Dividing Daredevils

With my regular geometry class, I wanted to have an activity that they can get started with right way on the first day of school. I came up with them dividing shapes into similar figures using this worksheet below:

I think some students will divide into four congruent shapes while others will divide into four similar shapes. It can generate discussion about what the difference is and motivate some discussion on how these will be two huge concepts for the rest of the year.

Enjoy your remaining summer while it lasts!

Scatterplot Suspense

I have been thinking what I want my first days of school to be like and I want to know where my Algebra II students are in terms of how they are feeling about math. Since we talk about scatterplots and how to interpret them, I thought it might be interesting to put up the following grid on the board on the first day:

2z. Graph Yourself Picture

I will give each student a sticker (I was going to have them use their name but then I figured that this way I can keep it kind of anonymous) and have them paste it up where they feel they align.

I think this could work really well

  • I can learn how the class feels about mathematics in a general sense
  • I can incorporate our scatterplot intro in the beginning of the year with a real activity
  • I think students would be willing to discuss when I ask a question like “how many people think math is easy in this classroom?”

I like low-entry first day activities for algebra like this to get kids discussing and then hopefully change their opinions by the end of the year!

Helpful Highlighting

I have been thinking about what I want my first day of classes to look like (I can’t believe it is less than a month away!) and I found a card sort online that I have modified into a worksheet. I already have other activities planned as well for the first day of Algebra II (School Fever!) but then I am going to have students work in partners on some graphs. I am going to have them highlight what they think is the correct graph in the situation and I am not really going to be helpful. I want them working together, figuring out how to work with a partner, and take chances. I want every student to have a highlighter so when if they mess up, they CANNOT erase! I think it is important on the first day of school to let them know that making mistakes is okay and I expect them. I want to focus on praising them for their thinking. I also like that I can have students start using the model types we talk about on day one and get used to using math vocabulary.

You may have seen this somewhere else as a card sort (honestly can’t remember where I got this from so I can’t give credit) but here is my version that I am going to use on my first day with my Algebra II students:

Homework Helper

As I am slowly starting to look through files from last year, I found this worksheet a colleague made that I thought was really great. Students had to check their homework answers by matching them up with the corresponding problem number. This happened to be on properties of exponents but I am sure you could use this for many other assignments. When students did not find a match, it opened up an opportunity for discussion and working with each other ensued. It is getting me to think about how I need to vary checking in the homework every day and do a better job at that this year instead of my standard walk around the room and look at it approach. I actually like my standard approach but I wonder what I miss out on learning from my students if I were to mix it up and try collecting a problem or two every once and awhile, give a homework quiz, etc.

Here is the document so you can see what I am talking about. Do you have a different way to assess homework? I would love to hear it.

Super Survey

At the end of the school year, I always give my students a survey to hear their thoughts about what they liked about our class and what the disliked. I tell them to be honest (they don’t even have to put their name on it) and I always get some really useful feedback.

I was reading some of their thoughts and I was really amazed that I stuck with doing an opener almost every day when the students walked in for some consistency and many of them said that it really helped! A few said that we should break away from that once in a while (even though I know I did but maybe not apparent enough or needs to happen more often).

I have put the survey I used this year below. I would be curious to know if anyone else uses something like this or maybe has better questions I should be asking? I kind of like that is open-ended for them. I am thinking of trying maybe some smaller ones at the end of the quarter to maybe get some more feedback and try to make some changes during the school year too.

Eggcelent Engagement

In order to force myself to blog once a week, I may just pick random things to blog about and I have decided that this is okay since it is my blog and I can do whatever I want right?

One of my favorite units is Probability. I like that it appears really easy and then can crush your soul as you try to figure them out…okay I don’t actually like that part but I do love playing games to figure things out! One activity that we did in class, that turned out to be a huge success, was to watch a Jimmy Fallon video. We watched this one where he plays egg roulette with Bradley Cooper: Jimmy Fallon Egg Roulette

Before I had covered the words and/or I had them watch parts of this and I kept pausing the video asking them what questions they had and then also had them answer questions I had. These include but not limited to:

  • How many eggs are there right now?
  • What is the probability of success (we defined success to be not getting yolk in your face)
  • What is the probability of failure (great way to introduce these terms to because it made sense to the students which one was which and they came up with it on their own!)
  • What is the probability Jimmy smashes an egg on his head? Does it matter what previously happened?

It was interesting that some of my students still struggled initially with the fact that the probability of success changed throughout and didn’t stay constant. Answers like karma or he is on a lucky streak popped up and we talked about the validity of those types of things. All of this even spring-boarded us into the concept of replacement vs. non-replacement with things like a bag of marbles and the probability of drawing one. Students for the next week kept saying things like “This is just like the Jimmy Fallon video so we subtract one each time.”

It was great that one video got them so engaged, interested in the subject, cleared up some misconceptions, and helped motivate some of our other topics. I swear it felt like it took half the class period to watch this video with my stopping to ask questions and facilitate discussion but I know it was totally worth it! I knew watching Jimmy Fallon was going to be good for something! Thanks Jimmy…you rock!

Krazy Kahoot

I now put it in my calendar to blog with an alarm….I am really going to try and stick with this once a week…

Since it is Summer I figured I should start the blogging thing again and I found this post sitting in my drafts. I also had another teacher ask me when I was going to post something again because they thought I was helpful….CRAZY! Now I have to blog again if it makes a difference only for one person (even if that person is me). Anyways….

Kahoot has been this crazy phenomenon at my school. The world language teachers started this trend and then it seemed like my whole school jumped on the bandwagon. In case you never heard of or used Kahoot, it is an application that the students all sign into on their phones or computers or ipads or whatever. As the teacher, I create multiple choice questions with answers and they have to choose the answer. The questions are projected on the board and they just choose their answers on their phone. The students who answer correct earn points. Here is the craziest thing about it and causes mayhem when playing: the faster you are, the more points you earn. Now, I am usually not about speed in mathematics but their are a few things I can see this being good for but first…

A typical classroom day using this looks like following:

1. Me: We are going to do a Kahoot today. Students: YAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

2. Students pull out phones and put in their names. (I make them put their initials and then whatever bizarre name they want. Nothing inappropriate or we don’t play….unfortunately that has happened before.)

3. Question # 1 appears on the screen and the kids all punch in the answer.

4. They see the leaderboard (top 5 people appears after every answer) and get excited and even more competitive.

5. This continues until the end and they ask if we can play it again….which makes no sense since they all know the answers now.

 

I did this with exponential growth and decay functions with some basic equations and identifying things like percent increase, start value, etc. You can use the quiz if you follow this link: https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/3e1b8673-47b4-40ea-a412-60d944cfb039 (Note: I have random questions like my favorite pop thrown in so you might want to update that)

If you have never used kahoot you should go to  https://getkahoot.com/ and try it out. Then you can snag mine and use it or make your own. You can also search for lots of other ones teachers have made and modify to your hearts content. It is pretty fun when you are looking for a quick activity and you want to just test if students can recall. Don’t expect to ask hard-hitting questions here or kids will just quickly answer to see if they can be first and not try the problem (learned that the hard way).