Quadratic Formula Song

Normally when we learn in our actual classroom space when we get to learn the Quadratic formula in Algebra, I have the song playing as the students come in. This is not my original idea – in fact I learned the song when my daughter took Algebra. Her teacher played it day in and day out for them.

This year we were in our virtual learning environment when it was time to learn the formula. Naturally I still wanted to follow the tradition and play the song. However, when I went to find the song, I found A LOT of songs. There was the catchy, familiar version that I know and love set to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel” but there were also so many others out there. People sang it to the tune of Rolling in the Deep, there were rap versions and more. I found a few and popped them into a playlist on my YouTube channel and shared them with my students.

Continue reading “Quadratic Formula Song”

Color Coded Notes

This year our 8th grade Algebra class has the opportunity to “loop” with me as their teacher for a 2nd year. The benefits: we all know each other and our class systems are familiar. The drawbacks: students who hoped to get an opportunity to learn from someone else don’t get that opportunity and we can fall back into too familiar patterns with each other early in the year.

I’m happy to report that for the most part we haven’t settled into bad habits but instead I see new and better habits emerging. The kids have really let me grow as a teacher and I’ve let them grow as students. One great thing for our class is the addition of a new student. She is really organized and loves to color code her notes. The result? It is spreading!! I now have several students taking the time to add color to notes.

Mrs. Dawson we are all doing it now. We noticed it helps things stay in our brain better!

I hope it keeps spreading with this crew of young math students. Up next is solving inequalities where it is super FUN to add color to note taking!!

Examples of student color coded notes from our lesson solving systems of equations.

Whiteboard Equation Solving

You can use water-based markers on a whiteboard

It was a happy accident last year. A student (or maybe it was me I don’t actually remember) wrote on our classroom whiteboard in marker. Not dry erase marker. Oh dear!! We’ll have marker on our board forever, I thought. Before panicking though I grabbed some paper towels and a water spray bottle and was so happy to see that it came off!!

This mistake prompted me to use it as a teaching tool in the classroom. Continue reading “Whiteboard Equation Solving”

Integer Mind Maps

Our Mind Map Project

This fall I took an independent study class. The class was full of things, but one portion was an app that required you to create a mind map. I really haven’t done that before, and part of the course required that you create one that could be used in your classroom. I created one for our current unit of study at the time: Integers.

Upon looking at it, I realized it could be a really nice way to keep everything straight. We discovered the rules for integers by using integer chips. I felt pretty good about the exploration piece of this. I pre-taught the kids in Math Lab so they’d have more time with the chips, and then we worked through the rules in our groups in class. Each day we’d add to the mind map. Occasionally, I posted a new picture of our classroom board mind map on Google Classroom. Continue reading “Integer Mind Maps”

Thank you Middle School PTO for our calculators!

Calculators are a must have in seventh grade math class. Mrs. Dawson has math classes all throughout the day, and has found a system for making sure that calculators are always available when you need them. The students were asked to buy calculators, as well as the PTO kindly buying enough for everyone to use during class. They are a part of our shared bins on every table, which also includes highlighters, pens, sticky notes, scissors, pencil sharpeners and erasers. Most of these items the students were asked to help supply the classroom with, and they are definitely being put to good use. Continue reading “Thank you Middle School PTO for our calculators!”

Pi Day! (2018)

 

Gail Brisson nabbed some pictures for us as the kids were rotating through each station. View our slideshow below. Read on for more about our Pi Day celebration. Many thanks to our 3 parent volunteers that helped us with the day. We really appreciate your help! Many thanks to our judges and to all the Math 7 team members that made this day possible. It was a lot to coordinate but we pulled it off.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pi Day was a fun celebration for our 7th graders!! We had to delay a day due to a late season snow storm (read all about our delay in our Week #26 updates) but we celebrated anyway just a day late!! The kids rotated through a series of stations that included:

  • Pi Recitations for a judge
  • Pie Eating
  • Game playing and pi wordsearch
  • Pi Chain making and math problem challenge
  • Calculating Pi
  • Project Viewing

Here are just some of the links to the many projects that our 7th grade Library Media Literacy classes made!! They worked hard at this and embraced it.  Continue reading “Pi Day! (2018)”

Using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for Teaching (2018)

Two years ago I was a long-term sub teaching 8th grade math in a classroom where the SmartBoard wasn’t working properly. It wouldn’t stay calibrated, rendering it really not usable. Instead of declaring it dead, I noticed the Apple TV in the room and had a brainstorm – could I airplay from my iPad pro to the Apple TV and use it for instruction? The short answer was yes, and I used this set-up for classroom teaching. At the time I wrote about it on my husband’s blog. I am posting that here because while many things have changed and improved in two years, the heart of the matter is still very relevant. Read my original post about using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for teaching math.

I’ve divided this new post into two parts: “Getting there” and “How I’m using things.”  If you are only interested in how I’m using this technology, please skip to the second part. I included the first part because I want to thank the people who helped me with this, and I want to remember it. Continue reading “Using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for Teaching (2018)”

How I use Trello as a Lesson Plan Book (2018)

Anyone who chats with me about computer things realizes quickly that I LOVE Trello. Every time I discover some new way to involve it in my life one of my family members remarks, “You know you really should work for Trello or at least get paid as an ambassador!”

I used to use Google Drive exclusively for tutoring, but then I’d find it challenging to keep things in order. Trello was helpful with its cards, but it wasn’t until after using Trello for a full year tutoring students that I realized that the calendar feature was the lynchpin for using it very successfully. I tutored my son through Algebra 1 and we needed to keep a daily log to show his school that we were actually doing work. I wanted something that we could just share with them virtually, so I went looking at the power up opportunities. Fortunately for me, a calendar was an option. The calendar allows you to put due dates in all your items, and they appear on the date they are due on the calendar view.  Continue reading “How I use Trello as a Lesson Plan Book (2018)”

Whiteboard Fun (2017)

Last week somehow a regular, water based marker ended up on the ledge of one of our whiteboards. I’ve heard tragic whiteboard stories from my own kids over the years about permanent markers being used on whiteboards and ruining them so I immediately panicked. My kids had told me that if you go over the marker in dry erase marker it will come off. I did that. Nothing. Oh dear. Then we thought to try water. Gone. “Oh yes, the marker wasn’t PERMANENT, it was just water based.”

After I got home that day I realized this was a happy accident. There are so many times that I’d love to have a problem or problems persist during the day but instead have to write them again for each class period. How could I use this effectively to offer better instruction? Differentiation would be the first use. I had an idea!! Continue reading “Whiteboard Fun (2017)”

Rational Numbers (Card Activity) (2017)

In Math 7 we’ve been working with adding and subtracting integers. Before we can move into multiplying and dividing, we had to tackle the topic of adding and subtracting rational numbers. Having just worked through a unit that required a familiarity with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing positive fractions and mixed numbers, I knew we had the potential for struggle with this topic.

I have kids still relying fully on slow strategies to multiply things like 9×8 making finding common denominators very challenging. I was working with a student while he slowly skip counted, 9, 18, 26 … “wait I said, it is 27” and I thought, “adding and subtracting positive and negative fractions is daunting for students who have to rely on these slow methods.” Once he finally got a common denominator he was tired out! Continue reading “Rational Numbers (Card Activity) (2017)”