I know, it’s another 2 weeks. My goal is to be able to maintain this for the rest of the year. I definitely have a new appreciation for people that write 180 blogs!

Algebra CP – It’s been an interesting 2 weeks. We started on Monday, January 30 by returning the chapter 5 tests – most kids did well but enough didn’t that I said we could have a retake after corrections were turned in and we made sure there was understanding. The retake was last Friday, Feb 10 and 4 kids took it. All of them improved their grades. I had said I would have 87% as the max, and 3 kids got 86% so that was pretty awesome! But back to Jan. 30….

We started chapter 6, which was Modeling Two Variable Data, by figuring out if a student would be able to watch a sold-out football game by looking through a pipe located at the end of one end zone. The kids used the cardboard from a paper towel roll to model the “pipe” and stood 5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 12 feet from a wall, upon which I’d taped a yard stick (feet and inches due to football field measurements). They took turns looking through the tube at the different distances, and said how far they could see on the yard stick. One person recorded the data (distance from wall, amount that could be seen) for the group, then they came inside and all copied the data and graphed it. Some groups graphed it backwards (there still isn’t a firm connection between Left Column = x values, Right Column = y values), so had to redo it. Then the groups drew a line of best fit and calculated the equation of the line. I have them find the slope by making a little T-table and finding delta y/delta x , then plugging in one point to find the y-intercept (not the slope equation or point-slope form, although I do think point-slope form is a good beginning for vertex form).

The next day we learned about Residuals (actual value – predicted value), and then Upper and Lower Bounds. These are some of the topics that are new to Algebra that had been in Algebra 2, and I’d never taught them before, so I learned a lot too. The next lessons were graphing and we used Desmos on the iPads. CPM had the problem as a link so we didn’t have to put in the data, and there was a line that could be moved around to find the line of fit. Initially we ignored the outliers and found our line of fit, then the kids typed in the equation: y1 ~mx1 + b. Desmos subscripted it for them, and gave them a beautiful regression line. THEN, they could click on the button that said PUSH under the heading Residuals, and all of the residuals were graphed above or below the x-axis. AWESOME!! However, the lesson also had them finding the R-squared values….. and we didn’t do that… this seemed like enough new stuff for the day.

The next day I gave them a w/s that had the values graphed on it (same BB data) and had them draw another line of fit that included the outliers and we compared it to the line from Desmos. They had problem to do for homework and I told them to download the Desmos app. Some did, some didn’t. So the next day we did it in class and it was AWESOME and SO EASY!! So much easier than doing it on a graphing calculator!! (I think after a lot of me bugging them that most have downloaded the app on their phones.) So the next day we had a partner quiz. I used the same w/s with the BB data plotted on it, and put the table on it too, which had the actual values. Then I circled 2 points and asked them to find the line of fit through these points. I had drawn squares around 3 points and asked them to find the residuals. Then asked a general question about the residuals. Mostly good grades….they were seeing how much Desmos could help them, after doing it by hand again. The next day I went over the homework in detail, and just decided that we were done with this chapter – I doubt the other algebra classes will be doing R-squared or correlation coefficient so…. left it for them in algebra 2 (I know, I copped out). We had another quiz that they could do with a partner or individually. It had one question with data to plot, line to fit, equation to write, and other questions on systems, isolating the variable, etc. from previous chapters. In general they did well. Tomorrow we start Exponential Functions and I promise we’ll do the whole chapter!

OH! But the best thing about the last quiz was what I’d put for the Name____ line. A while ago I had read a blog (by John Scammell, but can’t find exact link) and he’d had listed all of these fun things to write instead of Name ___. So I had written “Hi! I’m _____. I like to _____.” I had some great responses. My favorite is “not take math tests”, but I also got “sleep, eat, breathe, acquire currency, dance, read paint, play hockey, boogie, move it, not have hw, play softball, skate, run/hurdle” and more. I also had some “do math, be in Mrs. Boden’s class, get A’s” and one group left it blank – WHAT?? This is the funnest part of the quiz and you left it blank??? Totally great to read.

Math 7CP – We finished our probability unit doing compound events. I don’t think we did enough of these, we should have had more hands on and drawn more tables. The kids wanted to add the probability of each item, like they did with “pulling a green or red marble”. I think I had them go to multiplying the probabilities too quickly because some kids understood but more wanted to just list each probability. (which of course I saw on the test…). Anyhow Monday and Tuesday (Jan. 30-31) we worked on compound events, then reviewed and had a group quiz on Thursday. Friday we went over it and did more problems on the large white boards. Monday we had the test, and that’s when I really realized we hadn’t done enough, so I highlighted the problems that had something that should be corrected and gave them back the tests on Tuesday. They had part of the period to make corrections (on a separate paper, staple to quiz) and then take a pre-test on Percents. Maddy had to do it for BTSA so I decided to do it too. I think 3 kids can find the percent of a number from a problem like “28 is what percent of 40”. I had my TA “grade” them and then I looked at them. Yes, we need to teach this as well as percent increase & decrease, mark-up, discount, tax and tip. Anyhow, after the corrections many kids got 100% which was cool. Some kids didn’t turn it back in, so they got the original score (I had written it down on a separate page, they didn’t know their scores at the time of corrections.) I bugged those kids the next day for their test/corrections but a few didn’t turn them in….and there’s honestly only so long I’m going to do it.

