Saturday, October 20, 2012

More Things I Can't Wait For...

I can't wait for the next chapter in Algebra 1.  I know, I know.  I just started a new chapter in Algebra 1.  We're getting ready to learn how to graph functions.  But, what I'm really excited about is teaching my students how to calculate slope and use the slope and y-intercept to graph functions. 
  • I'm excited to have my students create mountain slope pictures.  My cooperating teacher at the middle school level had his 8th graders do this before I got there.  So, I only saw the end results.  But, I loved them so much that I knew I had to file away the idea for the future.  Give each student a sheet of graph paper.  Instruct them to draw a mountain range.  Students must then calculate the slope of each side of each mountain in the range.  After calculating and labeling all the slopes, the students name their mountain range and color it.  
  • I want to modify my Slope Foldable to include a section on how to calculate slope from a table.

I also can't wait to get over this cold.  How am I spending Fall Break?  Sick and in bed.  This is the first Fall Break I've had since high school, and I haven't even been able to enjoy it.  However, I guess I should be thankful that I'm getting this cold over with while I don't have to teach.  I learned during my student teaching that trying to teach with a cold is miserable.

I can't wait to start graphing in College Algebra.  We've spent the first nine weeks of school going over the review chapter in our textbook.  Needless to say, this material was not review for these students.  I had to teach almost every concept as if they had never seen it.

I can't wait for my Algebra 2 students to realize what an amazing resource our graphing calculators are.  I taught my students how to find the zeroes of a function using the graphing calculator, and some of the students hated it.  One student pleaded to be able to solve the quadratics by hand.  I explained that we needed to learn how to solve them using the calculator since the end of year test will have higher order polynomials that we will not know how to solve by hand.  I think one of the biggest problems my students are having is with the left bound / right bound prompts.  They don't know the difference between left and right.  I learned this by working with my Algebra 1 students.  When we were solving equations and inequalities, I would often ask them what was left on the left side.  Almost always, they would tell me what was left on the right side.  They've gotten a lot better at it.  I guess I've drilled left and right into their brains enough by now.  My older students still need some left / right lessons, though.

I can't wait until I can find some time to delve into the book I recently ordered.  It's called Inspiring Active Learning: A Complete Handbook for Today's Teachers.  I came across this book while researching the boss / secretary concept.  I have used it as well as the muddy to clear strategy.  Both worked really well with my students, and I am excited to learn more strategies that I can put to use in my classes.  


  1. I know exactly how you feel. We are almost to the same chapter in my classes and I can't wait! It's one of my favorites.

  2. I had my Algebra 1 students write their First Initial with block letters on graph paper using at least ten points. (no curves allowed). Then they had to label at least ten points. I asked them to label the slopes + or -, 0, or undefined. After they could color them in and they did the Alphabet Slope for homework. Love your mountain range idea! If you want to add finding slope from a table, I would use the diamond fold...lends itself to 4 folds! Have fun! Amy

  3. I found the Slope Dude video last year. At first, my students weren't sure what to make of it, but once they learned that "undefined" is the worst curse word in Math, they were giggling like crazy. I heard "puff puff positive" and "niiiice negative" throughout the room for weeks!

  4. I use slopeman for my students and I see the figure drawn on lots of quizzes to help remind them. I do a different project for slope. Students draw their own picture but it must include a positive, negative, undefined and zero slope line, plus one of their own. Two of the positive or negatives must be a fraction. Students must then do a series of calculations using their lines (finding slope from graph, from points, finding equations of lines, finding parallel and perpendicular equations of lines, etc). I have a blog site that just has the photos of the students work (I use it as a question and answer blog for students when we do the project). You can check out the photos here:

  5. I teach Algebra 1 and they have trouble with finding zeroes too. Because they have trouble with the left/right bound thing, I have them graph 0 as another line and then find the intersection points. It seems to work a lot better, and then they can distinguish the difference between finding zeroes and finding a vertex because the process is different.

  6. My students really liked Mr. Slope Guy. Thank you!