So I ended up adding more back to my INB on equations, especially after their quiz results from Friday! Look a different note sheet that says the same thing! Maybe the will listen if I say the same thing 100 different ways! :)
So then we did some word problem practice!
And these were the bellwork problems and how we solved them! The second pictures shows whether you move the variable to the left or right side (preferably the left) if you follow the steps you will still get the right answer!
I love my interactive notebook, I really do. But sometimes I think we can have soon many foldables and colorful notes that it really distracts from what we are trying to accomplish and sometimes wastes time. This coming from someone who love the color and the activity of the notebook but sometimes, sometimes it's just too much.
Equations is a place where I feel that way. I love having tons of steps and I found tons of amazing foldables with multiple pages and steps. However, at the end of the day, I really just want my kids to remember 5 steps. I think, if we think of GEMDAS instead of PEMDAS and think of parenthesis as operations below the vinculum as well as those with other grouping symbols, that 5 steps are really all we need. Sometimes you will need to complete all 5, and with utilizing order of operations the procedure may take more than 5 steps total, but sometimes like with one step equations you may only need to complete the last step. I'm sure this idea will evolve over the years as I teach, but as I find myself contemplating more foldables for this section I keep coming back to the fact that I really want to KISS it - keep it simple, stupid! :)
So sometimes I will write a nice long blog post but sometimes I'm just trying to get my pictures caught up for my kiddos to make sure their notebooks are current with class..... this is one of those posts! The Fraction foldable did not come from the Math Equals Love blog - one of my amazing team members found it so I'm not really sure where it came from but enjoy!
We've all heard and been taught "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" when it comes to learning order of operations. And while that may work in elementary school, it starts to get a little more difficult in Algebra and beyond when students remember the saying but not the logic behind the steps.
Sarah Carter (was Hagan but she got married) does an amazing job with posters and explaining concepts. So I loved her explanation here of using GEMDAS so I am utilizing this in my classroom. The walls have GEMDAS just as her blog shows and we completed a page in our INB where we discussed the logic and reasoning behind the steps!
So I know most would assume that by 9th grade a number line is no longer needed. And that's fine make your assumptions, however it still is. As we work with positive and negative integers I find that my students very much struggle with how to reconcile these problems in their heads. I had read on Sarah Hagan's blog about using the number line last year and then at a PD (Professional Development) this summer, I was convinced that this was something I needed in my classroom. So my dear, sweet momma put my number line up in my room after working all night one night helping mommas with their new babies. It's a little crooked but but every time I look at it, I am thankful to have a family to support me and my classroom.
Anyways, I digress. I have not yet included the number line for my kiddos in their notebooks, I need paper and keep forgetting to get it. But I did include instructions on how to use the number line. We talked about how to use the number line when solving their problems and how there is no shame in using the tools that are available to them. The only shame comes when you don't use those tools and don't succeed because of it (we talk a lot about life and overcoming obstacles in my class as well!).
We also worked on Integer Operations. And this is the area where I see my kids struggle the most and my biggest reason for using the number lines. Adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers seems to be a huge struggle so I'm hoping by reviewing this at the beginning of the year instead of next week after we struggle thru equations will help!
Yes, I understand I'm teaching freshman and that coloring and cutting and glue sticks are usually reserved for elementary school buuuuuuutttttttt, WHY CAN'T MATH BE FUN?
We had sooo much fun this past Friday as the "Broke The Code" in a completely interactive game day based upon the Breakout Games. That to me is what math should be like - problem solving, logical thinking etc. So I like to color and have fun in my class.
Now that hat being said, I truly believe in the INB as a tool that we are building for student success. Not just in my class but possibly the rest of high school and into college. So breakout the glue sticks because here we go!
Below is an example of what my students did today. Files are predominantly available thru Sarah Hagan's Math Equals Love blog as she is phenomenal and I follow her religiously!
Some of this didn't come from Sarah's blog (usually if it's not as pretty, it's mine!) but most of it did. She does an amazing job of explaining it all. If I have a chance I will try to explain how I use it if differently!
Students/parents - we build these in class and extra papers are available in the make up work bin should students be missing a page!!!
Ok, I couldn't help myself! Every time I say this I have to sing it and sometimes I get side tracked singing the rest of the song - it's a problem, I know.
Anyways, its that time of year when all of the kids are getting back into a routine and getting back to school. In our home, and in my classroom, that means I need routines and checklists. I've got 3 kids plus a high school exchange student and 3 of the 4 are involved in at least 1 after school activity. Which means my husband and I are outnumbered physically and with vehicles. Not to mention he and I are involved in church, both still attending school, etc. So staying organized and having the kids help around the house we have found is VITAL to our sanity and marriage.
