Thursday, July 31, 2014

TMC '14 Recap and iPads in the classroom

{Note: the Algebra 2 link has almost all of my INB pages up! I am still working on attaching all the links. If I haven't attached one that you want the word document to, let me know and I 'll send it.}

TMC Recap
I figured I needed to recap TMC before I forget and then could never look back. I have been exhausted since I came home..primarily because I stay up way too late and also due to the fact that my mind was stretched so much at TMC in a good way!

I am so passionate about what I do. Personally, I could never be in a job that I know doesn't make a difference. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm anything extraordinary but I do know that I have a love for these kids, their well-being, and helping them develop a passion for growth. I say a passion for growth instead of learning for a reason. For the rest of our lives, whether we want to or not, we are learners. We learn how to be wives and husbands, moms and dads, how to deal with insurance and budgets, and how to be a good friend and person. But, not everyone tries to live their lives growing. Learning really isn't a choice but growth is. I want my students to be passionate about growing and learn to love the learning process, as well. TMC brought to my attention so many more ways that I can use to cultivate growth-minded students.

The best way to describe how I felt at TMC was inspired. I told my husband as I was going on and on about how much I was loving it was that "They just get me there." He thought that was pretty nerdy of me to say but he knew he married a nerd from day one :) What I meant by that statement was that I felt like I was surrounded by people who understand my passion and my dreams for my kids. You guys don't just want your kids to learn but to grow as people. So, beyond the incredible instructional tools that I learned about at my time at TMC, my biggest take away was the way it made me feel. Inspired and hopeful. Inspired because there were so many teachers who amaze me with their talent and ability to teach without fear. Hopeful because I'm reminded that others love and want for these kids like I do.

Here's a couple pics. Let me just say, these are NOT good pictures of me AT ALL. But, I am so glad I've been able to get to know these two.

Me and Elissa   

Me and Shelli (Let me say that her friendship has                                                                                           been such a blessing to me this past year!)

     My use of iPads in the classroom is nothing extraordinary. I began using my iPad more this year because it's just so convenient. Let me make a note that our school is not 1:1. We are making noticeable progress to getting there, but not there yet.

     I do not write down grades in my grade books. To me, it's a waste of time to write them down physically and then write them electronically, as well. I know many teachers that I work with that do both and I say hats off to you. But, I'm just too lazy for that. So, since we just got wifi in my classroom this year because my class is kinda secluded in a newly built hall, I decide to start recording grades and feedback with it as I walked around with the kids. Gradequick is a little more frustrating to use on the iPad but I think they are beginning to update it to be more user friendly. Throughout the year, I did a lot of checking on student understanding by walking around at the beginning of class and looking at an assignment or INB page for understanding of the concept. As I did this, I would give a small 10 point grade that, in the long run, didn't really make a different in anyone's grade. (I only do classwork/homework for like 10-15% total). For projects and activities, I often take pictures of their work on whiteboards, etc. and grade their assignments that way. It's just better, to me, than taking home stacks and stacks of papers to grade. I just take my iPad home and flip through the pictures, provide feedback on a half sheet I have them turn in, record their grade and delete the picture.

     Also, when the TI-Inspire came out on the iPad, they ran a huge sale on the app. I believe the app runs for about $20-$30 in the app store but I got it for like $7. It has a lot of pre-made interactive lessons for students to get visual understanding of the concept. Desmos can pretty much do the same thing so I intend to use that more often, as well. I bought a cord to hook my iPad to my projector and use the animations to help the kids. Now, I can use my iPad for anything I want to project to the kids. I wish I could do it wirelessly but, from my understanding, you can only do that if your school has AppleTV.

This is a screen shot of the exploring domain and range lesson. You drag Point P and it highlights the domain and range in different colors for kids to see.

Grab the points and it alters the graphing as you drag them. This particular lesson demonstrates graphing rational functions.

This is an example of a lesson that can be sent out to calculators (or if you have a classroom set of iPads) where students can respond to questions.

