Rodan + Fields

I have just accepted a new business opportunity with the #4 largest premium skincare company in the U.S., made by the same doctors who created Proactiv.

These products are high quality, clinical products that last 60+ days and have a empty bottle guarantee: if you use it for 60 days and are not satisfied, you can get a full refund. And less than 1% return!

If you are someone who visits the dermatologist, gets Botox, takes prescription acne medication, has wrinkles, has sun spots or sun damage, has crow's feet, has eczema, buys anti-aging products or if you HAVE SKIN, we have something for you!

Here is a quick overview of the main regimens:

I didn't even know you could get rid of freckles!

Look at some of these results:

I don't know about you but I've definitely been made fun of for my own skin problems. As an adult, it can be even more embarrassing or feel unprofessional- like you aren't taking care of your skin.

I am excited for this new adventure and just like I love to share what I learn in math and teaching, I want to share what I learn about improving my skin.

Healthy skin never goes out of style!

I would love to answer any questions you have or help you on the path of amazing skin and amazing results!

(This blog will still be about math but I couldn't hold back my excitement; math teachers want nice skin too!)

And the best thing about doing this business:
  • NO parties
  • NO deliveries
  • NO inventory
  • Did I say NO parties already?
You basically spend time using awesome products and then posting your awesome results on social media.

I could keep going but I'll stop there! Thanks for reading!

Calculator Steps

I've been procrastinating this post forever because I wanted to have it done in a notebook with color coding for you to see- but that didn't work out.

But my activity still has value and should be shared so here it is:

I printed calculator steps on these randomly sized labels I had in my filing cabinet and printed them IN COLOR:

We stuck the top two on the left hand page and the bottom two on the right hand page in our INBs. This is important because the colors start over on the right hand page.

The words that are in color match up with buttons on this TI-84 calculator template:

In our carts we have skinny markers so I purposely used the colors I knew we had. They colored the button on the calculator that matches the colored words.

We tape the calculator template with one piece of tape at the top over the sticker so that we could flip it up.

Here are pictures but they are not perfect- I messed up some and I had to change yellow to gray because duh, they were coloring on yellow paper. I outlined on one page and filled in on the other so students could choose which method they preferred. I also literally held this page up as they were taping so they knew EXACTLY what I wanted.

Here's the clencher:

The Calculator Handout (h/t to Julie Wright for page three)

You would think that after all that coloring they would have actually read some words on the paper...NOPE!

So now on the handout, this is a MUST....you must answer every question with one of the following:

"Look in your notebook."
"Read the directions."

Be as unhelpful as possible. In the beginning of the year, this is where you set the precedent for using the notebook as a tool.

They'll ask you what to round to, if they need to reduce, etc etc.

Be consistent! Only help if their calculator is wonky and you need to reset something.

I had an answer key ready to go and let them check their work when they were done.

While they are working, take a minute to look around and feel satisfied as they stare intently at their papers and type on their calculators and look so focused- who knows when you might see that again!



Ask BetterQs!

Questioning is one skill I pride myself on doing well in the classroom. I think it's a fairly easy skill to develop and at no cost to me. =)

Questioning is how I learn from others and how I learn about myself. I am very analytical and I am always asking myself questions to figure out why I feel, think, and act the way I do. Very meta, I know.

Since that skill is so embedded in me personally, it definitely comes out in the classroom. It's also my favorite thing to suggest to other teachers. Better questioning is one easy way to create depth in any lesson.

Some of my favorite questions are:
  • What do you notice?
  • What would happen if we changed this to.....?
  • What should we do next?
  • How can we start?
  • What type of answer do we expect to get?
  • How do you know that is the right answer?
  • How did you get that?
  • Why?
  • Can you explain?
  • Can you elaborate?
  • How do you picture this in your brain?

One goal I would like to work on this year is asking better questions by asking more open ended questions that promote more whole class discussion and debate.

If this resonates with you as well, I have a great resource to share with you!

@samjshah and @rdkpickle have created a collaborative space where we can both share and read about better questioning,

There's already quite a few posts and here is the first one from me!

Add it to your reader as a reminder to yourself to read, reflect, and continue working on your craft.

Be a betterT who asks #betterQs (check out our hashy)!


