December 11, 2013

Algebra 1: Unit 1

Yes this was from back in August--September. I'm just now getting to it. Kind of... Alright, full disclosure, I don't love some of the things in my Algebra 1 interactive notebook this year. I feel like I could have done better and they're sub-par from time to time. But I guess that's the reality of teaching. I'm glad I'm looking at myself and my profession critically. That's a positive way to approach it, right? :)  I have gone back and forth so many times about sharing these pages or not. I don't love them. They're not life-changing. Oh well. Sometimes that's the best we've got, right? I decided to go ahead and share these because I like when other teachers share their not-so-brilliant moments. It makes me feel more okay about mine, ya know?

Without further ado...

We started Unit 1 refreshing some accelerated 7th grade ideas of sampling, biased data, and representing data. We did a Lucky Charms investigation. Yours is HERE if you want a copy.

We discussed the ideas of more precision with larger samples, random vs. biased, relative frequency, precision in plotting, and estimating predictions. We then recorded all of our heights and shoe sizes, separated by boys and girls.

The "Our Data" page flips open so that when you turn to other pages of the notebook the data is still visible. This came in handy when we created dot plots, box plots, and histograms on the next pages. It's also getting ready to come in handy again when we use this same data to talk about correlation, scatter plots, lines of best fit, and residuals in Unit 5.

Here's our plots on the next page. See... super handy that students could see the data and also these pages at the same time. Saved lots of time and headaches not flipping back and forth and losing our place over and over.

We then did a Standard Deviation Investigation.

Yours is HERE if you want a copy.

We summarized in our notebook and complete the practice pages that are taped in. I don't remember exactly where I got the practice page, possibly Teachers Pay Teachers. Or maybe a blog link through Twitter. I'm so sorry to whoever deserves credit for the practice activity. It's about five different cars and fuel efficiency. If it's your activity please leave a comment or email me, I'd love to give you credit!

We also did a couple days on Two-Way Tables but I didn't do notebook pages on them. Can you tell I love them? Ha! **oozes sarcasm**
If you want either Investigation or Homework, they are linked.

Lastly we wrapped up by summarizing vocabulary. I don't usually devote much page space to vocabulary since students build a glossary at the end of their notebooks, but this unit was just too vocab-rich to avoid it. Students referenced this more often than I thought and it has proven useful.

Well, there you have it. My Algebra 1 Unit 1 that I don't completely love.

This is definitely a unit that I'd LOVE to see how you approach these topics; I need some new ideas!

December 5, 2013

8th Grade Math: Units 3 and 4

Here is a picture dump! I'll try to compile a list of original resources that I borrowed from and then share what I can. But for now, a pictographic story of my interactive notebook for units 3 and 4.

I have added a few, quick notes about particular times under the photos.

The "Remember on my Retest" pages is a blank organizer that lists each objective on our test. Students fill out reminders to themselves about what to study as they make corrections to their original test. For more on retesting my classroom, see my post here.

The large, block letters on the right side of the page were a coloring activity. Students colored it just like a coloring book - in 8th grade. Yep... most of them loved it!!

The picture below is the "from points/from a graph" foldable open.

The cards on the right were a matching activity. Students worked to match a graph, table of values, equation, slope value, and y-intercept value. They stapled their matches all together and taped them in.

 --card sorting activity--

Desmos investigation. More info can be found here.

Students wrote their names in block letters and identified the types of slope for each section of their names.

The inside of the slope foldable is shown below.

The above was a small matching activity. Some of the graphs and scenarios were lose and students had to match them to the ones already given. It really made them look at and examine axes.

That's all for now!! :)

Here are all the files. There are TONS since we did a lot of pages and a lot in class. I've included all the editable word/publisher files as well as the pdf version to preserve formatting and fonts. Use whatever you want! 

November 30, 2013


I really want to fully implement standards-based grading. Here is my current level of retesting and mastery.

My current hangups that I'd love help/feedback with:

  1. What does the classroom flow like? feel like? Are there many students working on many different things? How is this managed? Planned for?
  2. How do I meld SBG with common core investigations? I love using Mathalicious, Yummy Math, and similar uses of relevant mathematics, but how do these combine with very static assessment. At least SBG currently seems static/procedural to me...
A few current thoughts on #2: Just thinking out loud here as I type... Could I give students a large list of all standards to be accomplished throughout the year at the very beginning (overwhelming?) and then hit multiple topics as I worked through relevant investigations. 
For example, we do a Mathalicious lesson and discuss the individual components. Students then take a short quiz over procedural knowledge and this relates to their SBG progress. All students would continue with all investigations/discoveries/activities throughout the year but only complete quiz questions for the sections they have not mastered yet? 

Like I said, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE your feedback about this. What has worked for you? Flopped? Thanks in advance...

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November 19, 2013

Desmos Investigation

Remember this tweet? From November 6th? Gulp...two sorry!

Better late than never?? :) Right??

Background: We have been doing a lot tasks and investigations that form linear functions, the kiddos just don't know that's what they're called yet. They think we're just saving money, changing temperature, renting ATV's etc. They were catching on about constant rate of change and initial values, though, and we started writing equations and drawing graphs that represented our scenarios...

Then, I did this one day.

Students set up their interactive notes pages like this...

Then they paired up with a partner and got a laptop.
I gave each group the following directions:

Glorious and wonderful mathematical investigation followed...

We then debriefed as a class. 
The ideas of slope, y-intercept, slope-intercept form, horizontal lines, and vertical lines all came together wonderfully!! I even had at least one student in each class that remarked something similar to "I can't make a vertical line because it isn't a function, right?" Oh yes, dear child, you are right. 
Thank you for making this math teachers day!!!! :) 

What is your favorite use of Desmos so far???? Please share!

Desmos Piecewise Project

This has been my favorite project for two years now! I have reserved the computer lab for an entire week each time and let the students show their skills!

is the project overview I give students about a month before we go to the lab. They complete their sketch on graph paper and record their functions with domain constraints. I tell them that once we get to the lab they need all the time they can get to input functions into Desmos and mess with colors. Inevitably they also have to tweak some functions to make it work. If most of their ideas are already on paper it makes the week go much more smoothly.

They work so hard writing functions of all kinds, not just limited to our Algebra 1 skill base. I have students independently researching conics, logarithmic functions, and working so hard to make their details perfect. I have printed these in color both years and put them down the hallway.
Best comment of last spring: "I didn't know algebra could be that cool!!!"

Here are some awesome student works:

Gah...8th graders!!! Love them!!!!