Instead of just reading this past week, I've used the week to read and post comments. I really like this idea of posting comments to foster conversation between bloggers. I see this as an important next step in the development of #msSunFun. You know the best part....there will be more next week and the next week. In great part because we have someone who is willing to dedicate their time to organizing all this and promoting it....Julie @jreulbach is amazing and I couldn't be more in her debt.

And also because there are amazing people out there who freely share, brainstorm, patiently answer questions and just share their math knowledge. Plus....I have to tell you a little known secret about math teachers. They're fun and funny. Don't believe me...just check out their Twitter song.

My one regret is that I don't have much to add to the conversation. YET. I read, try and post about what I did. But I look forwad to the day where I'll have enough experience to develop some of my own ideas and offer back to the community.

So here are some of the jewels I found this week in no particular order

1) Scratch Off Unit Rates brought to us by thenumbertwentyone. It's a clever way to made worksheet practice a bit different. Using a special paint solution, students are given two choices about which is the correct unit rate. Within each problem is the word, Correct or Incorrect....which gives students immediate feedback. This lesson dealt with unit rates (and who couldn't use more practice on unit rates). This idea came from the Sch001 Stuff blog and implemente in a slightly different way. Here students created scratch off cards with the correct solution hidden by the scratch off paint for exponents and radicals. And actually they had read about it on another blog....which just goes to show that good ideas have many iterations. I have had the same trouble....where I've read about a really, really good idea and then not be able to place where I found it and/or give the credit back to the original poster.

2) Another blog post about how to make practice more engaging came from Math Tales from the Spring called Football Frenzy. Here practice problems were inscribed on footballs that had different "yard" values and as students were able to solve the points correct they were able to move the football down the field towards a touchdown. This would appeal to some of my students as football is a big topic around here. But I can see that there's lots of work to do to make this successful. This lesson targeted factoring...and I'm wondering if the teacher wouldn't be able to make another set of footballs with a different focus later on. It seems like a lot of work.

3) I went looking for help with a subset of my students who are still struggling with adding and subtracting integers. Specifically they were taught, as they learned about negative integers to rewrite subtracting a postive as adding a negative. I get it. And I know why it works for them initially. But now, our problems are getting complicated enough that all this crossing out and rewriting is problematic. It turns into a huge mess where they can't figure out what's what. I found a neat blog post about resources to help students learn about adding/subtracting integers at Mathematics: Learning and Web 2.0. While it didn't address the particular issue I'm having, I do see how to take the resources they've compiled and make into a station. I thinking about a couple of my students who need this practice and could use the station when they finish with their regular work.

4) Since we're working on patterns, I found a real jewel to help me consider alternatives to what I'm doing. This post was called Patterns Project over at The Space Between Numbers. It is just one of many blogs that I'm starting to read that uses the Scribd website so that you can see the document that is given to students. Here the teacher had students create project that explored a variety of patterns...and they created very cool projects and explanation.

5) A big shoutout goes to Fawn Nyguyen's post about Sometimes, Never, Always. This was the focus of our work last week. I've had a number of kids tell me that they really enjoyed the chance to think and discuss the equations. The big takeaway was learning to make an argument for your position on where that equation should be classified...and then test it out with all sorts of numbers ...and then even be ready to give counter-examples that proved your point. My students haven't had lots of experience with this kind of discourse and it was a very rich experience...helping them to gain these kind of math skills, I think.

The fun will be on Monday when we get to process all that they've learned and draw some connections back to the mathematical ideas that were explored. Making meaning from their experience.

6) Who doesn't love music. I SpeakMath posted a song to the hit Call Me Maybe...instead it is Tweet Me Maybe from this summers TwitterMathCamp. I'm hoping there will be another Camp in the Summer of 2013 that I can attend and learn this song in person!

7) My big disaster from last week, which I am still recovering from, was trying math stations. I was inspired by the post "Quick and Easy Math Stations". For me, creating stations was neither quick nor easy....so I clearly didn't get it! Nevertheless I made up the stations and thought students would enjoy them....some complained they were too easy, some thought they were too hard. It was a disaster. The interesting part, aside from the fact that I survived, was that some classes like a station while the next class might hate that station. I'm still trying to figure out what that means. I think my biggest goof was that I didn't think about stations as a 5 minute activity...instead I tried to plan something that would take the whole hour. If you look at Quick and Easy Math Stations, students rotate around....collecting all their practice on a worksheet.

If I try them again....and that's a big if....I would construct it more like this. It would be much easier and I'm imagining more success.