End of Course Exams (PARCC version)

I don't know about you but every year I end the school year feeling like I did not do a good job of preparing my students.

Common Core standards became a thing during my second year of teaching. We were lucky enough to have a school improvement grant and I had an instructional coach. She had me cut up the standards and arrange them into courses in the best way I knew how.

So you see, I've never really taught without the Common Core standards looming over me. I wasn't set in my ways and I didn't have a set curriculum. It's not that it was hard for me to change, it's that I didn't know what to change.

I've always felt like I was missing this foundation of knowledge of what to teach so I didn't know what to change. And I still feel as though I do not understand the standards. They seem vague to me and I don't understand exactly what they're asking for. I just want someone to tell me specificly what to teach and then give me the freedom to teach it the way I want.

But alas, that does not exist. I'm the only high school teacher in my school and in my district so I really do feel like an island just floating out here, wondering if I will ever end up in the right location.

This year I decided to use the PARCC EOY Practice Assessment as a guide. I worked through them and they were very hard. There were problems I didn't know how to do on all of them. I actually still haven't finished the Algebra II test because I ended up crying and get a frustration headache and going to sleep. I would say lol except I definitely was not.

Anyway, I decided to try using the Algebra I and Geometry tests for my end of course exams. I changed the test some so that all questions are multiple choice and so that it is no longer a 54 page document...25 pages is plenty.

I'm scared about using them, especially since they have 45-50 questions but I can't just wander into my students being prepared. I have to take some kind of action.

I wanted to share my work with you in case anyone else could also use these and save themselves some time.

Here is Algebra I (answer keys included):

And Geometry:


Collaboration Is Hard

This year I teach one Algebra I course (ninth grade) and the middle school teacher teaches another section of the same course. It's the first time I've taught the same course with someone. We also have the same plan period. Which I thought was planned but turns out it just randomly worked out that way.

She wants our course to be identical and I do too. But I decided this was the year to use a PARCC End of Year Practice Assessment as my EOC. And I decided to work on that the week before school started. I used the test to create a list of standards.

Here's the ROUGH draft:

But now she is expecting me to magically have a curriculum created to share with her...which I would love....which I don't have.

She's been asking me a lot of questions about what I teach and why I choose that order and and what does that really mean and....I realized this is the first time I've been held accountable by someone. It's the first time I've had to explain and defend my decisions. It makes me rethink my decisions. It makes me notice and wonder. It makes me feel even more behind, knowing someone is depending on me.

It's hard. I don't like it,

What year do you quit starting over from scratch?


How to not Suck.

After asking students to write their opinions of "How to not Suck" as a teacher, I decided to put them into Wordle and see what popped out.

So, not as cool as expected. They are so small that you can't even read the majority of them.

Some of them were so simple and made me so sad:

  • Be nice
  • Don't yell
  • Help when needed
  • Don't embarrass me

What kind of teachers have they experienced in the past that make them feel like these need to be written down? 

I just want to pause and think of how little they are asking of me and how much I ask of them.

My favorite one of all:

Be interested.

I think teachers overlook the best resource for growth and improvement on a daily basis: asking their students. I LOVE asking for student input and doing student surveys. I have a great time seeing the world through my student's eyes.

Students are baby humans who just want to be valued and appreciated, much like the way we want our teaching and classrooms to be valued and appreciated.

What would make students listen more, participate more, understand more? Ask them.

No, really. Ask them.

They are ready and willing to be as honest as you will allow.


First Days 2015-2016

Yesterday was my first day back with students. First hour I had to go over the student handbook and pass out forms and schedules and etc. Then I had second hour through fifth hour, lunch, and then sixth hour for 15 minutes and an early dismissal.

Hate! I want to have all my classes on the first day. So dumb to not see all of them because whatever you do, you have to repeat or be behind. I literally did not decide what to do until like 1:00 in the morning. Thanks Laurie!

I used her survival game idea but I want you to just read her post. Let's just say it starts with the pilot episode of Lost which is one of my favorites-  how could it go wrong? Oh maybe if your Internet on your SMART board computer decides to stop existing! I adapted by having students just crowd around my laptop and watch. lol

Today we started setting up our binders- Washi tape on the spine, colored cardstock hole punched, and sticky tabs labeled with Bell Ringers, Handouts, Quizzes, Tests. I sell composition notebooks to my students because most of them won't get them otherwise.