Another example of student's being able to respond to graphs that they have been shown or created.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July Challenge Day 20: Operations with Rationals Error Analysis

It's been a few days since I've blogged primarily because I didn't feel like I have much to share but also because we've been a little on the busy side. I took my (almost) 2 year old to the movies Friday for his first real movie in a theater to see Planes: Fire and Rescue. I was a little nervous because he is so unpredictable right now. He's an incredible kid...we are blessed...but you just never really know how he's going to act in public. But, we went with a friend and her little boy. I thought worst thing that could happen was that I'd waste about $15 ...which, if you know me, can slightly make me cringe because I've been in quite the cheap-o stage lately. haha

But, he was a PERFECT angel and even fell asleep the last 20 minutes. To make it even better, we changed his bed to a toddler bed yesterday. I thought we'd have a pretty eventful night with him not wanting to stay in bed. To ease my nerves, I locked and put a gate at his door since he has recently learned how to unlock doors. (Judge me. But you won't see me on the news with my kid wandering the streets!) He was PERFECT. We put him in bed like normal, he cried for about 3 minutes, never trying to get up, and went straight to sleep and slept til about 8 a.m. He's a pretty awesome kid. Praise God!

Getting ready for bed!

In the movie.

Okay, enough about my sweet baby.

I was reminded about a resource I created this year with my Pre-AP Algebra 2 kiddos by reading Mrs. Reilly's blog about error analysis. This is a strategy that I started implementing this year for the first time with my kiddos. I have been so impressed with how much it really challenges kids to think.

When I taught my unit on rationals, I have my kids take a quiz using error analysis on operations of rationals. The whole unit, I watched frequent mistakes kids would make and took note. Then, I used these mistakes on the quiz. I worked it as they would with the mistakes, had them explain what the error was, and then had them correct the mistake to find a correct solution. I was surprised by how much this challenged my kids. Even the smartest students struggled to put into words where the mistake was. Even the types of mistakes I used that they were so accustomed to making before really tricked them at times. (Insert evil teacher laugh here). Overall, I was pleased with the outcomes and plan to do more of this stuff next year. I love it.

I plan to look back over my mistakes on the quiz and see if I need to make any changes. If you see any "errors" (haha, ones that were not intentional), let me know!

I do need to re-consider my approach to teaching adding and subtracting rational functions. I have researched and tried so many different things and nothing quite demonstrates the concept to the kids like I really want them to. They still struggle with this concept so much. If y'all have ANYTHING to help with this concept, please let me know! I am open to anything!

Have a blessed Sunday!
(3 1/2 days til TMC '14!!)


Thursday, July 17, 2014

July Blog Challenge Day 16: Door Decoration and Poster

Happy Hump Day! Quick post today and nothing too fancy. I saw this pin on pinterest:
from  Mrs. Cooks' blog . Thought it was so cute and my door is just like that one. So....I made these printables to model the words. I'm attaching them in PDF form because of the fonts. I colored in the open letters. Hope you like!

 The second attachment is just a short little poster the I plan on putting above my door. I'm going to matte it on some fancy construction paper I have at school. Again, a pdf.

 If y'all want the word documents just shoot me a comment or e-mail and I'd be happy to share! Have a great Thursday! Brooke

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July Blogging Challenge Day 14: Notation Foldable

I've been working on some Pre-AP Algebra 2 stuff tonight! I got the idea of a foldable for Notation from Sarah Hagan. She made a three-door foldable using various notations that Algebra 2 kids encounter throughout the year. I put my spin on it and made a printable foldable. I do a "Characteristics of Functions" unit at the very beginning of the year where I go over notation, domain/range, Transformations of generic graphs, parent functions and their transformations, and piecewise functions. Kids should be familiar with most of this stuff coming into PRE-AP Algebra 2 know how that goes. They are brain dead at the beginning of school and I can't really blame them because I feel like that a lot too :) I can blog later about each activity I use to get kids working together and making inferences for each of these sections. I knew, from last year, that I needed something better for kids to put in their notebooks for Notation. I'm anti-notes, y'all. Judge me all you want but I HATE (yes, I'm yelling) having kids take notes. So, I usually do quick foldables/activities to make the process a little less "snore-worthy."

