Monday, September 12, 2016

2016-2017 School Year!

The beginning of every year is filled with new ideas to implement and try! I am constantly collaborating with my colleagues in 7th and 8th grade.  I am going to list some of the activities students have done so far this year. Many of the activities build collaboration and group work habits. I will elaborate in detail what activity entails when I have time; but I have more things on my schedule this year: Grad School, private tutoring, math department chair, and full-time teaching :)

Chalk Talk: My first favorite activity is something that I adopted from my friend, Esther. She loves to do chalk talks because it forces everyone in a group to participate. I decided to try chalk talk with building vocabulary. And first round went very well as it gave students time to brainstorm. The process is there are about 6-7  sheets of paper with one vocab word written on each. Students each have a different color marker in their group and everyone needs to quietly write down the first thing that comes to mind when they see the word either in description or picture form, or they can write whether they agree or disagree. It's a great way for students to use their own words and helps the teacher gauge what the class understands and what still needs to be clarified. So in summary, 1 min per word of brainstorming written on a blank sheet of paper, switch each round via table, and then share out as a class. I follow this activity with a frayer model vocabulary where students will use what they brainstorm and record on the frayer model.

Change your Words, Change your Mindset: I used Jo Boaler's awesome mistakes video shared by my math coaches. It's under her week 2 of inspirational math. The message is that mistakes grow your brain, and I had the students write a positive statement from a negative statement. We always refer to this wall throughout the year.

 100#s Activity: I have to thank my friend Marissa for introducing me to this wonderful blog. It is an excellent activity to start the year, building groupwork norms.  Shared this with the other teachers at my school, and they love it as well.

My colleague teaching 7th grade has a lot of lesson structures that helps breakdown CMP3 for students in meaningful and engaging ways. Two strategies I adopted from her classroom include: Chunk and Slide and the Amazing Race!  Both activities have been an absolute hit with students and the amazing race activity is a perfect way to chunk the investigation and differentiate it for all students. Chunk and Slide is a great model for think-pair-share when students are learning a new concept such as writing linear equations or solving (for dryer lessons when we want to avoid direct instruction at all costs--gotta keep it engaging). *will add more soon*

Thursday, June 30, 2016

MMMM: Most Memorable Math Moments and Aha! Moment

Dear fellow teachers,
Congratulations on completing another school year! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. It's been a while since I've posted and I want to share and summarize our end of the school year!

On the last day of school, I only had my 6th graders (about 10) so we had fun working on origami pieces--a stellated icosahedron, and origami hearts! :) 

After their final assessment, I asked students to draw or illustrate their most memorable moment or Aha! Moment this year.  I was impressed and surprised by what they remembered throughout the school year--some recalled the very first activities we did at the beginning of the school year. And it's funny that most involved food! :D I can't deny that food makes lessons more memorable for students--something for me to consider for next year. The most popular moments included: the penny lab (TMM bridge thickness and breaking weight) and skittles lab (GGG Exponential decay. Some students chose to illustrate their favorite Aha! Moment--I really enjoyed reading those. 

A thought for next time I could implement may work for the end of each unit--possibly even added to their portfolio. Students can reflect with the prompt: "I used to know....and now I know that..." Perhaps they can even make it into a comic book or illustration compiling: I used to know, now I know, most memorable math moment, and favorite Aha! Moment.

Please let me know if you have any ideas for reflection! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pool Problem- Equivalent Expressions

We are in the Say it With Symbols Book. Instead of students working directly out of the book, we decided to turn it into a more interactive activity where students make their own pool-Brilliant idea from some teachers in another school within our district. We gave each group a labsheet of a rectangle, circle, and square that had a common side length x. Students were not allowed to use a ruler. I asked them to be more creative and add more circles and squares if they preferred.

Parent Functions- The Creativity Continues!

Last year I posted the parent functions activity  
We did it again this year, and here's their work!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sequences, Rotations, and Coding! :D

We are on the Butterflies, Pinwheel, and Wallpaper unit. This covers transformations and similarity. As an extension, my math coach shared a neat at activity from this year's MMC Conference. I took advantage of the day the kids went on a field trip and had students draw their own sequences representing each side length then rotation 90 degrees counterclockwise. Many caught on so quickly! I had early finishers work with some python coding on my laptop. Here's what they came up with :D

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Counting Handshakes Problem

Chart paper or poster paper is always very useful for promoting group work! We first watched the launch video and students immediately noticed that the number of handshakes had to be squared, and blurted out: "that's easy, it's 36!" I responded, "I heard people blurted out the answer, but the point is to not just get to the answer, but to visually represent and show numerically why the answer is true." I passed out blank paper to each group, and they immediately started sketching their own strategies in their notebooks. Then they transferred their strategies onto the group poster. Overall, their work led to a great discussion. We ran out of time towards the end so we will go in more depth about Case 3 tomorrow. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Social Justice Math

We had school today. My professor asked us to reflect on our day off (if we had it off). And I will be honest, I am glad my school is not taking Columbus day off. It has been highly controversial and for a very good reason--it is important for us to know our history.

Nevertheless, I am really grateful that my school and the math coaches are pushing for social justice and really thinking about how to make the mathematics from our curriculum more meaningful for students. It is basically what I spent the majority of my time studying during my college career, in addition to majoring in mathematics and minoring in secondary education. I am extremely grateful for the training I have received in the Robert Noyce Program. My professor, Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez, really made the program for pre-service teachers very meaningful and applicable to future teachers--even if we did not realize it at the time. From volunteering at an after school mathematics club that empowers underrepresented students in challenging mathematics and games that involve problem solving strategies, to having in depth discussions from "In My Shoes Situations" talking about what a pre-service might do in a given sticky situation, the experiences I have in Noyce have shaped me to who I am as a teacher today. We discussed about Jo Boaler and read her articles before her online Stanford class that push for more understanding that mathematics can be learned by everyone. We had an in depth discussion about What is Mathematics? We had access to new teachers and asked for advice, learning how they were surviving. We worked with a board certified mathematics teacher as he presented challenging mathematics problems he gives his students at a CPS magnet school. A lot of teachers I work with complain about the theoretical concepts learned when working on education; I can relate to some of those aspects, but it was Noyce that taught me the applicable side and how to work in the world academics and understand the political side of it. Even with all of that training, my first year was a big struggle. But thanks to that training and the support I received, I survived my first year and I am striving to become better each year.

This year, in implementing a scatterplot project that incorporates linear modeling, a project that the 8th grade teachers I work with came up with, one of my students decided to take a spin on it and incorporated social justice mathematics. This incorporation was unplanned, but I am really happy that she decided to work on a topic she feels more passionate about. She sat in class while we brainstormed ideas frustrated because none of the topics students came up with was meaningful. So I asked her, what is meaningful to her? She responded: something that matters. So I suggested, how about you look at the illinois report card website? That's when she decided to investigate is there a correlation between low income % and test scores. And did a remarkable job. I was very impressed that she decided to take on social justice mathematics without putting a term to it, but merely picking a topic that is important and should be more discussed in schools. And who better than the students to analyze what is going on today?

My next steps and in implementing this project again next year, I want to make it more discussion-based. We didn't have much time this year, but in the future, I would like students to present their conclusions if we decide to narrow the topic down to social justice topics. And this will probably bring on important and heated debates, but that's what Noyce trained me for!