Sunday, October 28, 2012

Using Technology in Geometry

Where do I begin?  This post could take forever!!  I am blessed to have a cart of laptops in my room.  Yes, I am so spoiled.  Anyways, I use the laptops to assess my students on our Learning Targets (Essential Questions), for daily practice, and to explore geometric concepts in general.  Here are some of my favorites:

1.  Geometer's Sketchpad

I use Geometer's Sketchpad (click here) at least once a week with my students.  I love it!!  It captures their attention and makes learning fun.  It's interactive so kids can explore all they want.

I recently had my students compete a Geometer's Sketchpad Lab on Special Quadrilaterals.  If you have Geometer's Sketchpad, you can download the lab here.  There is also a packet that goes with it here.

2.  That Quiz

You can create a class using That Quiz (click here) for free and then assess students on a wide variety of concepts.  When I am ready to assess students, I create a test and then give the internet link to students.  I am currently using this for a small group of students who need extra help in Algebra.

They choose their name and then take the test.  (I have only used the ready made tests on That Quiz, but you can create your own.)  Before they take the "real" quiz, I have them practice, practice, practice so they feel confident.

You can see the results of your students in the online grade book.  As you can see, we just started using That Quiz so there are missing pieces.  It's really easy to use and my students don't mind it.

3.  Quizlet
This week I set-up an account through Quizlet (click here).  The app was free to download and so far I really like it.  Basically, it is a flashcard application students can use online or using their mobile device.  The online version has better features, but most students use the app on their ipod or phone.  I'm still learning about Quizlet, but so far students have said positive things and that they actual study on the bus!

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

If-Then Logical Chain Project

This is one of my favorite projects of the year.  After studying If-Then statements in Geometry, I have my students write an original story based on the children's books by Laura Numeroff.

I introduce the project by first watching one of the following videos and explaining how the stories are really logical chains.

          If you give a mouse a cookie ...
          If you give a moose a muffin ...

Directions for students:

1.  Design a book cover in the space provided for your story.  Make sure you include the title of your book and the author.  (Yes, the author is you!)  You can use colored pencils, markers, magazine clippings, computer generated artwork, etc.

2.  Write a minimum of 8 sentences.  Each sentence needs to be written as an "if-then" statement. 

3.  Write the conclusion (as a conditional) to your story.

Here are some examples of titles from stories this year.  They are super FUN to read!
  • If you give unicorn a yo-yo ...
  • If you give a dog a donut ...
  • If you give a giraffe a bath ...

I used a VERY simple rubric for grading.  This little project is a winner!  Kids love it.

Please visit my TpT store for this project.


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Monday, September 24, 2012

Printing on Stickie Notes (Exit Activity)

We have been studying rigid transformations in Geometry and I wanted to see where my students were at in their understanding of the material.  Instead of handing out traditional Exit Slips, I decided to do something different.  I placed a sign for each of the rigid transformations on my back wall.  Each student got a stickie note (see below) and placed it under the correct sign.  There was some debate with a few of the stickie notes and that made the activity even better!

"Translation"          "Rotation"          "Reflection"

After seeing so many "pins" on Pinterest about people printing on stickie notes, I knew had to try it!  It worked perfectly and the most exciting part was that I didn't jam the printer!  Phew!

Below are a few of the documents you can download and use in your classroom.  First, print 4 templates (page 1) and then place a stickie note in each square.  Print pages 2 through 5 on a stickie note filled template.  It's that easy.

You can download the document here or search my files here.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of School

Besides the fact that it was near 100 degrees in my classroom, I had a great day!  I'm so thankful for a last minute Pinterest check before school and discovered this activity.  It took approximately ten minutes from start to finish.

I have a huge bulletin board in the back of my classroom that I use to display student work.  This was the perfect spot!  I grabbed two pieces of blue poster board and a wrote on one half of a sheet of bright pink paper "Math is..." and on the other half "I hope Mrs. Fisher...".

