Friday, December 30, 2016

My favorite project - 3rd and last year

     This is the third year that my students have completed my Transformation Summative Assessment Project. See my previous posts Here, year one, and Here, year twofor examples, details and the rubric for this project. And yes, you read correctly,this is the last year I will be doing this project. It makes me sad 😓 because I have so much fun watching the students complete these. I am retiring at the end of the school year and I am happy that so many people have enjoyed and used this as an assessment with their students.
     This year the weather did not cooperate and we had a cold day off of school when the wind chill was -23°F. That means that we had one less day to work on the project. UGH! Many of these have errors on them but I wanted to show you some of the best ones from my three 8th grade Pre-Algebra classes. I think they did a great job considering the fact that they lost one day of class time to work on them.

Pizza was a popular picture this year. This is an awesome picture.

Love this penguin!

The shading on the Aliens is nice.
 On the translation I think this student translated and rotated all at once.

Love the colors.

We love minions:)

More pizza! Nicely done.

One of the criteria was to color code the points on the data sheet with the pictures on the graphs.
This student did it perfectly.

Good job on labeling the points.

Another nice one on the color coding. Love this one too:)

This student worked hard on getting the chin part (is that called a gobbler?) of the chicken correct. 

This is how I feel about this entire project.

    There isn't anything I would change about this project. By the time the students were finished they really understood all of the different transformations. I wanted to add something with dilation's but ran out of time. This was turned in the day before winter break so not an extra second was available.
    Wishing all of you a Happy New Year.
Til next time,

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pythagorean Short Stacks

     Last year I taught an 8th grade collababorative math class. My class consisted of 12 special education students with IEP's, 4 students with 504 plans and 12 general education students who scored between 2nd and 4th grade level in math. I also had a special education teacher and teacher assistant to help in the classroom. This was truly the most challenging class I have ever taught. Trying to cover the standards with such a diverse group took lots and lots of planning. 

      My favorite unit with this class was Pythagorean Theorem. They really understood  it! In my Algebra and Pre-Algebra classes I used my Pythagorean Stack activity. See my previous post on Pythagorean Stacks here.  I knew this would be too difficult for my collab class to do so I adapted it and created my Pythagorean Short Stack activity for this group. It has less problems and they still have to find missing sides which makes both of these activities so much fun. All of the answers are integers just like the Pythagorean Stack Activity so you can tell the students there are no decimals or fractions. They loved this project and did a great job. The room was buzzing with activity as they worked in their groups helping each other.

     I did add in numbers for each of the triangles to make it easier to grade. On the other activiy if they didn't number the triangles it was difficult to follow. I know a black and white version would print better but the colors cover up a multitude of mistakes on my diagram. Believe it or not I used Word to make this. My son just looks and me and rolls his eyes and says, "Mom why don't you use paint for that?" I guess I'm just old school. What can I say.

     This year I plan on using both activities with my Pre-Algebra as I have many struggling students in these classes as well. 

     My Pythagorean Stack post is one of my most popular posts so I'm hoping that many of you will find this to be fun to use in your classes as well. Enjoy!

Download file here:   Pythagorean Short Stack

Til next time,


Friday, September 30, 2016

Divisibility rules 7, 11 and 12

     OK, I admit it. Divisibility rules for 7, 11 and 12 are not part of my curriculum but I have so much fun teaching them that I find the time to squeeze it into my lessons. 

    I do use the divisibility rule for 11 quite often. And because seven and eleven are prime numbers needed for prime factorization and factoring out GCF, I feel it is worthwhile to spend a little time on these rules. I put 12 in this foldable because we use that number quite a bit as well.

     As you all know, I am addicted to making foldables. Usually when I have lots of problems to cover I will make one of these booklets. It is a nightmare getting everything to line up and to have the pages in the correct order. This one took awhile and I still wasn't able to  line up the two pages correctly. UGH!

     I never see the divisibility rule for 7 taught. It really isn't that hard and it is a great way to practice mental math with the kids.

     Before we do the divisibility rule for 11, I have the kids put their pencils down and I write several three digit numbers on the board. 

For example: 





     I tell them that, "All of these three digit numbers are divisible by 11. Can you see the pattern?" They look for awhile, I wait and then I add a few more. And I wait and add a couple more. I start to hear, "Oh, I see it!" I tell them not to say the rule but to give me another three digit number that is divisible by 11. I will write down the number and then say, "Yes! That is a number divisible by 11." Then the fun begins. Hands go up and I keep adding numbers to our list. We write down a very long list and then the students explain the pattern to the class.

