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. 

The First Week of School

Well, folks, it is back to school time in Tennessee! Last Monday was our first day of school and with students. For those of you who don't know, I am at a new school and am teaching 8th grade (and middle school) for the first time.


  • Monday was a half day, so we had our homeroom (which is our second block period). Then we had a half hour with our middle two classes, and had an hour of class with our last group. During this time, we did an Estimation 180 task, I introduced myself, and I went over some basic procedures for entering the classroom. 


  • We spent the class period going over the school wide procedures and expectations. We are lucky that our school has laid out very clear expectations for what behavior is expected. We also did a Getting to Know You Bingo activity (shared here).


  • We finished the procedures and expectations for this day for the classroom. I also taught the departure procedure for the school. 


  • Time to do some math! 
  • In pre-algebra, we started by classifying rational and irrational numbers. I had the students make a foldable. I gave the students a half sheet of paper, and students folded the paper in half to make a booklet. One one side, I had students write the word "rational" and "irrational" on the other side. I then gave students their Cornell Notes. We are an AVID School of Distinction, and, as a result, we use Cornell Notes in our classes. I gave students several numbers throughout the lesson, and students had to classify them as rational or irrational. 
  • In Algebra I, we started with one and two-step equations review. I also showed students the Cloud Method for solving equations. If you have any questions about what the Cloud Method looks like, just feel to contact or tweet me. 
  • I also gave my first homework assignment, the math autobiography. 


  • We had an assembly for most of my first class, so I just let them work on their math autobiographies after we returned. I then did a review game with my other pre-algebra classes on classifying rational and irrational numbers. After the game, I gave them some time to work on their math autobiographies. 
All week, we did the Name Tents from Sara Vanderwerf, which are a blessing and a great way to build relationships and get to know your kids. I also started a routine where I have students fist bump me on the way into class. I have a few that won't do it, but hopefully they will come around someday. However, I can understand at the same time. 

So, here's to week one in the books. It is my wish that Week 2 brings more positive relationship building and some fun lessons! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

P16 Summer Summit Presentations

On June 7, I had the opportunity to present at the P16 Summer Summit at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tennessee. I presented four sessions, which I will describe below. I also have links for all of the sessions for your perusal. The irony is that I presented four sessions, and there were only four sessions for the day, so I didn't get to go to anything. :(

How Twitter Transformed My Teaching

  • This was my first session, and I had around eleven participants. Unfortunately, I didn't have any math teachers, but that was okay. I talked about how Twitter has had such a positive impact and influence on my teaching career. I gave strategies on signing up for Twitter, connecting with people, Twitter etiquette, and how it, in fact, transformed my teaching. 

Why Blog? Why Not?

  • This sesiĆ³n had only three people, two of whom were in my first session. I was pretty chill while presenting, and I showed them my blog to begin the session. I also showed how to use Blogger as a blogging platform. I then talked about why I blog and how blogging has been a nice tool of reflection. 

Desmos Activity Builder

  • I was excited that I had thirteen people in the session, and only one had even used Desmos AB before the session. I also was glad that I had a mixture of math teachers and non-math teachers. We talked about the features of Desmos AB, such as graphing, multiple choice, sketching, anonymize, class pause, teacher pacing, input/fill in the blank, marble slides, and Polygraph. We had to go very fast during this session, and I probably should've done it as a longer session. 

Plickers, Quizzizz, and Kahoot! Oh My!

  • In this session, we did a crash course on Plickers, Quizzizz, and Kahoot. I wasn't able to print Plickers cards, so we didn't get to go full course on that. However, we talked about the pros and cons of each tool. Then I created a Quizzizz and Kahoot with very basic questions so that participants could experience the differences. 
Overall, I think that the presentations went well. Maybe I should've snapped a few pics! If you have any questions about my sessions, just let me know! 

Blogging Session
Twitter Session
Plickers, Quizzizz, and Kahoot Session
Desmos Activity Builder 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

End of Year Projects

For our final week and project, my students created End of the Year projects. I took the idea from Miss Rudolph's blog entry from a few years ago. I used her rubric and her directions, so I won't blather on about the details. I also gave my students a lot of choice when deciding what to do for their project. I was really excited what my students came up with and created. 

Math Toss was a game similar to see ball. Students used their non-dominant hand and throw into the cup. Then students draw out a question from the cup. If they got the question correctly, then they earned the number of points on the cup. If not, students lost one point. 

This board was used as a game to teach box method division. 

This was an informative poster on doing polynomial division. 

These two photos were from Quadratic Formula Bingo. Students were given an equation to solve, and then they matched the answer in Bingo. 

This is a poster on the properties of parabolas. 

This is a poster from student-created surveys. 

String art with parabolas. 

These two photos are a game that could be used for any topic. The group chose to use equations of parabolas. 

These two photos were from a matching game on square roots. The directions are on the next photo. 

If you have questions about the project or anything that my students created, please let me know!