Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Day!!!

The drive home last night was a bit slow. My normal 30 minute commute took me almost 2 hours! So this morning, I wasn't surprised to wake up to a blanket of white stuff in my backyard. I usually use the diving board to help me gauge depth and according to the news, we received about 5 inches of snow and sleet. We've not been above the freezing mark since Wednesday evening and we're not supposed to see above freezing temperatures until mid next week. That's roughly 30 degrees below our typical December temperatures. BRRRR!!! Today will be a soup day I do believe :)

Day 76... Collaboration Day!

Today was a Collaboration Day, which means the students had a late start and the teachers had meetings for the first two hours of the day. I worked with the neighboring science teacher to prepare our Forensic Science course that will be starting up in January. However, since the students have a late start, that means we lose one class period of the day and since we teach AP Stat every hour, that means that Collaboration is usually a chance for a review day. Today we practiced on some previous AP problems... well, until 6th hour at least...

Because by 6th hour, all my students were capable of doing was standing at the window and staring at this:

No matter how many times I tried to settle them down, they continued to find reasons to go to the window... I guess I can't blame them, it's been a few years since they've had a snow day at all, so the thought of snow and sleet is fascinating to them. This is mostly sleet so far, so we had an impromptu discussion on how to drive in bad weather as my class size slowly dwindled from early dismissals. :)

I'm sure they are all wearing their pj's inside out tonight in hopes of a snow day tomorrow!

Day 75... Multiple Ways to Tackle a Problem

I know I haven't shared much about Intermediate Algebra lately, mainly because I forget to take photos! :) We've been working on systems of equations and today I asked them to solve a system two ways to make the connection that the solution is the same, no matter which way you solve the problem. It took a while before the students realized that this is a method of "self-checking" and they didn't need to ask me "Is this correct?" after every problem!

Solving for y is still an issue for many of them, but hopefully with enough practice, it will become second nature.

Day 74... Let's formalize it a bit

Since most of the very basic rules of probability are review topics, not many notes were needed, but I did want students to have something to refer back to when they are studying. (And in case you couldn't tell, I really love foldables!)

Day 73... Pizzazz!

Most Algebra teachers are very familiar with the "Algebra with Pizzazz" series of worksheets. In AP Stat today, we started basic probability, which is mostly a review of middle school probability. Where better to find fun practice than the traditional Algebra with Pizzazz worksheets! :) The best part of these worksheets is the self-checking aspect with the "pun" at the bottom and it cracked me up to watch the students race to the end and yell out "No Spoilers" because they wanted to find the answer to the riddle by themselves. :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 71 and 72... Test Time!

We reviewed and quizzed/tested in all of my classes... nothing photo-worthy :(

Day 70... More Simulations

After the Spelling Bee game (see day 69), we moved to other ways to simulate a situation. You can use cards, dice, coins, or even a random number table. Here, students used a random number table to simulate a "best of 7" sports series.

Day 69... Price is Right

Today we took a bit of a break from the procedural and learned through play time. One of my favorite topics in AP is Simulation, where the students approximate the probability of something happening based on repeated trials. Our task today was to determine the chance of winning a car if you played the Spelling Bee game on the Price is Right. This is math that we haven't learned (and won't learn), but we can estimate the probability by simulating the Spelling Bee game, playing it over and over, recording the number of times they won the car and using that data to draw a conclusion. We had a lot of fun and students realized that it's okay to not know the *real* answer all the time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 68... Cheerios and a Language Lesson

Today in AP Stat was our final day on non-linear regression. Today's data involved using Cheerios to measure the diameter and area of circles, then using that data to create a best-fit model. I'm a pretty big stickler on no food in my room, so the students are always so excited when we have an activity that uses food! :) The kids are surprised every year by the variety of Cheerios flavors out there and this year was no exception!

Then, in Intermediate Algebra, we had an impromptu language lesson. My school has a large Burmese population and today during class, I overheard a conversation about what numbers looked like in Burmese. I invited one of the students to share with the class about Burmese numbers and it was simply fascinating! I totally want to start writing my "8s" in Burmese! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 67... Save Fluffy

In AP Stat, we've been working on non-linear regression. Today's task was to use logarithms to transform the data in order to find the best prediction of an alligator's weight based on its length. Working as a group, students created posters on 11x17 paper to show off their best fit models.

On a semi-related note, one of my students in 5th hour asked if we could make the Red/Yellow/Green cups a permanant part of our seating arrangement. I think he was tired of me asking him if he had a question when he was simply stretching. :)

Day 66... Systems Time!

