Avoiding Worksheets

In my spare time, I love to peruse Pinterest. You can follow me here. I think it’s relaxing…even if I don’t particularly need new activities for the topics I’m teaching at the moment. I may find something useful, or something to store for later. Most of the time I get ideas…not anything I use as is. But there are so many creative teachers out there who give me great ideas for my own class. Today was one of those days I used a lot of what I found on Pinterest, with my own spin.

In Honors Precalculus, we worked on a Maze Review for Polynomials. This activity was intended as an in class review, to get students familiar with the skills they still need to fine-tune when they go home to study. This is an example of a time where it is better to pay a fellow teacher on Teachers Pay Teachers for an activity then try to recreate the wheel. The activity was perfect for what I wanted my students to do in class.

I was particularly proud of the MathLib I did in Calculus though. We are beginning our chapter on Derivatives and the power rule, but I know that half the trouble (or more) that students have with this rule is their understanding of exponent properties. Sometimes they haven’t even thought of this since Algebra One. So we did a quick graphic organizer on the Exponent Properties and tried a few tougher examples together. Then students paired up to tackle the MathLib. I got the idea from Pinterest, using All Things Algebra‘s Similar Triangles MathLib in my Honors Geometry class last semester. The students enjoyed it, and I like that these types of activities give students a chance to practice the math and know if what they chose is correct almost immediately. They serve the purpose of a worksheet, without the bore of a worksheet. Plus, working on it in class gives students the opportunity to ask questions of each other and me. Here is a shot of one of my slides…and I’ve linked my dropbox file here.

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I used some fonts I found on Pinterest, mostly Kimberly Geswein fonts. The students had fun with the nonsensical MadLib and were able to fix any mistakes they might have made by the end of class because all I had to do was check the answers they chose:

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If there was anything wrong…they went back and tried again, something students do not do too often on a typical worksheet.

My final Pinterest inspiration for today was in Geometry. We are working on our Area unit, and in need of breaks from the typical area problems in the book. We spent Thursday and Friday talking about the basic area formulas (parallelograms, trapezoids…) and today we took some time to start their banner problems. We only had time to do 4 of the problems, but it was a good start since we haven’t spent too much time in this unit yet. Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 7.06.13 PM.png

I got the idea from Scaffolded Math and Science. She has a ton of great ideas on her site, including her own area banner activity. The problems on hers would not have completely been right for my group of students, so I created my own. I appreciate the inspirations, they really get my mind working.


Starting Calculus Out Right

The past seven days of Calculus have involved putting together their INB with a lot of Algebra Review. Some in the MTBoS have referred to this as “Algebra Bootcamp”. I haven’t done too much differently from the start of the year, here is a post from one of the first few days in September, but have modified a few INB pages and activities with my students. I have also done less algebra here at the beginning. I plan to do some more review as needed prior to a topic when it matches up better. I think it is important to review some Algebraic topics at the beginning of Calculus for many reasons. A lot of my students have not had a math course since the end of last year, or possibly since the middle of last year. Just getting their brain thinking mathematically again helps in introducing the abstract topic of Limits. We will use all of the topics I review throughout the course, and I don’t spend a lot of time on each one. Just enough to spark a memory. Here are a few pictures of my Calculus INB so far.

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I gave a few bonus points if they decided to decorate their covers this time. It was not mandatory because I still made an Author Page mandatory and I thought it was a lot of the same.

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After these pages, and some book practice, we took a quiz. Students did a lot better this term after breaking up the material into two quizzes.

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Hopefully students will have repeated success on the graphing quiz.

So far, we have gotten through the piecewise function notes, but the last picture…we will work on in class before the graphing quiz. On Friday, after completing a few example problems, I had the students work on a card sort activity matching up equations with graphs and domains, and key features. It was a nice relaxing activity to keep the class thinking about math on a Friday afternoon. I do not have a link to this assignment, unfortunately, because I cannot remember where it came from!

Calculus Algebra INB Folder

180 – Day 57

Some fun times in Algebra One. I rarely blog about this class, since it’s not actually my class, and I don’t do the planning for it. I am the math support teacher for this class. I help with student questions, especially with the new book we adopted and the explorations and activities that go along with it. Today we started an activity that gets the kids closer to writing linear equations, ‘On the Road Again’. It creates linear equations recursively. The fun part was the activity was directly from our book, but contains Michigan cities and is about a road trip down I-75! I love a book written by Michiganders! It makes it more realistic for students because they have heard of or have been to these locations. The students were working well together, and the activity will continue tomorrow. Hopefully everyone completed their tables!