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:

Lucky Lottery

One of my favorite go-to activities is to do a lottery in class because it has my favorite elements…

  1. Students have fun and enjoy doing it
  2. Students work at their own pace and it is okay if Susie finishes first…goal is learning
  3. Students get to check their answers and receive feedback
  4. I get to see where their level of understanding is at

Basic Premise: Students complete a worksheet. After they complete x amount of problems, they get it checked by me. If they get it correct, they get an entry into the lottery.

Setup: Before class starts, I put up numbers 1-100 on the board with enough spacing so students can write their names. Before class, I also use some worksheet that has enough problems for students to practice what we are learning. 10 usually seems to be sufficient. I also decide if I want them to go solo or work with a partner.

During The Activity: Students will complete a problem(s) in any order they like. Once they get a set of problems completed, they must come up and show me (I am usually sitting near the board with the numbers but off to the side an out of the way). If they are incorrect, I may simply say “Try again” or provide some guidance…depends on the student of course and whether or not they have a partner, etc. If they get it write, I either stamp it, sign it with my initials, etc. to verify they got it correct. The student gets to go to the board and pick any number they want and put their name next to that number. Students continue doing this for as long as you deem productive. (Make sure you let them know when their are a few minutes left or they will be mad they didn’t get a chance to get one more name down). Then, after time is over, I use a random number generator (ti-nspire on the board so they know I am not cheating) and pick something from 1-100 (if you need more than 100 i tell students to put up 101, then 102, etc. for as many more as we need…but they don’t get to pick anymore just whatever comes next). I usually have some lame prize (eraser) to something amazing (extra credit, high-five from me). Make it whatever you want!

Below is a worksheet I used recently with this when practice exponent notation and some basic function operations with my lower-level Algebra II students. They had a blast and worked really hard. Such an easy thing that doesn’t require much set-up! Also, below is a picture of part of one of my boards with the students names on it. Let me know if you try it and how it goes!

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