I do believe that day one of year two was a success! Last year, I was a stressed-out mess on the first day of school. I had no clue what I was actually going to say when I stood up in front of my students for the first time. I had student taught, but my cooperating teacher had always been the one to introduce me and ease me into things. I was completely on my own, and that was a terrifying thought.
|Welcome Back Poster Made by My Student Council Kids|
|Another Welcome Poster|
|Lockers, Ready To Meet Their New Owners|
This year, I am emphasizing problem solving strategies and cooperative learning in my classroom. So, I chose activities for my classes to participate in that would require or encourage them to work in a group.
This summer, I went to a Pre-AP Mathematics workshop. During the first day of that workshop, I had the opportunity to work through Five Easy Pieces which was designed by the Exeter Math Academy. I fell in love with the activity because it involves three of my favorite things--paper folding, algebra, and logic puzzles!
|Five Easy Pieces|
|Five Easy Pieces|
One thing I learned from this activity is that my Algebra 2 group this year is made up of students of varying abilities. Last year, I had 12 Algebra 2 students. This year, I have almost 40. More students are taking Algebra 2, and that is a very good thing! Many of my students have a very weak Algebra 1 foundation, but I think that with a lot of hard work, they will be able to be successful.
Some groups finished the entire activity in twenty-five minutes. Other groups struggled to get the pieces cut out and table of equations written in fifty minutes. Some groups were willing to try the logic puzzles. Others gave up as soon as they saw the logic puzzles. I'm thankful for the insight provided by this activity, and I think it's definitely a keeper!
With my Algebra 1 kiddos, we played the game 31-derful. One thing I'm going to definitely have to work on with my Algebra 1 students is listening and following directions. When I explained the rules to the game (which was made much easier with Sarah Rubin's great graphics!) many of my students did not listen well or stopped listening after they thought they knew how the game went. As a result, many of my students thought that only the rows had to add up to 31. They were a little made after discovering that they weren't actually done with the puzzle because their columns did not add up to 31 as well.