This post is going to be more or less a notes dump - so sorry! Once again I get all this greatness from MathEqualsLove Blog and Sarah Hagan - she is amazing!!! Notes and examples are pretty self-explanatory so pictures in order will follow! The kids thought it was super easy until the variables were added in the last two pictures - but after some more practice they will be fine!
For those of you that have no idea of what I'm talking about, here is the throwback to the Marcia, Marcia, Marcia episode!
But I digress....
So we have introduced factoring polynomials this week. Fun times, right?
I have come to realize that one of the key pieces of knowing how to factor polynomials is to know how to factor. And my kids struggle tremendously with their times tables. (I did not go the route of allowing them a times table chart in their notebooks this year but may consider it next year!)
So today I stumbled upon a somewhat fun what to prove my point that they didn't know factors or times tables at Middle School Math Moments blog. She has come up with the Factor Game, which she details on her site and we used it today in a coupe of classes. We played Ya'll (the class) versus Me, which was interesting and I was told rigged, etc. etc. etc.
But one of my classes after a near miss of 409 to 410 in the picture below they finally beat me on the next round! It was fun to engage with some of them in this manner!
So my kids love my baking for some reason.... I'd like to think that I'm not a bad cook so it warms my heart that they enjoy it!
One of the things that I have done more of this semester is setting goals for them to reach, as a class, for their assessments. In doing so, they are rewarded. As a poor teacher and mother of 4, I'm trying to keep the rewards in line with what I can afford.... so cookies it is! Although Bodie would argue that our grocery bill has increased dramatically as my kids test scores have continued to be higher and higher!
The favorite cookie, and most requested cookie, is my Grandma Jane's No-Bake Cookies. These have been a childhood favorite of mine that combine two of my favorite things - chocolate and peanut butter.......mmmmmmm.
So several of my kids have asked for the cookie recipe so it is linked here!
This is what my kitchen table looked like after one of their most recent quizzes!!! #proudteacher
It sounded fun okay?
This was a topic I always remembered enjoying in school because like so much else of math, if you just follow the steps or rules you can get to the correct answer!
So here are the pages from our Notebooks today (or that we will be getting this week)! Mostly stolen from Math='sLove blog (I love her to pieces!) and some homemade myself!
Using specific mathematics vocabulary is not something that I do well. So it's something that I have really focused on this year because I want these kids to hear and see the words that is specific to math that way as they progress throughout school it will not be so intimidating to them.
I loved the way that this broke down the world "polynomial" and described it using examples and non-examples.
I loved this poof book! I kind of wish that we had done something like this at the begin in of the year (as far as the underlining of terms and identifying the coefficients and constants!) I think some of the kids could have really used the visual and it's something that I want to try to integrate next year.
I made this one up and need to add some more examples of like terms. The kids really seemed to struggle with this so we may do a matching activity Monday.
I puffy heart love this box method!!!!! I'd never seen it before - I always have used the old school FOIL method - and this is sooooo much more simpler! The kids are struggling with the fact that you don't add exponents when you are adding the terms of polynomials (we just covered exponents where they were multiplying/adding exponents) so will need to follow back up with this next week as well!
All in all I love having these notes! If you haven't checked out Sarah Hagan's Math='s Love blog (linked on the audio all blog resources page) you need to! She's amazing!!!
This past Thursday a student sat beside me working on a quiz as I led the rest of the class through adding notes to our interactive notebook (INB). This was all done through the ELMO (which for those of you who don't know what that is - don't worry I didn't either until I got back into education - it's a fancy technologically advanced overhead projector :) ), so the kids were following me step-by-step as we created our notes.
Well my good friend taking his test noticed that I was following someone else step-by-step on my computer and asked "Mrs. Snell, are you cheating?"
Below is a picture of Math = Love's blog post on exponents that I was working from!
My response was "Nope, I'm using my resources wisely!" and he seemed content with that. You see I have on my white board a place called "Resource Bank" and underneath of the heading are a list of resources that I encourage the kids to use when they encounter a problem that they don't know how to solve. One of the things that I want my kids to do is struggle a little (don't take that in a mean, sadistic way) and learn ways to find the answer to their problems other than the obvious answer of the teacher. Some of our resources include their notes, their bellwork problems, their homework, their partners, our website, their parents, Google, Khan Academy, etc. Of course they can not use these resources at every problem, like on a test, but some of them they can use on a test like their brain dumps.