I'm attaching the document in PDF form because I used specialized fonts that I downloaded but if you want the Word Document just send me an e-mail and let me know. I'm also attaching pictures of what I intend to write in the foldable with my kids. Keep in mind: This is totally a rough draft. Please let me know if you see something I should add or fix! Let me know if you like it!

Front of Foldable (Didn't feel like coloring the rest :] )

Inside Left (Hope you can read my handwriting)

Inside Right

Have a great Tuesday!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

July Blogging Challenge Day 13: Ramblings...

Hey y'all! I don't have any new resources to share but I should soon! We've been busy, busy, busy so I've missed the last couple of days!

Friday, we celebrated 10 years since my husband's best friend was in a plane crash at the age of 16. He was severely burned on much of his body. We went to high school together so I can remember those times. Now, he is stronger than ever and not limited in any way! So, every year, his closest friends and family get together to celebrate his "burnt-day." You should hear the story of his wife trying to explain to the Great American Cookie Company lady about what his cookie cake should say. "10 years krispy." The lady thought she had said "10 years kristy" with a plane on fire. haha! If you want to hear the full story, here is the link that a news channel in central Arkansas did on Friday. Definitely a hero!

Saturday and Sunday have been a little more low key. Yesterday, my little family worked out in the yard. We have two Siberian huskies. When I was walking from the backyard to the front, I accidentally left the gate unlatched and they made a run for it. Needless to say, my hubby was not overly excited that he had to go searching for them for an hour. Good news: they are back--safe and sound!
Today, we went to church and came home and lazed around. I have a sinus headache so I took it upon myself to not do too much cleaning today :) This was my first week of my LAST CLASS of grad school. [Cue the hallelujah chorus]. So, today I finished up my assignment for this week and turned that in. Procrastination at its finest! Now, little man is asleep and hubby is at work. The usual around here.

Some goals for this week:
1. Start working on my classroom d├ęcor
2. Really get my bridging curriculum nailed down. I loved my kids in there but I need more structure next year than I had this year. I felt like I was always at a loss for where to go next after each concept. That class has a lot of freedom with it that I hope to make more useful next year.
3. Work on PAP Alg. 2 by really altering and solidifying my first unit.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

July Blog Challenge Day 10: Oh Dave...

I don't have anything "math teacher-y" to blog about tonight. I've had a lot of teacher things on my mind but haven't had the chance to get to work. I am looking for some ideas on where to get CHEAP stuff for your classroom. I've been super cheap lately but I am wanting to change a few things in the classroom for the new school year.

My husband and I are just beginning Dave Ramsey. I have to admit, when I get something in my head that I'm going to do, I get a little bit obsessive about it. I wake up thinking about budgets. Go to bed thinking about get the picture. I am really excited to pay off some debt. Luckily, we don't have little to any credit card debt. But, oh, those student loans....
Hubby will finish in August with a masters in Family and Marriage AND Community Counseling. 68 freaking grad hours to a PRIVATE school. AKA, an arm and a leg.

I will graduate in August with a masters in Curriculum and Instruction which is typically only 30 hours. But, oh, me...I changed my emphasis after about 6 classes so I will graduate with a masters plus 18 hours. Yeah, I'm dumb.

So, I'm definitely looking for points for those who have done well on creating budgets or have completed Dave Ramsey and ideas to make a little extra moo-lah.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Challenge Day 8: Aquarium Problem

I was introduced to this problem last summer by Shelli. I never actually used the problem but I intend to this year. I LOVE how it is such a higher-order thinking problem that can be used at so many levels. Pre-Cal, Algebra 2, my Bridging classes.. you name it. Like I've said before, I really want to take problems like this and make them applicable to all levels. I hope to use it with my classes in the first week of school.

