Action Plan

I got really overwhelmed and panicky at my Common Core conference today. My twitter fam calmed me down as always and now after a nap and my mom's homemade pizza, I have some perspective.

  1. I can't redo much in one week.
  2. In Illinois, only Algebra II will be tested by PARCC this year.
  3. I have tenure.
  4. They will never find another math teacher who lives as close to the school as I do and who is as invested in the community as I am...so they won't fire me when the scores suck really bad.
  5. I won't do anyone any good by being emotional and panicky and depressed all year.
  6. I need an action plan.
I feel like I just have to insert this into my post...come on, you knew it was going to happen.

I have incentives, some resources, some skills, and some vision. So the main thing I'm lacking is an action plan. I made a list and this is what I'm going to tackle over my last week before school starts.

  • Redo Revise my pacing guides to make sure all CC standards are covered according to the PARCC frameworks of which class they belong in.
  • Start using planbookedu.com to organize my standards
  • Link activities and resources that my twitter fam have graciously shared plus what I already use as well as INB pages and FALS
  • Get my INB TOCs and first pages together 
  • Nail down my first days ideas
  • Nail down my bell ringer system for the year

And lo and behold God gives me a sign that I'm on the right track because Lise just posted her bell ringer system which I am going to steal and change Mondays to my own Mental Math Mondays.

And me and Brooke are collaborating on an Alg 2 pacing guide...although I am not much help, we plan to try to teach it together throughout the year and compare notes. Yay for colloaboration!

I'm feeling better now and I plan on spending my night making more cute posters because that is my favorite thing to do. Then tomorrow, the real work begins!

Implementing Mathematics Common Core State Standards

Presented by Janet Rummel, Goodwill Education Initiatives

Close reading of three standards, one from Alg I, Geo, Algebra II; circle nouns and underline verbs; identify content (phrases); identify skills (sentences); describe progression in skills; what evidence must be obtained (spreadsheet link)

Curriculum Map Template

Looking at end of module engage NY Algebra II assessment

Shifts in expectations
Compare- for example, mean to median, mean to mean, congruent parabolas
Prove algebraically
Verify your answer through another method
Multiple choice with multiple answers
Justify answers to multiple choice questions
A lot of questions build on one set of information
More writing
More real world applications

Shifts in content
Compare congruent parabolas
Product of linear and quadratic factor

Product of linear factors

Shifts in MY teaching
Intentional Modeling

Word Problem Strategy
Consistency k-12
Circle the numbers (watch out for numbers written in words)
Underline important information
Box the question
Eliminate unnecessary information
Show all work

How can students apply this strategy to problems they can't write on? On PARCC? Give them the opportunity to practice. Make a T-chart and jot down information. We need to build confidence in students that not knowing one word doesn't stop you from solving the problem.

Common Core Resources
Educational Research- http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/
Massachusetts Department of Education

Pg 43 Overview PARCC Frameworks
Color coded;  green are priority standards; 70% of instructional time and assessments; blue are supporting standards; 20% of instructional time and assessments; yellow are additional content; 10% of instructional time and assessments,


#TMC14 Math Maintenance- Ten Minutes to Success

Presented by Kathryn Belmonte
Presentation Link
  • Five question spiral review
  • Ten minutes
  • Five topics per week
  • Can scale back if needed
Five questions on
  • 2 review
  • 2 current
  • 1 preview
Other Resources
  • Wyrmath.wordpress.com
  • Matharguments180.blogspot.com
  • Mathmistakes.org
  • Visual patterns.org
  • Estimation180.com
Ways to Use
  • Trade and grade
  • Quiz grade on Friday 
  • Go over whole group
  • Students present 
Record Keeping
  • Google doc to track scheduling
  • Track student scores across categories 

#TMC14 60 Formative Assessment Strategies in 60 Minutes

Presented by John Scammell


Formative- an exchange of information between teachers and students; feedback for learning

Formatives should be risk free.

Students focus is on improving. Teachers focus is on changing instruction.

Students given comments only as feedback made 30% gains. Specific, pointed, descriptive comments. What is the next step?

Formatives are not always a noun. It can be a noun. But let's add more to our toolkit.

