January 2020

January was a whirlwind month in the middle school! Our holiday break was so long that we didn’t start back until January 7th. Even though only 6 days had passed it felt to me like a lot of the month was over by the time we started. The kids settled in well after the holiday though and we got a lot of math learned!

I have a couple of small requests for parents. Check in with your child about their supply level for the second semester. Are binders ripped? Do you need to buy new pencils? Does your child still have the planner they were given at the start of the year? It is that time in the year that backpacks and lockers could use a quick clean out as well. This is great dinner table conversation.

Google Classroom has lesson videos and a picture of our assignment board every day. Please continue to encourage your child to check Classroom regularly.

Continue reading “January 2020”

2020 Goals

The 8th grade students all set goals for themselves for 2020 that are featured on one of our giant bulletin boards at school. Many of our students have set academic goals and a lot have set personal goals. Check out the picture to see your child’s goal? Don’t see one for your child? All students were invited to participate, but some struggled to decide on something to focus on. I am so proud of them for setting their sights high. Click on the picture to see a larger view. I listed off some of the goals below the picture. Continue reading “2020 Goals”

December 2019

This month was filled with new computer learning! As part of our every other month half day professional development time, Mr. Rocco and I were given the opportunity to attend computer based training in early December. We worked with all the other middle school math teachers with our BOCES technology director to learn some techniques to integrate tech into our math classrooms. I chose to select Math 8 to get started with this. I took our Algebra “wishlist” as the focus. Each grade level has created a skills list that they hope that their students will arrive with. Often these skills are from many years ago and the kids aren’t fluent with them. Any opportunity I can give the kids to practice them will help them with Algebra success in the future. So, we paired tech and skills review. Just like in hockey, where the focus goes away from the ice-skating and toward the game and the skating just naturally improves in our case the focus is on the new tech and the math just comes along for the ride and gets mastered while the tech gets discovered. After two days learning the platform and reviewing these skills we moved to grade level work to practice OUR math and work with the editor.

general reminders

Our 8th graders will take their 2nd iReady test on January 7th and January 16th. They will need earbuds for this. Please remind your kids they should have earbuds for every day with them but especially on these two days. We don’t have enough head phones as a school for everyone during this testing. Students have all seen their September scores for iReady math (they are in their Google classroom if you would like to see them) and they have set growth goals for their January test.

Some students need a refresh of school supplies – pencils, cap erasers and a binder clean-up. Thank you for taking time over break to check in about supplies.

our month of assignment boards

These are in slideshow form and they aren’t in order but I did capture all our days! Math 8 used technology for 7 of our 13 days and Algebra used it for 7 of the 13 days.

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new computer integration in math class

In my training I learned how to do a partial screen shot on the chrome book. It is a small thing, but it opens up a HUGE new world for me and for the students. Pair this with an equation editor – in our case we’re using the state test editor that the kids will use later in the year anyway – and we have the ability to do our math straight on our chrome books. For many of the kids this partial screen shot and saving to the clip board was a new skill to and a pretty fun one!  We learned how to use this snazzy editor and yes it involved some wanting to pull our hair out, but it was also fun. Some students are taking to the concept like ducks to water and others are missing paper. All things in moderation though – we’ll ease into computers and things will remain a mix of paper and computer. Our very next unit (graphing linear equations) doesn’t lend itself to the new tech, so our new work will be pencil and paper. However, some of our practice will be on computer (with a full week to complete so students can use study hall and tutorial time).

Here are some examples of our student work.

A Bragging moment

Mr. Rocco and I both teach the period 7 class and on Thursday Mr. Rocco was out. His substitute hadn’t seen this tech yet, so I shared what we were doing with him as I introduced him to the students. We all worked really hard during the period to complete the grade level work in anticipation of sharing our work with the class. This is one thing our technology director from BOCES pointed out as a huge  benefit of computer based instruction – we can share our work and get ideas from others. As I cycled through student work on the SmartBoard we noticed different things. Some students chose to use the typing features, some used the draw tools and others used a mix of the two with screen shots from both. Some students were able to manipulate things to be smaller once they pulled them into their document etc. But the proud moment was when Mr. Rocco’s sub announced “this is SO cool” and went on to share about how impressed he was with the students for their efforts. Here we are in our LAST day of 2019 math class for afternoon classes because we have a special afternoon planned for the school on the day before break and almost 100% of the students were focused on their MATH until the end of the period. I think it is great that he noticed this and took the time to celebrate it with us. I’m very proud of their efforts and willingness to work hard.


