Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finally a Week Full of Fun Activities!!!

This past week was our 3rd week with the kiddos.  My Accelerated Algebra 1 class was taking their 2nd quiz of the unit this week, and my Algebra 1 On-level classes were heading for their first unit test.  I was able to take advantage of a few review days this week to do some engaging activities for assessment preparation.

On Tuesday, I used an activity from the team batch for the inequalities quiz.   This activity gave compound inequality problems along with 3 different representations of the solution that had to be matched up with each problem:  interval notation, inequality w/union or intersection notation, and the visual graph.   Because I had just got my laminator delivered, I was able to laminate the game cards, so I was really excited.  On the bottom of each card was a letter, so when they put the solutions together, it spelled a word – great way to check their answers, and they did not catch on to that at all, which was something I anticipated.   The activity was really engaging and reinforced their understanding of the representing solutions rather than just finding them.  In grading their quizzes later in the week, it was clear that this activity helped!   The 2nd activity I created and was intended to strengthen understanding of indicators of inequality symbols in word problems.  This activity gave the students 6 inequality problem sets, and for each one the students were asked to write a number sentence representing the inequality, and then create a real-world situation to represent the inequality.  Because of time constraints, I had them pick 4 out of the 6 inequalities.  There answers were really creative and fun on the real –world side of it, and they rocked the number sentence portion; also, great discussions! What they did not hesitate to say is that it was much harder to come up with the problem than solve it; mission accomplished!  I told them that meant they were learning for the long termJ   Activities in action and link for game are below.

Wednesday in Algebra 1 after wrapping up radical expressions, I gave a spiral review activity for Order of Operations.  I would not realize until later in the week while browsing Twitter and MTBoS that I had done a version of “Commit and Capture”.  I was excited to know that my thinking and lesson creating is on track with awesome teachers in the MTBoS community – it gave me a lot of energy.  Along with the commit and capture idea, I had them roll dice for numbers to insert into the blanks, and they had to make every other number negative.   The last two problems on this activity included division in the order of operations, so I asked them if their number was an integer or rational to reinforce the number types subsets.  If their number was rational because of the division, I asked them to explore the original problem and see what numbers could be changed to make the result an integer under the division involved.   That was an awesome piece – I thought I may have pushed too far for on-level this early, but that was the part they focused on the most!    I am glad “Commit and Capture” for this activity is already out there as I will continue to spiral it through.  Below is the link to the activity I made.

On Thursday in Algebra 1 we had day 2 of review activities.  I used the “I Have Who Has” Structure of Expressions activity from my team bank last year.  I also was able to laminate and cut cards this year, so the activity will keep better.  I had students deal out the cards and take turns telling their group members what expression they had, and what term, factor, coefficient, or constant they needed.  They were to take turns until everyone had found the elements they needed from their hand.  I believe there were 2-3 leftover elements that no card had, and when they found those, I knew they had the activity completed.  The awesome part of this activity was hearing all the vocabulary for expressions flying around in the room.  As evidenced from the tests I have graded so far, this activity brought the reinforcement of this concept to their understanding that had been missing when they took the quiz.  Pictures of the activity and the link for it are below.

Also on Thursday was another attempt, although I now know not the last, to help students classify number types.  I developed a “Number Type Coloring Lab” for students to create subset boxes for each number and represent the type the number is a member of by certain colors.  At the end of the activity, I wanted the students to look at certain color schemes for patterns.  I asked them what patterns they noticed.  They still struggled with it originally and referred to their notebooks (which of course I want them to be able to do – that is why were keep themJ), but many are still struggling with this concept after the test.   My search for activities for this topic will continue and of course include the MTBoSJ  Pictures of the activity and link are below.

The last activity I gave for Algebra 1 was a writing expressions activity.  The problems I created had the students gathering information from clippings I got off the internet and pasted.  Some of it was hard to read, so I encouraged them to use their Surface Pros to look up normal pricing for similar things involved in the problems to determine a certain price or amount.  The Jet’s pizza problem was the most challenging, and I let them know they may want to save that one for last.  Most groups required some interaction from me with further prompts, but the enthusiasm to get through that problem was definitely there, which made me happy.  Of course, Jet’s is some damn good pizza in our area, so that probably helped!  Even after the test, a lot of students still struggle with the ideas of tax as a percentage off the price, but the process is getting better.  I honestly think their age and lack of experience paying for retail things has a lot to do with it.   On parent night, it will give me something to talk about with their kids when shopping.  Link for this activity below.

One last great thing from the planning side of things is that I left Friday afternoon feeling like I could actually breathe and was somewhat caught up.  I had all of my stuff crossed off the list, and things ready for Monday.  I am not someone who likes making lists because they overwhelm me at times, but my friend got me a list pad that is a super fun way to make lists and want to cross off items.  It is called a “crap pad”, and at the bottom of the pad when I am done I can check off “All crapped out”, which is so silly, but I love getting there and getting to say “yes!  I am all crapped out”.   Below is a list from this week complete with some adding at the bottom from when I was trying to determine point value totals for our Algebra 1 test this week.

All of these activities made the week so exciting from the teaching aspect.  I am at it again this week for regular instruction this time pulling ideas from the CMP curriculum for area and perimeter.  I also have a cool dimensional analysis activity my friend Deb gave me to help the Accel Algebra students get ready for their test.  This week is a short one for us as our school has a professional day Friday, and then the Labor Day weekend.  It is hard to believe that the end of this week already marks a month of school!

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