Dropbox handout (There are actually 85 strategies!)

Quick feedback: highlight the last place they were right.

Effective peer feedback comes from structured coaching.

#TMC14 It Takes a Village...(Desmos)

Presented by Eli Luberoff

Desmos on Twitter: @lukeselfwalker, @squisythinking, @davidreiman, @teachwithcode

By tweeting our uses of Desmos, we can make a measurable, quantitative difference in the happiness of their staff. :)

New features

  • Insert images, set the center
  • Zoom in and out with two fingers
  • Set the center as sin to 'make it dance'
  • Sliders on the size, introduces transformations
  • Switch between polar, coordinate,and no grid 
  • Turn off the axis
  • Change step size
  • Pi labels
  • Label the axes

Cool Lessons 
  • Mathmistakes.org/complex/rules.html
  • Mathalicious.com/lessons/out-of-left-field
Upcoming Features
  • Regressions
  • iPhone app
  • iPad app updated
  • API updated

Things Desmos Believes
  • Interpret everything you can, especially incorrect work
  • Never say when to "go on". Let students make the call. Make them decide when it's good enough.
  • Pedagogy is in charge, technology follows.

#TMC14 Algebra 2 Session

Thursday-Glenn Waddell

What can be a connecting thread through Algebra 2?
  • Color coding units
  • Family of functions
  • All equations first, then graphically
  • Consistency of vocabulary
  • (h, k) forms

Students have to write every function in all three forms: standard, vertex, and intercept. Then identify all key features, intercepts, AoS, asymptotes, end behaviors, vertex, translation from parent function, domain/range, and stretch/compression factor. If it does not exist, write that and explain why.

No canceling! You are either making one or making zero with equations.

For intercepts, be specific. Make students write "Let x = 0, therefore y = __. (x, y)"

Developing rational functions in (h,k) form justifies long division. We use long division to convert rationale into (h,k) form.

(Insert plug for Nix the Tricks) Your past teachers taught you a rule that has now expired. 

Trouble with domain and range? Have students use Desmos to write their names with lines.

Display a free virtual TI on your SMART board. Desman is a good intro to Desmos.

It's not the math that's changing, it's the picture. You are applying the same thing over and over.

Use Desmos sliders to show the difference between -2x^3 and (-2x)^3. And to graph all functions and transform at the same time.

Use onlinetonegenerator.com to create tones from trig functions.

Use "rate of change" more than you use "slope". It matters for trig.

Modeling Resources: http://m3challenge.siam.org/about/mm/

Friday- Jonathan Claydon

Break functions into two clusters. First, linear, quadratic, radical, square root (mix in inequalities). Second, log, exponential, rational, polynomial. Start with solving basic types of the first four. Then cycle back and do intermediate types. Cycle back a third time and teach advanced types. Six weeks of equations and four weeks of graphs, the whole semester. End with conics, sequences, and series.

Start January with second cluster. Use graphs to motivate higher algebra. Inverses, transformations, quadratic formula, systems, complex numbers. Complex numbers are what happens when we force the algebra. When two graphs don't intersect, inverting the first graph and finding the intersection gives you the imaginary number solutions. Students use graphs to validate their algebraic answers.

Use data from data.worldbank.org for growth and decay for modeling. Compare countries and growth rates to interpret graphs and motivate extension questions. Use credit card bills and real estate websites for exponentially.

Resources: infinitesums.com/alg2 Open the calendar in Dropbox for pacing guide. DIY guide for goals and practice problems. Independent practice for just problems. All assessments, including finals and finals review are posted. Financial formulas: log gives number of months to pay off, second gives mortgage payment.

Project Ideas: function panels, estimation wall, fact sheets after each concept.

Doesn't do homework, does interactive notebooks, used estimation180 or visual patterns.org for daily warm ups.

Saturday- Glenn Waddell


It's our job to pick problems where variables can be idealized with a mathematical formula.

Take graphing stories and extend it. What can we ask? Volume vs time

What is the area under the curve? (Triangle shape) What is the rate of filling? At that rate, how long would it take to fill the school?

Absement is the absence of displacement, or the filling of the container. A hydraulophone is a real world example.

