Wednesday, May 2, 2018

An Unexpected Review Game (still thinking of a name)!

I was thinking of a good idea to use as a review for my students' last module test. I went through the MTBoS and (as many awesome ideas that are out there), nothing was speaking to me. I was sitting at my desk yesterday afternoon and had a cool idea. How about I create a game that is similar to trivia?

Recently, my fiancé, a few other teachers at my school and their significant others, and I have been doing trivia one night a week at a local restaurant. I thought that the format of our weekly trivia game would be a good class format.

Here's how it is set up.

  1. Give students many pieces of scrap paper or index cards (as this is what they will bring to you with their answers) 
  2. Do three questions per round. I started the first round with 1, 3, or 5 points. I also stated that they could only pick one point per individual question. 
    1. For example, if the chose 5 points for the first question in the round, they had to choose 1 or 3 for the next question. 
  3. Preview the questions for the students, doing approximately 15-30 seconds (at most) per question so that way students can decide in their teams how many points they want to make each question. 
  4. Give students a set amount of time to do questions. Students must put their team name, the amount of points they want to set for the question, as well as the answer. As a side note, I didn't let them lose points for getting questions wrong. If students did not get their answers to me by the time the timer went off, then they were ineligible to submit their answer. 
  5. In the next round (if you want), you can up the points. I did 2, 4, 6 for a couple of rounds then 3, 6, 9 for a couple of rounds. 
  6. At the end, I did a final question. Students could bet anywhere between 1-20 points for this question. However, students lost the number of points they wagered if they got it wrong. 
Overall, I think my kids enjoyed it, and I would totally do it again! However, I need a better name than just Trivia. If you have any ideas, I will listen! 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ornaments in the Tree Review Game

For a few months, I had been reading about this game called Ghosts in the Graveyard, which is a math review game that has went around the Math Twitter Blogosphere. I first heard about it from Sarah Carter's blog (which is a must read), and she posted the link to the original game. I had seen others talk about playing, and I had an epiphany (if you could call it that) to do something similar. With this being December, I though that Ornaments in the Tree might be a great idea. I had seen other variations, depending on the time of year, such as Turkeys in the Oven, Snowflakes in the Sky, etc...from other great minds in the MTBoS. 

So, after school I drew Christmas trees (which are probably some of my better artwork to be honest, sadly) and put them on the whiteboards (VNPS) in the classroom. I also used some chart paper. 

Here were the rules and procedures I established. Also, I created a recording sheet, which you can find here. Two of my classes really enjoyed it, but one class I had a few behavior issues out of, so I might have to restructure. One tip I would suggest is that when you calculate points at the end, do it yourself. I think I had a couple of students try to move some of their ornaments (and a couple of kids accused each other of cheating). 

Anyways, here's how I did it. 

I cut up some questions, and I randomly gave to students. Students got unlimited tries on a question. When they got the question correct, I gave them an ornament to hang on a tree of their choice. I made it clear at the beginning of the game that the points will be determined at the end. When I did this part, I made sure I did it with my back to the board so no one would accuse me of cheating (yes, this has happened before with other games). 

I found some questions on systems of equations (which was the unit we were on and just finished), cut them up and used those as my questions. I also found some ornament clip art, and made a sheet (which you can find here) and cut them up. I made about 20 copies of this,  and this was enough for three classes (around 90 kids). 

The only issues I had were some kids not wanting to work or wanting to give up on problems. I might restructure it differently, but if you have ideas, let me know. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Choice Day

I went to a session on personalized learning at our district inservice a few weeks ago. (I work in a really large district, so all of the math teachers get together a couple of times a year for inservice). I really liked some of the ideas that the presenters (who are teachers in my district) had about personalized learning and giving some students choices in taking ownership of their learning. I took some detailed notes, but I was still curious about the execution of the project.

I was thinking about some idea to jazz up practice instead of some basic worksheet or something (which remind me, I had another idea I could've used). Then it dawned on me. Why don't I make a Choice Day for the kids and let them choose what to work on that day.

The first topic that I did this for was Systems of Equations with Graphing, which many students had struggled with. We had spent four days on the topic, and I knew that they wanted something different.   Our district uses Canvas, so I found five videos on the topic and made a playlist. I had students watch two videos and take notes. Then they either had to do a Quizizz, Edulastic assignment, or worksheet as practice. The first choice day went well, but there wasn't enough to ensure accountability.

After some reflection, I decided to do choice day again with systems of equations by substitution, which is another difficult topic. I created another Canvas playlist, but this time, I had students only watch one video. Then I had four options for students: Quizizz, Delta Math, Prodigy (which is a free math practice website that is game-like), or Edulastic. I figured most would play Prodigy, but many chose the other options. I also required an exit ticket at the end of the class to help with the accountability piece. I also let students sit with whomever they wanted (as long as they were working).

I still want to work on improving the accountability piece and trying to make sure I act more as a facilitator instead of having kids rely so much on me. I would recommend Choice Day! It's not a whole lot of extra prep, and it's still manageable. Plus, it allows kids to feel like they have some choice in their learning. If you ever have questions about Choice Day, please let me know. If you do or try something similar to Choice Day, I would love to chat.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Function Task Projects

Disclaimer: I received this idea from another teacher in my district.

I got this idea from another teacher in my district, and when I came across the activity, I thought it would be perfect for my 8th grade Honors Algebra I kids.

We did a task in class relating to functions, and then, I had students create their own tasks. I want to share a few of them with you. I assigned this as homework and had the students turn in their tasks the next week. I didn't use a set rubric for this project. I just asked that they create the task and leave a blank copy. Then students had to work out and create the answer key for their task. I hope to use some of these in my classes next year! Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions!


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse Day!

I am happy to say that we were off for the solar eclipse yesterday, so we traveled about an hour and a half to see the totality. We live just outside of where the line of totality was, so we wanted the full effect. School was closed for several reasons. We are a large district, and we were (and did) expect a large influx of traffic because of the eclipse. Also, the elementary schools in our district dismiss around the time of the expected eclipse.

Anyways, here are some pics! Let me just add that these were taken around 2:30 P.M. Right around the time of the totality, the cicadas started chirping (thinking it was nighttime), and the streetlights came on. Then it was sunny five minutes later.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

New Gig, New Classroom

Here is my new classroom.  So, I wanted to share a glimpse with you!  

The bins are for students to keep their notebooks. I also have a bin for whiteboards as well as my "distractions box". have a bulletin board of the mathematical practices as well as some problem solving strategies. 

Here is my desk. I also have a growth mindset poster as well as my bookshelf and my St. Thomas poster from my girlfriend's mom who lives there. 

My laptop podium and our class math norms. 

Posters from Learning Scientists. I made them into posters from their 8.5x11 size sheets. 

The Math Rules was made by my girlfriend, and the triangle to the left was made by two former students. 

Group Roles Posters, from Jo Boaler's book Mathematical Mindsets.