Paper-Folding Fun!

I attended a regional NCTM conference a few years ago here in New Orleans and was recently able to find a presentation online that I remembered from then entitled “Patty Paper Geometry on the Go!” A few weeks ago, I did some paper-folding activities with my students to reinforce some of the concepts I taught in class–Pythagoras’ Theorem and squaring binomials. Continue reading Paper-Folding Fun!

“Show Me” how to do math!

My students recently created video tutorials on the iPads (our 1st iPad project!) using a FREE app called ShowMe. According to its description on iTunes, “ShowMe allows you to record voice-over whiteboard tutorials and share them online. It’s a radically intuitive app that anyone will find extremely easy to use, regardless of age or background.” I found this to be pretty true as my students started working on their projects immediately without needing any assistance in learning how to use the app. Continue reading “Show Me” how to do math!

Back in the classroom with blanchetBlog

School has been back in session for only a month, and I already feel like I have a million things going on in my classroom!  I am only teaching two classes in the fall semester- GEE Prep Math, a remediation course for students who struggle with math and need to pass the state test to graduate, and AP Calculus.  I have been doing lots of hands-on activities with my GEE class using some great manipulatives I bought from EAI while at NCTM in San Diego last year. We started the year with every math student’s kryptonite–fractions. My motto is “fractions are our friends”, but I have yet to get many students to agree. Nevertheless, we used fraction pattern tiles to explore the meaning of fractions, and I think having the concrete examples really helped.  In the photo above, you see students working with algebra tiles to express polynomial expressions. Although I sprung for the “quietshape” foam tiles from EAI, you can print your own and have the students cut them out. Check this link out for your own algebra tiles, and here is a place where you can get some activity ideas.

In my calculus class,we began with a review of Advanced Math and a project I have done before in Calculus—Function Family Trees. This year, since I have the model technology classroom, I had the students make a Glog (online poster) for their function families. Here is an example of their work:

Go to Glogster EDU to set up your own classes with this awesome tool!  I can already see that this is going to be a super-busy year for me and my students.  I love having the opportunity to teach AP Calculus again.  It was great experience when I taught it the year before last.   I now get the chance to revisit my tried and true strategies and refresh things with some new activities and projects.  My GEE Prep class is a chance for me to really learn how to use data to move students forward.  I have been crunching a lot of numbers trying to figure out what my kids’ strengths and weaknesses are.  I have also been asked to do some additional small group tutoring with these students.  I plan on using my data to provide targeted assistance in each student’s weakest areas.  I will also track practice test scores to see if my efforts are working.  My goal is to have a 100% passing rate for my students after they take my test prep course.  Wish me luck!  I wish you luck in the coming months, as well. Stay tuned for more!

Extreme Powerpoint Makeover/ Guest Appearance

I thought the last post was getting lengthy, so I broke this update into two entries. (Check out the previous post to get caught up if you haven’t been here for a while.)

Now, where was I? OH! I have also been having fun with Powerpoint again. Throw a little Skype into the mix, and you have a lesson made in tech heaven. Here’s the scenario: Those of you who know me (or my blog) know that I had somewhat of a Powerpoint epiphany around this time last school year, and my ppts haven’t been the same since. I worked closely with the senior class of my school at the time to create awesome powerpoints for their senior project. I agreed to help them out again this year, although I was at a new school. Since my schedule eliminated the possibility of a visit, I used skype to present to them. I think the best thing about the experience (which wasn’t without its challenges) was my ability to share my screen with the students watching online. We met twice–the first time a student showed me her ppt over Skype’s shared screen, and the second meeting was my showing a revamped version using the principles I taught the students.
Here’s the before and after.

before

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after

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These are very abridged versions of the ppts, but hopefully you can see the changes in the few slides included. After she presents, I will post the student’s finished ppt in its entirety.

Last, but definitely not least, I have another guest entry for your viewing pleasure!

The pics in the gallery above are of a project completed by one of my former colleagues, Kay Butler, with her students. After seeing the pictures of my geometry project on parallel lines, Kay decided to use pictures to motivate her Math 3 students to learn how to write quadratic equations from the graph of a parabola. Mrs. Butler’s class collected photos of architecture and other real life visuals involving parabolas. These photos, if you look closely, are superimposed on a grid that students then used to identify points for quadratic regression. When I saw this, I knew I had to blog it! For more info, email Kay at kbutler@pftsta.k12.la.us. Go Kay! Keep up the great work!

Whew! Do you feel caught up? I do! As you can see, the new year has come with new experiences and exponential growth in the happenings of my crazy classroom. I will continue to share as much as I can, and I hope that this is helpful to someone out there! Happy new year!!!

Inequality Mobiles

These photos are a couple of the Inequality Mobiles my students created.  We had a lot of fun.  Each student was assigned an inequality at random.  They had to work out the inequality, graph it, and use it to create a mobile.  The mobile is created using a hanger, string, paper and tape.  The purpose is to give the students time to focus on one problem.  This is a favorite project of mine because it’s fun, it allows students to be creative in a subject that doesn’t always support creativity, and it allows students time to think about why they are solving problems the way they are and ask important questions.

-T. Cosman, Algebra 1 teacher, Ehret HS