I got these calendars off of Amazon and right now they are giving some order to my crazy life. I've color coded them by kids and or activity - in fact I screwed them up at first and Rose made me go back and update them so that they were matching the way that they were supposed to.
You can find the monthly calendar here , the weekly calendar here, and the meal planning one here. I don't get paid for mentioning these, I just love them!
The other thing that we have found that helped save our sanity and keep the house clean over the past year was our kids chore charts! This really was helpful as our first bonus daughter joined us and set a great example for the kids on what needed to be done. Dividing the home into zones also was amazingly helpful because then I just really needed to remember who had which zone and not the specific zones.
Here is the editable link to the files - click here - I laminated them so that I could use a dry erase marker for the kids to mark off as complete. My older child, in green, has less because they don't have to be reminded to do simple tasks like brush their teeth and hair. On the subject of allowances, they don't get them for doing what's on their checklists or in their zone - that's just part of being in our household. If they want allowance, they have to do something from the Extra Chores list. My pink and blue charts are for 9 and 7 year olds and the youngest doesn't have one yet - it will come this next year!
Questions? Let me know!
The other day we went up to my classroom to start getting it prepared for this year's incoming freshman. All three kids joined me - I know, crazy right?
And while at times it absolutely was chaos, I love having my kids with me while I'm working. I love that they want to help (or at least help by their terms) and see how hard I work. And not just me, they've watched for years how hard their Daddy works when we would go to check the sports fields at EKU on the weekends or took him food on Sunday afternoons as he worked softball games. But while I worked at Lockheed they never were able to come work with me.
I want to instill in them a sense of hard work and pride in their work, I think seeing both of their parents work at their job is important to do that!
Rose wanted to make a sign to welcome my new freshmen so that is the picture you see below - she worked a good while on it and came up with the design, wording and supplies herself! She loves to help me grade papers (Bugs enjoys sorting a little more and pray just wants to color things and spin in my chair) and brainstorming ways to teach my kids different concepts. What do you do to instill in your kids a knowledge of how hard you work to provide for them?
The classroom isn't ready for pictures yet but it will look much different from last year and I promise to post when ready!
Ok, being completely honest, raise your hand if you freak out just a little when given a little more complex math problem..... nobody? Just me? Liars.... and I even teach the subject!
This summer I had the privilege of going to a professional development (PD) that helped us look at teaching math in a different way as well gave us an overview of the the Gear Up program.
Being honest, when I sat at the table the first day and we talked about theories and teaching styles and class room management I was good. Okay well maybe frustrated because we can't measure problem solving skills and life situational skills on a standardized test like the ACT but that is a whole different conversation, but I enjoyed those discussions. I felt comfortable and felt like I could contribute.
Then in the afternoon, the math problem came out.....and I kind of wanted to puke. My stomach started churning and I started breaking down and "I can't do this" just like most of my kids do. That initial reaction that we have been conditioned to give is one of FEAR - which I was taught long ago is just False Evidence Appearing Real. And besides what was I afraid of? Failing? I can't fail a training. But it doesn't change the fact that the condition response is the same (thanks Pavlov).
So I tried to really pretend that I was a kid in my classroom and think about what I would tell them to do. I would first ask them where their notes where (Ha! Jokes on my I didn't have notes because I was at a training where I should know how to do everything!), and then I would challenge them to break the problem apart into pieces that they did know.
After a couple of minutes, the sweating calmed down and my stomach stopped churning and my anxiety eased - I knew how to do this! We did a whole section on it last year and it was one of my favorite sections! Why was I freaking out?
But that my friends is exactly what 99% of my kids do every day in class, except they give up before even starting. They don't think thru problem solving skills to solve in different ways and that is an essential skill that they need in life! Every issue or problem that we have in life does not have the exact same steps to resolution as the previous one - they have to be able to think outside the box!
This was outside of the box and problem solving thinking was conceptualized a little better for me one evening when I went to move some stuff into my classroom after a day of training. As you see below, I had a laundry basket (which was loaded down with reams of paper, and I mean heavy reams) and an organizer that I need to carry up stairs to my classroom......and it was about to rain. So I needed to quickly get these inside and upstairs without breaking my back. I looked for a cart to no avail and thought "what am I going to do?"
Then I saw the trash can! Some quick questimation told me that the laundry basket would fit across the top with out failing in and viola! I had a cart and I can take it up the elevator! Once I did this I thought? I wonder how many of my kids would have just carried these items upstairs, making several trips, instead of figuring out a more effective and efficient solution? There was no step by step process to tell me when you don't have a cart, look and try these other solutions. No it was outside the box and critical thinking skills that are super necessary but hard to quantify that we need to me teaching in the classroom!
