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:

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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!