I print out my Remind number and code onto mailing labels for each class and passed those out.

I'm trying a new idea this year with my dry erase markers. Last year I kept them in the drawers of a cart but people ended up destroying them. This year I gave each person their own marker to keep in their folder. I'm hoping they will last until Christmas at least!

Then we tried Kahoot! for the first time. I used the survey option and started out asking them how they feel about math and learning and such and then transitioned into procedural questions. I put in funny answer choices and we had a lot of laughter. It worked well with incoming freshman all the way to my seniors. Here is the link if you're interested.

Then I did a short powerpoint. Here's the subtitles:

  • How to not Suck
  • How to be Awesome
  • Why I'm Awesome

That transitioned into this handout where they tell me "How to not Suck" as a teacher and "Why I'm Awesome" about themselves.

I really had so much fun today with my students and I highly attribute it to Glenn Waddell's high-fives. I high-fived EVERY student yesterday and today. Almost all of them immediately smile; it's like an automatic side effect. I DON'T KNOW WHY IT'S SO FUN BUT IT IS.

It makes me feel awesome inside and it forces me to make contact with each individual student. For some, it might be the only physical contact they have. If I miss kids at the door, I just walk in and high-five them. My freshman boys think it's funny to try to get past me without doing it but I just block the door until they surrender. It's all in the hips!

I kinda doubt you can use any of this stuff for yourself but maybe it will spark something fun for you to do. I had a great day and I hope you did too!


2015-2016 New Year's Resolutions

I wrote earlier in my #TMC15 Takeaways post about new things I plan to do in the classroom this year so this is leaning more toward the personal side of teaching.

  • I will practice better self-care.
    • I looked angry a lot last year and had little patience because I did not have good sleeping habits. Students shouldn't have to deal with my bad choices.
    • Drink more water. I'm not letting myself leave school until I've emptied my 60 ounce container.
    • Keep exercising. I've been using the Swork It App and the FitBit app to workout, walk, and count calories. I need to feel strong and healthy and model that for students.
    • I will better balance my life so that school doesn't take over all of my emotions.
    • I will work on looking happier and interacting with students in more positive ways- like 100% high-fiving!
  • I will practice integrating more technology when needed.
    • Last year I printed out Plickers for every students and we NEVER used them all year long. This year I plan to use them and Kahoot within the first week as well as continuing to use Remind and Instagram.
  • I will practice my mantra of 'letting my pile of good things grow'.
    • I will celebrate and acknowledge one good thing with my students on a regular basis.
    • I will celebrate and acknowledge my one good thing by blogging.
  • I will forgive myself for not being a perfect teacher.
    • I invest 100% of myself, my time, and my talents. Over time, good things will come from that and grow and grow. I cannot blame myself for not already having 30 years of experience.
    • My value as a teacher is based on the impact I have on student lives, not their PARCC and ACT scores.
  • I will keep learning.
    • I will keep asking math questions that I don't know the answers to.
    • I will keep reading and learning about my craft.
    • I will not let teaching absorb so much of me that I push learning off until the summer.
  • I will give myself permission to mess up.
    • No one will die if I make a bad decision.
    • I will value my mistakes and the mistakes of others as a step toward learning.
  • I will focus on growth over perfection.
    • Did I leave my students, my classroom, and my school better than I found them?
    • Did try new things?
    • Did I fix any previous problems?
    • Progress is progress, no matter how small.

I will be more awesome!


Year 7.

Today was my first day back of year seven. We start at 1 with meetings until 4:45, we eat, then 5:30-7:00 is Back to School Night with parents rotating through sessions.

If your Back to School Night is well planned and well attended, be grateful. The end.

As always, my classroom is my happy place and my home away from home so it has to reflect me and that means chevron! Color coordinating! Organization! Clean! Shiny! Smelly good! Clutter free!

Here's what my classroom looks like:





Here's what my class schedule looks like:

1 Geometry (17)
2 Trig (8)
3 Algebra I (13)
4 Geometry (14)
5 Algebra II (7)
6 Algebra II (20)
7 Plan
8 Algebra III (7) a.k.a. the made up name for the made up class I'm teaching for the first time.

