Math = Love: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Things Teenagers Say - Volume 11

It's hard to believe that I've already made it to Volume 11 of Things Teenagers Say!  I love teaching teenagers because you never know what they are going to say.  Sure, they can be silly.  And, sometimes inappropriate.  But, they can also be thoughtful and profound.

To see previous volumes of Things Teenagers Say, click below.

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5  
Volume 6 | Volume 7 | Volume 8 | Volume 9 | Volume 10

--

Student: Do you know what Victoria Secret is?
Me: Yes, it's a lingerie store.
Student: No, it's not.  They sell underwear, too!
Me: Ummm... That's what lingerie is.

--

Do you know what's sad, Ms. Hagan?  You have more friends than I do.  There's always people in your room before school and at lunch!

What can I say?  I guess I'm just popular.  :)  

--

Me: Class, it is never appropriate to get out of your seat during a lesson, pick up a desk, and threaten to throw it at a student.
Student: But, he was calling me names!  

--

Student: Have you ever seen Madea Goes to Jail?
Me: No, I've never seen any of the Madea movies.
Student: Then, have you seen Madea's Family Reunion?
Me: No.
Student: What about A Madea Christmas?
Me: Nope.  I haven't seen that one either.
Student: When I get older and it's more appropriate, I'm going to take you to a Madea movie!

--

Student: You have a facebook account?!?!?
Me: Yeah.  Is that so hard to believe?
Student: Yes.
Me: You do realize that I was a college student less than two years ago.  Most college students have a facebook account.
Student: Well, we forget how young you actually are because you're just an old soul.

--

I overheard this conversation while two students were walking into my classroom...

Student 1: Is this yours?  Do you want it back?
Student 2: It's not mine.  I don't want it!
Me: (jokingly) It's mine.  I'll take it back.
Student 1: Okay.  It's yours.

The next thing I know, a tampon comes whizzing across the room and lands in my lap.  Thankfully, it was new and unopened.  But, I learned a lesson that day.  Never joke about something being yours unless you know what it is!  The male student who threw it at me did come and retrieve it.  He took it back out in the hall to give it to somebody else.  I don't even want to know...

--

Student: Did you bring a pistol to school today?
Me: No!  Why would you ever think that I would do something like that ?!?
Student: Well, yesterday was National Tortilla Chip Day.
Me: And???
Student: And, you had tortilla chips behind your desk.  Today is Pistol Patent Day.  So, I thought that you might have brought a pistol with you today.
Me: No...

--
Student: Is it okay if I tell you something?
Me: Sure!
Student: What if it makes you mad?  Do you still want me to tell it to you?
Me: Why not?
Student: Okay, don't be mad at me for saying this, but you've been a lot meaner since we came back from Christmas Break!

Good news, guys!  My new year's resolution is working!  

--

Me: Does anybody else have a good thing to share from this weekend?
Student: I made $60 from stripping...<insert very awkward pause!> ...wire.

--

How did this get here?

Said after a student randomly pulled a milk bone out of his backpack while looking for his homework...

--

After dropping my SMART Board marker for the second time in one class period:

Student: Did you eat popcorn for lunch?
Me: No, why would you think that?
Student: Well, you've got butter fingers.  And, you usually get those from eating popcorn.

--

Students are examining equations to determine if they are parallel, perpendicular, or intersecting but not perpendicular.

Student: I'm in a pickle here!
Me: Yes, you're right!  Those lines are perpendicular because their slopes are opposite reciprocals.
Student: Wait.  I never answered.
Me: Yes, you did.  You said they were perpendicular!
Student: No, I said, "I'm in a pickle here."
Me: Oops...

In my defense, I'm in a pickle here sounds a lot like perpendicular!

--

Me: Who can give me an example of parallel lines that you might encounter in real life?
Student: Crack lines are often parallel.
Me: Yes, that wasn't exactly what I was going for.  I was thinking something more along the lines of train tracks.

--

Do you want to see a picture of my wisdom teeth?

I've never seen a student carry around an x-ray of their teeth in the front pocket of their binder before...

--

Watch your mouth!  I'm Catholic!

--

Student: If it wasn't for bananas, we would be dead.
Me: Why?
Student: Monkeys would go crazy without bananas, and then they would kill us.