     Next I place some four digit numbers on the board. 

Like these:





     I tell them that,  "All of these four digit numbers are divisible by 11. Do you see the pattern?" I will wait and place a few more on the board and then they start to guess the pattern just like they did with the three digit numbers. I'm telling you, they love this rule and find it so much fun! One of my students said to me, "Math was so much fun today! We should do this everyday." Oh please repeat that for me again. That is probably why I keep teaching this or should I say having the kids discover the pattern. I can see this being turned into a group activity where the kids talk together to find the pattern as well.

      The next day we start on this part of the foldable.

     Next we go over rules for 12 and I briefly tell then the rule for 15 because it is so similar to 12 and 6.

And of course, there's a practice page.

     There are some extra pages at the end that I used for the students to summarize the foldable. In that section we wrote in full sentences. They groaned. Imagine that!

     I would love to hear how this works with your classes. Enjoy.

Download  the foldable here:

Til next time,


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Divisibility Rules for 2,3,4,5,6,8,9,and 10

Divisibility rules are not a topic that I normally cover but the students in my 8th grade Pre-Algebra classes needed this review so I made this foldable for our notebooks. 

When I teach this I always group the rules together that are similar. It just seems easier to remember four similar rules than eight different rules. I wanted my foldable to group them together in the order I teach them. I debated about having 12 paired with 6 but I decided to place it on my second foldable along with the rules for 7 and 11 which will be my next post.

For the numbers 2, 5 and 10 they are looking at the last digit so those are the numbers in the first flap. Yes, believe it or not, we had to write that an even number ends in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8.

Then the numbers 3 and 9 are the sums of the digits so they are on the next flap.

It bothers me that 6 is alone by itself. I still want 12 and 15 there but OK, I will get over it.

And lastly, a number divisible by 4 or 8 is to divide into the last 2 or 3 digits.They are on the last flap.

I used different colors for each different number and next time will draw a line separating the rules. There wasn't room for full sentences so I abbreviated quite a bit on this foldable. I told the kids they would need to write full sentences on an assessment and they groaned. Imagine that.

 Six is still alone. UGH!

The divisibility rule for 8 isn't used that often. We discussed how we would use the rule when it was obvious and that they could always divide by two and then four. Wait that could be paired with six as well. What!

I hope that grouping the rules together will help the kids remember them better. We shall see.

You can download this foldable HereWhen printing this file select landscape view.

This was a short post but I wanted to get this out tonight. Enjoy!

Til next time,


Saturday, August 13, 2016

8.G.B.7 Pythagorean Theorem and 3 dimensional shapes

I'm back!! After a very difficult year I finally have the energy to blog. Have you ever had one of those years? It took me all summer to regenerate but I am ready to begin a new school year. The students start school Wednesday and I am already busy with meetings, so my mind is whirling with ideas. I can't wait to begin my 4th year using interactive notebooks. A post is coming up next week on this topic.

Now I need to finish sharing from last year! Everyone must think that the only thing I teach is Pythagorean Theorem. There are so many posts on this one topic. However, I really didn't have any materials that went in to the detail expected of this Common Core standard. Plus there had to be foldables, right? So here they are.

Standard 8.G.B.7: Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to determine unknown side lengths in right triangles in real-world and mathematical problems in two and three dimensions.

WOW, was it hard to find problems on this standard for the 3-D  shapes. After searching and searching and searching some more, I made these foldables for Pythagorean Theorem and 3 dimensional shapes.

My students needed help on how to draw the right triangle when the legs were not given in the problem. Once we had the drawing completed there was no problem. 

This next section was hard to find material at the 8th grade level as well.  

We only solved these using Pythagorean Theorem as that is the standard addressed here. 
Again, my students needed help on how to draw the two triangles when only one diagonal is given in the illustration. We traced the diagonal then the height of the vertical triangle, then connected the two points. Then we drew the triangle in the base.

I was concerned how my collab (A class with a mixture of special education  and general education) students would do with this topic. They understood it much better than I expected!!! Yes!!! 

I wanted a page with vocabulary as well so they understood that the diagonals were crossing the center of the rectangular prism. This page was perfect for that.

