Plan With Me...Infinite and No Solutions

So I'm planning this lesson for the upcoming week and I have 3 slides that I feel like are a good start. I'm just about to tweet them out and ask what I can add to them when I decide to check the MTBoS search engine first. I land on this great blog post about using Desmos to check answers after combining like terms by graphing.

And instantly my lesson just got better. I get to use Desmos for the first time with my freshman and we are just beginning!

Here's a general outline and my thought process.

I will ask students to share out some answers and I will write them on the board. I will have one chrome book per group of three students and ask them to each take turns typing in an expression from the board (I'm thinking 6 so each student types in 2 and purposely include wrong ones).  But what if I don't get very many answers?

I will ask them what they notice as they type in each equation.

We will discuss the connection between the expression and the line.


I will ask students to prove me right or wrong. I'm thinking I'll have to explain that they either need to solve for x or plug in random values and see what happens. Some kind of work will happen which will lead us to graphing it in Desmos and seeing if it is the same line or not.


Some kind of work happening, either with Algebra or Desmos leading up to the fact that they graph two parallel lines which have no intersecting solution and how they simplify to the same slope with different y-intercepts.

Is that it? Now we just practice?

What are some good questions I can ask? What needs to go in their notes?


First Days 2016-2017

I was not ready. I spent my last few days getting my classroom ready and not preparing actual activities. This should have been an 'easy' week for me since it's the only time I can get away with doing the same thing every hour. Instead I didn't go to bed earlier than midnight all week. =( Definitely making a check list so this doesn't happen next year.

Today we did Mental Math Monday and got our binders ready: dividers, tabs, names on the spine, pencil bags, new pencils, and dry erase markers. We folded our name tents; I loved having students write to me every day. The name tent part was not really necessary since we are so small and everybody knows everybody. Next year I might not use an actual name tent. It also took me up to an hour and a half each night too respond. I would say it is worth it but I definitely couldn'tdo it all year.We did our first number talk!

I used Google Classroom for the first time today and I think I was successful. Students used an ipad to sign in to their account add my class by code. I posted a question asking them they're favorite animated movie. Then I posted a google form for estimation180. They commented and opened the form. I showed a picture on the board and they gave me a too low, too high, and estimate. We looked at the answers on the spreadsheet and then I showed the correct answer. I had 4-5 students guess correctly throughout the day and that has never happened. Google Forms FTW? Next, we did Amy Zimmer's icebreaker to set up groups and group roles. I noticed that the designated time keeper kept time for the rest of the period, even after the activity ended. From there we went straight to Sara's
1-100 task making groups work. The kids LOVED it!! In between rounds we discussed strategies for working together and improving their times.

We started with our Work It Wednesday problem, how can you arrange 8 8's to add up to 1000? From there I showed them pictures from the previous day's 1-100 task.

They could not believe that I took pictures! Not a single student in any class noticed I was taking pictures. Not even in a class of 5! They have already asked to do it again. My best group made it all the way to 91 and two groups made it to the 80's. We reviewed the group work strategies and from there we went to Sarah's Broken Circle task. This only took 2-3 minutes since my students were in groups of 3. We finished the day by setting up our INBs.

Thursday are my designated day for number talks and it started out rough. Read more here. We again used Google Classroom to open a pdf of my syllabus. I tried Brigid's idea of doodle notes using this doodle syllabus. I still have mixed feelings about this. My artistic students really appreciated it. The students did agree that taking notes from the pdf was better than listening to me talk the whole time. But most of these students have had me for years and know my policies and procedures. More than one person asked why we were doing this and most people didn't even get it finished in a class period because they spent so much time doing what I asked...doodling! I can see it working much better in a lecture heavy class but thankfully, I am heading in the opposite direction of that.

We ended the week by taking our end of course exam which will be given again in December and May. I spent my time making answer keys and updating my spreadsheet data.

Comparing the first administration last year to this year

Algebra I 15% to 24%
Geometry 18% to 20%
Algebra II 16.5% to 24%
Trig 30% to 19%

I'm using new exams except for Trig so those numbers basically mean nothing but I like that they are moving up. Except what the heck happened in trig?

I'm so glad that thanks to my blog, I have a record of everything I've tried during the first days of school. If you teach in a small school, you know you can't repeat activities until four years have passed. Check out my first days tag if you need more ideas!


My First Number Talk

I was inspired by Sara Van Der Werf's post to finally start doing number talks. I haven't read any of the books yet so forgive me if I'm screwing this up.

It took me three days of number talks before I realized I should start saving these pictures.

They are pretty terrible but I'd like to have a starting point to look back at.

The first two days were counting items in a picture so when I threw this one at them, I realized maybe a fraction problem was not the best one to use first.

We had a rough start but there was about one interesting answer per period so all was not lost.

A lot of them chose 5/8 because they said they learned that the smaller fractions are bigger pieces.

I'm really trying to put the emphasis on how we are thinking about things over right answers.

I also used Sara's name tent idea and more than one student wrote that they liked how we were learning about different ways to think and that they appreciate me letting them be creative.

Be still my heart.

It was much easier to get them to talk about counting dots and footballs but I'm not giving up!

Suggestions appreciated.



Things I want to instill in my students or that I hope they 'inherit' from me and my classroom!

P-persistence. Let's get it right and get it done!

H- happiness. I'm really working on two things: to operate out of love and to let life be on my lips. How can I speak life, love, and happiness each day to my 90 students?

A- assertive. Learn the difference between aggressive and assertive. Know how and when to stand up for yourself and others. Learn how to not back down graciously.

R- resilient. You wouldn't believe the things that four of my students in particular are facing this early in the school year. I hope they see in me the 'fighting spirit' to show up every day and do hard work well.

A- attitude. As we learn together about growth mindset, I want to teach them the importance of their attitude and how it sets the tone of each day and the future.

O- original. I think I am pretty good at standing out and being unique. Hopefully my students take away that it is okay to have strong passions and interests and to put them on display.

H- honor. I'm trying my best to start off honoring the different ways of thinking my students have, honoring their identity by asking them to share it, and honoring the important of our relationship by building it.

S- spirit. Take pride in who you are and where you are from. If it's not the best place, then try making it better. Give back. Be successful and share how you got there.

Pharaoh Pride!


Back to School! Year 8

I don't count today as our first day because I only saw my kids for five minutes per period. But this was one of the best starts we've had and an all around positive day so you know I have to share.

The day started with the Principal giving updates to the students for about 20 minutes. Then students were released to their classes for 5 minutes each.

This was enough time for me to have students write down their birthdays and favorite candy. I gave them an address label with my Remind number and code. I asked them to get composition notebooks and then I said good-bye!

I asked my freshman class how many of them liked math and none of them raised their hand. I !asked them how many were good at math but didn't like it. No one. I asked them if we could all agree to think positive and that this is going to be a good year of math class. All smiles and head nods. So now it is my personal mission to ask that question at the end of the year and have a majority of the hands go up.

We rotated through all of our classes and then around 9:30 we went to the gym. A student group had some cute games planned but it wasn't super organized. Middle school students had a blast and most of the high school sat on the bleachers and talked. We were there until lunch at 11:30 which was a little long considering we are having air conditioner problems but I made my way around talking to students.

It just felt so nice to be reminded of relationships I've been building for years and the comfort of being surrounded by students I know and I like. I have no classes I'm dreading this year. I spent most of the day smiling and chatting with students and that was just enjoyable!

We had a 12:00 dismissal and then a Google training from 12:30-2:30 which means we also had an hour lunch.

I really love having Back to School night on Thursday and an early dismissal Friday.

Have a great weekend!