--

Me: I was feeling nice, so I typed out all the steps for you.
Student: You need to feel nice more often!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tidbits

This is going to be the most random post ever.  This is a collection of all the things that have happened lately that aren't quite enough for a blog post of their own.  There will be no cohesive theme.  You have been warned!

2048 - I won!

I finally beat 2048.  Thanks for all your lovely advice.  I finally found a strategy that worked for me.  Pick a corner.  And, make sure your highest tile stays in that corner.  It's a lot harder than it sounds.  I've tried to beat it again to prove that my one win wasn't a fluke.  Yeah, that hasn't happened yet.  My sister said this doesn't count as proof of winning because I didn't screenshot the "You win!" screen.  But, if you look closely, you can see my 2048 tile below the "Try again" button!


Calculators

The Great Calculator Round-Up has begun.  Keeping up with calculators is one of my least favorite parts of this job.  I feel like I'm always changing batteries and checking them in and out and in and out.  I guess I shouldn't complain too much, though.  I am blessed to have calculators.

No Internet Letter


School without the Internet is chaos.  After Spring Break, we returned to our classrooms to find this note.  One morning without Internet.  That's doable.  No e-mail.  No printing.  No gradebook.  It's inconvenient, but I can survive.  Monday afternoon arrives, and still no Internet.  It turns out the part is still sitting in Atlanta.  Wednesday, the part is delivered.  The server is fixed.  Life is good once again.  For days, we have reminisced about the things we used to be able to do.  Thursday morning, something happens.  We once again have no internet.  And, it wasn't restored until Friday afternoon.  You don't realize just how many of the things you do rely on the Internet.  Thankfully, everything seems to have been working well of late!

Drunk Driving Poster

It's April, and I've already cried my quota of tears for the entire year.  A couple of weeks ago, we had a drunk driving assembly at school.  It actually began outside the school.  After first hour, there was an announcement that everybody needed to report to the northeast side of the school.  Upon going outside, we noticed that there was a wrecked car in the road.  Two of our seniors were in the car, made up to look like they were injured/dead.  As the students form a group outside, sirens are heard.  Multiple police cars come racing to the scene.  Police officers get out and check the pulses of the students in the car.  Not before long, we hear the honk of the fire truck as it comes racing to the scene.  Soon, the firemen have the jaws of life out, and they begin their slow extrication of the students.  One student leaves the car alive.  He is taken aside by a police officer and tested to see if he has been driving under the influence.  The other student is extricated from the car and confirmed dead.

I look up the road and see a hearse pulling up.  When the people that organized this demonstration told the student volunteers about what was going to happen, they neglected to tell the student that she was going to be strapped down to a stretcher and placed in a hearse.  Needless to say, she suddenly became VERY uncomfortable with the entire situation.  As she told me later in class, "I rode in the same car that dead people ride in!"  As she is wheeled into the hearse and it drives away, the other student is handcuffed and placed in a police car which also drives away.

Next, the wrecker service shows up to load up the wrecked car.  After the car is hauled away, the entire student body reports to the auditorium for the remainder of the assembly.  The assembly is put on by an organization called Victims' Voices.  The organization was started by one of our school board members.  Shortly before graduating from college, her twin sister was killed by a drunk driver.  She made a promise to never stop talking about her twin.  And, she keeps this promise by speaking to groups of students, community members, and DUI offenders.  Though I've known her for two years and taught her son last year, I quickly realized that I knew very little of her story.  Another member of the panel that told her story was also from the Drumright area.  Because students were very familiar with 2 of the 3 speakers, it made the assembly extremely emotional.

I have a tendency to cry a lot.  I cry when I read books.  I cry when I watch movies.  And, I cry when we have sad assemblies.  I hope our students take the message of the assembly to heart and make wise decisions.

One of my main takeaways from the assembly was a quote that said something along the lines of:  "We aren't born winners or losers.  We are born choosers.  Every choice we make has good and bad consequences.'  I need to make a poster that says this to hang on my wall for next year!  

Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a happy Easter!  My sister drew this Easter egg for me at church on Sunday.  :)

Good Things

My classroom is turning into a zoo.  We do "Good Things" on Mondays.  To spice things up, I added a clip-art camel to the slide.  Students protested that I wasn't allowed to include a camel because it wasn't Hump Day (Wednesday).

While practicing drawing ellipses, one of my students noted that the ordered pair (0, 0) looks like an owl.  I put my amazing(ly bad) artistic skills to good use and drew an owl, using the ordered pair as eyes.  I'm actually pretty proud of this owl!