Brain dumps are the tips, formulas, ets. that we try to review before a test, or even homework, and what I encourage them to write down at the top of their papers once they've received the test. This is a skill I'm encouraging them to use now and later on ACT, Compass, etc. to be successful!
There is a trend referenced in Psychology Today, read about it here, that colleges are seeing a decline in student resilience. Absolutely they are, I see it every day in the classroom. You'd think I am a four-eyed fire-breathing mean monster when I won't answer a kids question right away but instead ask them to see what their notes say or maybe the bellower problems we just went over. It's become some much like a broken record in my class, I believe it's actually starting to sink in. "Mrs. Snell, how do I.....?" "What do your notes say?" "ahhhhhhhh, uggghhh, grrhhhhhhh!" but they grudgingly get them out or ask a partner.
Most of these kids don't know how to struggle, seek and find answers. This leads to less resilience and a fear of failure because they don't know how to use their resources. As a new teacher I could have quickly let this overcome me. I didn't have years worth of knowledge and resources to pull from but instead of wallowing in that struggle and throwing up my hands in defeat, I have learned to use my resources to seek and find answers. I've found some amazing online resources such as Khan Academy,
TenMarks, ThatQuiz, blogs such as Sarah Hagan's Math = Love, Pinterest boards, and many, many more.
And I'm learning and perfecting as I go. So I will continue to use my resources wisely and teach my kids the skills to do the same!
Did you ever hear about the Isle of Misfit Toys? If I remember correctly it was were all the broken toys went since they weren't perfect like all the other toys that Santa had. Eventually Rudolph and friends convinced Santa to take the toys to happy homes where they are all wanted.
Well I some what feel like many times some of the kids that come through my doors might be like those toys that ended up on the Isle of Misfits - just not perfect in everyone else's eyes. Maybe they don't know how to read, and I mean they really don't (some read at a 3rd grade level as freshman) but the compensate by smiling and working hard and cover it up real well. Or maybe they can't compute basic math problems - several of my kids need calculators to compute 9-3.
How did they make it this far? Don't know, don't care - at this point I'm tired of people worrying about who is to blame. Just fix it. Our babies deserve better than this. Many of these kids and I started out rough for the first part of the year. I've had my fair share cuss me out, I've been called a name or two, I've written several up for it....but with almost all of them we now have a very different relationship.
I won't forget one day, at the beginning of last semester I had two boys in one class continuing to goof off and do nothing. Not only do nothing but disrupt the rest of class and after repeatedly calling them down I wrote them up. After that they were a little better but I noticed them passing notes a few days later. When I walked over to see what was going, one wadded up the note and stuck it in his mouth, then took it out and threw it away, convinced I wouldn't touch it then. Well, I didn't in front of them. But after class, I went to the trash and found the note and pulled it out. Now, you might be thinking "EEEEWWWWW!" And trust me I did too but I was really struggling with these two and I believe you can't fix something if you don't know what's wrong so I was just looking for some clue for what to do with them.
When I unfolded the note and read it, I almost cried. I expected some really mean and nasty things about me and my appearance or whatever. Instead the note read something like "how can she expect us to learn anything when she doesn't know how to teach". And I remember thinking, your right I don't know how to teach, I'm learning myself everyday but what I'm doing with you isn't working at all. Since then, I've tried a different approach with those boys - less authoritative and more caring. They know I will still right them up if needed (I've told the kids while I love my babies at home, I also love them enough to punish them when they disobey and I will do the same with my class kids!) but this relationship is working so much better for me and them. I've gotten to learn a little more about them and what makes them tick and I can generally get them to work for me.
Today one of the kids, after a particularly hilarious start to class, asked me "Mrs. Snell do you like me being in your class?" To which I replied "Absolutley!" And he asked "Are you sure? I mean seriously?" And from the bottom of my heart the only answer I had was yes because he is one of my Misfits. And while we all may not be perfect in every way, I am loving every moment that God has given me to help these perceived Misfits to reach all the potential that is there for them to succeed!