Try teacher.desmos.com for more class activities

#TMC14 My Favorites

My Favorites is a session where teachers share their favorite things in 5-10 minutes.

Rebekah Peterson @RebeckaMozdeh
  • Friday Letters- warm-up as usual or write me a Friday letter (decorate a mailbox); respond to every letter; opens up lines of communication for quieter students
  • Mathematician Spotlight- one per unit, corresponds to unit; students post biographical information; restate a quote, defend their position on the quote, find three bits of interesting information
Sara Martin @Sarah3Martin
  • Window Math- weekly problems written on window; bigger prize for less correct answers, smaller prize for more correct answers 'cheaters'
John Mahlstedt @jdmahlstedt
  • Write the date as a math problem
  • Tell your students how awesome you are- literally! Answer questions about yourself. Fill in the blank notes to match. :) Bonus Questionssss
Christine Sullivan @mathiechris
  • Planbook.edu
  • Online plan book allows you to attach standards, links, activities, worksheet, etc
  • End of year, comparing standardized test results to attached standards allows you to identify gaps and weaknesses
Bob Lochel @bobloch
  • Meaningful Adjacencies Icebreaker- 5 favorite tv shows; order your cards so you are closest to the most people who share matches; maximize solutions; 3 minute video
Glenn Waddell @gwaddellnvhs
  • Turn a styrofoam cup upside down and slit the top. Use an old smartphone to place inside  and record your teaching.
Justin Lanier @j_lanier
  • Favorite blogger- John Holt from1968; 5th grade teacher in Colorado; wrote books of daily
  • reflections, "How Children Learn" and "How Children Fail"; helped start homeschooling and unschooling movement;
  • Three lessons: 1. Look around. 2. Teach (and admit the) crazy. 3. Trust children.
Michael Pershan @mpershan
Jenn Crase @fibanachos
  • Part to Whole relationship
  • Factor Product relationship
  • Using visual models to understand equations
  • Middle school level
Pam Wilson @pamjwilson
  • Chalk Talk- everything is written instead of spoken
  • Students have to process in a different way
  • Students can write with highlighters in the dark with black lights
  • Ghosts in the graveyard
  • Plickers- app where students hold up QR codes and teachers take a picture and the app records the responses. Excitation!
Max Ray  @maxmathforum
  • Grant with EnCOMPASS
  • Aug 5-8 hybrid face-to-face online institute
  • Software that collects student work and analyzes and categorizes parts
Heather Kohn @heather_kohn
  • Partner Reading for Comprehension-partner 1 reads aloud; partner 1 questions/comments; partner 2 clarifies
  • Cut and Grow- take a student writing sample and they choose one sentence to edit; cut out the part that is wrong and rewrite
Andrew @froynboy
  • Animal rubric 
  • Seating chart arranged in 90s hip-hop groups
  • Character picture on desk
  • Project is researching their character and presenting
  • Play parts of song to call on groups
  • Highest grade wins the unicorn award
  • Video game themed tests
Cindy Johnson @johnsonmath
  • Conic cards!
  • Sorting!
Meg Craig @mathymeg07
  • Equation Editor 3.1 prints and copies better
  • Make shortcuts for symbols
  • Create your own autocorrect for common fractions, radicals, etc
  • Link goo.gl/TKlAz6
Sebastian Spear @Sebastian_S
  • 99-card game; any number of players; center deck; avoid being the player that pushes the center deck over 99; no winners, one loser; cards add value to center deck
  • Zilch-red negative, black positive; your hand must add up to 0; start with four cards and students make pairs; then change to five cards
Anthony Rossetti @aanthonya
Jasmine Walker @jazmath
  • Tabletop Twitter-posters; each student has a market; answer question; respond to people with @, and create your own hashtags
  • Quadrilateral Dating Game-speed dating structure; "meet" quadrilaterals and record traits
  • Cell phone problem solution- warning on the first day; get out an envelope and put phone in it until the end if the day; if they refuse, sign a card saying they accept the consequences

