Math = Love: February 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Five Things Friday: Volume 10

It's finally Friday! It's felt like this week has dragged on - probably because I've been looking forward to having a 3-day weekend! Here's some miscellaneous happenings from this week that deserve a mention on the blog: 

1. I bought a new puzzle book. Yes, I know I'm addicted to puzzle books. No, I don't think that's really a problem. My newest purchase was The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers by The Grabarchuk Family (affiliate link). This is the same family that edited and contributed puzzles to the Puzzle Box Volumes 1-3 (affiliate link) that I rave about all the time on this blog. If you need even further proof of this family's awesomeness, check out their new Strimko Puzzle Books (affiliate link)!   

This puzzle book is turning out to be just as awesome as the others. There are 567 puzzles in the book, and I only paid $5.83 on Amazon for a used copy with free shipping. That's just over 1 cent per puzzle which I think counts as a super-awesome bargain. If you are a geometry teacher, you should definitely check out this book because there are probably at least 100 puzzles that tie directly to various geometry standards. 

My husband and I had lunch duty together all week. On Thursday, I brought my new puzzle book with me and we enjoyed a fun half-hour of puzzling and discussing which puzzles we could use with our students. Shaun tried his hand at a geometric puzzle that involved making a net of a cube which he plans to use in his unit on 3D shapes. 

2. We had some fun playing Fraction Capture in Math Concepts. We haven't reviewed improper fractions yet, so we'll get another chance to play with an increased level of strategy after that.

3. Shaun and I spent Valentine's evening at church. We teach a class of 4th graders at church on Wednesday nights. Since it was Valentine's Day we were supposed to create some sort of Valentine's Day Craft. I'm a last minute planner and didn't have time to grab any special supplies, so we took some yarn, colored paper, and tape to make heart mobiles. My sweet husband made this one for me.

I learned that seven fourth graders can make quite a mess while doing arts and crafts.

I also learned that cutting out hearts is a skill that my 4th graders have not exactly mastered yet. Our Wonky Game (affiliate link) made the perfect introductory activity to our lesson over the parable of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand.

4. Some of my classes had some unexpected downtime this week since they managed to get themselves ahead of my other classes. I pulled out part of my game stash to keep them busy.

We enjoyed some games of Absolute Zero (affiliate link). The creator of this game reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like a free copy in exchange for a review on my blog. I added it to the games table this week to see what students though. A full review is in the works, soon, though! This card game gives students practice adding positive and negative integers with the goal of landing a hand that equals zero. One of my students said "Tell the creator that it's on okay game for a math game." It must have been more than just okay because the same student insisted on playing the same game a second time this week!

We also played some Izzi (affiliate link). I like to think of Izzi as Panda Squares on Steroids. 

Otrio was probably the biggest hit of all the games I put out this week. If Izzi is Panda Squares on steroids, Otrio is Tic-Tac-Toe on steroids. I received my copy of Otrio as a gift, but I've been told the best/cheapest place to pick it up is Target.   

This week's Silhouettes Puzzle from the puzzle table also got some attention during free time. 

The last game that captivated my students was Tantrix (affiliate link). I taught students to play the solitaire version of the game where you flip over the first three tiles and make a loop. Then, you flip over the fourth tile and make a new loop. It gets harder and harder as you go. I loved watching students go from thinking "This is impossible!" to "Oooh...wait...I got it!"  

5. My chemistry students requested that we do something fun for Valentine's Day. We haven't done a lab in a while, so I put together a Conversation Hearts Lab. I saw that you could do the standard Dancing Raisins activity with conversation hearts, so I decided to try it out. It turns out I should have just stuck with raisins.

Some of my students were able to get their conversation hearts to dance in their cup of soda, but most of the hearts just sunk or floated. :( They still enjoyed themselves, though!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentine's Project 2018

This year, I decided to have my students complete a special Valentine's project. I realized a few weeks ago that this is the first year since I started teaching where I forgot (oops!) to have my students celebrate National Letter Writing Week in January. To make up for it, I decided to have my students write special notes to every single school employee in our building (all 26 of them) that would be delivered on Valentine's Day.

To kick off the project, I typed up the name of everyone who works in our building: principal, secretaries, tech guy, teachers, paraprofessional (yes, that's supposed to be singular), janitor, and cafeteria workers. I printed each name in large font (HVD Comic Serif Pro, for the record) on a piece of 11 x 17 cardstock (affiliate link).

Next, I used the shape tool to draw as many hearts as possible on a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. I made lots of copies of this template on various sheets of colored paper.

I lined all of the posters around the front of my room, and my students went to work adding individual valentine messages to each person.

For a few days, I gave my students the warm-up question of "Write a Valentine" instead of the normal math problem. This meant that completing this project didn't take much extra class time at all.

