Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 77 and the FUN begins

     In yesterday's post I told you that I would be sharing what I am doing in my 8th grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra classes everyday until I retire at the end of this school year. So here we go...
      In Pre-Algebra we started like and unlike terms. I pulled out my container that has pieces of colored paper that I have saved over the year and we made these foldables. See this post: Like terms, Unlike terms INB pages. 

After we did the top of the notebook page the students did a Rally Coach activity with this worksheet at teacherspayteachers.com: Race to the top from Kathryn Goodhart at teachers pay teachers. 
     If you are not familiar with the Rally Coach Kagan Structure I will try my best to explain it to you. First of all, the students in our classrooms are in groups of four, sometimes a group of three if there is an odd number of students. They have shoulder partners and face partners for group work. For the Rally Coach structure, students work with their shoulder partners. The explanation given from the teacher is important because social and group expectations are a huge part of Kagan. First, you explain what you want the students to do and the behavioral expectations for the group. Next, you let the kids know what behaviors you don't want to see and lastly model the expected behaviors. 

Here is what a Rally Coach looks like:

  • One of the partners is given a question that has only one correct answer. That's easy to do in math. 
  • There is also only one piece of paper and one pencil for the pair. 
  • Partner A solves the problem explaining their reasoning to Partner B. 
  • Partner B coaches Partner A if they need help and also affirms the work they are doing correctly. 
  • If the answer is not correct, Partner B coaches Partner A to arrive at the correct answer. 
  • Once they agree on the answer, the teacher checks it, and gives positive affirmations to the students or suggestions on what to change. ( I didn't check each problem but walked around checking their answers as they were working.)
  • When the pair has the correct answer the teacher hands a new problem to Partner B. (For this activity all the problems were on the paper and students just moved back and forth between partners.)
  • The students switch roles and repeat the process.
Well, we started this but did not finish by the end of the period. That was 1st hour. When my 4th and 8th hour Pre-Algebra class came in half of the classes were absent due to ACCESS testing. I guess I should have read the email sooner, I wouldn't have planned a new lesson for today but, oh well, I will have to catch up with the others tomorrow.

     In my Algebra classes I wanted the students to discover how to graph horizontal and vertical lines with their partners. I handed them this sheet and they worked with their partners to graph these. Of course, when they looked at it they had no idea how to graph these. We talked about making a table and listing pairs of points and then graphing them. It took them a while but they started to get it on their own. That makes me smile. After the first few they wanted to know if they still needed to make tables and no they could use the rule they discovered. Tomorrow we will do our HOY and VUX graphic organizer. 

Well that's it for today. See you tomorrow.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Only 77 days to go!

     The  countdown has begun. I have only 77 more teaching days with my students until I retire. I have decided to let you follow me in my last semester and to write a daily post to tell you what we are doing in class. There are so many things I want to do with my students that I have never tried like stations and a flipped classroom. These are the two that I have decided to do for the rest of the year. It's now or never so enjoy the journey with me. I'm also pulling out all of my fun activities I have taught over the years to teach one more time. Please leave suggestions or comments and any resources that you have found helpful that I could use. 
     Here's the plan. On Monday, I am going to talk with all of my classes and let them in on the changes that will be happening. In my two Algebra classes I am going to explain how we are going to flip our class. Many of my students do not have Internet access at home and their phones have limited data, so if they cannot watch the videos at home they can come to my classroom before or after school or eat lunch in my room and watch the videos. I don't have the time or energy to make all these videos so I'm starting  with the videos that come with our book or using Khan  Academy.
     In my 3 Pre-Algebra classes we are occasionally going to flip the class but it will be an activity based learning experience and of course lots of foldables. This is going to be a challenge especially with my last period class. However, I am determined that we are going to succeed and I know if it engaging they will love it.  I can't wait to get started so sit back and enjoy the ride with me.

Til next time,

Monday, January 16, 2017

1 - 100 game group activity for 100% engagement

I'm catching up on posts that have been sitting in my draft box forever. This is an activity that I did at the beginning of the school year. It was so much fun.😊

On twitter I saw a tweet from   Megan Schmidt @Vegan Math Beagle about this activity by Sara Van Der Werf and I decided to use it the second week of school. At the beginning of the school year I always do group activities for students that are fun and get the kids talking and working together. OK, I had way too much fun doing this activity with my kids in all of my 8th grade math classes. 

I changed Sara's directions slightly. I did four rounds instead of three. I had some groups of four and some groups of three. It was much easier for the groups of four to see the pattern than the groups of three. 

I passed out this sheet from Sara Van Der Werf -1 to 100 game to each group.

Each student had a different color highlighter and they had to highlight the numbers from one to one hundred by taking turns going in a circle. I set the timer for 3 minutes and then they furiously started to work. This is repeated three times. Sara has very explicit directions that are in the link below. I love it when I have a script the first time I do an activity.

By the end of the period the kids were screaming with delight. There were smiles everywhere. This was a great way to introduce how to work together in a group. 

You can download all of the directions and worksheets here, Sara Van Der Werf- 1 to 100 game.

When we started the kids were sitting in their seats, 
passing the paper and they were calm.

Yes this group was taking their time looking for the numbers.

Then they started to stand up to get closer to the paper
At his point most groups realized that passing the paper was wasting time 
so they kept the paper in one place and huddled over it.

They started pointing and helping each other as time got shorter.

This group finally decided they needed to get the desks out of the way
 and they sat on the floor.

I love this activity and taking lots of pictures from each class added to the fun. It was also a great way for them to see what working together looks like. This is a keeper for sure. Thanks Sara for sharing this.

Til next time,


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