Here's what my back to school outfit looks like:

Good night and a great year to everyone.

Don't forget to be more awesome!


Math Symbols Test

Again, inspired by Sarah Hagan, she posted some math symbols posters that made me think how much math is like a new language and a lot can be lost in the technicalities of those symbols. And there is much to be gained with precision.

Since my room was freshly painted this year, I am hesitating to hang any posters at all (it's so nice and clean) and plus I hate clutter.

So in my theme of math tools from my previous post and in building the importance of their INB as a tool to constantly refer to, I decided to make a Math Symbol INB activity.

Here's the plan. First, give them this multiple choice handout to complete alone.

Then let them compare with others and discuss. After that, I will give the correct answers.

Now comes the fun part. I will tell them they now have to use the correct answers to create their own type of study guide. That's right, there will be a test!

Here's a quick list of things they could create:

The point is they have freedom to come up with anything they want that will help them learn and retain the meaning of the symbols. I think it sets the tone for the year in many ways.

Like learning a language:
  • math is hard
  • it takes effort
  • there are weird symbols
  • immersion is a great way to learn
  • if you don't use it, you'll lose it
  • everyone learns in different ways
  • no one can understand it for you

Like the classroom culture I want to maintain and build:
  • there is room for creativity
  • we celebrate multiple and unique methods
  • it's not a race
  • it can be fun
  • you can learn hard things
  • we are always learning

Then I plan to take pictures of whatever they come up with and add those to their INB along with this handout as a reference.

Please let me know if you see any errors!


Tools of Math Destruction

This will be my third year using Mental Math Mondays, as I mentioned in my Bell Ringers 2.0 post. It's my favorite and it's my way of spiraling before I knew what that was. All the questions are middle school content and students remember learning the concepts but not exactly how to do them.

Since last year was my first year doing INBs, it didn't take students long to point out how nice it would be to have something in their notebook to help them with MMM. Which means they were in the habit of looking in their notebooks yayyyyy.

I promised them I would but let that slide to the back of my mind until I saw Sarah's Math Tools post. I stole some of it from hers and the rest is based off the questions asked in MMM and anything I felt like I had to repeat all year. Like what order the quadrants are named in or which sign means greater than.

Now I can be less helpful in so many more ways! (cackles)

These will probably be the first four pages in their INB (after a ToC). Last year I did learning styles and some other stuff that we never looked at again. So we'll start with this and add in some calculator stuff- you know things that are actually useful.

Do you see anything I'm missing or any errors? Their notebooks have a multiplication chart, some conversions, and something else pre-printed on the back cover so I didn't put those here.

What things do you wish students knew how to do on calculators (TI-83/84)?

For me the most common things are graphing equations, square roots, exponents, cube root, entering data in lists, trace, and tables.


Interactive Notebooks: DIY Tabs, Table of Contents, and Notebook Checks

Last year, the ToC for my INB were pretty plain:

After seeing Sarah's newer version, I decided to make my own new version.

I usually do 4-6 concepts per unit. I loved Sara's idea for page numbers. I put boxes underneath the concept title so students can track their grades, I haven't decided yet how I want to grade but if I revert to what I did last year those spaces will be for quizzes, quiz retakes, and tests.

Next I've had a lot of questions about how I keep students accountable for keeping up their notebooks.

First of all, I don't grade them. I do notebook/binder checks about four times a year. Here's what that looks like:

I cut these in half and give them to each student. They write their name on Binder Owner. Then I make them rotate in some way and sit at someone else's desk. Now they write their name on Binder Checker. Then they go through and check for what I've asked for. Sometimes I give them red pens to make sure no one erases anything. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. They go back to their seat and look at their score, then I collect.

If students question their score I check it myself or if things seem suspicious I check myself. Otherwise, they are motivated to keep up with their notebooks because I let them use them on tests. This is what we do in class so they don't get an option to not participate, Just like any class work we do, no one gets to do nothing.

Lastly, unit tabs. I feel like I got this file from someone maybe but I also feel like I later decided to make my own.

