Monday, December 3, 2018

Pull Up Project: Month 3 Update

It's month 3!  At the beginning of November, I realized that I wasn't making the progress that I had hoped for on my own, so I decided to ask for help.  I joined the local CrossFit gym and I absolutely love it.  Well, I hate it while I'm doing it, but I can't wait to go back again.  I am seriously sore everyday now, no exaggeration.

While the main focus at CrossFit isn't pull ups (actually, we haven't done any), I am building overall strength.  I know that I will need a lot of strength to pull this off.

My focus for this month was to encourage students to ask for help if they need it.  There is no shame in needed help.  I need help with pull ups, they need help with Algebra, we both need to ask for help.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

I'm Done....Now What?

There is nothing more effective at getting a group of students to misbehave than having nothing to do.  I see it at home: If my older son doesn't have something to do, he will start picking at my younger son.  I see it at Sunday School:  If the students don't have anything to do when their parents drop them off, they start running through the building and chasing each other while screaming.  And of course we all see it in our classrooms.

I always have some kind of on-going task, activity, assignment, SOMETHING, that the students can work on when they have spare time in class.  When my lessons for that day call for something like that, my board will look something like this...

((insert image of board))

Homework:  I assign homework on schoology every Monday morning and it is due by Friday at midnight.  This way the students have all week to complete the assignment and can work on it at a time that is convenient for them.

Khan Academy:  I use Khan Academy to create longer and larger assignments than the homework.  I just did a smaller assignment as a test run, as I've never used Khan Academy with my classes before.  My plan is to give the students their assignment at the beginning of the Marking Period, and they have until the end of that Marking Period to complete it.  You can see a sneak peak of my teacher dashboard.

Old Stuff:  I allow students to reassess twice on any test.  They could use this time in class to prepare for retaking an exam or to actually take the exam (if there's enough time).  

I have found that with these three options the students ALWAYS have something to do.  And believe me, it has really cut down on the misbehavior in my classroom.  

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pull Up Project: 2 Month Update

If you're new to my pull up project, click on the label "Pullups" to see all my posts about it.

This month's theme is to BE CONSISTENT.  So, yeah.  I did nothing to move forward with this project during the first half of October.  Then on October 15th it occurred to me that I only had about two weeks to make some progress.  At that point, I tried to do pull ups at least every other day.  I'll admit, I tried to cram for a pull up test and although I made progress, it wasn't near what I wanted to accomplish this month.  BUT I did make progress, and that is important to move forward and not backwards. 

Here is the link to this month's video:  Pull Up Project October Update

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Station Rotation: 10/9/18

I think the station rotation I did two weeks ago was a success and I plan to continue to use this on a regular basis in my Algebra classes. Here are the station that I used this week:

The class is 90 minutes long.  We started class with one set of entrance cards.  Students were randomly assigned to a station.  The students spent 15 minutes at each station. Finally we closed with an exit ticket. 

Classroom timer:  Click here.

I put instructions in acrylic frames at the stations where there is no adult.  Click here for those.

Station 1: New Material with Para

At this station the students are graphing equations that are not given in slope-intercept form.  This is something we have not covered in class yet and the small group instruction will be perfect for that.  I used a worksheet that I generated from the KUTA software that my school district purchase.  I assume I would be violating copyright if I shared that with all of you.  So instead, here is a link to their free worksheet similar to what I gave the students.  

Students were permitted to choose between stations 2&3.  They did not need to do both.

Station 2:  Create Something

Before class, I wrote out 60 index cards that each have an equation in slope intercept form.  At this station I put the index cards, poster paper, glue, graph paper, rulers, markers, color pencils, and tape.  The students were required to pick an index card and create a poster that had that equation on it, stated the slope and y-intercept, and had a graph of the equation.  Here is a small sampling of their posters.  

Station 3:  Digital

I found this quizizz on slope-intercept and decided this was a perfect addition to this week's rotation.  I wanted all my classes to use the same quizizz.  In order for it to stay open all day, I logged in on my iPad but didn't answer any of the questions.

Station 4:  Something Old with Me

The students are still struggling with equations.  I suppose we just have to keep at it.  This week we went over equations that have variables on both sides.  Again this was generated from KUTA.  Below is the link for the free version from them.