I asked my Geometry students (8th and 9th graders) to answer truthfully.  Be reflective.  This activity made me nervous.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  Here are the most common and unique of the 150 responses I received today:

Math is ...
boring but needed
my weakest subject
time consuming
a way to solve problems
not my favorite subject
shapes and numbers
my strongest subject
better than Science
great when you know how to do it

I hope Mrs. Fisher...
teaches well
is nice (to everyone)
does fun things
doesn't give homework
gives me time to answer
explains things good
give us opportunities to learn
becomes my favorite teacher
helps me
is fair
connects with me as a student
isn't mean or grumpy
can help me reach my goal

They did a great job.  This really gave me insight on how my students perceive math and what they would like from their math teacher.  We are going to discuss some of their responses tomorrow as a class.  I think I'm going to keep the poster boards up and use them for more "Sticky Note" answers.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Interactive Notebook Planning

My first day of school is tomorrow and I am really pumped about using Interactive Notebooks with my Geometry students. Woohoo!  I've put in many hours this summer researching and am ready to put my hard work into action.  Let's get this party started!

I think (hope) I have a good handle on the left and right sides of the notebook, but I'm still struggling with planning.  So silly!  I tried creating a sample notebook, but kept ripping out pages to rearrange them or start over.  I tried a 3-ring binder with loose leaf so if (when) I messed up, I could just start a new page.  That got old too.  I remember seeing a planning page posted here.  (Thanks for the inspiration!  Great ideas.)  With this being my first experience using interactive notebooks, I wanted to add space for notes and reflections.  Here's what I came up with.  I've been using this template for a week and so far I love it.  Hope you find it useful.

View document here.

Download this document here.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Frayer Model for Interactive Notebooks

I've been trying to think of how I am going to address vocabulary in my Interactive Notebooks with my Geometry classes.  A quick search and this seemingly innocent site appeared.  At first, I wasn't going to bother looking at the document provided as it is an Elementary Science site.  So glad I did.  It is filled with wonderful examples of foldables and vocabulary strategies.

I decided to start with the Frayer Model.  I've used it in the past and am very familiar with it.  (Hey, I'm already taking on Interactive Notebooks this school year, why add something else to my plate.)  Below is a template I created in Pages.  Pretty basic.  I have over 150 students this year and am trying my best to conserve paper.  It prints 6 per page with a 1/2" margin all around.
Download here.

Here's the SUPER COOL part ....

Many time students spell the vocabulary words incorrectly and I wanted to avoid this by typing the words on the models before printing.  I was going to create a text box in the middle of each model and then type in each vocabulary word.  Easy enough.  As I was staring at my already typed vocabulary list, I was asking myself how I could get those vocabulary words onto that template magically.  (Yep, literally talking out loud with odd looks from my family.)  Suddenly a light bulb went on.  Numbers!  I could use import my Pages template into Numbers and merge my vocabulary words into the model.  (FYI - Pages is like Word and Numbers is like Excel on a Mac.)

Here's what the document looks like ...

When you click on the Vocab #1-6 sheet in the upper left, here's what you end up with ...

You can import up to 24 words and then print 4 pages.  I'm thinking I will a print for word list for each chapter.  They still need to write the word on the front (after they fold) so they are getting practice spelling and writing the word correctly.

I'm sure there is a way to create something similar in Word using Excel, but I found it easier with Numbers.

By the way I use a similar method for my class roster and seating charts.  Enter the names and they automatically appear on the seating chart.  It's pretty awesome.   Like Excel, but LOVE Numbers!!

You can download the zipped file here.  It's in the Interactive Notebook folder.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crazy Eight Puzzle

I am in LOVE with this puzzle.  Thank you Math in the Middle for this activity.  (Below is a printable puzzle I created.)  My Geometry students are going to love this simple, yet challenging puzzle.