Bob @bobloch
  • Favorite movie genre correlation regression

Shelli @druinok
  • StatKey; app that can convert between data displays, etc
Kathryn Belmonte @iisanumber
  • Students true colors personality survey; 15 minutes; four categories; rank groups of adjectives to determine color

Dylan Kane @math8_teacher
  • Five triangles problem; want students to have mathematical insights over being able to do a lot of steps
Glenn Waddell @gwaddellnvhs
  • Buy your own domain-powerful way to represent yourself as a professional in a public space
  • Lunar pages donates free domain
Julie @jreulbach
  • Laminate plicker QR codes and attach to interactive notebooks
  • hinge questions where each multiple choice answer maps to a specific misunderstanding for differentiation

Sam @samjshah

John  @Jstevens009
  • Would you rather...math? Link
  • Needs help with new ideas
  • Goal of 100


Made 4 Math: Felt Footies and Bulletin Board

Another idea I've stolen from Pinterest is felt footies for my students desks and chairs. This is to prevent scratching up the freshly waxed floor as well as making it quieter when students are moving around.

I bought felt from Hobby Lobby, 4 for $1 and I used one sheet per chair and per desk. I cut one sheet into fourths. So I have 18 desks and 18 chairs which means I need 36 sheets of felt. That only ends up costing me $9 which is MUCH cheaper than the tennis ball idea.

Of course I had to buy neon colored rubber bands because beige ones are soooo boring. I wrapped it about 4 times and my felt footies were created! Don't they look like tiny little shepherds?

I covered my bulletin board in 12x12 scrapbook paper by stapling them up in alternating rows. Then I made a border out of teal duct tape. I heart chevron!!


#EduRead Why I Stopped Putting Grades on Papers

This week's article is "Why I stopped putting grades on papers".

My Thoughts
  • I like the idea of promoting discussion and conversation but I feel like I'm being dishonest by waiting until later to post the grade. 
  • I asked Ashli "For students who do no have access to the online grade book, how did they ever know how they were doing in the class?" Her response "I was fortunate that my school had computer labs that students can use before/after school and during lunch in addition to the laptop cart in my room (it was shared between the math department but kept in my room), so that wasn’t a problem I dealt with. In the past I had posted quiz scores using students ID numbers on the wall and updated them about once a week."
  • I never know exactly what kind of feedback/comments to give. According to the archive, we prefer provoking questions rather than comments.
  • I've been thinking about using Frank Noschese's quiz idea where students check their work and write their own feedback and then turn it in, so that the teacher assigns a grade later (I'm assuming?). Do these methods align? (lol just reading the archive where Shelli mentions this too...hooray)
  • What I've read so far is a list of common errors and making a key where students categorize their errors or we can just mark symbols or numbers to save time. I like the idea of a bookmark. Couldn't this go in our INBs?
  • I've been thinking about Bowman's sbg intro using angry birds and I've been thinking, why can't I just grade like that? It seems so simple.
  • It's like I have all these assessment ideas in my head floating around and I just somehow need to tie them all together. More on that later, I suppose.


Made 4 Math: Notebook Holder and Light Switch

I plan to use this file holder as a notebook holder for my interactive notebooks. I plan on making one for each prep so there is room for all four. I spray painted and added washi tape to the bottom edge.

I bought this customized light switch from Etsy for 5ish dollars including shipping. It's made with vinyl and it was shipped the night I ordered it. It comes with the screws to install. Love it.

I hung a few streamers above my air conditioner and I love how they move with the air. It's like a little curtain!


#EduRead: Even Genuises Work Hard

This week's article is Even Geniuses Work Hard by Carol Dweck. In this article, Dweck again works with the ideas of fixed vs growth mindsets, which many of us are familiar with due to her book, Mindset.


