Pi Day!


Gail Brisson nabbed some pictures for us as the kids were rotating through each station. View our slideshow below. Read on for more about our Pi Day celebration. Many thanks to our 3 parent volunteers that helped us with the day. We really appreciate your help! Many thanks to our judges and to all the Math 7 team members that made this day possible. It was a lot to coordinate but we pulled it off.

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Pi Day was a fun celebration for our 7th graders!! We had to delay a day due to a late season snow storm (read all about our delay in our Week #26 updates) but we celebrated anyway just a day late!! The kids rotated through a series of stations that included:

  • Pi Recitations for a judge
  • Pie Eating
  • Game playing and pi wordsearch
  • Pi Chain making and math problem challenge
  • Calculating Pi
  • Project Viewing

Here are just some of the links to the many projects that our 7th grade Library Media Literacy classes made!! They worked hard at this and embraced it.  Continue reading “Pi Day!”


Using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for Teaching

Two years ago I was a long-term sub teaching 8th grade math in a classroom where the SmartBoard wasn’t working properly. It wouldn’t stay calibrated, rendering it really not usable. Instead of declaring it dead, I noticed the Apple TV in the room and had a brainstorm – could I airplay from my iPad pro to the Apple TV and use it for instruction? The short answer was yes, and I used this set-up for classroom teaching. At the time I wrote about it on my husband’s blog. I am posting that here because while many things have changed and improved in two years, the heart of the matter is still very relevant. Read my original post about using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for teaching math.

I’ve divided this new post into two parts: “Getting there” and “How I’m using things.”  If you are only interested in how I’m using this technology, please skip to the second part. I included the first part because I want to thank the people who helped me with this, and I want to remember it. Continue reading “Using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for Teaching”

How I use Trello as a Lesson Plan Book

Anyone who chats with me about computer things realizes quickly that I LOVE Trello. Every time I discover some new way to involve it in my life one of my family members remarks, “You know you really should work for Trello or at least get paid as an ambassador!”

I used to use Google Drive exclusively for tutoring, but then I’d find it challenging to keep things in order. Trello was helpful with its cards, but it wasn’t until after using Trello for a full year tutoring students that I realized that the calendar feature was the lynchpin for using it very successfully. I tutored my son through Algebra 1 and we needed to keep a daily log to show his school that we were actually doing work. I wanted something that we could just share with them virtually, so I went looking at the power up opportunities. Fortunately for me, a calendar was an option. The calendar allows you to put due dates in all your items, and they appear on the date they are due on the calendar view.  Continue reading “How I use Trello as a Lesson Plan Book”

Whiteboard Fun

Last week somehow a regular, water based marker ended up on the ledge of one of our whiteboards. I’ve heard tragic whiteboard stories from my own kids over the years about permanent markers being used on whiteboards and ruining them so I immediately panicked. My kids had told me that if you go over the marker in dry erase marker it will come off. I did that. Nothing. Oh dear. Then we thought to try water. Gone. “Oh yes, the marker wasn’t PERMANENT, it was just water based.”

After I got home that day I realized this was a happy accident. There are so many times that I’d love to have a problem or problems persist during the day but instead have to write them again for each class period. How could I use this effectively to offer better instruction? Differentiation would be the first use. I had an idea!! Continue reading “Whiteboard Fun”

Rational Numbers (Card Activity)

In Math 7 we’ve been working with adding and subtracting integers. Before we can move into multiplying and dividing, we had to tackle the topic of adding and subtracting rational numbers. Having just worked through a unit that required a familiarity with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing positive fractions and mixed numbers, I knew we had the potential for struggle with this topic.

I have kids still relying fully on slow strategies to multiply things like 9×8 making finding common denominators very challenging. I was working with a student while he slowly skip counted, 9, 18, 26 … “wait I said, it is 27” and I thought, “adding and subtracting positive and negative fractions is daunting for students who have to rely on these slow methods.” Once he finally got a common denominator he was tired out! Continue reading “Rational Numbers (Card Activity)”

Week 7 Updates

This week was SPIRIT week. My son is the President of Student Council so you can imagine that this is an important week in our family! He spent Sunday afternoon the week before making all the posters for school, and I took him in to hang them strategically around the building. I talked with the 7th grade team and suggested that we could encourage spirit by offering a party to all the kids who dressed up for every day. The days were (from Monday – Friday): Super Hero Day, Twin Day, Color Wars (grade 7 was yellow), Throwback Thursday, and Jersey Day. Continue reading “Week 7 Updates”

Area and Perimeter Project

In grade 7 pre-Algebra we have hit the ground running FAST with the Engage New York Module 3 curriculum. I absolutely adore this unit, but it is a lot of material packed in incredibly fast for the kids. It expects them to have very solid knowledge of all fraction operations and very good recall of solving one and two step equations. Before the Common Core curriculum, much of grade 7 was spent learning how to solve one and two step equations.

As with any class the spread is great in the pre-Algebra class and everyone is working to adjust from the double blocks of math they had in grade 6 to what feels like a very short time to work together in grade 7. Daily I leave class thinking, “if only we could have a double block for this class.” I feel like a lab period every other day would be AMAZING! Continue reading “Area and Perimeter Project”