Week 1 2016-2017

First Day of School! Wed., August 24

I’m going to try and blog at least once a week this year (apprehensive  grimace facial expression on my part!). This year I’m teaching 2 classes of Algebra CP, 1 Math 7CCSS class and 1 Math 7 Accelerated (1/2 of 7th and all of Math 8CCSS) class, and I plan on writing a little blurb about each one, for each day.

This week and next week I am doing the same thing in all of my classes, because it’s Learning How To Work In A Group.

We started with Sara VanDerWerk’s Name Tents (which I copied with the dates 8/29-9/2 instead of 8/24-8/30, but whatever) and I’m really enjoying reading and commenting on them. Then we did Broken Circles that Sarah Carter wrote about from the AWESOME book Designing Groupwork (I’m almost done reading it). It was totally great watching the “A Circle” kids figure out that they needed to share. Two of the classes had one group that just didn’t get it – everyone else was finished and quietly waiting….. until the last group FINALLY finished.  I cheered for them. Then we talked about it – and the kids wrote their first comment or question on their Name Tent.

Maddy (my co-worker) and I had had the parents (or kids) go to our new websites (mine is www.mrsboden.weebly.com) and fill in their information on the Contact page.  That was a good idea, but after getting 2 emails the first day I realized 1) We hadn’t had them put their class period on it (and couldn’t add a field since we have the “free” version) so I’d have to sort them manually; and 2) I have to sort them all!  NEXT YEAR we will put a link to a Google Form on it instead, so it populates itself to a spreadsheet.  Yeah, live and learn.

Day 2  August 25

Today we started Week of Inspirational Math (year 1 since I didn’t do it last year) from the YouCubed site. Everyday there is a video then an activity. In the lesson plan for Day 1 it says to discuss what makes a good group, but I decided that we should do Talking Points instead. These are the instructions I used: Talking Points Instructions – but Cheesemonkeysf explains it better here. I really understood them after doing them with Mr. Luzniak when we learned about Debate in Math Class. It was really great to watch and listen to the kids listening to each other and changing their minds sometimes based on what other’s had said. After the first class I modeled one round using “Comedies are the best movies” as an example.

After the Talking Points (most groups had finished at least 1/2 of them) we did the activity, which was Four 4’s.  On the White Boards. On the Walls. In Random Groups of 2 (or 3 if necessary). It was awesome. (Yay Visual Non-Permanent Surfaces (VNPS) and Visable Random Groupings (VRG)!!)

The kids did have homework. Algebra had to find the numbers 1 – 10 using Three 3’s (some did Four 3’s by mistake, but that’s okay) – as many as they could in 20 minutes. Math 7 had to find 3 more of the Four 4’s they didn’t find in class, and Math 7Acc had to find 5 more equations.

I wrote comments on the Name Tents for Day 2…not reading what I had written yesterday! But don’t you love what the student wrote????!!!!!

name tent with comments

Day 3  August 26

The day began with some of the Algebra kids writing their Three 3’s equations on the board. It turned out that no one had figured out 8 or 10.  We talked about Factorial!, and that I would like them to write all division as fractions (because the line with the 2 dots really just has those dots as place holders for the numbers, right!?!). I told them they could figure out 8 and 10 if they wanted to. Within 5 minutes a girl had figured out 8.

Day 2 of Week of Inspirational Math had a short video on Visual Numbers and an AWESOME handout: Day 2 Visual Numbers. We had a great discussion on the patterns in all of the class

In my 7th grade classes I was a little disappointed because some just did the easiest ones (4+4+4+4=16), but at least everyone did something! (Okay, I think one girl didn’t “it’s at home”, but I’ll check Monday and see if she has it.) We talked about Factorial! and how to write division in these classes too.  In some of the classes we got to do a Math Talk on 16 x 9.  There were a lot of good strategies (I specifically was looking for 16 x 10 minus 16) shared by the kids and in 2 classes we got to do 999 x 16 – which most kids did as 1000 x 16 – 16!

That’s it! Now I need to write my comments on their Name Tents….

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About debboden

I teach middle school math in Thousand Oaks, California. I love my job! When I'm not teaching, or thinking about teaching, I love to ride horses, read, take Zumba classes and be with my family and friends.
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