  • "Research has shown that praising students for the process they have engaged in—the effort they applied, the strategies they used, the choices they made, the persistence they displayed, and so on—yields more long-term benefits than telling them they are "smart" when they succeed."
  • "Students who take longer sometimes understand things at a deeper level."
  • "It is crucial that no student be able to coast to success time after time; this experience can create the fixed-mindset belief that you are smart only if you can succeed without effort.
  • "When presenting learning tasks to students, the teacher should portray challenges as fun and exciting, while portraying easy tasks as boring and less useful for the brain. "
  • "When students initially struggle or make mistakes, the teacher should view this as an opportunity to teach students how to try different strategies if the first ones don't work—how to step back and think about what to try next, like a detective solving a mystery."
My Thoughts
  • It's humbling how much our students' mindset can depend on our choice of words.
  • Pointing out the use of the mathematical practices seems like a great way to praise process.
  • My mentor emphasized "individual think time" where students try something on their own before any collaboration. I do this by asking kids to "stare at the paper" for 1 minute (using my timer of course) I don't let them talk until the timer goes off. This can help students focus on deeper thinking over time.
  • What ways can we show progress/improvement in student work other than pre/post tests?
  • I like the phrase "grade for growth". How can I apply that?


#5Things I Cannot Do Without in My Classroom

#5 Space between aisles- I hate clutter and I can't stand when my students desks are too close together. Nobody wants the awkwardness of my butt accidentally rubbing against their back because I can't fit through the aisles. Another reason that I group my desks- more space for me! My biggest class dropped from 22 to 18 and moving those extra 4 desks made a huge difference.

#4 Card stock- I love color and especially for activities in class, I must have my card stock! It's pretty and makes everything seem more fun. It lasts forever, even when I don't laminate it. It's a must have for foldables and interactive noteboooks!

#3 Dry Erase Markers- I us them every day and so do my students. I have four giant white boards and dry erase desks so we literally use them for everything. I get SO much more effort from my students with a marker in their hand.

#2 Timer- I have a digital timer that also serves as a clock, calendar, stopwatch, thermometer, and random student generator. It keeps me on track with my bell ringers. Before I used it, I would easily let 12-15 minutes slip away! Now I keep it to 4ish. I also use it when I want to make sure I give the students enough time to think. It helps keep us all on task- I'm terrible at estimating time.

#1 Smart Board/Projector/Document Camera- Unsurprisingly, these are of major importance. Surprisingly, I really only use them as a projector and giant whiteboard.
Modeling, I guess?

What are your top 5?


Made 4 Math: Tape Dispensers and Fan Blades

I have completed five years of teaching. Starting this year, I'm no longer a statistic! Hooray!

To celebrate (I'm just making that up), I decided to completely redecorate my classroom.

I have a theme of teal and green in my classroom and I'm always looking for cheap ways to incorporate more color into my room.

My two projects for today require stickers and duck tape which every good teacher has.

Introducing my plain $1 tape dispensers and my green polka dot stickers. I just made a pattern on the first one and followed it on the others as well. There will be one per group of desks.

Next up...

My chevron fan blades! Chevron is my all time favorite design. I used teal duck tape cut into strips. Then I cut the strips in half. Just like with my tape dispensers, I started a pattern on one blade and tried to follow it on the others. Sadly, when the fan is spinning, you can't really see it like I thought. Also, I definitely used a ladder and cleaned the fan with Clorox wipes first. Ew.


How I Save Money

Because I'm a teacher and we aren't exactly on the Fortune 500 list, I'm always looking for ways to save and make money. As a high school math teacher, I love numbers and I compete with myself to find new ways to play with money.

  • My parents live one mile away from me and they make their own laundry detergent so I just steal a gallon of it every time I run out. This may or may not be an option for you but you could always make your own with this recipe. You can basically create any cleaning product for much cheaper if you look on Pinterest first.
  • I have started couponing by following the Krazy Coupon Lady (blog and facebook)and Addicted To Saving (blog and facebook) as well as utilizing the iphone apps Ibotta, Checkout 51, Target Cartwheel and Receipt Hog.
  • I have a programmable thermostat that I program to change the temperature while I'm gone at school so my system runs less and I can save money on utilities.
  • Recycle Wal-Mart bags as trash bags for tiny trash cans around the house.
  • Buy reusable Swiffer pads and Swiffer WetJet pads that I wash after each use rather than buying refill packs. 
  • I do not have cable/satellite and I instead use Netflix and Hulu Plus. Until satellite costs less than the $16 I'm currently spending, I'm fine with what I have.
  • Again, I live close to home, unmarried and no kids, and my mom is a great cook so I literally go there for dinner every night. While that is not really an option for most people, I'm leading up to taking leftovers for lunch every day. There is nowhere to eat in my area other than the school cafeteria but it costs $1.50 per day and for food I mostly don't like. I'm super picky. 
  • The Dollar Tree is my favorite store for everything but especially kitchen items. Practically my whole kitchen (and classroom) are stocked from there. I'm talking coasters, placemats, dish rags, dish towels, dish soap, glasses, plates, bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons, etc.
  • I just bought a house in August and I furnished 80% of it with furniture I found at yard sales and on facebook groups and then repainted it. It was affordable, let me be creative, and helped me match everything.
  • Not really household, but I buy any iphone products like chargers, adapters, and cases from China. I can always get them for $2 or less but expect to wait about four weeks before receiving them.
  • If you have a pool, the chemicals are way cheaper at Menards than Wal-Mart which are both obviously cheaper than the pool stores!

