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!