Last week in Intermediate, we started working on graphing systems of equations. However, that also meant that we needed to review graphing in general! Bring on the whiteboards! :)

Day 65... Under the Weather

Please forgive my lack of a photo for today. I am feeling a bit under the weather and barely moved from my desk all day... :(

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 64... Red Yellow Green

As I've mentioned before, I *love* stations and these acrylic photo frames! However, this year, I've added a new element to group work, namely the red/yellow/green cups you see next to the frame. As students are working in their groups, the Green cup stays on top, indicating that everything this going well. If the group starts to struggle, but are still able to work, they put the Yellow cup up. If they come to a grinding halt and need immediate assistance, they put the Red cup on top. This has been a very useful tool for me as a teacher in prioritizing which groups need assistance and who is working well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 63... 4 More

Today was an awesome day! During block days, I try to get the kids up and moving around for a few minutes in order to break up the time. The activity we used today was called "4 more". The students took a few minutes of think time and wrote down two things that they learned today. Then they all stood up and mingled about the classroom, interviewing 4 more students to find out something they learned.

Here is an example from one of my students today:

(Jordan is my great niece and was the focus of one of today's problems)

This was definitely a strategy I will use again! I loved hearing their discussions. :)

Days 61 and 62... Testing Time!

Sorry for not posting... we reviewed and took a quiz, so nothing interesting happened :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 60... Assembly!

What an amazing day! Due to state law, we are required to have a Veteran's Day assembly and this year's assembly was one of the best I can recall. Our school is too large for all of the students to fit in the Performing Arts Center at one time, so we split our assemblies over two days during Advisory time. This year, my Advisory has typically been seated in the balcony, so I know the photo quality isn't the best, but this man's journey is one that will stay with our students for quite a while. The veteran that came to speak to us was a WWII vet and was one of the most engaging speakers we've ever had. I was so proud of our students and the respect they showed this honorable man. When he was first introduced, the students immediately jumped to their feet to give him a standing ovation in honor of his service to our country. I am very blessed to work with such wonderful students.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 59... What a fun day!

What a fun day!

Today we worked on residual plots. The students were mostly working independently, so they used their Green/Yellow/Red cups to help alert me to issues or questions as they occurred. During this part of the day, they had a card sort of matching scatterplots and residual plots, which generated some great discussions.

For the last 30 minutes or so of class, we spent time doing Quiz Quiz Trade as a review. If you've never used this activity, I definitely recommend it! :)

At the end of the day, I worked with my science teacher partner and learned how to mount a slide and use a microscope... it was AWESOME!:) Yay for great days! :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I don't have the opportunity very often to show a video in math, so when I was lesson planning on how to best teach the coefficient of determination, I started scouring the web for ideas. I ran across this video on YouTube. My students enjoyed his enthusiasm and I hope they had a better understanding after this explanation :)

Day 57... Case of the Missing Laundry

First, let me give a shout-out to Fawn Nguyen... I totally have a Math Teacher Crush on Fawn! She's one of those awesome teachers that I hope to someday be more like! Today's activity comes from this post on Fawn's blog.

In Intermediate Algebra, we've been working on Distance = Rate * Time problems. When I read Fawn's post, I knew I could use the Case of the Missing Laundry, but really feared that my students would be on information overload on the way the problem was originally written. In addition, I wanted my students to use D=RT, not graphing (yet), so I knew I needed to delete the last part of the problem. To help scaffold the Case, I separated each suspect into its own clue and only gave students one page at a time. At the end of the 6 clues, they had enough information to determine who had stolen Mrs. Murphy's laundry. Overall, I think it went pretty well and my students seemed to enjoy the puzzle/mystery aspect of the problem.

Day 56... Stations :)

I love Station activities! One of the best things I ever purchased for my classroom was a set of acrylic frames. I now have them in both portrait and landscape formats and use them as often as I can! I felt my students needed a bit more practice on all of the content we learned last week, so today we did some review work. When I do a stations activity, I make 2 sets of 4 stations since I have 8 groups in my classroom. The kids rotate between the four stations, which gives them a good variety of practice during a class period.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 55... Regression Line Practice

Today we spent some time practicing on calculating slope and y-intercept using summary statistics, writing equations, interpreting slope and intercept, and using the LinReg feature on our calculators. Busy day! :) You can see in the photo above that we still have a bit of work to do....

Day 54... Collaboration Time!

We had a late start day for teacher collaboration. The science teacher and I had some time today to work on the Forensic Science and Data Analysis class that we are starting in January. We figured out the units that we will be teaching and started on the first unit of study. I'm so pumped about this class!