Everyone thought I was crazy leaving me job and coming to teach math to Freshman....and I have to admit, I was afraid they may be right. I dreamt about what the hardest parts would be of this new adventure and how I would react and handle them.
I thought the hardest part would be dealing with your attitudes.
Sometimes it was, especially at the beginning of the year. You came in with chips on your shoulders bigger than Mt. Everest. Some of you had something to prove - that you were better than me and all of those around you. Some of you were proving that you were just worth something at all because that is not the message you received at home. All of you proved to be amazing kids - funny, sarcastic, smart, witty, kind, caring, and I would not trade your attitudes for anything in this world.
I thought the hardest part would be keeping you focused.
Let's be honest - you are freshman and most of you have the attention span that lasts through a 30 second Snapchat. So I know at times taking notes or working on worksheets or whatever activity I had planned required every bit of attention and focus that you had....and even then sometimes bribery by candy or promised cookies was involved. But most of you realized that everything we were doing was to help you, and by Christmas most of you bought in and buckled down to get where you needed to be in this class. Doesn't mean we still did not enjoy our random videos and off-topic conversations at times because let's be fair Algebra is hard for any of us to focus on all the time!
I thought the hardest part would be discipline.
At the beginning of the year, I was worried. Some of you challenged everything - CONSTANTLY! In the first couple of weeks, there were almost 5 fights in my classroom - I was afraid I would go home with some serious injury before mid-term. In addition to that, I cannot imagine acting the way or saying some of the things that some of you did this year....most who acted this way are no longer with us (and if truth is told, I still miss them too). Some of you still don't realize at times the words that come out of your mouth or how inappropriate a topic may be or how the eye-rolls and snickers can hurt me too, but that's okay I'm a big girl with big shoulders to carry that weight on. Some of the way that you act comes from the examples that you see at home but you guys are old enough now to know that there is a different path that you can choose to take. Learn from those positive influences in your life to make different choices - I hope that I have been one of those influences.
"Circumstance may dictate where you start, but determination decides where you finish."
I thought the hardest part would be teaching you Algebra.
While at times this was not the easiest, I taught the way that broke down the information into the simplest of possible terms to help you understand. I researched online resources and found a plethora of tools to attempt to make the subject mildly interesting. And for the most part, some of you tell me I succeeded. I hoped for mild success this year, being my first year teaching, much less teaching Algebra, but I have overwhelmingly been told that I'm the best math teacher you've ever had. I'm told the two main reasons are because I made the information easy to understand (once you decided to pay attention and take notes) and because I cared. If nothing else I hope that you learned this year that I do care about you and always will...
I thought the hardest part would be making you care.
Care about math, care about school, care about each other, care about life in general - care about anything other than the drama that can swirl around you and what someone else's opinion of you may be. Over and over again, I tried to show you where you may use some of the skills that you gained in this class.... fair enough, I never found a good example for polynomials and quadratics. But at least the problem solving and logical thinking skills I think most of you finally understood and care why these skills may be important through out life. Some of you came to my class and maybe learned more about how to deal with life than how to solve an equation. And while I wish that you could have done both, if you stay persistent and don't give up you will master the math part next year....as long as you care enough to do so. Several of you I know care because you'd taken the time to ask about a classmate that you may not have known at the beginning of the year or shown your partner at your desk how to walk through a problem to make sure that they succeeded as well.
I'm so stinking proud of you guys for stepping outside of yourself and caring about others and the world around you.
The hardest part by far is saying good-bye.....
And now the tears begin rolling...
I have only cried twice this year, even though I was told as a new teacher I would cry daily (I promise, if this is your passion you won't!), and both times were as I had to say good bye to students who I was not sure if they were moving on to better places. You see, we see a lot that you maybe don't think we as teachers see. We hear a lot that you don't think that we hear. We know a lot of what goes on in your lives whether you realize it or not and our hearts ache and break for you - at least I know mine does. My mom was worried that as I came into teaching, I would want to save you all and that it would break my heart when I couldn't. Well I do want to save you all and it does break my heart to hear and know some of the things about your lives that I do, but I also know that someone swooping in and saving you all the time is not the answer. Life is hard and trust me, it gets harder, and you need to learn skills in order to survive and succeed. That is why I want a year with you to teach you those life-skills (and Algebra) and those that left too soon I'm not sure that they got it. Even those of you leaving now, I'm not sure if you are ready and that scares me to no end. But I have to send you out and on and know in my heart of hearts that I have given you all the tools to make your masterpieces, it is up to you to decide what to make of them.
Today my make-up is on lightly because the tears have started already - I will miss you guys so much. You cannot know the impact that you have had on me and the ways that you have changed me to become a better teacher and person and I hope that maybe in some small way I have made the same difference to you.