Station 5:  Interactive

I always want to have a station where the students are forced to interact with each other.  This time around I picked a Sum of 3 (or 4) activity.  Again I went for an old topic that needed revisiting:  Evaluating Expressions.

Exit Ticket

I created this exit ticket so that it incorporated one question corresponding to each station.  I collected these and did comments only grading.  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Why I LOVE task cards

If you have never used task cards, you are missing out.  When I first heard about task cards, my thoughts were that they were kind of silly.  I mean, all you do is take the problems from a worksheet and print one problem on each card.  Why not just print the flippin' worksheet?  Here's why...

  1. Task cards get the student up and out of their seats.
  2. Task cards don't overwhelm the students.  They focus on one problem at a time.  I especially noticed my IEP students having less anxiety with the cards rather than a worksheet.  
  3. Task cards encourage self-teaching.  I like to use task cards that have QR codes so that the student can self-check and correct misconceptions right away.
  4. Task cards with QR codes are a novelty to my students.  My students like to use new technology and surprisingly many of them have never used or scanned a QR code before they came to my class.  

Before class I will make 2 sets of the cards and laminate them.
I place the task cards on a table near the front of the room and the students are allowed to take 1-3 cards back to their seats depending on how many students are in that class.  As the students finish the problem, they need to scan the QR code to check the answer.  If they are correct, they take that problem back to the table and get a new problem.  If they are incorrect, they must fix the mistake.  

Here are a few to get you started:



Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Station Rotation

Our school has implemented a fusion schedule last year where we have 45 minute classes 3 days of the week and 90 minute classes the other two days of the week.  If I don't plan well for these classes, it can be boring and tedious.  So, I wanted to share the station rotation that my students and I did this week.

We just tested on graphing with tables and intercepts and this was our first day with slope.  The student have studied slope in their pre-algebra class, but you know we need to visit it again in Algebra 1.

The set up.  I created 4 stations around my room with acrylic frames that gave the student instructions on what to do.

At the beginning of class we had a short lesson on how to find the slope if you are given a table.  Then I randomly divided the class into four groups and sent each group to a station. 

The student had 15 minutes at each station and I displayed the following timer on my screen:

Station 1 (Digital Station):
Desmos Activity

At this station, the students used their laptops (and ear buds) to go through a desmos activity on finding slope from a graph. 

Slope from a graph Desmos activity  <-- link to activity

Station 2 (Small Group Instruction):  
Finding slope from an equation with yours truly

At this station, I worked with a small group of students and taught them (or reminded them) how to determine the slope if you are given an equation.  I really liked this station, because I had the opportunity to work with every single student.  

Here is a copy of that worksheet --> LINK TO WORKSHEET

Station 3 (Interactive Station):  
Slope from Tables: Problem Trains.

At this station, the students worked together to solve the problem train on finding slope if you are given a table.  You can find that activity HERE.  

Station 4 (Review Station):
Two-Step Equation Pyramid

My Algebra 1 students are making a lot of careless mistakes with solving equations.  So, I figured this would be a perfect topic to cover during this station rotation.  I received this activity when I signed up for All Things Algebra's free newsletter.   I do have a para during these classes and they would manage this station.  

What Went Well:

  • The students were on task the whole time.  I made sure to have enough work at each station so that there is little to no down time.  
  • The 90 minutes flew by.  
  • All students received individual attention and a many misconceptions were corrected.  

What Needs Work:
  • I don't know how this escaped me, but I didn't plan for closure.  Next time I will have a wrap-up and exit ticket to round out the class.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Pull Up Project: 1 Month Update

Here is my one month update for my pull up project.

Answers to FAQs

  • Yes, the students do ask me daily how my pull ups are coming along.  
  • Yes, the students have invited me to go to the weight room with them.
  • Yes, my family is very supportive of this project.  
  • No, I don't receive any negative comments.  I think those comments are out there but those people are too polite to actually say or write them to me.  I kind of wish they would so I could share them with my students.  It's okay...teachers have thick skin.  :)
I can do 1 pull up!!

I love this photo because at the time I didn't see my son's face as I was doing this pull up.  I started this project to inspire my students.  I have to remember there is someone else watching and learning from this project as well.