Teaching the Geometry in Pre Algebra is so much fun. I love it and the kids do as well. 

See you soon with a  post on how I start my interactive notebooks. Have a great new school year.

Below are the links to download these foldables:
I have some worksheets and exit slips I will add to this next week. They are in my school drive so I don't have access to them until Tuesday. So come back after that for more downloads.

Pythagorean Theorem and space diagonals

                                                                   Til next time,



Saturday, April 02, 2016

Graphing Systems of Inequalities Graphic Organizer

     I have had this graphic organizer for over two years in my draft box and have not shared it because I was going to write an awesome post but never got around to doing it. What can I say, it has been one crazy year! I know that many teachers are teaching inequalities this time of year so here is a graphic organizer I made which was inspired by Sarah at math equals love .
      My students loved her graphic organizer on graphing linear inequalities so much that I made one for graphing systems of inequalities. (Don't ask me why these words are in a blue font, they are not on my original post. UGH!)

      There are only two days left of my spring break and then I head back to school. I'm working on something I can't wait to share and am hoping to have it finished soon. 

I'm glad to have this out of the draft box even though this was a very short post. Enjoy.

Til next time,

Monday, February 15, 2016

Algebra -Dimensional Analysis Foldable

     My algebra students always have difficulty solving dimensional analysis problems. We needed to practice a little more and have some step by step instructions so I created this dimensional analysis foldable. I liked my scientific notation foldable from a previous post so much that I used the exact same template. Why not? 

I really like this foldable template :) The only thing that would have made it better was if it were in color.

       The students who had difficulty reducing the numbers could use their calculator. I am always surprised that my students haven't learned to reduce before they multiply when working with fractions. Really?

I think next year I may add a couple more word problems.

      I was telling my daughter, who is a high school biology teacher, about how the kids were having difficulty with this topic and she shared a fun worksheet that the physics teachers at her school created. David Thorpe over at Nerd Island Studios has given me permission to share this as a Word Document and said, " I am totally OK with it becoming public so that people can modify it to their own needs without attribution." Thanks David! So have fun with this sheet.  Check out the guys website. They have lots of simulations, IPAD apps, and a quizevolved site where the computer generates the same type of problems with different numbers. Awesome.
     My kids loved it and it was a fun way to have them begin to practice dimensional analysis.
 I changed the name of the Island to our school name and the King to King Smithoni as our principal is Mr. Smith. They got a kick out of that.

Click here to see and download the entire document: 

 Conantuki Island - Dimensional Analysis worksheet

      This post is mostly pictures as I am trying to clear out my draft box in my blog. It is sad when you have more drafts then posts. So enjoy the pictures.

Til next time,

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Integer card game

     My collaborative math class is currently working through our integer unit. Many of the students are having difficulty comparing and ordering integers and at the last minute I decided we to put together a game to help them practice. I knew my wonderful math teachers had everything that I needed. Julie had created decks of cards that had all of the numbers from -100 to 100, that had been copied, laminated and cut. She had 8 decks and each deck was a different color. That's a lot of cards! She let me borrow them. 

     Gina had large dice that she purchased from Dollar Tree that she let me borrow as well. Perfect, that's exactly what I needed.

     Then I quickly made  directions on my Smartboard.

     When the kids came into class they were divided into groups with an odd number of students. One group had an even number. I told them we were going to play the game, "WAR." I was amazed that most of the kids didn't know this game. Really, I was shocked. So I explained it to them. 

Here are the rules:

 1. Pass out all of the cards in your pile. Everyone should have the same number of cards. If there are any extra cards place them in the center of the table. Your cards should be face down so you can't see them .

2. Roll the die. 

3. All at once everyone take your top card and turn it face up on the table. 

  • If you rolled a 1 or a two the person with the least number wins and gets all the cards on the table . 
  • If you rolled a 3 or a 4 the person with the highest number wins. 
  • If you rolled a 5 or 6 the person with the number in the middle wins. If they were in a group that had an even number of students, the person who had the number closest to zero wins. 

      I can't believe how much fun they had playing this game! I liked it when they rolled a 5 or 6 and had to place the numbers in order from least to greatest to find the number in the middle. It was fun to watch the light bulbs go off. Those moments when they make those connections make teaching so much fun.


 Integer Cards (Thank you Julie for letting me share this!)

Til next time ...
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