I love how all the answers are not near as straightforward as most things. You really have sit and think about the situation that is being represented.

Aquarium Problem

Short post. I'm scrounging for interesting things to write about. My mind is wanting to start working on my units. I'm feeling that panic that you feel when school is coming. Where to begin?
I have PD tomorrow so maybe that will give me some of the inspiration I need.

Have an awesome Tuesday!


Monday, July 7, 2014

July Blog Challenge Day 7: Graphing Rational Functions Group Quiz

Not entirely sure what to blog about tonight so I will just share something I did in my classroom this year that I enjoyed.

While browsing pinterest, I found where a teacher had her students sketch the graphs of rational functions on the sidewalk as practiced. I loved this idea because, when graphing crazy rational functions, kids need lots of practice! The day I had planned on doing this with my kids ended up being extremely cold and they are sissies :) So, instead, students paired up in groups of two. I had them grab a whiteboard and a slip of four rational functions. There were three different sets of rational functions so a lot of the groups didn't have the same functions as the groups immediately next to them. I also used this to differentiate with the kids so that I could give groups who needed the basics a little simpler problems and other groups more difficult ones to challenge them.

As they complete each function, I went around and took pictures with my iPad. This is how I graded them. I won't lie. Grading was a little bit of a pain but once I established a system in place, it got a little quicker.

This took my kids WAY longer than I expected but I was really proud of how much effort they put into it and how much it helped them solidify the concepts. Plus, they LOVE whiteboards and so do I. I'm definitely wanting to learn more ways to challenge my kids using whiteboards. I'm attaching the functions below along with the key which has the graphs. The Vertical and horizontal asymptotes and intercepts that I asked them to list I actually wrote in by hand so that won't be on the key part. I know it's not much but maybe it can generate a couple of ideas for ya with rationals. Hope it's somewhat useful!

Sidewalk/Whiteboard Group Quiz

Have a great night!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

July Blog Challenge Day 6: I'm a slacker...

I've been out of commission the last few days. I've been busy spending time with my sweet family and driving here and there. I knew it was important to set aside a few days to focus on my family.

I'm not incredibly sure what to write about so I'm just hop9ing to get some feedback on classroom practices that have really worked for you guys.

I won't lie..I am a people person who has never really had to deal with much confrontation. I love meeting people and making friends. When I began teaching, as most all of us deal with, I don't think I had any idea of how this personal quality of mine would be challenged. My first two years of teaching, I taught at an awesome school teaching seniors. I was only 22. I was intimidated, challenged, and changed. I loved my experience at Greenwood and am so blessed to have taught with so many incredible people and love and get to know so many amazing kids. However, it was tough! I was so used to getting along with people that it was a slap in the face when some of my kids challenged my authority or straight up didn't like me. What?! Someone doesn't like me. Who knew! (now it's funny because I understand that it's totally normal..but then, I felt inadequate.) I learned so much that first year. So so much. The second year was much better but still a struggle. I actually had a student steal my car keys (Which I thought I had lost) and took off with my 2 month old car a month later. (That's another post that I'll share if y'all want me to.) I mean, really. How many teachers can say they've had their car stolen by one of their students? I feel tough now. :) Now, I have taught the last two years at another incredible school where I actually went to high school at. L-O-V-E it. I love my kids so so much. All that to say, classroom management was a huge learning curve for me initially. I have come such a long way and I am proud of myself. Proud because I have worked so hard in this area and my character has changed so much through the process.

Now, I am looking for more strategies to employ to enhance the learning environment in my classroom.

What strategies do y'all use to create an incredibly organized, systematic learning environment?
What are ideas that I can use to create more structure in the day-to-day procedures?

I would LOVE your feedback. This is an area that I have grown in but know that I have so much to learn. I am not an organized individual at all. So, I have to be really intentional on classroom practices to ensure an effective learning environment. Please share! I love to pick people's brains!!