  • I always shop the clearance rack and discount stores  and I try to rarely spend more than $10 for any one item of clothing.
  • I shop yard sales, consignment stores, ebay, and community facebook groups. If you have a few brands that you consistently wear, just search for those on ebay since you already know what size to buy.
  • Anytime I go out of town for vacation or a conference, I look for discount shops in the area that I don't have at home. Including Goodwill and other consignment shops.
  • Now that I've started couponing, I find a lot of deals for free make-up or under a $1. But before that I stuck to cheap brands like E.L.F. Wet n Wild, NYC, and NYC at Wal-mart, Target, and K-mart where prices are all under $5 no matter what. If you see department store brands of make-up you love, just google the name of it and the word 'dupe'. There are tons of bloggers who test out cheaper versions of high end products.
  • When buying jewelry, I try to buy things that come in packs, like how earrings come 3 or 6 or more to a pack. I also look for clearances at Claire's and Icing where you can get things under $2. I don't wear junior sizes anymore but junior stores like Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe, Body Central and Rue 21 almost always have jewelry on clearance.
  • You can buy a lot of jewelry on ebay from China for $1 or less. It will take about a month to receive it, but by then you've forgotten what it was and it's a surprise gift!
  • When I am feeling depressed about not being able to buy things, I just start selling my things on facebook groups. Then I take the money and go shopping, guilt free!

 How I Make Money
  • Have yard sales
  • Sell used items at consignment shop
  • Sell used items on community facebook groups
  • Sell used items on ebay
  • I use Swagbucks which gives you points for online activities like answering a daily poll, radio loyalty, watching videos, surveys, downloading a toolbar, etc. I also get cash back (points) on things I purchase online by going through their site. Once I earn 450 points, I can redeem it for a $5 Amazon card. I'd say I earn one every 3-4 weeks so I let those add up and then I can shop guilt free!
  • I use survey sites Toluna, InBox Dollars, and Pinecone Research to take surveys, earn points and redeem them for PayPal cash or Amazon gift cards.
  • I recently joined Influenster where you take surveys, write reviews, and answer questions and you periodically receive a VoxBox in the mail of completely free, full size products that you engage with through the website to keep earning more points.

 Practically Obvious
  • Borrow books or check out from your school library. Buy used if you have to buy and always check Amazon and eBay first.
  • Rent DVDs at Redbox.
  • Listen to music on youtube rather than buy it.
  • Get rid of your landline phone and just use your cell phone.
  • Combine trips to save gas.
  • I do the Dave Ramsey process where you create a debt snowball: pay minimums on everything and throw extra money at the debt with the smallest total. Then when it's paid off, add the amount you were paying to the minimum of the next smallest debt until it snowballs into paying off all of your debt.
  • Don't get into credit card debt.
  • Don't do habits that waste your money: smoking, gambling, drinking, etc.

What other ways do you save and make money?


