up with my friends in the STEM community for another giveaway! And don't forget to shop the big Teachers Pay Teachers sale Monday and Tuesday! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Geometry Proof Crossword Puzzles

When I was a freshman in Honors Geometry class, the idea of writing a proof terrified me. I would never knew which theorems or postulates to use or how to order them (and I was a good math student).
I know my students need some scaffolding when it comes to proof writing and some fun too. I love to use fill-in-the-blank proofs because it helps them to see the structure of a proof. They still have to understand what is going on to fill it in, but they don't have to completely create the whole thing on their own.
In 2006, I backpacked through Europe with my friend, Bri. We crossword puzzled and Sudoku-ed our way through the railways of Europe - so crossword puzzles hold a place near and dear to my heart.

That's me doing a crossword puzzle on the train to Venice.
So I decided to combine the outline for a Geometry proof with my beloved Crossword Puzzle, and the Geometry Proof Crossword Puzzle was born. Students fill in the proof, completing both statements and reasons, and then fill their answers into the crossword puzzle. Each puzzle has two proofs - one for across and one for down clues. I love how the activity builds in an opportunity for students to check their work - they can easily spot a mistake if their answer doesn't fit or if the letters don't match up. This also provides them with some hints if they get stuck because they may have a letter or two for the word they are trying to fill in.

I've made my Angle Relationships Crossword Puzzle free so that you can try it out with your students.

Good news for when they love it - I've made 11 of these crossword puzzles. Topics Included: Algebraic Proofs, Segment Addition, Angle and Parallel Lines, Proving Lines Parallel, Proving Triangle Congruence, CPCTC, Quadrilaterals and Triangle Similarity. But let's face it - you and your students are going to have so much fun with these you might as well buy the bundle ;) #GottaCatchEmAll

I've also included directions for printing these to fit in interactive notebooks. I love having some student samples in their INB that they can refer back to throughout the school year.

 I hope you and your students have fun with these! Feel free to come back and let me know how it goes!

Christmas in July

I've been inspired by Scaffolded Math and Science's Christmas in July post to get into the holiday spirit myself. I live in Florida, so sometimes Christmas feels like July anyway. This year we wore shorts and ate ribs at a friend's house on Christmas Day - July in Christmas, Christmas in July.

At the beginning of December this year, I got an email reminding us about the annual door decorating contest. At first I brushed it off - I had to finish my unit on Systems of Equations before the holiday break, and there was no wiggle room for art projects. Then I started feeling like a Grinch and scoured Pinterest for something I felt like I could pull off. No way could I compete with the art teachers who would have hand-painted murals on their doors, but I wanted to come up with something festive, fun, and cheap and that would not have me losing valuable instructional time. I found this and thought it looked within my realm of art ability. Festive - check, it's a Christmas tree; Fun - sure; Cheap - absolutely, the copy room has plenty of green paper. But I still wanted to make sure I was not stuck making and hanging all those rings.

So I made the rings into Systems of Equations problems! The students each had four problems to solve - two using substitution and two with elimination.

After they solve a problem, they find their solution and flip it over to find their next problem.

Their last problem links to someone else's, creating a long chain. Then the chains make the branches of the Christmas tree!

I think the door decoration turned out great, and my favorite part was that it was completely done by the students. They would get excited to link theirs to the tree and watch the tree grow as more people finished. Plus I won a prize - Most Mathy Door!

My Christmas in July gift to you is that you can pick it up for $1 through Tuesday  - when door decorating season comes around, you will be glad you have it! Check out more Christmas in July deals by searching #ChristmasMATHinJuly

Poker Chip Review Game

Let me tell you about my new favorite thing - gambling in the classroom  my poker chip review game. It was SO engaging that my students were begging to play it - even students that don't typically get involved were participating! It will work with any subject area and is sure to make you wonder for at least half a second that how much fun it would be to be a BlackJack dealer.

Welcome to Casino Dyal. These poker chips were collecting dust in a spare bedroom and were absolutely perfect for this activity. Inspiration for this game came from Math = Love, but Sarah used Bingo chips. I think using poker chips was one of the big keys to success here because it was very easy for me to "pay" them, they could easily stack them up, and they could see their money grow as they exchanged for different color chips. I only used three colors and wrote on the board: White = 1, Red = 10; Black =100

Each team started with 11 white chips. They were required to keep at least one chip off the board, so they could always get back in the game (and I would never take their last chip). I would use my projector to display a multiple choice question and give groups time to figure out their answers. Not only did they have to figure out their answer, but they also had to assess how confident they were in their answer. This discussion was my favorite to eavesdrop on and where I heard a lot of people who usually sit and do nothing don't participate start to get involved.

I would give a warning and then five second countdown before I would call times and remind students, "Do NOT touch your chips!" Then I could have group's share their reasoning or why they chose various answers. Usually with multiple choice questions, I hear a lot of "I guessed," but not when there was wagering involving. If group's went "all in," I would have them share how they knew their answer was correct, I would hear some great explanations then too about using process of elimination to get rid of obviously wrong answer choices. If groups only placed a few chips on the board, we could discuss why their confidence wasn't high in their answer.

Then I would remind students not to touch their chips and I would change the slide to the next question. As they worked the problem out, I would walk around and "pay" them or take their chips. I just walked around with chips in my hand and matched their stacks, just like at the BlackJack tables. I would also cash in stacks of 10 white ones for a red or stacks of 10 red ones for the coveted "black chip."

I expanded this game beyond just multiple choice by having them stack chips on their answer. For one question, they had to fill out this two-way frequency table. In other questions, they would draw a graph or even write an equation. By stacking the chips on top of their answer, there was no way for them to cheat and change it. (I had plenty of eyes watching to make sure no one touched their chips after I gave the correct answer).

Sometimes we played for homework passes, extra credit points, or a Dum-Dum. The students would come in begging to play "That Super Fun Poker Chip Game" - anytime you can get kids begging to do math - it's a "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner" in my book!

Amanda Dyal, 2014 Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist

Teenagers can be tough critics, but I am lucky to have students that love me. Check out this video to see one of my Math Puzzles in action and hear what my students had to say about my classroom.

This video was created when I was nominated as one of the five finalists for Duval County Teacher of  the Year - being picked from a district of more than 8,000 teachers was a huge honor!

My End of the Year Pennant Project

My students finished the End of Course six weeks before the end of the school year. That gave me plenty of time for some fun projects to review what we had learned. I was SO excited to come across these Algebra Pennants.

First, students visited my "Math Problem Buffet" where they picked up one from each of the 10 stacks of problems. One students said, "So this is what Thanksgiving dinner would be like at your house?" LOL

I gave them a basic rubric for each pennant:  5 points = You showed all your work and decorated nicely; 3 points = You showed some work and have an OK presentation; 1 point = you showed no work and your pennants are a disaster poor presentation. The project took students who stayed on task and used time wisely about 2 90-minute periods ...and the knuckleheads took up until the final bell on the last day of school. 

I was impressed with how much love and time my students spent on this project. Not only did it allow them to review (again) the highlights from the school year, but it kept them engaged in math, which is important to me even in June. (And was important to my principal when she came in with a visiting administrator for a visit in the second to last week of school -don't worry, she warned me first)

I checked their work as they went. There are so many different problems for each pennant that it was more difficult for them to find someone to copy than actually figure out how to work out the problem. I saw lots of students helping one another (which I always encourage) and it made me so proud to see students take so much pride in their work. When they finished the problems and created a title pennant with their name, they got to hang it in the room. My walls were covered by the last day of school, and I waited until the last day to take them down because I loved being surrounded by these beautiful representations of what we had accomplished this school year. 

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