Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Congratulations, Jodi!

Meet my friend, Jodi Grubb. 

Jodi is an exceptional children's teacher at Ashe County Middle School and toady she was named the 2016-2017 Ashe County Teacher of the Year. She is most deserving of this honor and recognition and I’m proud to call her my friend. Jodi is a fabulous educator who constantly advocates for all students and she always focuses on the positive. She knows that all students are capable of learning and pushes them to new heights every day. Jodi doesn't give up on students, even when it looks like all hope is lost. It is during those times that Jodi shines, she will find a way to help that student persevere and reach their goal (even if it means they need to take a nap first!)

Here’s just a few ways that I’ve been a part of the exceptional things that Jodi does:
  • If you need someone to remind you why you’re teaching when you’ve had a bad day, Jodi will always have a crazy story from her day that puts your day in perspective.
  • If you happen to get stuck on a ferry, you want Jodi on that ferry because she will come up with a song that will make you and 85-8th graders make a happy memory out of a bad and unavoidable situation.
  • If you have a crazy idea to implement something into your classroom, Jodi will tell you what a fabulous idea it is and ask how she can help.
  • If you need someone to proofread your grant application or portfolio an hour before you need to turn it in, Jodi will read your writing,  help you make changes, and actually make you sound intellectual. 
  • If you lack coordination and have doubts about performing on stage, Jodi will convince you to dance to Uptown Funk in front of the entire school and in the front row and you’ll enjoy it.
  • If you want to discuss fractals with someone, Jodi will not only show you how cool they are but tie it into life.

But most importantly, if you want to truly be blessed, spend a day in Jodi’s classroom to see how hard she works with her students and the great things they accomplish together. I am fortunate to know Jodi and because of her I am a better person and teacher.

Congratulations, Jodi.  I love you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Presenting on LEGO Math

I was invited to speak at the spring Math Night at a local elementary school about using LEGO bricks to enhance mathematical skills. I presented to a group of 3rd-6th grade students and their parents; we used the LearnToLearn curriculum by LEGO Education.
With Title 1 money, the school was able to buy a kit for every student in attendance and have extra sets to use in the classrooms. Their K-2 students had participated in LEGO Math at the fall Math Night. The goal of this workshop was to help answer the question, "How can you use LEGO bricks at home to strengthen math skills?"

I started by going over LEGO Education's 4C Learning Process: Connecting, Constructing, Contemplating and Continuing. In all phases, role of the parent is to guide their child to help them reach their solution through questions, dialogue, and building together.

Before we gave the LEGO bricks to students, I reviewed symmetry with them. I had student volunteers go over lines of symmetry with the images below.

 With the help of the 3rd-6th grade teachers, we passed out Lego kits and a packet with instructions and various activities for the students and parents to begin practicing with.

I briefly described the activity called "Mirror Mirror." This activity reinforces the concepts of symmetry, as students are to build something that is symmetrical (either with the shape or color) and then they are to engage in a discussion with their parents. Some possible questions included:
  • How did you decided on your design? 
  • How can you check that your design is symmetrical? 
  • Can you show me the middle (symmetrical line) of your design? 
  • Are there any other lines of symmetry?
Then the fun started as students began to build and have excellent discussions with their parents.

The packet the students were given contained other LEGO activities that incorporated math concepts such as "Block and Cover," "What's Behind My Back," and "Balancing Act." However, since the allotted 45 minute time slot was quickly coming to an end, we finished by having students build Mr. Learnie. Mr. Learnie was created by Designer Ina in Denmark and every brick in the set is needed to make him. So is students are able to build Mr. Learnie, they know they have their entire set of LEGO bricks.

Overall, it was a great evening and I was honored to be asked to present. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Linear Functions (part 2) - Interactive Notebook Pages

If you missed the first part of my linear functions unit, you can find it here.

The second half of my Linear Functions unit covered linear regression, residuals & correlation coefficient, literal equations, and domain & range.

This booklet has been the most referred to page in my students interactive notebooks. It is a set of calculator screen shots to help students use their TI-84 calculator. There are pages on entering data, graphing data, finding the linear regression equation, and calculating the correlation coefficient. In my school system, Math 1 is the first time students have used this particular calculator. As a result these type pages really help students self-help when they have questions on how to use the TI-84.