Ordered Pair Owl

These basketball homecoming decorations made me smile.  Tornadoes can be cute.  Very cute!

Basketball Homecoming Decorations

World's Cutest Tornado

I may have a slight addiction to stickers.  I've got a 3-inch thick file folder of them.  But, you can never have enough stickers, right?

My Sticker Obsession

April is Math Awareness Month.  I got this free poster in the mail, but I haven't really done anything with my students to celebrate.  At my school, April is standardized testing month.  I'd have much rather spent this month focusing on mathematics, magic, and mystery!

Free Math Awareness Month Poster

I'm especially intrigued by this fancy piece of felt.  This is going on my summer to do list!

Math Puzzle

Student Council's Blood Drive was a success.  I learned a lot this year.  And, I know next year's blood drive will be even better.

Blood Drive Signs

I was told by a coworker that I have the handwriting of an elementary school teacher.  Hmmm...

Blood Drive Permission Slip Folder

A couple of months ago, I got the chance to play detective.  One of my students noticed a pill laying on the floor during class.  I immediately went into teacher/detective mode and confiscated the pill.  It sat on my monitor until the end of the day.  Sure that I was about to uncover a drug distribution ring that would make the town's weekly newspaper, I entered the code from the pill into the computer to identify what type of drug it was.  I was very disappointed to find out that it was only Midol...

Random Pill Found in Classroom

Hats On Day was less of a success.  We made less than $20.  Depressing...

Hats On Day Poster

Okay, I think that's enough randomness for today.  If you made it to the bottom of this post, I'm impressed!

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Humble Garden

My parents love to garden.  My sister loves to garden.  My grandparents on both sides love to garden.  And, they're all really good at it.  I, on the other hand, am not good at gardening.  I'm pretty sure the green thumb skipped a generation or something.

Last spring/summer, I set out to plant my own garden.  I didn't know if I would be staying in Drumright or not, so I made it a container garden on my back deck.  I planted a ridiculous number of herbs and flowers.  The seeds sprouted.  I watered them.  Then, they quickly met their demise.  I began again.  More herb seeds.  More flower seeds.  Again, they grew.  And, again, they withered.  It probably didn't help that I spent a large portion of my summer away from home at workshops and conferences.  The plants that did survive up to that point did not handle the lack of watering very well.

My grandparents came to visit me over Labor Day weekend.  I proudly showed them my few remaining plants on my back deck.  I remember saying, "I'm not exactly sure what these are, but I didn't kill these!"  My grandma took one look at the plants in the planter and said, "Honey, these are cottonwood trees.  You need to get rid of these!"  Oops...

I have a tendency to spend my time doing things I'm good at.  I'm a good reader, so I read voraciously.  I loved school, so I became a teacher.  Solving equations is the equivalent of a puzzle to me, so I teach algebra.  I love logic puzzles.  I love to make things from yarn and fabric.    

Gardening does not come easily to me.  In fact, I'm terrible at it.  When I look at an equation, I know exactly what to do.  I know what order to do everything in.  I manipulate the variables and constants precisely to isolate the variable.  When I look at a plant, I'm unsure what to do.  The leaves are a little yellow.  Does it need more water?  Or have I been watering it too much?  I'm so thankful for the ability to send pictures of plants to my mom to get her advice.

It's good to be reminded what it feels like to persevere in doing something that doesn't come naturally to you.  It's something I ask of my students every single day.

This year, I'm trying again.  Except, I'm starting with plants that somebody else has already started.  I'll have to work my way up to growing things from seeds.

Here's my current humble attempt at growing things.  Or, maybe I should say keeping things that other people have grown alive!  I've got aloe vera, a pineapple plant, daisies, some type of ground cover, petunias, and a plant that I think my mom called a Wandering Jew.





Happy Spring, y'all! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Witzzle Pro Math Game

I adore number puzzles.  Give me a sudoku or a kenken or a paint by number puzzle or a logic puzzle, and I will be in heaven.

At the last Tulsa Math Teachers' Circle I attended, I was introduced to a new number puzzle/game: Witzzle Pro.  The name is a combination of "wit" and "puzzle": "witzzle".

We played several rounds of the game, and each winner got to take home a free copy of the game.  I, sadly, did not win.  But, I did fall in love with the game.

