Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Special Weekend Mathematical Co-Sale!

21st Century Math Projects + All Things Algebra = ONE MEGA SALE!

Hello there, fellow math loves!

I hope the back to school dust has started to settle and the summer-to-school transition has been a smooth one.  Now that we are in the daily groove, I wanted to let you know of a MEGA sale and introduce you to a fellow secondary math seller with stellar resources.

Clint from 21st Century Projects and I are having a Special Weekend Mathematical Co-Sale!

If you aren't already following Clint, you need to be!!  Click this:

What's so awesome about Clint?  Clint has found a way to create projects that incorporate critical thinking, problem solving, real world rigor, and relevant pop culture that students can relate to.  Clint’s CSI Projects draw the attention of even the most reluctant learners.  They are excited, engaged, and motivated to learn and apply concepts so that they can be the ones to “solve the mystery.”  Clint also brings social awareness and makes interdisciplinary connections through his “Person Puzzles.”  These are AWESOME- for me, they are the perfect warm-up to review skills, all while learning about the background and contributions of a significant figure.  Clint is incredibly talented, and if you haven’t browsed his store, definitely head on over there now.  You will be very impressed by his creativity.

CO-SALE DETAILS!!!! Clint and I are both putting our individual items on sale for 20% off this weekend and our monster bundles at 10% off (since they are already wicked sweet deals already).

For those that have purchased my materials and have left such wonderful feedback, I wanted to stop and say thank you.  Your support and kind words motivate me to keep creating and improving.  If you ever have questions or requests, email me anytime,

Thank you!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School Bonanza!

Ah yes, it's BACK TO SCHOOL time!  I am so happy to be participating in 2 Peas and a Dog's fabulous Back To School Bonanza Blog Hop & Giveaway!  I have joined up with all the awesome middle school bloggers below to provide some tips (and freebies!) to cheer up your back to school blues.  After reading through the participating blogs, make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

It was difficult to come up with just one back to school tip, so typical me decided to put together a bulleted list of some tricks and tips I have used that have helped me stay organized. 
  • Create a "Back to School" file to hold all those papers that seem to flood your mailbox during those first two weeks.  It's so nice to have schedules, locker combos, attendance procedures, textbook and calculator inventories, and all that other super important back to school stuff at your finger tips so you can grab it quickly when you need it!  I created a "teacher binder" for this stuff last year but just abandoned it after a few weeks.  I may give it a go again this year.

  • Print your seating charts on a bright colored paper!  I can't tell you how many times I have set it down, and walked circles around my room sifting through papers trying to find it so I knew who was who.  If it's on bright colored paper, it's so much easier to spot!

  • Send home a parent info sheet the very first day.  Most importantly, ask for email addresses!  It's difficult to find time to make phone calls, and unless it's a super major discipline issue, I tend to send emails with concerns or kudos.  I also create a parent group email (I BCC so they cant see each other's emails), so I can send announcements of review sessions, upcoming exams, etc.  I get A LOT of kids that come to my review sessions because "my mom made me."  Heck, I'll take it! :)

  • For my last tip, it's FREEBIE TIME! I believe that students need to have some sort of warm-up everyday, even the first day of school.  I needed something that was mathy (of course!) and not too complicated so all students could work on the activity while I stood at the doorway to greet students during the first five minutes.  I created this Number Challenge where students use the digits 0-9 once only to make each number sentence true.  Here's a picture of what it looks like:
 I placed them on each desk inside a pocket transparency with a marker and small cloth.  It worked PERFECT for a first day warm-up, and I will be using them again this year.  Click here to download the Number Challenge Freebie!

Want More Back to School Goodies?

Enter our AMAZING back to school giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Sweet Giveaway!

Yay for a Back to School Giveaway!! :)

I am so happy to be a part of a fantastic giveaway that Krystal, at Lessons From The Middle, is hosting to celebrate Back to School. There are over $400 worth of prizes to be won, including:

~ Multiple TPT shopping sprees in sellers' stores to help you get all stocked up for a new school year
~ $10 Starbucks gift certificate to get the year started on the right foot
~ $75 gift certificate at WiseDecor to make your classroom even more inviting for your students with beautiful wall decals
~$25 gift certificate at Black Rafter Soap Works to pamper yourself a little bit after the first big week back
~Cool Duo Binders to get you organized easily
~An awesome tote from Thirty-One - who doesn't love a new bag?

There are FOUR Prize Packages to be won! Make sure to enter to win each of the prize packages - they're all fantastic and you don't want to miss out! This giveaway runs August 10th-14th.
Prize Package #1 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prize Package #2 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prize Package #3 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prize Package #4 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!!! :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Math is Real Life! Just ask my husband!

