Monday, July 4, 2016

Excused Absence

If you are looking for my CAMT presentation materials, click here.

I have been MIA for a while on this blog and in life. But my reason is good.

My baby girl is going to be a big sister this December and this pregnancy has taken a toll on me. I have done basically nothing but go to work and then come home and crash for the last two months. I am starting to feel a little better and now I have a short time in summer to prepare for everything I want to get done before school starts and then before baby gets here.

We couldn't be more excited for this new baby.

I attended CAMT in San Antonio and presented and heard lots of interesting ideas. I am planning a post to reflect about all I have learned this week.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

CAMT Presentation Links

Thank you to everyone who attended my session. Hopefully, you feel ready to start getting your students to write about math in your classroom.

As promised, here are the links to the presentation and handouts:



Two Truths and a Lie Activity 

You can also follow me on twitter @randi_raquel

Monday, May 2, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Sale and Giveaway!

It is Teacher Appreciation Week and Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale!

The sale starts tomorrow and goes until Wednesday--May 3 and 4. 

I am having a sale as well! Visit my store here! You can get 28% off every item in the store--don't forget to enter the code CELEBRATE as you check out to get the full discount. 

You can also enter to win one of 2 TeachersPayTeachers $10 gift cards. Follow my store for two entries and then you have a few ways to add more entries. The giveaway will close on May 4 at midnight! Enter now before it's too late. Two winners will be notified on May 5. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Percent Bar Graph

We are right in the middle of our statistics unit. Yesterday we started percent bar graphs.

Here is what I found is the most important thing about bar graphs--use data the students connect to. For this categorical data, I collected it from the students. The day before I had them fill out a google form and for each class I used their data--and a few from the other classes to make it 25 different people.

We started with taking these notes I came up with the morning of. I rarely have a full page of notes like this without any foldables/cloze notes for my students with accommodations--but I didn't have time to print something.

HOWEVER, notes like this make me EXTREMELY happy. They are so pretty. Early in my teaching career, I had students just write out notes and every time I would have them admire my/their work.

For the class percent bar graph, we graphed for "How many letters are in your first name?"

After we did it as a class, I gave groups the print out of the data I had collected. They had to choose one question and make a relative frequency table and a percent bar graph. Here are some examples:

The students to that data and tried to find which line was theirs and got so excited about it. Instead of just giving them random numbers to make a graph with, giving them something they can connect to has made the difference. Nobody complained about doing this--the only complaints I got was that they didn't get to help enough. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Area of Polygons Practice

After the students learned the area of triangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids, they needed to practice.

It would be easy to give them a worksheet with the shapes on it and all the measurements given and they just have to plug the numbers into the formula the solve.

Worksheets can be useful, but when there is a way to not do a worksheet, do it.

I did this activity last year and wish I would have saved all the shapes I made. So I remade them again and laminated them.

I drew 10-12 triangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids each. I spread them around the room and asked the students to find the area of the shapes. They measured everything to the nearest centimeters.

To make them talk to each other about it, I asked them to verify their answers with their classmates. I put a large poster at the front of the room with a table of the shapes. Once students have verified their answers with 3 other classmates, they could start adding the area of the shapes to the poster.

Once I made and laminated all the shapes, the activity was easy to put together. I didn't even use any copies! Just notebook paper.

In Texas, 6th graders are to "determine solutions for problems involving the area of rectangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, and triangles and volume of right rectangular prisms where dimensions are positive rational numbers." This activity helps them do that. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Decomposing a Trapezoid--Finding the Area

This has been one of my most favorite and wonderful lessons of my entire teaching career. My students pleasant surprised me with how awesome they are.

Students need to be able to explain how shapes can be decomposed into other shapes to find the area--that is how the formulas are derived.

There are several different ways trapezoids can be decomposed and rearranged to make other shapes. Before this lesson, the students had a guided lesson to decompose parallelograms to rectangles and triangles to parallelograms. So they had previous experience with cutting and rearranging shapes.

I wanted to see if they could take what they had done and apply it to trapezoids.

And they did awesome.

I gave them a sheet of trapeziods and a ruler. I asked them to pick any trapezoid and find a way to decompose it, rearrange it, and find the area.

My advanced class found 8 different ways to find the area. My on-level class found 5 different ways.

I don't have the list we made in front of me, but these are some of the ones I remember they were able to find.

  • Cut the trapezoid by the diagonal to make two triangles
  • Cut off two triangles at the ends to make one square and one rectangle
  • Cut off one triangle and you have a triangle and a rectangle (When one of the sides of the trapezoid is also the height
  • Cut the trapezoid by the height, rearrange and make a rectangle
  • Double the trapezoid to make a parallelogram
  • Cut off one triangle, add to the other side to make a rectangle

After the students spent some time exploring, I had students share what they found. We looked at the measurements of the original trapezoids and of the new shapes they created and found some patterns.

Sometimes, the new base was in between the two original bases(specifically it was the average of the two bases). When you had a triangle, you used the formula 1/2bh and added to the area of the other piece. If you doubled the trapezoid, you would have to half the area of your new shape. 

The last step was to write a formula that they could use to find the area of a trapezoid so they wouldn't have to decompose a trapezoid every time they wanted to find the area. I'll need to improve this part of the lesson. Students got the adding something, the multiplying the height and either multiplying by 1/2 or dividing by 2, just not in a way that would work. 

It was a fun lesson and I was walking around so excited all day long because they were doing such a good job trying and finding ways to decompose the trapezoids!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Measures of Center

We started our unit on Statistics after spring break. It is one of my favorite things to do and teach and it is not easy for students to understand. There are so many little things about that you understand once you've studied statistics for awhile. I took some pretty intense statistics classes in college, so I feel like everyone should learn everything about it--I have to remind myself that my 6th graders need to be gradually introduced to it.

So this is the foldable we created for Mean, Median, Mode, and Range--I let my students use my markers and they loved it--I'll have to pull out markers more often.

I read this book in college and it is so interesting. It's been a few years since I've read it, I might have to pull it out again.

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