I made enough tabs for each student in every class plus myself for my example notebooks. That's how many cells you need in the table. Then right click on the table, click AutoFit, then select Fixed Column Width. No matter what you type, the cells will not expand so that every tab is the same width.

The first unit tab for every class was yellow. So I typed the title of the first unit for every course into one document. It was only two pages for about 95 students. Then I printed those on yellow paper. I laminated at home because my laminate is thicker than at school. And finally the dreaded task.....cutting. That sucked but that's what Netflix is for! I separated them by course and then stored them in snack size ziplock bags. Students taped them on the same page as the table of contents which was always on the RHP with a blank LHP.

And of course the Table of Contents was yellow too. Use two pieces of tape on the tab itself. Two is important!! Only one and it will fall out.

Finished product:

Kids reallllly liked the tabs. If they didn't get one or lost it they were on me about getting them one. And they're just pretty!

make things pretty + make pretty things


Remind App

I LOVE the Remind App and I use it often. I know we've talked about it on Twitter some but it seems like more of my blog readers are not my Twitter friends. I wanted to share how I use it in case someone hasn't heard of it yet.


  • students just need to text a code to a number (don't need a smartphone or the app)
  • students cannot reply to me
  • students don't see my number and I don't see theirs
  • no messages can ever be deleted
  • every message is saved to your message history
  • you can have multiple classes
  • you can schedule your messages to send at a normal person time
  • you can include emojis, pictures, links, and calendar events
  • you can send messages from website or app
  • easily delete students out of class lists

  • there is a chat feature which I do not think is appropriate but I have never turned it on or used it
  • tweeted Remind company about this and they defended their choice which made me unhappy
  • every tine students get new numbers they have to subscribe again (it can't be helped but still annoying)

Set up:
  • I print my Remind code and numbers (different code for each class period, cheerleading, and Student Council onto address labels that I give to students on the first day. They stick it on everything from notebooks, to phones, to clothes, to body parts, but it gives them *less* of an excuse to forget.

Ways I've Used It:
  • Class- reminders for every quiz and test, reminders of early dismissals, threats reminders of when I am absent and they have a sub, reminders to buy composition notebooks at the beginning of school, reminders about progress reports and exams, answer math trivia questions for candy (to motivate subscribing at the beginning)
  • As a Student Council Sponsor- reminders of when applications are due, reminders of meetings, reminders to all students of assemblies/school events/ dress up days, open-ended questions for members to think about before next meeting, reminders to get permission slips signed
  • As a Cheer Coach- reminders of practice. weekend or holiday games, reminders to get physicals and insurance forms turned in, reminders for money due dates, reminders of what to bring to games

Ways I've Heard of Using It
  • Principals having staff subscribe and sending out reminders
  • Committees using it to send out reminders
  • Teachers creating separate parent groups
  • Teachers having parents also subscribe to class group

Ask me questions!


Class Competition

I tried something like this two years ago and then last year the students asked me why I stopped. I thought it was a failure but they thought it was fun? It involved hundreds of laminated little game pieces, flags on the wall, and leveling up.

I guess I get so stuck on this idea because I'm somewhat of a grades "purist"- I think grades should only be about content, like quizzes and tests. I don't think students should earn grades for being organized or responsible or showing up.

But I do think they should be held accountable in some way. Colleagues of mine get reallllll hung up on daily points and homework grades. My thinking is to make a list/chart and keep data without putting it in the grade book.

I just want to keep my list/chart in the form of a scoreboard for a competition between classes. If you're going to keep data and compare, why not have some fun with it?

Here are my ideas so far for ways to win points every week:
  • Class with best attendance percentage
  • Class with highest score on Mental Math Mondays
  • Class with least amount of borrowed pencils (lol, gotta do something!)
  • Class with highest average (Is that a good or bad idea?)

Bonus Opportunities
  • When a student asks a really good question (since that's my major focus this year)
  • Class that brings the most Kleenex
  • Class that gets their Composition Notebooks the quickest
  • Class that texts my Remind app the quickest
  • Class that dresses up the most during Spirit Week

I want to have a cool scoreboard either on PowerPoint or SMART Notebook so I can update scores and they can see how they compare. I'd like to post it in the classroom but I feel like that would be to tempting for students to mess with.

And of course the point of all of this....what is the prize?

