Sunday, October 16, 2016

Blog Post I Love--Part 8

An Alternative to "Add the Opposite" from Nathan Kraft.

We started working on adding integers this week and will move into subtracting integers next week. The past two years, I have introduced it with algebra tiles and taught it as adding the opposite and the students still struggle with what to do when subtracting a negative. His alternative focuses on using number lines. My students have used number lines for adding and subtracting integers, but it has been more of an after thought than a deliberate lesson.

Combining Like Terms from Show Your Thinking

Show Your Thinking shared this MadTv video to introduce students to combining like terms. I like the hook and controversy that it can cause fro students.

Solving Two Step Equations from Jon Orr

I want to revisit this post closer to when I introduce two step equations. A double number line is used to help students determine the value of x.

Flipping Bottles also from Jon Orr

I saw some talk on Twitter about making the flipping bottles fad a math activity and Jon Orr did just that. My students definitely flip bottles more than I would like and this activity would be fun for them.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Rational Numbers Song

This song has been stuck in my head. When my students learn how to classify numbers, we listen to this song at least once a day. It is a simple song with lyrics that students are easy to remember.

I dare you to listen to it 15 times in a week and not have it stuck in your head!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Posts I Love--Part 7

I love reading math blogs. I like reading what math teachers try in their classroom and reading their reflection on how it went.

Here is a collection of blog posts I love!

Fraction Ordering Activities from Math Fireworks-- The students will be practicing ordering rational numbers this week.This activity from Math Fireworks only talks about fractions, but I would like to expand it to include decimals and percents. I like the ideas of having students share their reasoning and discuss mistakes with each other.

I found this game which is a very basic but necessary beginning practice for graphing in all four quadrants. Stock the Shelves

I Speak Math shared this game. I will have it as a small group station to practice integer operations and absolute value. All I'll need is a deck of cards.

Finally, I love this activity about volume over at No. 2 Pencils.  She poses the question "How many starburst can fill our classroom?" and students go about measuring and formulating plans to figure out the answer. Definitely a thing I want to try.

Hopefully you are inspired to try something new!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Positive and Negative Situations Vocabulary

This week we started classifying numbers and I introduced integers and the concept of positive and negative numbers.

We started by looking at a thermometer and a table with temperatures decreasing and asking the students what the temperature would be if the decreasing temperatures went below zero. 

This would also be a great time to ask students where they have seen/heard about negative numbers so they connect this new knowledge with what they already know. 

Then I gave students words to sort into negative, positive or zero. Afterwards we I asked students to give me examples of they words belonged into each category. 

It would be "easy" to just skip over this vocabulary as we went into integer operations and word problems. However, I have several LEP students in my classes and just assuming they know these words will make things more difficult in the future. 

This sort is available in the Real World Integer Situation Product on TeachersPayTeachers. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Properties of Operations Sort

Properties of Operations is not my favorite thing to teach. I love how numbers work and sharing that with students but I am not a fan of having to memorize names.

So students took notes and they found patterns in equations and describe the rules.

For example, I put the following equations:


I asked them to find what rule these equations were describing and asked them to find an example of when the rule wouldn't work.

I wanted students to see that they already knew most of these properties, they just didn't now the names.

After they took notes, we did a card sort. Each group got a bag with the names of the properties we discussed and equations to match to the property.

I love card sorts in math and I loved hearing the conversations they had as they disagreed and tried to convince each other. I also loved seeing them refer to their notebooks because my students see to forget that it is there.

If groups finished early, I gave them a dry erase marker and had them write their own equations to show the different properties. I think I will do this part more later. For the few groups that got to it, it was a great way to see if they understood what each property said. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mathematical Mindsets--Jo Boaler

This should be required reading for anyone who teachers math--from PK to College, from teachers to parents. (affiliate link below)

This book will change how I teacher math this year from the very first day of school. I will continue to blog about how things are going in my classroom, but here are a few bullet points of my main takeaways. 

  • I am going to talk with my kids about brain research--not just once--but several times throughout the year and heavily the first two weeks of school. I have to change their mindset about math and their selves. 
  • Homework will look extremely different. Jo Boaler says "homework perpetuates inequities in education." She even talks about how her family has two working parents and after everyone is home and fed for the evening, she wants to spend time with her daughters-not in frustration over homework. My homework was very light in the past, but this year it will be more reflections questions and maybe 1 problem to start on that we finish discussing in class. 
  • "No one is born knowing math, and no one is born lacking the ability to learn math."
  • Mistakes are necessary!
  • My grading will look different--if mistakes are necessary, I can't punish students for making them. 
  • Mental Math will improve--I especially want to show students ways to think about numbers to improve their number sense.
  • Boaler talks about using tasks that are "low floor, high ceiling." Everyone can access the task and anyone and take it further. 
One is a website Jo Boaler is part of--there are two weeks of inspirational math with videos and activities designed to help students change their mindset about math. What I like most about the activities is they are "low ceiling, high floor" but they also give students practice to work together in math. Math should be a very social subject. I will be using (and blogging about) several about the activities the first two weeks of school. 
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