We started our Percents Unit. We thought about doing it from the 7th grade CPM book (we had used most of CPM for our probability unit) but we need to do more than in the book so are using resources we’d made and found last year. This year I decided to just teach “direct translation” as I honestly think using the proportions are something for them to memorize unless they really understand it. I will show them the option of writing the percent as a decimal or a fraction, but I want them to be able to figure out what they’re being asked in a problem, write that out in English, then translate it into an equation. So if they have the problem “Last year we had 972 students at Los Cerritos and next year we are projected to have 12% fewer students. How many students are projected to attend Los Cerritos next year?” I want them to know they either need to find 12% and subtract it “What is 12% of 972?” or find 88% of the students from this year “What is 88% of 972?”. Then translate those sentences to “x=0.12(972)” or “x=0.88(972)” and figure out their answers. When I started teaching 6th grade in 2000 this is how I taught it. I had a student come ask me “Why don’t you use “is over of equals percent over 100”? I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently her mom was a math tutor and used this to help the kids. My fellow math teachers used it so I did too for years, but not anymore (I totally endorse Nix The Tricks! by Tina Cardone). Last year I used “part/whole = %/100 and talked about the right side being the percent written as a fraction so the equation would be a proportion, but I still think the kids memorized it. Which is why this year I’m teaching “write down the problem you need to solve, then translate the English to Math” (**of** means multiply, as in 6 x 5 means 6 groups OF 5, **is** means equals, as in 4 + 4 is 8, and when we see something we don’t know, as in “what number” or “what percent” then we write something to stand for the unknown. Like a variable! Like x!) So far so good…

Math 7 Accelerated – What stands out for me the most is the “discussions” I got to have with this 6th period, end of the day, 36 kids in the class, class. We also had our chapter test on Monday this past week and started Rigid Transformation. The first lesson has this totally FUN task: http://technology.cpm.org/general/keylock/ and the kids had to type it into the iPads. BUT, I’d written it as …general/key/lock/ so was getting an error. I had to run across to ask Maddy and when I was out of the room I heard a loud yell, and I confirmed it with my TA that someone had totally yelled while I was out. So I asked who did it, no reply (big surprise), then did the (not advisable) threat of “I will give the entire class a detention in 5 seconds if someone doesn’t tell me who yelled.” Luckily Laine didn’t want a detention and raised his hand to tell me he thought Payton did it. So I got Payton to admit it and told him I’d talk with him later. Then we did the TOTALLY FUN ACTIVITY – go try it! (I told Payton that if he’s going to act like a 12 year old (he’s 12) and do things without thinking (because they honestly don’t think) then he also needs to man-up and accept the responsibility of it. I told him if he would have just said, “I did it, I don’t know why, I’m sorry.” then I wouldn’t be giving him a detention. The detention wasn’t for yelling, it was for not telling me. He understood, I hope! And when I gave him the detention he asked if he could do 2 lunch detentions instead, I said No, because then his mom wouldn’t know that he had to stay after school. She still might not know, but I think he’s learned from it.) So that was Tuesday, then Thursday they were working in their groups and I was putting in attendance on the other side of the room and I heard a girl making strange singing?? noises (from across the room). I decided to “talk” to the class about appropriate behavior in my room, that we’d just had Payton yell when I was out, now Gaby was “yodeling??” when I was on the other side of the room. Come on! Friday I decided to make seat changes of a couple of groups, and Gaby is one of those affected…I had let them pick their groups and some made bad choices….I’m just being the adult and fixing it.

But other fun things did happen in class. We did one large problem together drawing a triangle (calling it the pre-image), then finding the image, another image and another image, all labeled with A, A’, A”, A”’. We also used patty-paper to do 90 degree counter-clockwise rotations, once around one of the vertices (3, -2) then around the origin too see how the triangle ended up in totally different places based on what was the point of rotation. I think this will be a fun unit. We’re going to end it with Robert Kaplinsky’s Ms. Pac-Man, so stay tuned (if you do go to that link and scroll to the bottom you can see how I implemented it with Maddy last year – Robert included my post!).

BYE for now!!