I try not to be a yeller and let's be honest with teenagers it usually won't matter. However, I do want to get my point across....
So the "this is so easy Mrs. Snell! We learned this in 7th grade" slope and slope intercept quiz didn't go exactly as they or I planned. The class average was a 60% for all 5 classes.
This teacher was not happy.
It was a Monday quiz after our Friday scare below, so in theory some of the kids may not have seen me for almost a week. If they con't see me it's like math magically disappears..... and then poof it's there to ruin their lives again.
So this week instead of moving on to Point Slope we are going back over Slope and Slope Intercept again with just a dash of Parallel and Perpendicular lines.
They have to understand slope and equations to leave Algebra 1 - no ifs, ands or buts about it.
So these were the updated notes we added for the upcoming quiz. All of these ideas come from Sarah Hagan's - Math Equals Love Blog.
Standard Form and Examples
Parallel and Perpendicular Lines and Examples
This week was a rough week.
Here in the Bluegrass State we had an election on Tuesday and it didn't quite turn out the way I had hoped.
On Wednesday morning, our lives in our little community changed as a local police officer was shot while investigating a burglary in a rough section of town. His wife is the assistant principal at our local high school (not the one I work at but the town I live in). He had a little boy.
The person who was burglarized is the teacher of the son of one of my dear friend's. He was afraid she would never come back.
Through Friday morning our community prayed and cried out for the recovery of Officer Ellis until we found out that he had passed early that morning. I also woke up to find out that our school would have increased security that morning due to a student threat of violence. We were called in early to prepare for the students arrival and to understand how we would approach the day.
While I completely agree with our district's decision to hold school that day, it was a hard day. Students were scared and upset and we only had about 60% attendance. I was emotional due to everything that had occurred this week.
We were supposed to have a quiz, but sometimes plans change. Instead we talked and in one class we watched a video shown below. One of my kids had seen it before and said "Mrs. Snell this one always makes me cry". I talked about how it was not my intention to make them cry but to simply see that we don't always know what is going on in someone else's lives and while at the end of the year I hope they have learned Algebra, if I could simply teach them to be kind to each other for me that would be enough. We talked about how a kind word can sometimes change fate and the smile that they provide some one could have made the difference in a day like Friday.
We talked about being scarred but that we could no more control Friday's events as we could whatever happens each day when we wake up or whenever we get in a car. But, what I reminded them that we could change is how we interact with others and we could choose to be kind.
Ultimately, they had enough of my sappy talk and I had quickly thrown together a relevant activity to the week's topic of slope that involved Smarties so we moved on to actual math.
But day's like Friday remind me that I am right where God has called me to be and even though it is tough at times, and not always what I had planned, I am following the path before me and grateful for where he is leading me!
Over the past week we've been taking notes on slope and slope intercept form. Below are pictures from our class interactive notebook that is maintained. Students have their own individual copies.
Credit for all of these pages comes from Sarah Hagan at Math ='s Love. She is a teacher in OK and maintains an amazing blog full of notes and ideas.
Sarah's blog introduced me to Slope Dude. I told the kids, his video may change your lives forever.
The below notes will make sense after watching the video!
We then talked about Rate of Change some more. This was an extension of our conversations over the past couple of weeks for the Walk-A-Thon and Walk-This-Way activities.
Several students told me that delta was a greek sign or a military call signal and we had to talk about the mathematical significance as well. Prior connections right?
Then we talked about how to find slope from a graph. Every time I made them say whatever Slope Dude would say :)
Next was finding slope from a table or points. At this point, they should have examples for how to find slope from a table, graph, and points and therefore be able to find the slope from various formats!
X and Y intercepts followed slope. This caused a little bit of frustration. The following page shows two examples that were walked through. The kids were given points to graph, determine slope, x & y intercepts for four remaining examples.
Last but not least was Slope Intercept Form.
This is one topic I always struggled with and have loved how the notes lay everything out for you!
From here they had a worksheet to practice!
Side note - I only have one class interactive notebook but create new pages on loose leaf paper for each class period after the initial entry into the class notebook. This allows me to give notes to students who were missing if needed. Also the tabs on the right in the above picture allow me to know where I get to for each class period!