Download HERE

  • Eight crazy families have lost each other at an amusement park and your job is to reunite them.

Get Ready 
  • Print pages 2 and 3 back-to-back. 
  • Fold along the dotted lines. 
  • Cut along the solid lines.

Now What
  • Fold your paper all different ways until you have four boxes containing the same number.
  • Continue folding until you have successfully matched up numbers 1 - 8.

You can download this activity here.  Thanks for visiting!
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

I sank with planning my Interactive Notebook

My students will be using a spiral notebook for class, so I thought I would start creating a sample/planner Interactive Geometry Notebook for myself.  Everything was going great until I realized I wanted to reorder a few lessons.  Ugh! 

I decided to use a 3-Ring binder with loose leaf and page protectors for my "Master" Interactive Notebook.  This way I can reorder pages and completely revise a page if an idea pops up or I've made an error.  We'll see how this works.  My hope is to add my own reflections on what worked, what didn't and what I would like to change for next year.  I wasn't sure if I could do that in a spiral notebook.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Diving in with Interactive Notebooks

**I'm still getting the hang of this whole blog thing.  Sorry for any inconveniences.**

This year I am going to require my Geometry students to take advantage of an Interactive Notebook.  I am VERY excited and a bit nervous about this adventure.  I have spent hours searching the internet for resources. 

THANK YOU to the following websites and their authors/contributors!  I learned so much and without your knowledge I wouldn't have known where to begin.

I compiled, printed, and sorted countless resources from various sites. Then, I adapted them to fit my classroom and personality.  Again, THANK YOU!  I feel more confident and comfortable with the idea of Interactive Notebooks.

My goal is to post as many printables, activities, foldables, and ideas as possible.  (My students will be using a college ruled spiral notebook.)

Please visit often and share your thoughts.  I would love any advice you have to offer.  Let the journey begin .....

Explanation of Sides and Cornell Notes
These will be taped into their notebooks.

Grading Rubric & Notebook Reflections
I am going to print these back-to-back and will be grading after each unit of study.

Self-Evaluation & Peer-Evaluation
I'm going to print these back-to-back and will be use periodically before the end of each unit.

Key Parts to the Interactive Notebook
I really like this as a first lesson.  Print back-to-back.  Try one first to make sure it copied correctly.  Prints two per page.

Cut Solid - Fold Dotted 

My students are going to get tired of me saying the above phrase.  LOL.  This activity was adapted from Math Teacher Wiki which also has a picture of the finished product. 

You can download all documents here.  Thanks for visiting!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Important Piece of the Puzzle

August is quickly approaching and that means school is right around the corner!  Eek, where did July go?  Starting to think about school and lesson planning.  For the past few years, I have my students participate in a Classroom Scavenger Hunt.  (You know the sheet with a bunch of questions that start off "Find someone who ....".  I'm not sure what the actual name of the activity is.)  This works great in the morning, but by afternoon, many students come in and say "Oh, man!  We just did this activity last hour."  As I was helping my daughter put together a puzzle, an idea popped into my head!  It's perfect.

Each student will receive a puzzle piece.  They should fill in their puzzle piece with words, phrases, drawings, photos, and/or magazine clippings.  It should represent who they are.  I'm going to have students stand up, introduce themselves and briefly talk about their puzzle piece.  Once everyone has had a chance to speak, we are going to glue the pieces together on a big sheet of paper.  (I did not create corner or edge pieces so new students can be added easily to our classroom puzzle.)  There are so many talking points regarding this activity.
  • Create a discussion on how we are all different and yet are connected in some way.  (Physically connecting the pieces.)
  • Let students know there is always room for a new friend.  (Adding pieces when new students arrive.)
  • As part of a connected team (giant puzzle) we can still be individuals (small pieces) 

I can't wait to try this in my classroom!  How are you going to use the puzzle piece in your classroom?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

You can download this activity and a blank puzzle piece for FREE here or visit my TPT store here.

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