Thursday, December 27, 2012

Geometry ISN

Since I started using an ISN in my Algebra class I have seen my students succeed to higher levels/expectations than I ever thought were possible at the beginning of the year.  In the mean time I saw the levels of my Geometry students progressively drop as the semester was going by.

At the beginning of every period I ask my students a journal question in which they are to reply to, we use blogger for this.  One day I asked my Geometry students to reflect on their learning and the type of student they are.  These are the following questions I asked them:
  • What do you need to do as a student in Geometry class to be successful?  
  • What have you been doing so far this school year that hasn't been working for  you?  
  • What have you been doing so far this school year that is working for you?   
The number one thing my students replied with was they don't know how to take proper notes and they lack organizational skills.  It was like the clouds opened up and the sun was shining down on us that day.  I instantly knew that they desperately needed the ISN too.

That night on my way home from work I stopped by my favorite store, Target, and picked up composition notebooks for each of my Geometry students.  The next day when the kids came in and saw all of the supplies out on the table some were excited because they have friends in my Algebra class and knew what was going on, while others were just plain old confused.

I explained what we were doing and why we were doing this.  They were all excited to try something new.  In fact at the end of the period one of my students approached me and said "Ms. O this is a pretty cool project you have us working on."

This is the cover I created for my Geometry ISN.


Numbers Important to Me! Numbers Important to Me! #2

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Solving Linear Equations

The last pages in our ISN before my students took their first big test, after starting the ISN, was on Solving Linear Equation with Variables on Both Sides of the Equal Sign.  I wanted to do a foldable that I had seen used in a science class before, it's call the Layered Book.

The only thing different is that I don't glue the pages together we just staple them at the top. 

 This foldable gave us a tab for each of the five steps and space to solve the sample problem.  To create this I took 3 different colored sheets of paper and cut them in half (profile direction). I had them already pre-grouped for the students so when they came in all they had to do was pick which color combination they liked.

We started off titling it, then putting our first step on the tab, along with the sample problem on the distribute tab.  We continued until we were finished.  We performed each step  when we were on that tab.  We rewrote the simplified equation on the next tab and performed the next operation.

On the right hand side I gave the the students a few sample problems for us to work out together.  Then a sheet of problems they had to complete on their own.  They taped the page over our worked out problems (like a flap) so that they could still see them and use them as reference as they completed theirs.

**Proud Teacher Moment**

A day or two later I gave my students their first test on Solving Linear Equations.  We went from one-step equations all the way to what you see above.  I gave it to them the day before we went on Thanksgiving Break, and I was terrified to grade them in fear they would not do as well as I had hoped.  So I waited until Sunday evening before I went to bed to grade them, and I couldn't have been more proud of my kids.

The LOWEST grade was an 89%, I almost cried.  On Monday when I passed back their tests they were pretty proud of themselves!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Liebster Award

Thank you to Stacy from for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  The Liebster Award is given by other bloggers to up and coming new bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about their new blogs.  I hope that sharing the news about some of these "newer" blogs helps them get more followers!
Here are the rules:
-You must post 11 random things about yourself.

-Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.

-Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.

-Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.

-No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!

11 Random Facts about Me

1. Target is my favorite store.

2. I am  cranky without my caffeine.

3.  I love my dog Emma to death.
4. I hate when people eat with their mouths open.

5. Fall is my favorite season.

6. Cheesecake Factory is my favorite restaurant.

7. My desk at work always starts and ends clean, however during the day it can never be found!

8. I have been in 3 car accidents, none of them my fault.

9. I love to cook, but hate doing it for only 2 people.

10. Dishes are the most annoying choir that could possible exist.

11. I use to work for the Chicago White Sox.

11 Questions From my Nominator

1.  Why did you start blogging?  I started blogging as a way for me to do some professional reflection on the way I teach and the activities I do in my classroom.

2. How long have you been blogging? I have only been blogging since September 30th, 2012.
3. What's your favorite post that you've written? I would say my post on starting Interactive Student Notebooks, it also happens to be my most popular post.  

4. Any pets? I have 1 dog, 2 cats, and a lizard.  Unfortunately my snake named Stanley passed away the other day :(
5. Favorite vacation spot? I haven't been on to many vacations, but my most favorite one so far has been Las Vegas.

6. Favorite TV show? Bones on Fox, LOVE IT!

7. Fears? Spiders and any other little creepy crawlies.  

8. Celebrity you resemble most? Personality wise I would say Melissa McCarthy, appearance wise...None.

9. Favorite quote?  "Fairness doesn't mean that everyone gets the same. Fairness means that everyone gets what they need to succeed" 

10. Wine or beer? Beer
11. Thoughts on country music? I'm not a big fan, but since I teach at a school that is in the country you are pretty much exposed to it on a daily basis.  It grows on you.

11 Questions For my Nominees:
1. How frequently do you blog?
2. What is your favorite type of food?
3. If you could have 1 thing in this world what would it be?
4. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
5. What is your all time favorite movie?
6. What is the best way to spend a Saturday Night?
7. One regret you have in life?
9.  Favorite Book?
10. Job/Career?
11. Family Members?


Distributive Property

Before Thanksgiving I introduced the distributive property to my Algebra kids and we created our next ISN pages (7 and 8 for those keeping track).

I gave each of my students a strip of teal paper and we folded it half and then in half again.  We wrote Distributive Property on the front.

On the inside of the folded paper it shows all of the different forms of the distributive property using both positive and negative integers.

I'm not all that impressed with this one, and it's something I'm considering changing for next year but in the end it did it's job.

Underneath the fold-able we talked about where this step would fit into our order of steps for Solving Linear Equations and listed our new set of steps underneath it.

On the right page we defined the distributive property up at the top and highlighted the word.  I then gave them 3 basic Distributive Property problems, for example 3( x + 4).  Had them highlight where they saw the Distributive Property, then work it out.

I then gave them 2 equations that contained all 4 of their Solving Equation steps.  Again the students had to highlight where in the problem they saw the distributive property and then work it out.  The students where then given a half sheet of paper that contained problems on it that they taped over their class practice, like a flap so they could still lift the paper up to see the practice problems.  They again had to do the highlighting and solve.  Below are the problems I gave them on the half sheet.


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