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Showing posts from March, 2015

Exploring Surface Area

We spent a couple of days exploring surface area recently! We haven't done much with surface area in past years, so approaching this was new for me, a well as for the students. We started out with various shaped boxes (rectangular prisms) and I asked the students to visualize and then draw what the boxes would look like if they were taken apart and laid flat (without all the separate flaps and such). Most students took about 5 minutes to complete their drawings, depending on how detailed they chose to be, and for the most part, they did a very good job drawing their nets. They then spent a few minutes comparing their nets with their group members, deciding whether they were correct (even if they were drawn differently), and determining whether anyone appeared to be missing anything (some students did draw only five sides, and their group members were able to help them figure out what was missing). After drawing their nets, the groups had two tasks - to find the surface area of

Fundraiser for Diana!

What happens when hundreds of wonderful TpT sellers decide that a fellow teacher is in need? Click to see one of the fabulous bundles! A MASSIVE fundraiser happens! That's what! We call it Teachers Helping Teachers, and it came about after TpT teacher-authors heard the story of Diana Salmon, a New York teacher who lost a leg in a tragic hit and run accident. Diana is an inspiration to all who know her, sending a message of strength and resilience by returning to the classroom just months after the accident. Unfortunately, the extensive injuries Diana sustained require an expensive bionic knee for her to be at her dynamic best. This is where Teachers Helping Teachers comes in. Diana's fundraising store, Bionic Teacher, is now the home of TEN limited edition resource bundles promising HUGE savings to all who purchase one. There is a bundle for everyone, and they all contain the most amazing products from top sellers! Best yet, 100% of the profits go to

Learning to Love Math - Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Examples of Differentiated Planning for Achievable Challenge   I took notes on this chapter last week, on a bus ride to NYC (to see Aladdin !), but it has taken me until today to actually write this post:) As the title of the chapter suggests, the author offers examples of differentiated planning and activities. In each example, students are learning the same basic concepts, but at different levels of challenge, which should lead to their maximum success and should minimize their frustration. There are several different examples, so I'll highlight a few in this post and the next. The first activity, which involves working with shapes, is called "Draw My Shape," which the author says is a good activity for Map Readers. The steps for the activity are as follows: 1) pair student that have similar abilities in shape recognition and in naming shapes, OR pair a high mastery/low communication student with high communication/low mastery student 2) give eac

March Mayhem

Click to go to free bundle! I have to be honest and say that I don't spend much time watching basketball (sorry!), but when some collaborators came up with a fun way to follow the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (AND offer some free products), I thought it sounded like a great thing to do!  Our collaborative group, "Tools for Teaching Teens," ( Brittany Naujok from the Colorado Classroom , Technology Integration Depot , Math Giraffe , Leah Cleary , History Gal, and myself) has put together a set of brackets to go along with the tournament! Each basketball team has been connected with a set of resources for middle school and high school teachers, and you can get some of these resource for free! Here's what you can do: 1.  For now, you can go here to download your free kickoff package.  The free bundle includes 6 resources, in different subject areas. 2.  Check out the "Mayhem" brackets here and root for your favorite items! (Some of

Workin' On It Wednesday

Last Wednesday got away from me because I was workin' on watching Aladdin on Broadway! I almost forgot about today, too, because my son was scheduled for a root canal, so that was on my mind. Anyway, here is this week's Workin' On It Wednesday - I hope you will link up below! An InLinkz Link-up

"Ace the Test" Test Prep Giveaway!

It's the test prep time of year, and there is a fantastic giveaway you can enter, to help you with your test prep needs! You can enter to win a Middle School ELA bundle, High School ELA bundle, and Secondary Math bundle. Click below either image to go to the giveaway.  Good luck! Click to go to giveaway! Click to go to giveaway!

Learning to Love Math -Chapter 2 continued

Chapter 2 - Understanding and Planning Achievable Challenge Differentiating instruction is the key to creating   achievable challenges for students, through instruction, homework, multimedia support, etc. In order to differentiate instruction, students' learning strengths must be understood, and Willis shares two general categories for students: Map Readers and Explorers. According to Willis, Map Readers like to work independently, and are most comfortable when they have specific instructions or procedures to follow. Map Readers have characteristics of the linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence groups proposed by Gardner (1983), as well as learning styles of auditory, sequential, and analytic learners. They prefer problems with definite answers and procedures, they prefer new skills to be modeled by the teacher, process information in “parts-to-whole,” are comfortable with logical, orderly, structured approaches, and are good at using words to understand informa

Loved That Lesson

Today I'm linking up with The Teacher Studio for Loved that Lesson ! Loved That Lesson Linky This is a lesson that I wrote about a while back, but I'm at the point in the year when I'll be using it again, so I thought I'd share it for this link up. "Something Fishy" is a great hands-on activity to help students understand a real-life application of ratios and proportions, AND it gives them the chance to munch on a few Goldfish :-) This is a lesson I found through the Mathline Middle School Math Project, sponsored by PBS (I mentioned this program in the " Remove One " post). This lesson presents the students with an environmental problem: "scientists have determined that the number of fish in the Chesapeake Bay has decreased. Assuming this is true, scientists must have counted the number of fish and noted the change. How did they count the fish?" After introducing the problem, the students brainstorm ways that the scientis

Workin' on it Wednesday

Welcome to Workin' on it Wednesday! Is it snowing (or going to snow) where you are? Pretty soon I'll be working on clearing more snow:-( Otherwise, I've been working on reading and writing about the book, Learning to Love Math ....very interesting explanations about the role of the brain in the development of positive and negative attitudes toward math. I hope you will link up below! An InLinkz Link-up

Learning to Love Math - Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Understanding and Planning Achievable Challenge Willis begins the chapter by offering a few examples to demonstrate the frustration or boredom one might feel if not given an achievable challenge. One example – “you are dropped off at the top of a ski resort’s steepest run when you’ve only had experience on the beginner slopes OR you have to spend your day on the bunny hill when you’re an expert skier.” She relates these examples to the students who either do not have the foundational background to understand new topics in class or to those who have already mastered the current concepts. To be engaged, students need relevant, achievable challenges which are difficult enough to hold their interest and make them exert mental effort, but do not cause them to be frustrated. According to Willis, achievable challenge is powerful, because each success leads to increased levels of dopamine in the brain, which is accompanied by a sense of pleasure and decreased anxiety in re