Y'all have an awesome night!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July Blogging Challenge: Day 2, PARCC Released Items

Y' anyone out there (Titanic, ya feel me?), reading this? I feel like a loser newbie blogger :)

So, since Arkansas is still very much in favor of common core and testing at the high school level is soon to begin. I want to start giving my kiddos more and more higher order thinking problems that are common core aligned. Most people hate what questions they've seen that are aligned to common core. Some are absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary. But, I'll let you in on a little dirty secret...I like most of 'em. (Shhhh..don't tell all of those parents who rant and rave about how horrible common core will be.) So, with my goal in mind, I have spent a little more time looking at PARCC and found some pretty decent problem solving tasks aligned to different grade levels.

Check out this website for a full list of high school mathematics released items.

I love this one on Algebra II discussing temperature changes by identifying types of functions with real-life models.

I like this one for Algebra I. I don't teach Algebra I anymore but I hope to teach it in my Bridging classes.

I would love for you guys to spend some time looking at these tasks and telling me what you think and how they can be used in different ways in class. How could we extend some of the tasks for higher levels of mathematics?

Happy July 2nd! Let's pretend it's not past midnight.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Blogging Challenge: Day 1

It's July y'all..meaning PD is on the horizon and the kiddos are coming sooner than we are probably prepared for. I have been really reflective today about where our focus as teachers should be. I love math..I'm not afraid of being a nerd. But, more than that, I love love my kids who challenge, stretch, and allow me to open my heart in whole new ways. I can't even explain how much they change my life. I hope I never lose sight of being a difference maker and of reminding my students that people will likely not remember you for how cute or smart you were, but by how you made them feel. I want my students to feel warmth, acceptance, challenged, and loved by me. I pray that this becomes even more my focus in my life.
One thing you'll learn about me is that I am REALLy sentimental. :)

I am joining Shelli in doing the July blogging challenge. I can't guarantee that each post will be incredibly thought-provoking or have anything worthwhile, but I can say I will try and I hope you are able to see my heart for my kids and my desire to see them grow mathematically. I'm going to follow her theme today.

3 things I want to START....
  • I want to start making use of community resources. I want to make kids more aware of how much of what we learn is used in so many different careers. I want them to use our mathematics to generate possible solutions to community issues.
  • I want to start researching and understand the structure and benefits behind Standards Based Grading. I know many of you use this in your classrooms and I want to pick your brains and see how it has helped your students master concepts more efficiently.
  • I want to start using more google docs in instruction. There are so many neat ways to incorporate these in mathematics both to have students do more writing, complete quizzes, share solutions, etc. Let me know if you have some neat ways you have used them!

3 things I hope to STOP this year...
  • I hope I can stop focusing on what's ahead and live in the moment. I forget to remember that this specific moment is all that I'm promised and that I must make it worthwhile.
  • I want to stop being so disorganized. I struggle deeply in this area. I am a natural scatter brain. I get it from my momma.
  • I want to stop feeling like what I have to say about teaching is discounted because I have only taught for four years. I want to make it more of a point to share more with my school colleagues the resources that I create and find. I want to remember that years of teaching is not the primary contributor as to whether what I have to share is valuable.
3 things I want to Continue...
  • I want to continue to incorporate more and more inquiry based lessons and activities into my classroom. I want my kids to see the value of what we learn and discover the value of mathematics in their lives.
  • I want to continue interactive notebooks. It is so valuable for my students because they now have a "go-to" place for resources, rather than losing the resources I give them so soon.
  • I want to continue to grow in my classroom management. I am amazed at how far I have come in this area in my years of teaching. I am proud that, even when times were considerably discouraged, I kept pushing because I knew it was a process and I would learn. I want to grow in this area even more so that I can more adequately foster a learning environment.

Let me know if you are going to participate in the July challenge so I can keep up with you!