Witzzle Pro Explanation

The rules of the game are simple.  Roll the number cubes to get a target number between -12 and 36.  You must use three numbers and two operations to reach the target number.  The three numbers must come from a single row, column, or diagonal on the card.  First player to achieve the target number, specifying the correct order of operations wins.

For example, if the target number on the card above was 32, you could use the middle row (7 8 3) to achieve the target number.  (7-3)*8 = 32.

You can also make negative numbers by subtracting a larger number from a smaller number.  If your target number was -10, you could achieve it by using the left-hand column (5 7 2).  2 - 7 - 5 = -10.

Want to view a demo of this game?  Click here.

I love this game for two reasons.  Number one: it forces students to practice their integer operations.  Number two: it forces students to consider the order of operations.  A couple of days ago, I wrote a bit of a rant regarding integer operations and how I am refusing to teach them anymore.  While I don't want to explicitly teach integer operations, I do want to provide opportunities for practice so I can work on correcting misconceptions.

The day after learning about this game, I tried playing it with my Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 students.  Since I hadn't won a game at the MTC meeting, I pulled up a snapshot of a Witzzle Pro card that I found via a Google Image search.  I set up my TI-84 to randomly generate integers from -12 to 36.  After a short explanation of how the game worked, I put the card up on the screen and gave my students a target number.

The first student to find a solution shouts, "Witzzle!"  They must come up to the board and correctly write a numerical expression using a row/column/diagonal of numbers from the card.  Order of operations matters!  After the student writes their solution, the class decides whether the written expression equals the target number as written.

Instead of me correcting mistakes, students were correcting other students' mistakes.  It was awesome.  The first student to correctly achieve the target number was given a LifeSavers mint.  (I buy these in bulk!)  A new random integer was generated, and the game continued.  My students loved it!  After playing 5-6 rounds, I was ready to move on to another activity I had planned.  There was an absolute uproar from my students who had not yet won a piece of candy!

I like this game because it reviews mental math, order of operations, and integer operations without a worksheet.  It's fun.  It's fast-paced.  It's challenging.  Anybody can win.  It forces you to think fast AND be able to justify your answer.  Students are critiquing other students' work and offering constructive feedback.  And, students are doing a crazy amount of math without even realizing it.

This is what I want integer and order of operation review to look like in my classroom next year.  Next year, I want to dub Wednesdays as "Witzzle Wednesdays."  I plan on displaying a card and setting a timer for five minutes.  I will give students a target number.  Every time that target number is achieved, that student wins a piece of candy.  And, a new target number will be chosen.  This process repeats until the timer goes off.

Now, I just need to come up with themes for the rest of the week.  I remember reading on someone else's blog that they did "Mental Math Mondays."  I'm definitely planning on stealing that.  Maybe trivia on Tuesdays?  And, "Tease Your Brain" Thursdays?  Of course, I can't get rid of Friday Funnies or my students might just rebel.    

If you're interested in using this game in your classroom, there are several options.  Obviously, you can purchase the board game to use in class.  There are also books of Daily Wittzle puzzles.  See a sample pdf of one here.

Daily Witzzle Fun

Other pdf samples are available here and here.

There is also an online version called Witzzle Lite that you can play for free!

Witzzle Lite

Apparently, some schools have their own Witzzle clubs or host Witzzle contests.  How fun!  Here's a free handbook that has been made available to schools.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Books Read in March 2014

March was a month for reading!  In January, I managed to read 10 books.  In February, I read another 10 books.  But, in March, I was able to add 17 books to my list of books read!  17!  And, these were all read either before or during Spring Break.  I didn't read a single book after Spring Break.  That wasn't intentional.  March is just a crazy month!

(And, obviously, April has been a crazy month, too.  Don't believe me?  April is almost over, and I'm just now getting around to posting what I read way back in March!)

As before, here are short summaries of each book I read last month.  If you want to see all the books I've read this year, check out my #EmptyShelf Challenge Pinterest Board!


Killing Floor by Lee Child
For the past two years, one of my coworkers has been recommending that I check out the writing of Lee Child.  I finally decided to make it happen.  Thanks to the help of my friendly local librarian, I was able to figure out which novel was the first in the Jack Reacher series.  This was a murder investigation novel that instantly pulled me in.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I really did.  I got kinda attached to the characters, and the novel definitely kept me guessing.  Of course, I'm the type that never solves the mystery before the investigator.  So, all mystery novels keep me guessing.  


Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
In college, one of my mentors recommended this book to me.  I'll admit that I was a tad skeptical about the book.  Did the little boy really visit heaven?  Or is this just a publicity stunt?  A few weeks ago, I saw that my library had a copy, so I decided to give it a shot.  This was a quick, heartwarming read.  I enjoyed reading about the family's experiences.  And, I found myself drawn to the childlike faith and trust demonstrated by the young child.  I especially liked the inclusion of the discussion of what Jesus looked like.  I enjoyed this book, and I'd recommend it to others.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
I read The Hunger Games in college.  And, I watched The Hunger Games movie a year or so ago.  After hearing so many of my students discuss the Catching Fire movie, I decided that I really needed to get around to reading the second book in the series before I saw the second movie.  Since it had been so long since I read the first book, I had a little trouble getting into the second.  But, once I was in, I was hooked.  The second book went a place I did not expect.  After finishing the first book, I had wondered how the story could continue.  Well, now I know!  My only complaint?  The ending.  Let's talk about the book ending with a cliffhanger!  I now must read the third book to find out what happens.  The only problem is that someone currently has the third book checked out.  Eventually, I will finish!


Front Page Love by Paige Lee Elliston
I've been trying to go back and finish series that I've started while I still semi-remember what the series is about.  Last month, I read my first Paige Lee Elliston book, Changes of Heart.  This book followed the same recipe as its predecessor.  One girl + Two guys + One Heart-Wrenching Decision = True Love.  I was rooting for the guy who didn't get picked in the last book.  But, I won't ruin the ending for you in case you want to check it out for yourself.  There's one more book in the series, but my library doesn't have it.  So, I'll be stopping here.  I did enjoy reading about The Oklahoma Dust Bowl in this book.  It was set in Montana during an epic drought.  The main character is a newspaper reporter who is tasked with writing about the impact of the drought on the community.  As part of her research, she interviewed a survivor of the Dust Bowl.  I learned several new things about the Dust Bowl as a result which was pretty cool.  


The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews
I read the sequel to this book last month.  I enjoyed the sequel so much that I ended up checking the first book out of the library.  My favorite thing about this book was its biographical nature.  I learned all kinds of fun and interesting facts about Anne Frank, Harry Truman, Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, and more.  This book had a really inspiring message, and it was quite an enjoyable read.  So far, I've enjoyed everything I've read by Andy Andrews.


Fearlessly Feminine by Jani Ortlund
I picked up this book at a thrift store probably a year of so ago.  And, it's sat on my bookshelf since then.  Over Spring Break, I was wanting a short break from the massive amounts of fiction that I had been consuming.  So, I picked up this book about "Boldly Living God's Plan for Womanhood."  I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I thought I'd give it a try.  I figured if I didn't like it, I could always donate it back to charity.  This was a book that forced me to ask a lot of questions of myself.  In college, I remember being asked once if I was a feminist.  I don't exactly remember what I said because I wasn't really even sure what feminism was.  This book is definitely anti-feminist.  As I read it, I had to decide how I actually felt about certain things I had never given much thought to before.  For example, the author of this book recognizes that many women must work outside the home.  But, she asks the reader to ask themselves if this is really for the best.  If you are financially capable of staying at home with your kids, should you work outside the home?  I've always assumed that I will put my children in day care and continue working and teaching.  (Of course - this is a long, long way off!  I've got to check the whole getting married thing checked off my to-do list first!)  After all, my own mother has worked full-time my entire life.  Is this really for the best, though?  When the time comes, will I be able to hand my own children over to a stranger in order to spend my days teaching the children of strangers?  I'm going to admit right now that I don't have any answers.  I've just got a ton of questions.


Lost December by Richard Paul Evans
I am a huge Richard Paul Evans fan.  I was first introduced to him through The Christmas Box trilogy.  Recently, I asked the librarian for a book recommendation, and she recommended Evans.  Since that recommendation, I've been reading as many of his books as possible.  This was a book of second chances, a book of redemption, a book of hope.  It was a sweet, slightly suspenseful book that I simply couldn't put down.  This book opened my eyes to some of the realities that come with being homeless.  This is a novel that I definitely recommend.  It's a re-telling of the story of the prodigal son and so much more at the same time.


