Math = Love: July 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Different Approach to Parallel and Perpendicular Lines

You know that day when you think you've come up with a novel way of teaching something in your classroom?  And it works?  And you're so proud of yourself?  Then, a few days later, you read a blog post or see something on pinterest and realize that your idea wasn't novel at all.  You'd actually read about somebody else doing it in their classroom, forgotten about it, then been reminded of the idea by your subconscious.  At least I guess that's how it works.

Any who, that happened to me this past year with parallel and perpendicular lines.

I'd tell you about what I did, but I can do you one better and let you read about how Fawn taught the lesson.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Different Forms of Linear Functions Fly Swatter Game With Bracket

I recently posted the notes I have my students over the different forms a linear function could take.  I mentioned that I decided to teach all of the forms at once this year, and I wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not.

Different Forms of Linear Function Notes

On the first day of this section of the unit, we only took the notes that can see in the above picture.  So, we wrote the names of each form and the general form that it takes.  Then, we played the flyswatter game.  I've written about playing the fly swatter game before.  Here's a post I wrote about playing this same game in Algebra 2 with the different forms of a quadratic function.  

Fly Swatter Game

I started off the day playing the fly swatter game as I learned it in the fifth grade.  Form two teams.  Each team makes a line.  The members at the front of each line go to the board and take a fly swatter.  The teacher reads a definition.  The first student to correctly slap the answer goes to the back of their line.  The other student sits down because they are now out of the game.  

For my smaller Algebra 1 classes, this works great.  But, my 6th period Algebra 1 class has 18 students.  That may not seem very big, but it is for my school.  It's the biggest class I've ever had.  My classroom just isn't big enough to hold that many students comfortably.  

So, I decided to control the number of students standing up and thus (hopefully) control the chaos in my room.  Enter the bracket.  

Fly Swatter Game with Bracket

The two students listed on the bracket are the only ones standing up.  The rest of the students are sitting in their seats and trying to figure out what form the linear function I have displayed on the board is.  Those in their seats get to use their notebooks.  Those at the board are notebookless.  So, if you want to be named the champion, it is in your best interest to get all the practice you can while sitting in your seat with your notebook!

Plus, the biggest piece of advice I can give you about using interactive notebooks is to give the students opportunities to use them.  The more they use them and see them as helpful, the more likely they will be to use them in the future.  This wasn't just a game.  It was practice at using our notes.

After the competitors would slap the answer, I would let the class declare who the winner was.  They would often start describing to the class easy ways they had figured out to determine what form a function was in.  Win!

I had so much more engagement from my students by following the bracket model than how I'd played it previously.  This adaptation is a definite keeper!

The next day, we went back and filled in the inside of the foldable with more details about each form of a linear function.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Student Created Slope Pages

This year, I was feeling a little uninspired when it came to creating notebook pages over finding slope in Algebra 1.  We'd done lots of practice.  And, most students seemed to grasp the concept.  Since my students had watched me make notebook pages for an entire semester, I decided it was their turn.  I split each class up into 3 groups and assigned them each a different way of finding slope - from a graph, from a table, and from two points.  I told each group to decide what their classmates needed to glue into their notebooks, and I would make it for them.  I gave them one 50-minute class period to design their notebook pages, and all three groups presented their pages during the next 50-minute class period.

Part of me hated this because I'm very controlling over what students put in their notebooks.  What if they do it wrong?  What if it's not clear?  But, at the same time, this would give me a grasp of what my students understood.  This was an eye-opening experience in that it really made me consider the vocabulary I use and accept during class.  Some of the descriptions in the notes were not as precise as I would have liked them, but students were simply repeating things they had heard others say.  I didn't correct the students, so it's my fault.  I need to attend to precision myself.  

Quotes heard during group presentations of notebook pages:

"Turn in your teaching licenses!"

"I'm retiring." - Said after a group had trouble getting the class to stay on task during the notes they were giving.  Now they know how I feel!

I'm not sure if I'll do this again or not...

While grading notebooks, I decided to take a few pictures of what they came up with:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Algebra 1 INB Pages - Unit 6 Linear Functions

Still working through my draft folder.  And, I happened upon some INB pages that I somehow forgot to post this year.  I posted snippets of some of these, but never the entire unit.  Don't worry.  I'll rectify the situation today!  If you're in a hurry, the new, never posted pages, are at the very beginning and towards the middle.  As always, the link to these files is at the bottom of the post.

I present to you: 

Unit 6: Linear Functions

This pic is old.  Here's the rest of the table of contents:
61 Finding Slope From A Graph
62 Finding Slope From A Table
63 Finding Slope From 2 Pts.
64 Linear Function Vocabulary
65-66 Linear/Non-Linear Practice
67 X- and Y- Intercepts
68 Different Forms of Linear Functions
70 Parallel and Perpendicular Lines

Read more about the Slope Name Art assignment here.

Read more about Slope Dude here.

I actually had the students draw 3 examples of each type of slope.  I only put one example of each in my notebook to keep a student from copying my notebook and not having to think!

I use these little light bulb post-it notes I got from Target to mark things in my notebook to change for next year.

I had my students design their own notebook pages over finding slope.  That was an experience that I'll try to blog about ASAP.

I posted about our linear/non-linear practice pages here.  

And, I blogged about our x- and y-intercept notes here.  

The next set of images are ones I haven't shared with you before.  Oops...  This year, I decided to teach all of the different forms of linear functions at once.  The jury is still kinda out on whether that was a good decision or not...  The test will be to see if I decide to do it the same this year!  

I've already posted about our HOY VUX notes here.

This year's parallel and perpendicular notes are very similar / almost identical to last year's notes.  

All files can be downloaded by visiting this link.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Foldables In The Making

I get a lot of comments and e-mails asking exactly how I model my notes for my students.  I know some teachers write the notes on an actual foldable under the document camera, but I don't have the most user friendly document camera.  And, it's a big pain to switch back and forth between the document camera and my SMART Board.

So, I make foldable templates in the SMART Notebook software to write on top of.  This isn't foolproof.  I often have students take notes in the wrong place, but I think that's a result of their not paying attention.  Because usually 95% of the class will do it right...

Here's an example of what my SMART Board notes look like and what the foldable my students end up making looks like.  I write everything every class period.  This can get a bit old, but I find myself tweaking my wording throughout the day.  I take what didn't work first hour and try to make it better third and fifth hour.  I teach 3 classes of Algebra 1 and 2 classes of Algebra 2, so I never have to write the same thing more than 3 times.  There are some things that I type out in advance for my students.  And, there are some days when I think some notes will take 3 minutes to write.  When they take 10 minutes in reality, I usually end up typing them out for the rest of my classes and simply have them glue them in.  Timing activities can be really tricky with interactive notebooks.  I've found that giving my students a specific amount of time to do a task (via a timer) can be a big help! I wrote more about using a timer in class here.  

As you can see, I try to incorporate lots of color-coding.  Doing this is pretty easy on the SMART Board.  Plus, if a student was absent, I can always pull up the previous day's notes on the SMART Board for them.

The notes look super messy once we get done, but my students don't seem to have too much trouble following along with what's new on the page.  Though, they do take every opportunity they can get to criticize my SMART Board handwriting...