We’ve finished our study of statistics and will begin sequences and functions after the break. This unit will take us through the end of January. The kids are getting pretty confident with their calculators and will continue to work with them significantly through the end of the year. In order for our class to function efficiently we’re using youtube videos to learn the calculator skills and students have been taking their assigned calculator home most nights. All the videos we’re using are posted in our Google classroom so students can watch them to refresh a skill as needed. (I am in lock step with them in the learning of this new calculator and I need to watch them multiple times to refresh!)

math 8

We’re starting to graph linear equations after the break. This unit will be pencil and paper based and will take us through the month of January. I think the kids will enjoy the opportunity to graph lines and to solve systems of equations.

Have a great break and a Happy New Year!!

November 2019

November was a fast month at the middle school! The kids have a full week break for Thanksgiving. I’m rather bummed about this, because for the K-12 teacher the stretch from September – Thanksgiving is the longest virtually uninterrupted chunk of time we have together. I especially like those two school days before the holiday. On the plus side, attendance was great since not too many kids had left already for their Thanksgiving. On to math updates!

OUr assignment board

We got EVERY class day captured this month. It was super cool because I took November 7th as a personal day to watch my son’s cross country team at sectionals and my substitute teacher, Marie Griswold sent me a picture of the assignment board for that day.  You can see from the little red and green circles that we used technology 4 days of the 13 in Algebra and 8 out of 13 in Math 8. I love that little visual cue for class. Of course sometimes it means we’re using it just briefly and other days it is much of the period, but it is a great way to tell. Also notice the word of the day on the left hand side. One of our 8th graders has taken this role in homeroom every morning. I think it is pretty fun! Continue reading “November 2019”

Math Memes

In the spring of 2019 I gave the students an assignment to create their own math memes with partners. These memes have been hanging on one of our hallway bulletin boards for the first couple months of this year. Here is a picture of our board. The kids did a really great job finding inspiration online and then creating their own versions! Check out all the pictures below. You can click on them to get a better view! Continue reading “Math Memes”

October 2019

October was filled with Geometry for Math 8 students. We’re working on reflecting, rotating and translating images on the coordinate plane. We worked independently with a couple of hyperdocs* for this unit and also did a fair amount of full class learning. The spatial aspect of Geometry is challenging for some students and it is something that others get in a snap. We have an interactive bulletin board in the hallway that the lab students and one of the Math 8 classes has had an opportunity to use. We’ll do more with that bulletin board in the coming couple of weeks. On Friday we’ll wrap up our Geometry unit with a test and a binder check.

Algebra students are in the midst of graphing linear equations and inequalities. We spent much of our month working through operations with square roots, factoring and manipulating literal equations. Ask your child to show you some of this work. It is really fun stuff. We have students inspiring others to use color in their notes and we completed our first two Regents review papers. These papers only cover the topics we’ve learned SO far that are tested on the Regents exam. I see student study habits and organization improving as we exit October. We’ll have a unit 3 test and binder check mid week this week. This grade will be our last grade in the first marking period. Continue reading “October 2019”

Halloween 2019

I adore seeing the costumes kids come to school in on Halloween. We always spend just a few minutes snapping some pictures of each class. Our Halloween in math is limited to a Halloween activity that supports what we’re doing in class. After a brief lesson focus finishing up work from the day prior we moved into our Halloween part of the day.

In Algebra our focus was a graphing picture that reinforced domain and range; a topic that we’re discussing. A lot of different pieces of lines will ultimately come together to form a pumpkin face. That pumpkin face comes together with coloring based on the areas of the shapes formed. In Math 8 we used translations and reflections to draw a pumpkin face graph. Continue reading “Halloween 2019”