The winning class is going to get an awesome afternoon toward the end of school. My plan is food and drink and go outside and do water stuff...water balloons, giant slip and slide, water guns, etc.

I think it sounds awesome. But first I have to get it approved. 

I would love your input and opinions or if you have an awesome scoreboard thing already created :)
I also need an awesome name for this competition. Ideas so far: Survivor Games, Math Wars, Math Games. 

Should I make a list of ways to earn points for each student? Or make a poster? Or make a giant wheel of points that they spin each time they win for a random amount of points?  I have this awesome magnetic spinner that I can't wait to use!


Bell Ringers 2.0

Mary motivated me to finally get around to redoing my bell ringers- and I'm pretty happy with myself too. :-)

Here's the structure:

I made this template (looks better once your download it) that I have copied and hole punched on Monday mornings. lying in my green basket. Students get a new one as soon as they walk into class every Monday.

Here is the Powerpoint- 180 slides of warm-ups for the ENTIRE year.

You're welcome.

Added bonus for using chevron and a pretty handwriting font! :~\

Start the slideshow. Click once and the Mental Math Monday words disappear. Click again and the mental math problems and answers show up. I have my own hand out of the same problems that I read out loud. I do not repeat, although other students can repeat the problems.  After all 10, I reveal the answers and the problems at the same time. Here is MY handout:

Click and the next slide has a picture from Estimation180. Click again and the answer is revealed. Then just keep clicking, just keep clicking.

The answer to the balance bender puzzles are in the notes section of the powerpoint when it is not in slide show view. I plan to copy the picture from the Powerpoint onto the template each week for students as well. Also, if needed I will adjust depending on how difficult the students find them. I felt like they were all really easy. But I'm the teacher. :-)

Thoughtful Questions and Which One Doesn't Belong don't have specific answers. I also plan to cover up one of the WODB and have students create their own at some point as well.

The bottom says Weekly Wrap Up where I usually ask two random questions to try to get to know the students better.

I collect these every Friday and read them and I either stamp, comment, or doodle on their responses so they know I actually read them. I do not grade them in any way, shape, or form.

My favorite part of this whole thing is that I planned my Estimation180 pictures to correspond to the time of year and seasons it is because...well, why not? I am that awesome.

(Thanks Andrew! *waves*)


Interactive Notebooks: Year End Review

I've been wanting to write this post since I started  using INBs but then after school was over, I didn't feel like I was 'allowed' to write it until I had finished sharing all of my INB pages from the year. Well that still hasn't happened and here we are so #nobodycares if I am 'allowed' or not.

General overview here:
  • Thumbs up
  • Using them again
  • Better than what I was doing
  • Keep reading for more details

Things I Loved

  • Pretty!
  • Organized!
  • Student Reaction: "I didn't even know you could do all this stuff to a notebook!"
  • Pocket for small pieces that didn't get used yet
  • Milkshake straw duck taped to spine as a pencil holder
  • Duck tape also helped reinforce spine so two birds, one stone
  • Helped me better focus my teaching and notes by thinking about what was necessary for the notebook and the best way to organize that information
  • Table of Contents
  • Page numbers
  • Colorful tabs
  • Being able to answer questions like this: "Did you look in your notebook?"
  • Highlighters- if the notes were pretty straightforward boring, highlighters were a low-prep way to spice it up
  • Tiny post-its- this doesn't need explaining
  • Not grading them!
  • Making copies or taking pictures of my INB for students who were absent
  • Notebooks were still slim and neat at the end of the year a.k.a. didn't use the whole notebook

Things I Didn't
  • Bookmark- should have been cooler than it was but I don't think some people know how to use bookmarks *shocker*
  • Glue sticks sucked- the glue dried out over time and little pieces fell out but it's a pain to tape a bunch of little individual pieces in the case of sorting, which I LOVE
  • I didn't use the right hand pages for processing like I wanted to; too much of a control freak and I don't know if that's as possible or effective for math as it may be for other content
  • I mostly gave them the beginning or easiest parts of a concept, then a handout that got more complex; when they looked back in their notebooks, they had nothing helpful. Toward the end of the year I noticed this and figured out that my notes should cover all types of whatever we're doing, not just the easiest
  • Related to the previous point, I don't need so many handouts!!! Practice can be games or cards or on the desk if they have all the vitals in their notebook already
  • Not one student wanted to keep their notebook at the end of the year; I feel betrayed by other INB enthusiasts. Liars!