Ideas for 2014-2015

  • Post all notes, notebook, powerpoints on google drive
  • Create a tinyurl ahead of time and post in syllabus
  • Make my own important formula sheet and give to students at beginning
  • Play the soccer game with important math facts that should be memorized
  • Counting circles
  • Midsegments in geometry
  • Start geometry with sketching and drawings and labeling
  • Estimating
  • Ask questions that have more than one correct answer to encourage debate
  • Poster Project (pick specific standards, one per student and hang around the room) Did it. Didn't love it.
  • Wheely cart for each group of desks (trash can velcroed to the top, scissors, glue sticks, stapler, hole punch, paper clips,rulers, erasers, calculators, pencils, paper)
  • Start school with memorizing perfect squares and cubes
  • Start school with powerpoint of last year's class comments
  •  Start school with Emmanuel Hudson First Day of School video
  • Make Remind101 a requirement
  • Edit calculator boot camp (add in ACT sheet?)
  • Order extra rulers and metal compasses
  • Decorate heater with contact paper/shelf lines/wrapping paper, something?
  • Turn filing cabinets sideways and decorate with contact paper/shelf lines/wrapping paper
  • Use painters tape and then hot glue on top of that to hang posters. Didn't work out. 
  • Better lesson plans or unit plans...ugh just fix it!!!
  • INBsssssssssssssssss
  • Beginning of year. My top 5 vs their top 5
  • Practice proofs in stations and packets
  • Glue clips to door for calendar, menu, etc
  • Poster: Work is not done until it's correctly done.
  • Test Corrections
  • Exit Slips?
  • Math speed drills instead of bell ringers. Or alternate plan.

  • Make new video (with menus and titles)
  • Rearrange, correct, and add to cheer packet
  • Burn cheer dvds over the summer
  • Create permission slip for riding home with someone else
  • Update contract
  • Include price sheet and payment schedule
  • Create entire packet for August tryouts (contract, permission slip, price sheet, schedule?)
  • Previous cheerleaders have to create their own cheer for tryouts
  • Lets teach harder cheers with beats/rhythms at tryouts to eliminate people that have no rhythm
  • Use a routine from pinterest to help everyone learn how to do the splits
  • Add in forms to event book for more use
  • Laminate event book pages for dry erase marker


#EduRead: Faster Isn't Smarter

This week's article is Faster Isn't Smarter.

  • What she calls constructive struggle is not something new to us, we know productive struggle
  • How do we choose the right level of struggle? How do we differentiate the struggle for different levels of learners?
  • How do we challenge students without turning them off to math forever?
  • "Constructive struggling can take place when a teacher decides that one demanding, possibly time consuming problem will likely provide more learning value than several shorter but more obvious problems."
  • This concept aligns to Common Core ideas: "As students engage in the constructive struggling needed for some of these problems, they learn that perseverance, in-depth analysis, and critical thinking are valued in mathematics as much as quick recall, direct skill application, and instant intuition."
  • I feel like a baby teacher....I don't any of the things that seem hard to students because they are hard to me too. Sad face. 
  • Can students both succeed and struggle on the same problem?
  • How can we extend problems in a natural way that doesn't break students out of their 'flow' or mental focus?
  • How can we take away the focus of a 'right' answer and move to a valuable experience?
  • Maybe students leave their cups on green longer because it's a visual for their peers as well. It's the reverse of not wanting to try, scared to fail...it's wanting to try harder so peers so don't think your failing.


#EduRead: Creating a Differentiated Mathematics Classroom

This week's article is Creating a Differentiated Mathematics Classroom.

My Thoughts:
  • I'm still envisioning some kind of template whether for class work or homework split into the four different types. Maybe two problems per type and they have to complete 5? That way they can choose their strongest two styles and then attempt one they aren't very comfortable with.
  • If the template was simple and versatile enough, it could work for quizzes, tests, homework, and class work.
  •  When I think about choice boards, I think I would have to develop one choice board of options that could last the whole school year. Each option would have to be hard enough that I would feel okay about a student picking the same option all year long. That seems tough. 
  • If students are taking multiple paths to achieve the same goal, that sounds like a lot of work to assess all of the paths.


#EduRead: The Case For and Against Homework

This week's article is The Case For and Against Homework by Robert Marzano. This week's article explores some of the research behind the ever-popular issue of homework. For most of us, homework can be a hot topic, so I'm really eager to hear your thoughts as we chat about the article.