Day 53... Twisted Words

Today we started Linear Regression, so the students gathered data on tongue twisters. They time how long it takes to say the tongue twister up to 8 times. I love this lab because it always causes some giggling fits, but it also gives some very linear data and is a great introduction to what the slope really means.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 52... Taco Cart Take 2

Today in Intermediate Algebra, I presented the "Taco Cart Sequel". In other words, where would the Taco Cart need to be located for Dan and Ben to arrive at the same time? My class today was such an amazing example of perseverance. These kids haven't always had positive experiences in math, but they tackled this problem for an entire class period. The girl above started on a small whiteboard, then took over her neighbor's whiteboard, and finally moved to the desktops, guessing and checking her way to victory. When she was done (with just a few minutes to spare in class), she asked if she was the first person to finish. When I told her yes, her response was "Man, I feel like such a NERD!" :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 51... Correlation Stations and Taco Carts!

Wow... today was a busy day!

In Stat today, we did Correlation Stations. Can I just say that I really LOVE having the Presentation Room available for activities like this? The kids had a blast going from station to station, measuring various relationships and graphing their points. In this photo, the students rolled a die, tied that many knots in a rope, then measured the length of the rope. They graphed the point (Number of Knots, Rope Length).

Then, back downstairs for Intermediate Algebra. Today we did Taco Cart by Dan Meyer and the kids LOVED it!

Here is one group's whiteboard. I loved seeing their thinking and how well they worked together! Yay team!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 50... Whiteboard Time!

In Intermediate Algebra, we've been working on word problems. We started out on Work Problems and now we're on Distance Problems. Today we worked on converting hours to minutes, which is always a struggle. For example, in this problem, Jason's time is 0.35 hours and I had the discussion with many students on whether that was 35 minutes or not. By the end of the hour, they were converting without a problem.. yay! :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 49... Paperwork!

Wednesday and Thursday are our block schedule days, where we have 3 classes per day plus Advisory. Advisory time is a "homeroom" type class that acts as a study hall, college & career curriculum, other "extra" curriculum as mandated by the state, club meetings, etc. During this time, students can sign up with a teacher for extra help or to make up work. This is my stack of test corrections and reassessments after 2 days of Advisory... looks like some grading will be in my future! :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 48... Carousel MC Practice

We've finished a unit, which means it's time for a test! Today we did some multiple choice practice to help us prepare. Since it's a block day, I didn't want them sitting at their desks practicing for 100 minutes, so we got up and moved around. Each station (lavender sheet) had 2 multiple choice questions on it and there were 10 stations taped up around the room. Each kiddo had an answer sheet numbered 1-20 and then they moved around between stations to practice. There were some really awesome discussions happening and it made for a really awesome day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 47... Work Project

Today in Intermediate Algebra, we again worked on word problems, including a project where the students had to write their own problem and solve it. Overall, I was impressed by the thought and care they put into their problems. Yay, kiddos! :)

Day 46... Introducing Distance

In Intermediate Algebra, we've been working on the traditional algebra "Work" problems. Today we introduced Distance problems. Overall, the kids did pretty well, but I was shocked by how many kids put 1 hour and 45 minutes as 1.45. *sigh*

On the upside, it was a great discussion about average speed and why Historic Route 66 had such a different average speed than the Turnpike. :)

Day 45... Normal Distribution Practice

Today was the last day of class before Fall Break, so I wanted to practice in a fun way. Each group received a set of cards, with a problem on one side and an answer on the other side. Students started with all of the answers turned up and chose one problem as a group, flipped it over and worked that problem. Then they found that answer in the cards on their desk, flipped it over and repeated the process.

The cards were on this #Made4Math post if you are interested... :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 44... Assessing the Normality of M&Ms

Today marks the first day of the 2nd quarter, so I have a renewed hope for taking photos! Today was "Senior Skip Day" since this weekend was Homecoming, but I told my students last week that I *would* be teaching and there *would* be chocolate. :) We "rolled" M&Ms and recorded the number of Ms showing in order to determine if the dataset would be considered approximately Normal.

Day 43... Dan as a Bean Counter

I don't have a photo of today, but we started "Work problems" in Intermediate using Dan Meyer's Bean Counter video. It went really well! Thanks, Dan!

Day 42... Catching up!

No photo today! Thursdays are my day with only one class, so sometimes I forget. So sorry!

Day 41... Rigor and a Silent Conversation

You know those days when you are exhausted, ready to go home, and then you find out you have a meeting? Yeah, today was one of those days. During our Leadership meeting, we read an article on Rigor and did a Silent Conversation. If you've never done one, it's pretty interesting. Kids respond in writing to a piece of text/art/work without talking. After a few minutes, they rotate, this time responding to the text and to the previous comments. Good strategy that I'll want to store away for future use... :)

Day 40... Normal Model

One thing I *really* adore about my classroom is the dry erase desks. Here, students are working on the Empirical Rule in AP Stat.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 38 and 39... Move along, there's nothing to see here!


We reviewed for a quiz, then took the quiz the next day... quite the boring life I lead!!