Things I Wanted To Do and Didn't I'd Like to Do This Year
  • Have a giant test at the end with no review but allowed to use the notebook- now my admin will do it for me since he no longer wants us to review in any kind of way for their End of Course Exam
  • Redo the Table of Contents so that the concepts are numbered and grades are easier to track
  • Make formula sheets to put in the front that students can refer to through the year (especially for Mental Math Mondays)
  • Make a PPT of what every page in the notebook should look like (since I already take pictures of every page) and have students grade each other's notebooks page by page
  • Color coordinate pens to each content area's INB.
  • Color coordinate all handouts for each unit the same across all content areas.
  • Make extra INBs for students who move in
  • Laminated graph paper inside the cover
  • Save last 18 pages for Would You Rather writings every other week; focus on improving by one MP standard at a time, shows growth over time (had to add one I probably won't do!)
  • Actually use the Plickers cards I created and laminated and apparently cut for no reason

I've written this post in my head so many times that it doesn't seem like I covered everything so please feel free to ask any and all questions! I love talking about my ideas!


Formative Assessment Tracking

I cannot take credit for this idea- it came from a friend of mine; and I don't know what she calls it but this is what I typed when I had to create a name to save it.

It essentially looks like a seating chart, and it can be used as one.

You write or type the name of the student four times in each box. Or five, or whatever fits. At the bottom, I made a code so that I can write a letter next to that person's name. My friend uses x's, check marks, or crossing out their name. *Just do your thang honey!

I listed the most common problems I deal with: sleeping, phone out (they are not allowed to be out or on), or just not working. Next I used I and C as codes for when I'm doing formative assessment.

Basically this is just a way to give me real-time data in the classroom. I will carry multiple copies of these for each period on a clipboard. As I scan the room, I can mark the misbehavior I see. I'm actually not focusing on the negatives here, I'm focusing on what will take the least amount of time to write, which FINALLY, is the negative behaviors.

If we're doing any kind of anything at all, practice problems, worksheet, dry erase, etc etc I can ask students to show me their answers, call on specific students, or walk around and scan their answers and simply write I or C next to their names.

I can use this as much or as little as I want. I like the idea that I could have four different data points every day for every period for ever student. If I want.

I can use this for attendance, to call on people, to track behavior, to give feedback, to form groups, for a seating chart, for a sub, etc etc!

Here are some ways I'm thinking I'll use this:

"Suzy Q, I've noticed you've been sleeping in class every Monday. Is there anything going on that I can help with?"

"John Boy, you've had your phone out in class twice this week. If I see it a third time, I will have to write you a referral."

"J-lo, you've missed four problems in a row today. Let's work some problems together and see what's going wrong."

"Jimmy Crack-Corn, you've got every question right today. Do you care to help J-lo find out where she's messing up?"

And so on...

I've also already talked to my admin about how this could be used as student data for my teacher evaluation. This is not my year to be evaluated so I will "pilot" the idea this year and see how it goes.

On the bottom left, I have a place to list the type of formative assessments I used, more to hold myself accountable for variety than anything else.

On the bottom right, I have a place for my own reflection of things to change in the lesson or errors to fix. Also a great way to show growth in your teacher evaluation.

You could even use different colors of pens to get even more in-depth!

What other uses do you see for this? Are there any pitfalls?


Talking Points

I first heard about Talking Points last year at #TMC14 from Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf).

Brief Description: We were in groups of four and given a list of statements. One person reads the first statement out loud. They say if they agree or disagree with the statement and why. No one else can respond. Then the next person tells if they agree of disagree and their reason. It continues around the circle. No one can respond or debate. Then the person that started goes a second time and says if they still agree or disagree and why.

I tried this as a warm-up once a week on Talking Point Tuesdays. I did not implement it well and a lot of times it turned into debates or kids not giving reasons. So I am not the best example of doing this with fidelity but I did keep doing it.

Anyway, Elizabeth is the expert and just posted a link to her Talking Points for Math google drive folder.

