My quick question to everyone is this.....

Is it best practice to encourage students to use their phones to record dates, bits of info from the board and set reminders? Jot your ideas below and many thanks.

« August 2012 | Main | October 2012 »

My quick question to everyone is this.....

Is it best practice to encourage students to use their phones to record dates, bits of info from the board and set reminders? Jot your ideas below and many thanks.

Posted at 06:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tags: best practices, cellphones, classroom, differentiation, middle school, smartphones, survey, teachers, teaching

Introducing some fun into my algebra class. I found this practice game where slope and y-intercepts are changed with a random card draw You have to start with the playing board. Equation changes to m and b template, There are three card that track changes to m and b, with equations, slope and y-intercept cards. This is not my invention and I can't figure out where I found this. Update from 10.1.12: Just got a tweet from @A_Morris01040 and I think this is his creation. Thanks Aaron for letting me know. I knew it wasn't mine, but I could remember where it came from. I'm pretty sure that I found it via the #msSunFun exchanges or the high school counterpart. The idea is that students start with an original equation, pull a slope card and then a y-intercept card. I copied each type of card on a different color so that I could put them in three separate buckets....and letting students draw from those buckets make the whole activity more "exciting".

In the picture, you can see two completed worksheets and a pile of the cards.

Using their slope card, students glue it into the middle box on the template and then they change the equation according to the card they pulled. Rewriting practice is pretty important at this point in their devleopment. The cards are pretty cool because they make them use and apply more math vocabulary words like "the slope doubles" or "the slope triples". Also, they create a new graph based on the slope card.

Next they pull a yellow card which corresponds to the y-intercept. And then they alter the equation according to that card and graph it. These cards asks students to "divide the y-intercept by 4" or to "multiple the y-intercept by 2".

By the time they're done with this first practice sheet, they've had several chances to practice. With so many different starting equations, the possibilities are pretty limitless. Students responded to this game and really liked the randomness of pulling the cards. Since they are different colors, it's easy for me to see if they're following directions and where I need to help out.

If you know the author of this file, I'd really like to give the them credit. I've taken their terrific idea and customized it to my room. It has pointed out to me how I need to devise a method for recording where I get ideas after I've downloaded their files.

Posted at 09:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tags: cards, ccss, common core, game, linear equations, math, middle school, practice, slope, students, teachers, teaching ideas, y-intercept

If this isn't a picture of today's student.....when I go over homework, students can use a paper planner or they can use their phones to record the assignments.

To help students with this week's Algebra Review, I posted a proportion strategy they used when they were 6th graders. This student did more than record the homework, she wanted to take a picture of the strategy.

It's such a common occurance but I wonder how many schools and classroom really are seeing students technology in this way.

So do your students use their phones like this in math class....or any class?

Posted at 10:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Tags: common core math, homework, math class, middle school, smartphones

Last week we were investigating linear equations....in particular what parallel and perpendicular lines look like as equations, not just graphs. When you do all the graphing by hand or even on a handheld graphing calculator, this is pretty slow. Also the Common Core calls upon us to provide more discussion oriented kinds of learning designs....we're incorporate a bunch of the mathematical practices here---reason abstractly, construct viable arguments and accept feedback, model and use tools to investigate math ideas. I'd say that this is a CCSS home run.

I tried a different learning technique, so in honor of #msSunFun this is my game contribution. I give all credit to the Moving Straight Ahead ACE questions for Investigation 4. I took one of their questions and expanded it into an investigative game.

So we jumped over to one of the free online graphing calculators. Here's how we started the game.... **Step 1:** I entered an set of equations
into the calculator and show the resulting graphs of all those lines. Students were able to immediately see the connection between the equations and the graphs.

I had them look for patterns in what the equations must look like in order to create a pattern of lines that looked like this.

They were quick to see that the coefficient on all the equations was the same and had the same sign. And I encouraged them to come to the SmartBoard and check their conjecture (which is our new favorite word since we're trying to be very Common Coreish!)

**Step 2: ** We repeated this for learning perpendicular lines where I entered a set of equations and showed the resulting graphs for that set.

This gave them more trouble. The biggest hurdle we had was that kept calling the reciprocal the opposite.

So they tested out their ideas again. The first thing they uncovered was that to make the line perpendicular didn't involve the reciprocal....it involved the negative reciprocal.

**Step 3 :** Pause the game for just a second and do a mini-lesson on negative reciprocal and multiplying to get -1.

**Step 4:** Resume the game. This time I pulled name sticks and students would come up to author the first equation. We encouraged people to be as wild and crazy as they could imagine. So we had some real whopper equations. Another stick was pulled and the next person got to specify whether the new equation was going to be parallel or perpendicular. The next person got to specify where it hit on the y-axis. And the last stick determined who had to write the next equation with all these conditions.

I literally sat at my desk and watched it all happen right before my very eyes. Students would be yelling and screaming as people typed in their ideas....but we didn't allow anyone to reveal that there was a mistake until they had a chance to test their equation. If they didn't know why it didn't work, they could get an "assist" from an audience member. Everyone practically killed themselves to be the expert assist.

The best part here was not only the engagement, but the fact that we "tested" everyone's idea...rather than me telling them if they were correct or not.

**Step 5:** Continue until everyone is exhausted or they yell "uncle"! Honestly after a half hour practice, they were parallel and perpendicular equation/graphing pros.

I also had a lot of fun asking them to make something both parallel and perpendicular....and they realized if we had graphed more than 2 equations that other lines would be both. That really sent them over the moon.

I know this isn't exactly a game. But it is fun and creates a game like atmostphere. It is very effective in teaching these properties, students practice what they know about learning the y-intercept and it also gives enough practice in these ideas that students really anchor the concepts into their thinking.

Posted at 08:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tags: CCSS, coefficients, common core, graphing calculator, linear equations, math, mathematical practices, middle school, negative reciprocal, parallel, perpendicular