Until Proven Guilty by J.A. Jance
The same coworker who recommended that I read Lee Child brought me this murder mystery to read.  I picked it up over Spring Break, and I couldn't put it down!  I was forcing myself to alternate between reading a chapter in a book and grading a stack of papers.  Soon, the papers were set aside as I immersed myself in the book.  It was that good!  J.A. Jance is a new author to me, but these books have been around longer than I've been alive.  Murder.  Mystery.  Intrigue.  Romance.  A Cult.  This book had it all.  And, it's probably one of the most memorable endings to a book I've ever read.  After I raved to my coworker about how much I enjoyed this book, she brought me the next 6 books in the series to read!    


Jade by V.C. Andrews
I'm still working my way through The Wildflowers series.  There are five books in the series.  And, so far, I'm averaging one book a month.  I'm not entirely sure who these books were marketed towards.  The characters are teenagers.  But, the topics discussed in them are kinda dark.  This series has covered divorce, rape, kidnapping, incest, and more.  Part of me wonders why I keep reading them.  It's probably because I think these stories are pretty close to the actual lives led by my students.  This is not a series I would recommend.  But, I think it's still a series that I will finish.  After all, I've got to find out why all of the girls ended up in court-appointed therapy.  And, I'm hoping that the last book will tell about what ends up happening to the characters.


Crewel World by Monica Ferris
Remember my coworker who loves to read?  This is another novel that she loaned me.  It's a murder mystery that is set in a needlepoint store.  First off, I didn't know there was such a thing as a needlepoint store.  I know how to knit.  I can sew.  I can crochet.  But, I've never had any desire to do needlepoint.  I think that I would have enjoyed this book more if I had a passion for the subject.  It was an okay book.  But, I didn't really find myself sucked into the story.  It seemed to take me forever to make it through this book which is strange for me.  If you love needlepoint or want to know more about needlepoint, I'd recommend this book.  Otherwise, there are more intriguing mysteries out there.


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Once a month, I am part of a book chat at our public library in town.  A book chat is kinda like a book club, but everybody reads whatever they want to read.  We get together to discuss our latest reads, talk about what we want to read next, eat yummy snacks, and just enjoy a couple of hours of company together.  I started going in January, and it's one of the highlights of my month.  At February's book chat, somebody mentioned the book, Water for Elephants.  Everybody else at the table started raving over it.  Pretty soon, all eyes were on me.  "Sarah, what did you think of the book?"  "Well, I've never actually read it."  "You haven't read it?  How is that even possible?  You MUST read this book!"  When I realized that every single other person at book chat had read this book and loved it, I decided I must add it to my must-read list.  I read the description on the back of the cover, and it did nothing for me.  But, I decided that the book must have merit if everyone else was raving about it.  I started it and quickly fell in love with the characters.  After reading this book, the circus life is entirely unappealing to me.  It was an amazing story with an amazing ending, and it was one of those books that I didn't want to end.  I love, love, love this book!  So, if you haven't read it, I'm looking at you now and asking, "Why haven't you read this book yet?!?"

The Looking Glass by Richard Paul Evans
Remember how I told you I was on a Richard Paul Evans kick of late?  Here's further proof.  I read three of his books this month!  One of my favorite time periods to read from is the days of the Gold Rush.  There's just something about that time period that is so romantic to me.  I know that it was actually a really harsh, unforgiving time period in history, but I prefer the romanticized version found in books.  :)  I absolutely fell in love with the characters in this story.  They stole a piece of my heart.  Then, the ending of the book ripped my heart out and left me sobbing.  If you love a tearjerker, I'd definitely recommend this book.  If you're looking for a happy ending, stay away!

The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans
This was a sweet, heart-tugging romance set in the Peruvian jungle.  It's more than a love story, though.  It's an adventure.  In a way, it's two love stories or almost-love stories in one.  This novel is a fast-paced, character-driven story.  One of my favorite aspects of Richard Pauls Evans' books is the inclusion of quotes from the main character's diary before each chapter.  I love reading these snippets and trying to predict what will happen in the chapter based on the quote.  I have to say that none of my journal entries are anywhere near as profound and reflective as those belonging to the fictional characters in his books, though.  