Mine are not always about math and Elizabeth helped me with some but I wanted to share them as a resource. I did six per week and printed four to a page on pretty paper. I cut them up into strips so each student had their own and I laid them out before school started on Tuesday mornings.

There are 34 weeks of files and here they are:

For more information, see Elizabeth's posts:

Start here, then read this one, then watch this one.


#TMC15 My Favorites

My Favorites
TMC 2015
Claremont, CA


Diana Fesmire- doctoral research study survey on people who blog, read blogs, or comment on blogs. Take it!!

Judy Larsen
Bit.ly/judy15study- contact info agreeing to talk with Judy. Take it!

Jonathan Claydon
"Varsity Math"- became a things with t-shirts, stickers, a sidewalk star, and Saturday laser tag

Chris Shore
Neuron stickers on a giant brain to reward the process, not the answer
'Brain surgeon' is like the captain of the class and leads discussion and writes the 'wrinkle sprinkle' (what they learned that day) on the board.


Tina Palmer
Organizing personals whiteboards by using plastic sleeves from EAI, Velcro to close, teach etiquette for students to roll their marker inside an eraser cloth, and use automotive shop ticket holders from Amazon as a cheaper alternative.

Glenn Waddell
Greet students at the door with a high five! "You're walking in my classroom and that's awesome!" We teach people, not math! I'm committing to doing this also this year!

Heather Kohn
Use a 3d printer to print 3d versions of their culminating project of graphing equations and inequalities.

Chris Shore
Rally for Roatan, Honduras service trip to bring supplies, hygiene necessities, and fitness education. Mathprojects.com

Anna Blinstein
Google classroom-paperless assignments, searchable digital drive archive of work, integration with Google, available on any device

Eli Luberhoff
Desmos updates- activity builder at teacher.desmos.com/activitybuilder
Resources found at bit.ly/desmosbank


Dan Anderson
Bit.ly/MyFavoriteMyFavorite Have students present their own 'My Favorite' math topic for two minutes at the beginning of class. Use math munch as a resource or post announcements in Google classroom.

Denis Sheeran
Google unanswerable questions. Screenshot half of a question and insert into cells in Google sheet. Unanswerable question chooser.

Brian Miller
Real World Math

#1TMCthing We will commit to making one change to our classroom and tweet it!

Bob Lochel
Egg Simulation
Is it better to go first or second? How does the probability change after each egg is chosen? Use movie and TV clips to teach probability, not just dice and cards.

Matt Baker
Bit.ly/firstlikethird A place to collect basic misconceptions that we say that confuses kids.
DeltaMath- problem bank with easy to use interface that keeps score or grades their progress, gives detailed student data, high score board, cheat detector, gives answers and example problems, also has a place for written assignments

Julie Reulbach
Kahoot Connections- spreadsheet of Kahoot users 

Karim Ani
New graphs on Mathalicious 


Andy Pethan
Ultimate Frisbee stats simulation spreadsheet- http://goo.gl/GFcnKz
Stats concept on farmers and plots http://goo.gl/wFnCFn

Stephanie Bowyer
Algebra Art Project- draw a picture in demos using graphs

Matt Vaudrey
Music cues- you can save 23 hours a year in your classroom by using music cues for transitions. Music mandates wait time and gives an internal locus of control, it turns control over to the music. The song is now the a**hole! Start out with one song at a time until they have it and then add another. It's important to not talk over the song. mrvaudrey.com/music

Princess Choi (shout key links)
Student created videos- A boring lesson in person is also boring online. Only top students watch the teacher videos usually before or during tests. If students can just look up something on my test, it's not the devices fault, maybe I asked a dumb question. Have students create their own videos and comment on each other's work.

Amy Zimmer
Angle Sum Formulas for Sine and Cosine Or How I Got Eli Luberhoff to Do Burpees
Folding stuff (didn't understand this at all so just look at these pictures)

John Golden
Bit.ly/TMCtumblr Join Tumblr!

John Mahlstedt
Something About the Apocalypse

Here's a video of all the My Favorites from Sunday!

Saving the best for last....they rewrote the lyrics to Miley Cyrus's Party in the USA. It was sooo clever and well done, as always, and I heart it.

Party in the TMC (lyrics)