November 2019

November was a fast month at the middle school! The kids have a full week break for Thanksgiving. I’m rather bummed about this, because for the K-12 teacher the stretch from September – Thanksgiving is the longest virtually uninterrupted chunk of time we have together. I especially like those two school days before the holiday. On the plus side, attendance was great since not too many kids had left already for their Thanksgiving. On to math updates!

OUr assignment board

We got EVERY class day captured this month. It was super cool because I took November 7th as a personal day to watch my son’s cross country team at sectionals and my substitute teacher, Marie Griswold sent me a picture of the assignment board for that day.  You can see from the little red and green circles that we used technology 4 days of the 13 in Algebra and 8 out of 13 in Math 8. I love that little visual cue for class. Of course sometimes it means we’re using it just briefly and other days it is much of the period, but it is a great way to tell. Also notice the word of the day on the left hand side. One of our 8th graders has taken this role in homeroom every morning. I think it is pretty fun! Continue reading “November 2019”

Math Memes

In the spring of 2019 I gave the students an assignment to create their own math memes with partners. These memes have been hanging on one of our hallway bulletin boards for the first couple months of this year. Here is a picture of our board. The kids did a really great job finding inspiration online and then creating their own versions! Check out all the pictures below. You can click on them to get a better view! Continue reading “Math Memes”

October 2019

October was filled with Geometry for Math 8 students. We’re working on reflecting, rotating and translating images on the coordinate plane. We worked independently with a couple of hyperdocs* for this unit and also did a fair amount of full class learning. The spatial aspect of Geometry is challenging for some students and it is something that others get in a snap. We have an interactive bulletin board in the hallway that the lab students and one of the Math 8 classes has had an opportunity to use. We’ll do more with that bulletin board in the coming couple of weeks. On Friday we’ll wrap up our Geometry unit with a test and a binder check.

Algebra students are in the midst of graphing linear equations and inequalities. We spent much of our month working through operations with square roots, factoring and manipulating literal equations. Ask your child to show you some of this work. It is really fun stuff. We have students inspiring others to use color in their notes and we completed our first two Regents review papers. These papers only cover the topics we’ve learned SO far that are tested on the Regents exam. I see student study habits and organization improving as we exit October. We’ll have a unit 3 test and binder check mid week this week. This grade will be our last grade in the first marking period. Continue reading “October 2019”

Halloween 2019

I adore seeing the costumes kids come to school in on Halloween. We always spend just a few minutes snapping some pictures of each class. Our Halloween in math is limited to a Halloween activity that supports what we’re doing in class. After a brief lesson focus finishing up work from the day prior we moved into our Halloween part of the day.

In Algebra our focus was a graphing picture that reinforced domain and range; a topic that we’re discussing. A lot of different pieces of lines will ultimately come together to form a pumpkin face. That pumpkin face comes together with coloring based on the areas of the shapes formed. In Math 8 we used translations and reflections to draw a pumpkin face graph. Continue reading “Halloween 2019”

Spirit Week 2019!

I record all my fitness on Strava. Last week I noticed they had a contest – miles for pizza. The more you run the more free pizza you get from a pizza shop in the NYC area. Hmm … we haven’t been to NYC in awhile. Maybe we can plan a trip. Soon I had planned out a trip that would cost a fair amount of money to get my FREE pizza. No trip. No pizza. My common sense kicked in.

Still, Spirit week was coming up in our school. Some kids get really into it, but it is hard to get a critical mass of kids to really jump in with two feet. What about a little contest? I decided to offer the math class with the highest percentage of participation a sweet treat on the Monday after Spirit week ends. We had some great spirit in the 8th grade. I wasn’t so sure if my contest had anything to do with anything until kids started reminding me to count, take the picture and until one student said, “I’m only doing this for the contest.” Yup, that’s what I needed to hear.

Sometimes contests are important because life’s just more fun when you join in. We all need a nudge from time to time!!

Enjoy some pictures from our week of spirit. And results – they are CLOSE.

and the Spirit Week Winner is …. PERIOD 3 with a total average of 80.84% participation for the week! Runners up are:

Period 2 with 80.08%
Period 6 with 79.99%
Period 7 with 77.8%
Period 9 with 66.6%

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Color Coded Notes

This year our 8th grade Algebra class has the opportunity to “loop” with me as their teacher for a 2nd year. The benefits: we all know each other and our class systems are familiar. The drawbacks: students who hoped to get an opportunity to learn from someone else don’t get that opportunity and we can fall back into too familiar patterns with each other early in the year.

I’m happy to report that for the most part we haven’t settled into bad habits but instead I see new and better habits emerging. The kids have really let me grow as a teacher and I’ve let them grow as students. One great thing for our class is the addition of a new student. She is really organized and loves to color code her notes. The result? It is spreading!! I now have several students taking the time to add color to notes.

Mrs. Dawson we are all doing it now. We noticed it helps things stay in our brain better!

I hope it keeps spreading with this crew of young math students. Up next is solving inequalities where it is super FUN to add color to note taking!!

Examples of student color coded notes from our lesson solving systems of equations.

September 2019

September has been a great kick off month to school for our 8th graders!

In Math 8 we started the year with a short review unit of some of the key grade 7 topics before launching into our first unit; Exponents and Scientific Notation. We’ve covered all the basic skills for this unit now and we are working on putting everything together with real life problems. Kids are working in groups to get more comfortable with really diving into how to solve the problems. They have a unit test next Wednesday that will mostly focus on the application portion of the skills. Continue reading “September 2019”