Math = Love: May 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Superlative Certificates for Teacher Appreciation Week

Yet another Teacher Appreciation Week has come and gone. In the six years I have spent in Drumright, we have never celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. Usually, these celebrations are organized by organizations such as the PTO, and we do not have a PTO. This always made me sad and more than a little bit jealous when I would log onto Twitter for a straight week to see all the amazing gifts and free food and sweet notes that teachers across the country were receiving each day.

I would think to myself that my school was the ONLY school not celebrating. Of course, I know this is not true. I saw enough twitter comments last week to realize that I was definitely not the only teacher feeling this way. A few years ago, I decided to do something about the fact that our school didn't celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. As a single teacher, I can't do much, but I can do something. In 2015, we wrote Teacher Appreciation Acrostic Poems. In 2016, we wrote "You Are Appreciated" Notes. In 2017, we wrote about our favorite memories in each teacher's class and compiled them into small booklets of appreciation.

As Teacher Appreciation Week rolled around this year, I didn't feel like I should go the typical route of notes written to teachers since I already did that for Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day! So, I decided we needed to change things up with superlative certificates.

I did a lot of googling and compiled a list of superlatives for my students to vote on.

Most Likely to Break Out in Song and Dance
Most Artistic
Best Smile
Most Inspiring
Most Quoteable
Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Student
Most Likely to Accidentally Be Called Mom/Dad
Best Taste in Music
Most Likely to Not Give Homework
Most Likely to Brighten Your Day
Most Likely to Become President
Most Organized
Most Caffeinated
Most Energetic
Best Personality
Most Memorable
Most Supportive
Best Dressed
Most School Spirit
Best Story Teller
Most Likely to Create World Peace
Most Enthusiastic
Most Friendly
Best Advice Giver
Most Likely to Win a Rap Battle
Most Likely to Travel the World
Most Likely to Win Jeopardy
Most Likely to Make it on the Big Screen
Most Likely to Bring a Pet to School

Students were given a voting sheet to vote on each of these 30 categories. I also gave them a list of the 24 teachers/staff members who work in our building. Students were required to vote for each person in the building at least once.

If you work in a bigger school, it might not be feasible to give every teacher an award. But, knowing that this was likely to be the only thing my school did at all for teacher appreciation, I knew that everyone needed to be given an award. This means that everyone from teachers to janitors to the principal were nominated.

After the students submitted their votes, I tallied up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each category. Some teachers won multiple categories, so I gave some of those categories to the 2nd or 3rd place winner. I wasn't sure if it was going to work out while tallying the votes, but each staff member did end up getting a superlative award!

After figuring out who won what, I typed up certificates to be hung by each person's door to their classroom/office. I'm not sure exactly how much the teachers appreciated the certificates since only one teacher sought me out to say "Thank you." Of course, many of the teachers likely had no idea where the certificates even came from. I didn't do this to get any appreciation from my coworkers; instead, I did this with the hopes that I could do something to brighten their day.

Even if I don't know what my coworkers necessarily thought, the students LOVED it! I heard so many conversations in the halls about which teacher won which award. They talked about it ALL WEEK. So I definitely think this year's Teacher Appreciation activity was a hit!

Want the file for the certificate I created, I have uploaded it here. You will need Publisher to edit the file. Additionally, you will need to make sure you have the following fonts downloaded: HVD Comic Serif Pro, Century Gothic, and Folks.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday Must Reads: Volume 42

I can't believe that the last Monday of the school year is finally here. We have semester tests today and tomorrow followed by a professional day on Wednesday. Then, the 2017-2018 school year is officially OVER! This means I can finally start thinking about ideas for the classes I'll be teaching next year: Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus! So, if you have any great ideas for teaching those two classes, send them my way!

Here's my round-up of must-reads from the past week of Twitter.

Megan Hayes-Golding impresses with a 3-D printed roller coaster. I really wish my school had 3-D printing capabilities.

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James Cleveland shares a image that will boggle your brain.

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I'm not entirely sure what a hyperbolic quadric is, but David Butler's creation of one from fishing line is super impressive!

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Jae Ess shares some great strategies to get students engaged in self-reflection.

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Amber Longhi shares a great starter for completing the square.

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Angie Daughtrey's idea of creating an art gallery with her AP Calculus students is brilliant!

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Mark Kaercher shares some more 3-D printed awesomeness with step by step directions.

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Check out these drawings from the students of Gary Chu!

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Check out these polar/parametric mazes from the students of Kim Spek.

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Also from Kim, check out how she used parametric equations for a beautiful sewing project!

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Molly Hamilton's idea of using clipboards for posting the 5-4-3-2-1 Challenge is brilliant. This lets her change out the answer sheets between classes. LOVE it!

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Michelle Pavlovsky shares an auction she created for proportional relationships.

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Tall Tal shares a great probability prompt.

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Ed Southall shares an image to make you and your students go hmmm...

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Jay Chow demonstrates how to make the best of an unfortunate situation.

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Kathy Henderson inspires with her use of puzzles to get students solving problems alongside their grandparents! Want to get your hands on these puzzles for your own classroom? You can download them all for free here.

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Until next week, keep sharing your awesome ideas!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Five Things Friday: Volume 18

To celebrate the last Friday of the school year (not that I'm counting down or anything!), here are five things we've been up to lately in my classroom.

1. We made ice cream in a bag as our last lab of the year in Chemistry. My students were pretty skeptical that the process would actually result in ice cream, and they were pleasantly surprised as a result. One student brought in M&M's and Heath bits as topping. Super yummy!

Here's our recipe if you're interested:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla

Squish together in a ziploc bag. Put bag in larger bag (or in our case a plastic tub) with ice and salt. Shake 10-15 minutes until ice cream hardens.

During the shaking/waiting process, we had a discussion about freezing point depression and the chemistry of ice cream making since we didn't actually get to that chapter this year.

My algebra classes were super jealous that they didn't get to make ice cream as well!

2. Thanks to all the events that seem to be scheduled for the last full week of school, attendance has been all over the place. As a result, I decided to pull out some of the games from my filing cabinet that this year's class has not had a chance to see yet. One of those games was Manifest by Frank Tapson. The math is super simple because it only relies on a knowledge of place value and comparing numbers. But discovering a strategy to win the game can take some trial and error!

3. We also played a few rounds of Quadrum. This is a micro game that I discovered via Twitter earlier this year. It was created by a game company in Australia and originally sold through a Kickstarter campaign. I purchased a pdf version of the game to print myself for $2 AUD on Veldi Games' website. I've been meaning to write a full post about this game with a thorough review, but I just haven't gotten around to it. The game only has 24 cards, so the rounds are relatively quick.

4. Another favorite from last year that got pulled out of the filing cabinet was Cover Up by Frank Tapson. Kids always really like this one because it involves rolling dice! It was a great follow-up to a few games of Blocko that we played earlier in the week! The natural conversations occurring about probability were awesome!

5. My chemistry students tackled the game of Izzi (affiliate link) one day when the majority of the class was missing due to Senior Tea plus some other event that I can't even remember now. My students remain unconvinced that there could be almost a zillion solutions.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Student Solutions for Acrobats, Grandmas, and Ivan Task

Earlier this year, I blogged about using the Acrobats, Grandmas, and Ivan task from Marilyn Burns to kick-off systems of equations. Someone asked if I could share some student responses, so I took a bunch of photos. Then, I kinda forgot about the photos and even forgot about who asked for the photos. Oops..

Anywho, if you're the type of person interested in analyzing student work, this is the post for you. If not, you might want to skip this post and come back tomorrow for something different. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of approaches that my students ended up taking.