Math = Love

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Free Download: Evaluating Functions War

My Algebra 1 students are required to be able to evaluate functions from a table, equation, or graph.  Last year, I taught these as separate skills.  This year, I've decided to combine them into a single skill so that (I hope!) students can see that we're doing the exact same thing in each case.  We're just given the information in a different way.

Last year, I played a version of evaluating functions war with my students that I haven't blogged about yet.  Oops...  It worked well, but it only let students practice evaluating functions from an equation.  Last night, as I was laying in bed and trying to think about sleep, I started brainstorming how to make a game that incorporated evaluating functions from graphs and tables, too.  I would have liked to include mapping diagrams in this activity as well, but it seemed like more of a hassle than it would be worth.

Here's what I came up with this afternoon:

Instructions: 



If that image is too fuzzy or hard to read, here are the instructions in typed form.  :)

Game Preparation Instructions
1. Decide how many students will be in each group.

2. Print one copy of page 2 (evaluation cards) for each student in each group. Printing these on different colors of paper will make it easier for students to sort out which cards belong to who at the beginning of the game.

3. Print one copy of pages 3-5 (function cards) for each group.

4. Laminate (if possible) and cut apart.

Game Play Instructions
1. Shuffle the larger function cards (pages 3-5) and place face down in the center of the playing area.

2. Distribute the smaller evaluation cards to each player. If they are printed on different colors, each player should get 9 cards in a matching color. If cards are not color-coded, distribute 9 cards to each player. Each player should shuffle their deck several times.

3. Turn over the top function card and place it in the center so all players can see.

4. Each player turns over their valuation card and evaluates the function at that value.

5. The player with the highest value wins each of the other players’ evaluation cards. Cards that are won go on the bottom of the stack.

6. Continue play by turning over a new function card in the center of the playing area and having each player turn over a new evaluation card.

7. If two or more players have identical evaluation cards that evaluate to the same highest value, each of those players should turn over a new evaluation card to act as a tie breaker between those players. If two or more players have non-identical evaluation cards that evaluate to the same highest value, a new function card should be turned over to act as a tie breaker between those players.

8. Play ends as soon as one player runs out of cards. The players who still have cards are considered the winners of the game. Another round may be played if time allows. (This rule keeps all students engaged throughout the game.)

If you have any questions about the rules (or suggestions to make them better!), please leave a comment at the bottom of this post!


Evaluation Cards (9 to a Page)

* Print one page per player
* Best results if each page printed on a different color
* Example: If students will be playing this in groups of three, use three different colors when  you print these.  If you are printing multiple sets, each group of cards can use the same three colors.


Function Cards (6 to a Page)

Graphs: 



Equations: 



Tables: 



You can download the files for this activity here.  If you download the editable Publisher version, you'll need to also download these free fonts: Qarmic Sans, Rockwell, and ArmWrestler.  The PDF version will preserve all of the fonts and formatting.     

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Algebra 1 SBG Skills List - Aligned to New Oklahoma Academic Standards

For the first time in a while, I'm not entirely sure what classes I'm going to be teaching next year.  But, I'm 99% sure that I'm teaching Algebra 1.  Oklahoma has adopted new academic standards for mathematics, so I need to adapt my previous SBG skills and units to the new standards.  I'm also making changes based on my experiences from teaching Algebra 1 this past year.

If you're interested, here are my SBG skill lists for last year's Algebra 1 course.  Last year, I had 8 units and 58 skills.

Below, I'll be posting my new SBG skill lists for this year's Algebra 1 course.  This year, I have 12 units and 62 (If I counted correctly!) skills.  There are a number of new topics that I have to address this year in Algebra 1 (simplifying and operating on radicals, arithmetic and geometric sequences, solving absolute value equations, systems of inequalities, and a much more in-depth look at probability).

I've made several key changes from last year.  I greatly reduced the "review" chapter at the beginning of the year.  I'm moving a lot of the things I would LIKE to review to my daily warm-ups.  These are still in the works, but my current idea is to choose a different review focus for warm-ups for each month of the school year.  For example, in August, I think we will start off each class period with a couple of order of operation review problems.  We'll start simple at the beginning of the month and ramp up to more complex problems by the end of the month.  Another month, we'll focus on integer operations for the warm-ups.  I think this will help me still review these important topics without taking up valuable time that belongs to standards actually in the prescribed curriculum.

Another thing I've done is combine several learning skills into a single learning skill.  For example, I used to have evaluate functions from a table, evaluate functions from an equation, and evaluate functions from a graph as three separate skills.  This year, I'm combining them into a single skill of evaluating functions.  I think I will still teach them separately, but I will assess them together.  I'm trying not to overwhelm my students (and myself!) with too many skills.