One of my classes who was ahead of the other classes sorted the posters by hallway to be delivered 2nd hour on Valentine's Day. My second hour broke up into three groups to deliver the Valentine's to each separate hall of the school.

As I went through the school for the rest of the day, it was fun to see my students' Valentine masterpieces displayed proudly by their recipients.

I haven't hung mine up yet, but I need to do so soon. I guess you could say my desk is currently a mess!

Here's a peek at some of the Valentine's Day messages I received.

The lemon bars I frequently make for Cookie Club got a mention!

Some messages were a bit on the silly side!

This message on Mr. Carter's poster made me giggle.

I used to get frustrated when I would see teachers on twitter share what their schools did to celebrate them on various holidays. I lost so much joy comparing what my school was doing for me (usually nothing) with what other schools were doing for their teachers. It took a few years, but I learned that I can take actions to make the days of the people around me. It turns out that this approach is more fulfilling than anything anyone else could ever do to show me appreciation. I have more power than I often realize to make another's day. And, I need to take advantage of that power.

I do believe I've started a new tradition at my school.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Algebra 1 - Linear Graphs and Inequalities Interactive Notebook Pages

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you accept this blog post with photos of notebook pages from our latest unit in Algebra 1 about linear graphs and inequalities as a gift today. I know it's not balloons or chocolate, but I promise that this is from the heart.

It took an entire month, but we finally made it through our unit in Algebra 1 on Linear Graphs and Inequalities. This is a relief because I am incredibly behind where I should be based on last year's pacing. Luckily, the next few units are short and sweet!

Each unit begins with a divider. You can read more about these dividers here.

Every unit divider contains the list of all of our SBG skills. This unit was a looooonnnngggg one with eight separate skills.

Though the idea of slope is a middle school standard in Oklahoma, I find that I have to go ALL the way back to the basics with my Algebra 1 students.

We began by refreshing our memories of the four types of slope. For practice, we wrote our name using only straight line segments. Then, we color-coded each line segment in our name according to its type of slope.

I created two new foldables for this unit: finding slope and finding intercepts.

First up: Finding Slope!

On the inside of each flap, we practiced finding slope given two examples of that type (graph, equation, table).

Then, we did the same thing for intercepts.

I used some of the same examples as for finding slope, but I had to change a few to make them work out. In the future, I'd like to re-engineer these foldables to use the exact same examples in both.

Now, it's time to practicing finding slope and intercepts.

At this point, students can do the following
* Find Slope (From Graphs, Tables, Equations)
* Find Intercepts (From Graphs, Tables, Equations)
* Write the Equation of a Line in Slope-Intercept Form
* Rearrange an Equation from Point-Slope Form or Standard Form to Slope-Intercept Form
* Graph a Line in Slope-Intercept Form

This is enough to begin discussing parallel and perpendicular lines.

I used this same foldable last year. We discovered all of this information by doing some discovery-type activities that I will have to blog about soon!

It's time to practice graphing a pair of equations and classifying the graph as parallel, perpendicular, or neither.

Up to this point, students only know about slope-intercept form. They've dealt with equations in other forms, but our approach was always to rearrange the equation to slope-intercept form FIRST. It's time we learn the name and characteristics of each of the three forms of linear equations.

This foldable is also from last year.

Like usual, our foldable is followed by a zillion practice problems. Students are given several pieces of information (such as a graph or a slope and a point or a slope and an intercept or a table of points), and they have to figure out every single other piece of information.

Finding some of the information (usually standard form and sometimes x-intercepts) requires writing out work. As you can see in the photo above, we wrote the work on the back of the half-sheet.

We stapled all of our practice sheets together at the top. We only glued in the back page to save paper.

Next, we looked at writing functions and creating graphs for real-world situations. I found these problems online here.

It's time to discuss transformations of linear functions, now!

My husband made this transformations foldable for me last year when I was sick.

I introduced my students to the following vocabulary words: reflected, dilated, and translated.

For practice, we just wrote some problems on the next blank page in our notebooks.

Up next: scatter plots

This was a shift from my approach to Algebra 1 standard ordering last year. I decided to move scatter plots and lines of best fit from the data analysis unit to the linear graphs and inequalities unit.

I've blogged about these two scatter plot activities in detail here.

First, we figured out how long it would take to do a hula hoop relay with the entire town.

Then, we examined the relationship between hand span and the amount of starbursts a person can pick up with one hand.

After scatter plots, we shifted our attention to linear inequalities. I slightly altered a graphic organizer I made last year to include testing points to determine shading.

Then, we tried out the new graphic organizer I created to hold our practice problems. I blogged about this graphic organizer here.

Our last skill of the unit was to reverse the process. I gave students a graph, and they had to write the matching inequality.

And, that was our unit on Linear Graphs and Inequalities in Algebra 1 this year. You can find the files for these notebook pages here.