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. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Teaching Game Design - Writing your First Rule Document

One of the most challenging things my Game Design students run into is writing rule documents.  So, I decided to start the semester with an activity to help them develop this skill.  

I split the class into groups of 3-4 students each and gave each group the following game pieces:

  • 1 Pencil Case
  • 10 index cards (do not write on, bend, tear, or modify these in any way)
  • 40 bingo chips (10 blue, 10 red, 10 green, 10 yellow)
  • 8 pawns (2 blue, 2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow)
  • 6 dice (1 D4, 1 D6, 1 D8, 1 D10, 1 D12, 1 D20)

The first day of this activity, the students were instructed to create a simple game.  I emphasize simple because the simpler the game, the easier it is to write the rule document.  I had to remind a few groups to scale it down, they were getting waaaay too complicated.  At this point, I told the students that we weren't concerned if the game was broken, unbalanced, without choices, or even boring....just that they had a game.

On the second day, we started writing the rule documents.  Each group had to have the following sections in their document: 

  • Title
  • Group members names
  • Back story/Introduction (optional)
  • Components
  • Set Up (photos strongly encouraged)
  • Game Play
  • Game End
  • Win Condition
  • FAQs (optional)

I went around from group to group and tried to assist the best I could, but as you know, you can't catch everything.  The students wrote their rule documents on a shared google doc and shared with all their group members and me.  

On the third day each group shared their rule document with another group with comments-only ability.  Each group attempted to play the other's game only by reading the rule document.  If they were stuck, they could ask the designers questions but needed to write a comment about what could be corrected.  
At the end of class that day, the groups were given time to revise their rule document based on the comments they received.  

On the fourth day, we repeated the same process as day 3 with a different group.  

There was a huge difference in their first draft and their final submission.  Having the opportunity to read other's rule documents showed them how important it is to be clear and concise.  

Monday, August 27, 2018

10 Pull-Up Project - Initial Video

This morning I recorded the first video for my pull up project.  I haven't met with the students yet, but I will first introduce mind-set to them, and then tell them about my project.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Can I Do 10 Pull-ups by the End of the School Year?

This idea just popped into my head and I need to flesh it out here.  Please comment with your input.

I really want to create a classroom that is safe for mistakes.  I think the best way to get the students on board is for them to see the teacher (me) try to reach a goal and make mistakes along the way.  Every year I say "This classroom is a safe place to make mistakes." but I rarely show them any of my failures and mistakes....I talk about them, but that's not the same.

What if....

...I create a goal that I want to reach by the end of the school year?  Each month I can share my progress with the students so they can see what a growth mindset looks like.  ???

Here's my first idea:  I really want to be able to do 10 pull-ups/chin ups.  When I was in high school we were tested every year with how long we could hold our chin above a bar.  I lasted about 5 seconds.  Every year after these tests I would tell myself to practice over the following year so I could do better next time.  That never happened.

The students would be able to see my successes and failures and my reaction to both throughout the year.  And by the end of the school year if I'm still not able to do 10 pull-ups, that will be okay too.  Trying and failing is acceptable.  Not trying and failing is not.

But I'm Scared...

I suppose this is how some of my students feel about coming to the front of the room to complete a math problem.  What if they laugh at me or are negative about it?

  • HAHAHA  Mrs. Oswald can't even do one pull-up.  
  • OMG! Look at how flabby her arms are. 
  • Why does she even bother, she'll never be able to do it?
  • She's just looking for attention.  

Seriously, my heart is racing just thinking about it.  Maybe that's exactly why I should do this....or not.  Please I need your advice.  Do you think this is something that will benefit my students?