After spending a few days on linear regression models we moved on to residuals. I had students use a spaghetti noodle to approximate the line of best fit and then approximate the residual. I then gave students a graph with the actual line of best fit and students had to compare their line and residual with the true line of best fit.

 For correlation coefficient, I found an idea I liked on Teachers Pay Teachers for correlation coefficients, but I don't like to buy my resources. Once I saw the idea, a coworker and I decided to create similar foldable using Publisher and taking screenshots of data using our calculator. 

Then since we had Saturday School the next day (Snow days aren't very fun when you make them up on Saturday) I created a set of scatter plots using GraphFree based on the data from Lesson 8.5 of the Mathematics Vision Project - Modeling Data unit.  I had students draw a number line from -1 to 1 and then have arrange the scatterplots in order by correlation coefficient, then they were to approximate the correlation coefficient. Afterwards, I gave each group a data set for one of the graphs and they found the correlation coefficient. This activity prompted many great discussions among students. 

 Next up was interpreting slope and y-intercept in the context of a problem. We reviewed this while doing linear regression, but student still needed more practice.

Then we focused on solving literal equations. The reasoning for solving literal equations in this unit was to refresh their skills. The next unit we would be covering would be systems of equations, so I wanted to remind my students how to solve an equation for a variable.

The last topic in this was was domain and range. The DIXI ROYD organizer was taken from Sarah Carter at MathEqualsLove and the domain and range foldable from JournalWizard.

If you would like the files to any of the documents I've created I'll be glad to share. :) 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Linear Functions (part 1) - Interactive Notebook Pages

The second unit I covered in Math 1 focused on linear functions, which was suppose to last for four weeks. In actuality it lasted for over a month and a half due to many days off and early releases/delays because of snow! In the future I need to make this two units because it got super long; a unit of linear functions and a unit of linear regression. Today's post will have pictures and descriptions from the first half of the Linear Functions unit. I will try to post on the second half tomorrow.

Students have covered linear functions in 8th grade however it is a key part of the Math 1 curriculum. In Math 1 students are responsible for interpreting linear functions and comparing linear functions to quadratic & exponential functions. Even though it was thoroughly covered last year, students still need quite an extensive review.

I started this unit with a review of writing and solving equations with word problems, since my goal was to incorporate them through the semester, instead of having one unit of review. We just practice solving equations as they come up naturally in the curriculum but I did want my students to have a point of reference in their notebooks. These files were adapted from Sarah Carter at MathEqualsLove. You will notice I get a lot of my ideas for my interactive notebooks from Sarah. She does an excellent job of blogging about her class. In fact, without her resources, I don't think I would have been able to incorporate interactive notebooks into my classroom.

We then jumped into sequences, as students in Math 1 must be familiar with arithmetic and geometric sequences and writing equations in Now-Next form and function notation. I decided to cover both types at one time simply because we had already discussed (briefly in unit 1) exponential functions and it flowed well together.

We started with the green cards and students had to fill in the next three terms and come up with a pattern; we then matched the sequences to a graphs. Afterwards, we formally went over the recursive and explicit formulas and they wrote the corresponding equations for each sequence. The equation notes were also adapted from Sarah Carter at MathEqualsLove

After sequences, we jumped into formalizing linear functions by discussing slope.

The types of slope foldable is from Jessie Hester at Mrs .Hester's Classroom.  On the inside we included a visual of Slope Dude's path.

 I adapted the finding slope from different representations from Julie Reulbach at ispeakmath.

Then we discussed y-intercept and putting the slope and y-intercept together to write the linear equation in function notation. We used color with a purpose on these notes so that students could refer back to the slope and the y-intercept individually. 

 Then we discussed various forms of linear functions including: horizontal & vertical lines, slope-intercept form, and standard form. This foldable was inspired by Sarah Carter at MathEqualsLove.

We then went over multiple representations of linear functions. Students were given four problems each with a given representation then they had to create the other representations. This semester my page only has the blank problems as I spent my time working with groups on these problems and I didn't go back and fill in the page. However, I have pictures of this page from last semester.

To end the first half of the linear unit, we covered parallel & perpendicular lines and their equations. We started by discussing where parallel and perpendicular lines appear in real life (and the most creative response was rewarded with a Starburst) then we moved onto the algebra.

If you would like the files to any of the documents I've created I'll be glad to share. :)