My husband has been working on SBG skills for Geometry, so I asked him kindly for the template he was using to organize his units.  I liked how he included both the new Oklahoma Academic Standards and the old PASS standards that each unit was aligned to.  So, I did the same.



Are these skill lists perfect?  Most definitely not.  One of the reasons I want to post them now, well before the beginning of the new school year, is so I have a chance to get constructive feedback from others.  So, if you're making your own plans to teach to the new Oklahoma Algebra 1 standards, or if you just like looking at other people's skill lists, I welcome your feedback!

So, without further ado, here are my Algebra 1 skill lists.
(Download the entire set of skill lists with OAS and PASS Standards here.)


Fundamentals of Algebra (FA)

Solving Equations (SE)

 Relations and Functions (RF)

Linear Graphs (LG)

Writing Linear Equations (WL)

Absolute Value Graphs (AV)

Inequalities (IN)

Systems of Equations and Inequalities (SY)

Polynomials (PO)


Radicals (RA)

Sequences (SY)

Data Analysis and Probability (DP)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Free Exit Ticket Templates

Summer: The time of year where teachers dream of all the things they'll do differently next year.

Yesterday, I posted about wanting to do a better job of group work for next year.  Erin Flotte left a comment that included a recommendation for a book on group work (affiliate link).  I've already ordered it from Amazon and am looking forward to diving in to it this summer.

Today, I've been hard at work creating a resource for next year because I know that my intentions to do things differently next year need to be coupled with actions to make that possible.  Last week, I read a post on Amie Albrecht's blog about One Minute Surveys.  It instantly brought to mind the exit tickets I used to give my students at the beginning of my first year of teaching.  As a pre-service teacher, I read tons of teacher books and read every math teacher blog I could get my hands on to help me learn how to best run my classroom.  All the advice seemed to point to using every minute of class wisely and bringing closure to every lesson.  So, I jumped into giving exit tickets every single day.  This did not last for long.  First year teacher me was overwhelmed with all the tasks that teaching brings with it, and this was one thing that fell by the wayside.

I think the reason it fell by the wayside so quickly was because it was an extra thing that had to be planned every single day.  Now, as a teacher going into her fifth year of teaching, I realize the importance of automating as many things as possible.  I want to get daily feedback from my students.  I want to get to know my students better.  I want to know which concepts they are grasping and which concepts are making them grasp at straws.  Sure, I could probably make up exit ticket questions off the top of my head now and be just fine flying by the seat of my pants.  But, I've got a better plan.

I'm taking my favorite exit ticket questions and making sheets for each question that can be printed and chopped ahead of time.  Each day, I'll be able to pull out a prepared stack of exit tickets that match what I'm hoping to learn from my students that day.



I did an online search for exit ticket ideas and compiled my favorites.  These should be able to be used with almost any subject/grade level.

I've designed them to print 6 to a letter-sized page.  I'm thinking this will make them easy to chop with the paper chopper.


Here are the exit ticket prompts I've come up with so far.  If you have others, add them to the comments.  I'll add them to the file and update it.  :)  [Download here!]































Saturday, May 21, 2016

New Posters: TEAMS Group Work Norms

I think I've finally gotten over my "Oh my goodness school is out and grad school is done and I don't have to do anything productive" phase.  Yesterday, I wrote out a new SBG skills list for Algebra 1 for next year.  Oklahoma has adopted new standards, so I had to make quite a few changes from what I used last year on top of all the normal "I don't know what I was thinking when I chose to do it this way last year" changes.

Today, I've been editing said skills list and thinking about what I want my classroom to be like next year.  If you missed my previous post, I have a new classroom to decorate for next year!  Due to budget cuts, we are having to consolidate our middle school and high school into a single building.  Do you realize what a new classroom means?  New places to hang posters!  :D

So, I can say that I have designed my first new poster for my new classroom next year!  While flipping through CPM's Core Connections Algebra book, I ran across a set of "Collaborative Learning Expectations" that spell out the word TEAMS.  When I saw them, I instantly knew they were destined to be a poster in my classroom!  (You can find out more about CPM's Study Teams Model here.)

T: Together, work to answer questions
E: Explain and give reasons
A: Ask questions and share ideas
M: Members of your team are your first resource
S: Smarter together than apart

I'm excited to start brainstorming about ways to incorporate more group work in my classroom because my new classroom will be so much more conducive to group work than my old classroom.  In my old classroom, putting the desks in groups of four meant not being able to walk across the classroom because the desks were so close together.  In my new classroom, it seems like I should have quite a bit of space between groups!



So, here are the posters I designed.  They are made to print on letter sized paper.








I've uploaded the file for these posters here as an editable Publisher file and a non-editable PDF file.  If you choose to download the Publisher file, you'll also need to download these free fonts: Londrina Shadow and Londrina Solid.  If you're interested in other posters, you can find more here!