When are we EVER going to use THIS?!”  This statement… this one little statement has caused fear and panic to run through MANY a math teacher’s veins!  It’s not like you won’t use math in the real world… but sometimes as soon as that question is uttered we have a mind-melting-moment and cannot come up with just the right words to say.  Many times, I have thought of something perfect to respond with, but hours after the class has left the room.
So to help give you some real world, possibly out of the box thinking type ideas, I am thrilled to join this amazing link-up hosted by Miss Math Dork, 4mulafun, Fourth Grade Studio, and Teaching to Inspire in 5th!
We (I mean my husband) is currently building a new shed in our backyard.  I turned to him for this post because I knew he has used math extensively in this process.  We are on a beach vacation right now, so his reply was fairly short, but thankfully I have pictures to share!
He told me that the process required a lot of measurement.  He needed to determine how much material he needed, making sure he stayed within the 200-foot city square footage requirement, using the Pythagorean Theorem to ensure perfect right angles, and measuring and cutting accurately to ensure minimal waste.  Here are pictures he sent to me to update me of the shed status:

Almost done!  He just needs to finish up with trim and paint.

I'm sure he's thrilled that I included this one of him! :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Secondary Math - A New Year for New Ideas!

I know how it is, the summer is winding down, (*tear), and we are starting to turn to Pinterest for ideas to try in our classroom this year. We want to get organized, decorate our classrooms, start new classroom routines, and find lesson ideas to motivate and excite our students.   My goals this year are to incorporate more music in my classroom, refine my homework policy, and survive a year of teaching a brand new prep for me (Geometry- AHH!!). 

What better way to share new ideas, then to start a
link-up?  Please share blog posts, pins on pinterest,
your latest TpT products, or any other neat idea that
you think will be cool to try out this year for the
secondary math classroom.  Then, please leave a
comment with your goals for this upcoming year!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A SMARTer Seating Chart

I started making my seating chart in Smart Notebook a few years ago, and it has saved me so much time and allowed for me to change seats more frequently.  I used to rarely change seats just because I hated having to erase and pencil in names.   I would frequently make changes in the room, but not on my seating chart because I didn't have time to re-do it all.  Then it dawned on me that it would be super simple if I could just make a template in Notebook, and just drag their names around whenever I wanted. 

So here's what I did!  First I created the main layout of my room using the shapes tool.  Once I got all the desks in place, I locked the desks down.  That's important because you just want to drag names around, and not the desks.  (You can unlock them if you want to change your layout though). 

To lock, just select all the items, right click, and you will see the locking option.
Then create a text box that says "Student Name".  Copy and Paste this enough times to fill up your desks.
After that, duplicate the page for however many classes you have.  I teach four classes.  Click on the pages tab (it's on the upper right side).  Right click on the page and click "Clone Page."
You can rename the pages to the names of your class too.  Just right click on that page, click "Rename", and change the titles.  Mine are Block 1A, Block 3A, Block 1B, and Block 3B as I teach on an A-Day/B-Day schedule.
Then, when you get your class rosters at the beginning of the year, just type in the "Student Name" text boxes to replace them.  Do this for all your classes and then you're done for the year!  Just open up the file and make changes by dragging the names around.  You can always add or delete names as well as students come and go.  You can stand at your Smart Board and do it if you want to see the big picture.  Sometimes I even let the kids do it :) And it's easy to print for your records and substitutes as well! Just select "Full Page" printing and it will print one page per sheet.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Translating Walk-About Activity

Now that it's halfway through summer, I've started looking back at my September files to see if I could tweak anything for next year.   I came across this walk-about activity I do with my students to practice translating and just had to share it! I know many of you also teach this topic during your first unit.

There are 9 expressions/equations/inequalities that you post around the room.  These are the ones that I use:

n – 11
2n + 6
n/-3 + 7
-5n –  1
3(n + 7) = 2
n/2 – 6 = 8
9n + 1 = n –  4
n ≥  18
n 65

It's ideal if you have a lot of whiteboard space because students will be writing below them. If not, just place a big sheet of poster paper below them.   Divide the students into teams of 3-4 and give each team a different color marker (this way you can see what each team wrote) So let's say a group starts at this one:


They have to translate it into words.  So they may write something like  "A number minus 11".  Then, I have them rotate, and the next group has to read what's there and translate it a different way.  After a few rounds, this is what it may look like:

It gets more and more difficult as they travel from card to card because they have to read what everyone has written before them, and come up with a new way of writing.

Here's another example using an inequality card:

1) "A number is less than or equal to 65"
2) "A number is no more than 65"
3) "A number is at maximum 65"
4) "A number is at most 65"
5) "A number can not exceed 65"
6) "The speed limit on the highway is 65 mph"

After the students have completed all 9 rounds, they sit down in their seats and I read off what's written below each card. We decide if we agree or disagree with what's there and make changes if necessary.

Here is what the full set looks like:

If you are interested in this walk-about activity and want
to use my cards,
you can download them here for free!!
I wish everyone going back to school at the beginning of August a smooth transition.  I will be joining you in early September!