  • Students that make below a certain grade must complete homework
  • Homework packet due on test day
  • Working for a specified amount of time, then reflecting on problems that were easiest, hardest
  • Ranking problems from easiest to hardest
  • How can we create closure on homework assignments? Reflection?
  • If homework doesn't improve learning, then eliminate it.
  • How can we be purposeful about the homework we assign?
  • We want students to think about the work we do...what other ways can we make them think rather than assigning a bunch of problems?
  • I'm thinking about error analysis, contrasting cases, sort problems into categories, reflecting on differences in problem types, explaining steps in a problem in writing, creating different versions of problems, giving a problem with the answer and they show steps, etc.
  • Resource: Adult Input Page


#EduRead: Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions

This week's article is Teaching Students to Ask their Own Questions. This week's submission is by the authors of Make Just One Change and as we all know, very small changes in our teaching practice can have huge impacts in student achievement. With the increased emphasis in education on "inquiry learning", I think this week's article will really push me as an educator to make small, but significant changes in my classroom.

  • Love this: "When you ask the question, you feel like it’s your job to get the answer, and you want to figure it out."
  • "When students know how to ask their own questions, they take greater ownership of their learning, deepen comprehension, and make new connections and discoveries on their own."
  • "The Question Formulation Technique (QLT) helps students learn how to produce their own questions, improve them, and strategize on how to use them."
  • "In the classroom, teachers have seen how the same process manages to develop students’ divergent (brainstorming), convergent (categorizing and prioritizing), and metacognitive (reflective) thinking abilities in a very short period of time." 
  • "Teachers can use the QFT at different points: to introduce students to a new unit, to assess students’ knowledge to see what they need to understand better, and even to conclude a unit to see how students can, with new knowledge, set a fresh learning agenda for themselves." 
  • "Teachers tell us that using the QFT consistently increases participation in group and peer learning processes, improves classroom management, and enhances their efforts to address inequities in education."
QFT Steps:
  1. Teachers Design a Question Focus (Not a question. A statement or visual/aural aid)
  2. Students Produce Questions (The four rules are: ask as many questions as you can; do not stop to discuss, judge, or answer any of the questions; write down every question exactly as it was stated; and change any statements into questions. ) 
  3. Students Improve Their Questions (Categorize questions in open-ended and close-ended and practice converting between, realizing that phrasing affects depth. and quality.)
  4. Students Prioritize Their Questions (Teacher offers guidelines, students zero in and plan concrete action steps for getting information.)
  5. Students and Teacher Decide on Next Steps (Work together.)
  6. Students Reflect on What They've Learned (Making the QFT completely transparent helps students see what they have done and how it contributed to their thinking and learning. They can internalize the process and then apply it in many other settings.)
I love questioning so I really enjoyed this article. I can't really think of how this would apply to math. The article mentioned analyzing word problems, maybe they could guess what the question will ask before seeing it? Although that doesn't seem like a good use of the technique.

It seems like it would work well for projects and possibly the beginning of a unit. You would have to make sure to give enough guidelines that they would pick the questions your unit actually answers.

What do you think?


#EduRead: Homework: A Math Dilemma

This week's article is "Homework: A Math Dilemma and What to do About It". The homework issue is typically a topic that comes up about this time every year as teachers starting reflecting on the 13-14 school year and brainstorming how to improve for the upcoming year.

My Thoughts:

  • It all sounds nice.
  • I'm not going to do it.
  • I did not assign homework this year and I did not miss it.
  • I always feel guilty about this.
After reading the archived conversation:
  • If assigning differentiated hw, or allowing students to pick a certain amount to complete, you would have built in reviews for tests: go back and complete the problems you didn't do before.
  • Would students complete homework based on past concepts that they should have mastered which also builds fluency and retention?
  • What if you created 1-2 problems per learning style and asked them to complete problems from two styles? You could create a template of sorts.
  • Resource: Homework Rubric
  • Resource: Do you have a boring worksheet that you want to make more interesting?
  • Resource: Conceptualizing Drills
  • Grade using peer feedback or self assessment?
  • Students discuss answers together and collaborate to create the answer key, verified later by teacher- prompts discussion of who was right and why