Day 37... Comparing Distributions

Today we practiced writing comparative descriptions. This seems like something that would be fairly easy, but from years of experience, I can tell you that it is one of the most forgotten concepts once the AP Exam rolls around. We did a modified stations activity with each station having a different type of graph (histograms, boxplots, stemplots, and dotplots), then had 6 minutes per station to write a comparative description. We then did a peer grading of these after looking at sample responses. Overall, I was really impressed and hope to see some great work on their quiz next week!

Day 36... Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a Match!

Part of our discussion in AP Stat has been on different representations of data. Here, students had to match a histogram, boxplot, and summary statistics, which led to some awesome conversations and logical reasoning!

Day 35... More World Problems

Since we've been working on word problems, the exit ticket today was to write your own... Overall, I was fairly impressed with their work! :)

Day 34... Deciphering Word Problems

Another failure of a day for a photo... :) I'll try to take one of my notebook at some point!

But today in Intermediate Algebra, we started working on word problems and figuring out what they mean. I had the students match the problem to the variables to the equation to the solution. It didn't quite work out as well as I had hoped, but oh well :(

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 33... Love the MTBoS!

I love that I'm a part of a group of amazing math teachers from around the world. On those days where I feel uninspired, I love that I have a plethora of resources at my fingertips. Today, in Intermediate Algebra, we did Dan Meyer's Stacking Cups activity. It was very interesting to see the light bulbs around the room as students understood the slope and y-intercept in relation to the cup.

Day 32... Sort those Shapes!

Students were given a set of cards and asked them to sort by shape. Typically, I do this card sort to introduce the shapes, but due to this week's schedule, I choose to do it after the fact. The conversations weren't as good as I've had in the past, but it still was an effective warmup activity. Then we used the cards to practice writing descriptions and did an exit ticket. All in all, it was a good day :)

Day 31... Foldable Fun

When describing a graph, you need to make sure to include the Shape, Odd Features, Center, and Spread... aka SOCS :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 30...Another failure

Sometimes I do a great job of remembering to take a picture.... Other days, I barely remember to take attendance... Today was one of those days :(

So sorry! Maybe tomorrow will be a better day :)

Day 29... It's a Frog-Flippin' Kind of Day

I love finding fun toys in the Dollar Tree toy aisle! I found this "Frog Pond" game a few years ago and it is such a fun way to gather data! Each student has two minutes to get as many frogs into the pond as possible, then we use the data to introduce dotplots, stemplots, and histograms. Fun! :)

Day 28... Water Displacement

In Intermediate Algebra today, we borrowed some 100 mL graduated cylinders from my neighboring science teacher, added 50 mL of water, then dropped in dice (one at a time) to gather some data. I'm pretty proud of how well the students did today with finding slope when it wasn't a perfect line. The best part was how many of them nailed the exit ticket of "What kind of object would we need to use to create a line with a steeper slope?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 27... AVID Cards

Today during my planning period, my aide worked on these flashcards for our AVID Tutorials. One of the AVID teachers asked me earlier this week about providing the tutors with prompts to help with questioning, so this is my answer to help our teachers/tutors out. I am excited for the teachers to try them out tomorrow!

Day 26... Rule of Four

Today in Intermediate, we used the small whiteboards to work on the Rule of Four. I would give the students one of the representations (Verbal, Equation, Graph, or Table) and they had to create the other three.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 25... Videos of Yesteryear

Today we talked about Simpson's Paradox. I used the video clip from the (very old) video series Against All Odds. If you've never seen them, the AAO videos were developed for Public TV back in the 80s and they are VERY dated, but I find it hilarious to see 5.25" floppy disks, etc as if its cutting edge.

Day 24.. I've got nothing...

I forgot to take a picture for today... bummer :(

Please forgive me!

Day 23... M&Ms

I use plain and pretzel M&Ms to introduce contingency tables, marginal/conditional distributions, and segmented bar charts. The students enjoyed working through the assignment and having a snack while they did so. :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 22.. Barbie Time!

Our school has an exchange program with a school in China. Every fall, a dozen students and 2 teachers come to our school. The students stay the entire month of September and the teachers stay through Thanksgiving. Then, in the spring, we send a dozen students and 2 teachers to China for the month of March.

This week, I had the pleasure of working with our Chinese exchange students in predicting the length of a bungee for Barbie to fall off our 2nd floor, which is a total distance of 20 feet. The students really enjoyed gathering data and creating predictions based on their data.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 21... MC Cards

Today we practiced some AP Multiple Choice using our "non-techy clickers" :) The students responded very well to them and I REALLY love that they are color coded!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 20... Card Sort!

I love using Card Sorts! Today, the kiddos read through several scenerios and decided if the experiment was Completely Randomized, Randomized Block, or Matched Pairs. You can see their foldable/notes in the background as they discuss and sort into piles.

Today was a good day :) I really have some awesome students this year!