Math = Love: July 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Must Reads: Volume 6

I've been taking a break from Monday Must Reads this summer because I've been out of the country and have had very limited internet access. Now that I'm back in the states, it's time to catch up on my RSS feed reader. There's no hope of catching up on twitter, so I'm not even going to try. That means this volume will be heavy on the blog posts and lighter on the tweets.

Here are the posts that stood out to me that I think might be of interest to you!

Pam Wilson wrote a great post reflecting on how her teaching has changed over the past ten years. She ran across a presentation she gave at a conference in 2007 and was shocked to see how many things she was no longer doing in her classroom that she used to love. Though I haven't been teaching that long, I can still relate. One of my summer projects has been to try and organize my computer files. In the process, I have ran across so many activities I did during my first few years of teaching that have somehow fell out of the rotation. I also loved Pam's fun post about incorporating a Where's Waldo toy in her classroom. Be sure to check out that post, too!

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Jacqueline Richardson led an awesome presentation on using interactive notebooks in the secondary math classroom and she blogged about it with tons of pretty pictures that make my heart happy.

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Sara VanDerWerf has written a beautiful, thoughtful blog post regarding "What is math? What do mathematicians do?" I think this post should be required reading for all math teachers. Be sure to check out her post for examples of how she engages her students in discovering what math is all about. Like every post Sara writes, this one makes me wish I could have been a student in her classroom.

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Don Steward's resources always make me think.  Today he has me thinking about how I teach my students about parallel and perpendicular lines in Algebra 1.  It seems that every year I have a terrible time getting my students to memorize the facts that parallel lines have the same slope and perpendicular lines have slopes that are opposite reciprocals.  Maybe this is the fact that I'm just teaching it as something to be memorized.  In a recent post, Don shares a slide where he challenges students to draw a line perpendicular to another line that goes through a certain point.  Before I ever start talking about the rules for parallel/perpendicular next year, I'm going to get my students drawing.  I can't wait!  

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Colleen Young has written an excellent post about games and mathematical activities to use in your classroom. Though I am already familiar with quite a few of the resources she suggested, I found several new ones to check out. I was intrigued by a link to an activity she mentioned called "Workers of Zen." Students are given cards with facts on them. Students are only allowed to view the fact on their own cards. They may share the facts on their cards with the other students, but this sharing must happen verbally. Together, the students must solve a puzzle. I'm thinking this would make a great classroom building activity for the first week of school!

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I love looking at pictures of other teachers' classrooms, so I was super excited when Meredith Purser gave us a peek at her beautiful word wall! You can read all about it here

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M Horley has shared a great image to use for a quick data collection activity.  This would be perfect for kicking off a lesson on creating data displays such as box plots, histograms, etc! You can read more about the idea here. With only a two second glance, how many dots are there? 

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Brian at Lazy Ocho recently shared a list of his go-to activities to engage students he has never met before. There are some goodies on this list! I'm looking forward to trying O, T, T, F, F, S... with my students this year! 

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Let's close this post out with a few tweets that caught my eye recently. 

Cori Colby tweeted a picture of an awesome normal distribution foldable. This makes me a bit sad I'm not teaching stats next year, but not too sad because giving up stats means I am back to only having three preps! 

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Greta Bergman shared a photo from Twitter Math Camp. I love the wording of this prompt. My students often struggle with where to start when they don't see a pattern right away, so this is perfect. 

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I've never been able to use the mullet ratio lesson in my classroom because in Oklahoma the topic of ratios falls in the middle school curriculum. But, I love seeing how this lesson brings out the creativity in math teachers. Renee Deken's inclusion of barbie dolls and play dough makes it even more awesome! 

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I have had the privilege of doing Quarter The Cross with two groups of students. I love seeing what my students come up with. Often, they think about the task in a way I haven't which is super exciting. David Butler has shared yet another awesome Quarter The Cross resource with the world in a recent tweet. I think this would be perfect to use with students on a second run through of the activity after they've had a chance to understand the task and create some of their own. 

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I know this next tweet is science-y, but I think math-y teachers could find a way to still adapt it to their classrooms. Plus, now that I'm a certified chemistry teacher, you're going to have to put up with more science stuff on this blog! I love this before and after post-it activity that was tweeted by Kate Atherton. What a creative way to get students interacting with the material! 

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As a kid, I loved making designs from perler beads (affiliate link). My sister and I would spend hours making our designs "just perfect." Then, my mom would get out the iron and melt the beads together. I guess this is why I was super excited to see perler beads being used in a math lesson on twitter. Aileen Kelly shares how she uses the beads to have students make designs with symmetry. I don't teach geometry at the moment, but if I did I might challenge students to make designs with different types of symmetry. 

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That's it until next time!  Thanks for reading!       

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back in the States with a Big Announcement

Several of you have sent me e-mails letting me know that my lack of posting of late had you worried.  I want to assure everyone that I am okay! For the past two months, my husband and I have been visiting Australia with very limited internet access. We decided to take a twitter/blogging break and focus on spending time with family and friends. After 36 hours of traveling (thanks to a delayed flight that required rescheduling our last flight) and a good sleep, we are back home.

To make up for the lack of posts around here, I give you a photo of kangaroos at a wildlife sanctuary in South Australia and a promise that I will be breathing life back into this blog soon as I gear up to begin my sixth year of teaching.

Another reason things have been quiet on the blog front is that I have busy as a result of being named one of twelve finalists for 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. Before we left for Australia, I had to submit a binder/portfolio that consisted of a resume, photograph, and seven separate essays. I spent over a month on these essays, so it was great news to hear that I got to move on to the next stage of the competition. As a result, I had to film a ten minute video that captured my teaching style and philosophy. It was supposed to contain classroom footage, but I've never been videoed while teaching. Had they asked for this video during the school year, I would have videoed a lesson. Instead, we did the next best thing and edited the audio from my NPR story and added photos to give the selection committee a peek into what I am like as a teacher.  I want to say a special thanks to several MTBoS members who willingly gave up part of their summer to film video testimonials which I was able to edit and put into my video. My husband deserves a million thanks for filming my video clips and editing all of the video clips submitted by others to fit into ten minutes. I know pretty much nothing about video editing, so I wouldn't have been able to pull this off without him. After submitting the video last week, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

In my essays and video, I focused on the importance of opening your classroom to the world through social media. This allowed me to talk about my blog and twitter, specifically #Teach180. It made me super happy to see which quote the state department chose out of all my essays to put by my picture. The reason I keep blogging and tweeting is for my students.

In a few weeks, I will travel to the Oklahoma State Capitol for an in-person interview. The winner will not be announced until September.

I hope to organize my photos from our trip to Australia soon and write a blog post about some of our adventures. So keep an eye out for that soon. I'll also be sure to inundate you with classroom decorating ideas as I start to prep for the new school year. This year I will be teaching four sections of Algebra 1, one section of Math Concepts (a course for ninth graders not yet ready for Algebra 1), and one section of Chemistry. I'm relieved to be teaching chemistry this year instead of physical science. I am working my way through my husband's 11th grade physics textbook at the moment, but I still have so much to learn in order to do that course justice.  

Here's to more blog posts soon!