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson
Yes, I realize that most people don't read Christmas novels in March.  But, I'm not most people.  I'm also not the type of person who restricts Christmas music from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year's.  If I want to listen to Christmas music, I think I should be able to listen to Christmas music!  My absolute favorite music to play on the piano?  Christmas music.  If you ask me my favorite movie, I will break it down by genre.  Favorite chick flick: tie between Sweet Home Alabama and How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days.  Favorite action movie: Top Gun.  Favorite Christmas movie: The Christmas Card.  Favorite inspirational movie: The Ultimate Gift.  Favorite classic movie: North by Northwest.  Yes, Christmas movies get their own category.  I also love Christmas books.  But, it seems like there's never enough time to read Christmas books and watch all my favorite Christmas movies and spend time with family and finish my Christmas shopping and do all the other things that get relegated to Christmas Break.  So, I decided to make up for it by reading my Christmas books during a more leisurely time of year.  March it is!  It was a story of second chances, romance, and the spirit of Christmas.  My only complaint was that the book wasn't long enough!  I wanted so much more!    


Still in the mood for more Christmas stories, I read O Little Town in e-book form.  I picked this book based off of the title alone, and it's one of the best Christmas novels I've ever read.  Seriously, I LOVED this book.  It's one of those books that spans multiple generations.  It's constantly going back and forth between 1904 and 1958.  It's also one of those books where it seems like none of the chapters are connected.  Each new chapter brings new characters.  Eventually, all the characters are woven together into one beautiful, touching story.  This was definitely a tearjerker, but I loved every minute of it!    


Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
Confession: I know next to nothing about the Mennonite faith.  Second confession: I bought this book because it had an intriguing title.  Third confession: I bought this book thinking that it was fiction.  It's not.  It's actually a memoir.  Still, I stuck with it, and I learned quite a bit about the Mennonite community.  It took me a while to make my way through this book.  And, I'm not sure if I gained anything from reading it.  There were definitely some enjoyable parts and funny stories.  I don't think I'll be re-reading it anytime soon, though.  


Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
This is a book that I first read in college at the urging of a friend in a bible study group.  She had read the book and said it changed her life.  I remember reading the book and loving it.  I really do think it changed the way that I looked and thought about romance and moving towards marriage in a way that honors God.  The book tells the rather unique love story of Elisabeth and Jim Eliot - missionaries in Ecuador.  Though they met and fell in love in college, they held off on marrying until they were 100% sure that it was God's will and timing.  Sadly, not long after their marriage, Jim was killed on the mission field.  I picked this book up again because I feel like I am in such a different place in my life right now than when I first read the book.  I felt like I could relate a lot to Elisabeth's experiences about waiting and wondering about what God's perfect plan for her life was.  This book continues to touch my heart and shape my thought processes.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sequences and Series Foldables & INB Pages

One of my last Algebra 2 units before state testing was arithmetic and geometric sequences and series.  Our students are given the formulas for the nth term and the sum of the first n terms, but they are given no explanation for what each variable represents.

So, I like to spend an entire class period discussing what each variable represents.  Then, we look at word problems and label all of the information with the correct variable.  The kids hate it, but it really helps them in the long run.  This year, I had a handful of students who decided to just tune out this entire explanation.  Well, to be honest, they tuned out most of what I said this entire year.  And, their test scores certainly reflected that.  :(

By now, you know that I love foldables.  I adore foldables.  I'm pretty sure I think and lesson plan in terms of foldables and graphic organizers.  There are some foldables I make that are just meh.  Then, there are the foldables that I can't wait to show my kids.  The ones I'm about to post belong to the latter category.

I think these are pretty self-explanatory, so I'm going to post the pictures without much commentary.  If you have questions about anything, please ask!  I've uploaded templates for the formula foldables at the bottom of this post.  Enjoy!

Unit 8 Table of Contents

Sequence Frayer Model

Series Frayer Model

Arithmetic Sequences and Series Overview

Formulas for Arithmetic Sequences and Series

nth Term Foldable (Arithmetic) - Outside)

nth Term Foldable (Arithmetic) - Inside

Sum of the first n terms (Arithmetic) Foldable - Outside

Sum of the first n terms (Arithmetic) Foldable - Inside

Additional Practice with Arithmetic Sequences & Series

Geometric Sequences and Series Formulas

Additional Practice with Geometric Sequences and Series

nth Term Foldable (Geometric) - Outside

nth Term Foldable (Geometric) - Inside

Sum of the first n terms (Geometric) Foldable - Outside

Sum of the first n terms (Geometric) Foldable - Inside

Geometric Sequences and Series Overview

Files are uploaded here.