This pandemic has caused us to stretch our thinking and innovate to make the best learning environment for our students.
I love sending students to the whiteboard or having them use table whiteboards in the classroom to practice. With social distancing, I couldn’t get as many to the whiteboards as I needed to. I also have individual table whiteboards, but using the sanitizing cleaner on our them was eating the finish.
The solution came from two of my colleagues ideas. The first one was the individual bags with a cut up piece of towel. Students were asked, if they could, to purchase their own marker for the bag. I had a few for students who couldn’t or who forgot. This way they could use their own “eraser” and marker and we wouldn’t have to sanitize them.
The second solution was laminated paper with a grid printed on one side. Each student received one for the notebook. Now they can use their own and we don’t have to sanitize the desk whiteboards and ruin the finish.
The third part was laminating grid chart paper to put on the walls as extra whiteboard space. It works just as well as and erases just as well as the shower board my school uses for whiteboards.
I loved finally getting my students up and working problems. I love that they can look around and see what others are doing and self-correct. I love that it helps me see where students are with current material. We were able to get almost everyone to the new board spaces because we are now on a hybrid schedule with part of the alphabet each day. I need to make a few more for the wall and find some space to put them.
This pandemic has been something. Keep being awesome for your students but also keep taking care of yourself! It’s hard, but it won’t be forever!
I have a fun activity I created with @AliceKeeler using a Google Expedition and spreadsheet activity to reinforce WHY we need to solve for y or another variable in literal equations. [I will link here when I post this activity, didn’t realize I hadn’t posted this activity!] For some students, this is enough, but for others, they need more time with the actual process of HOW to solve for y (or another variable). One of my colleagues found this idea on I Speak Math. Now if you don’t follow Julie on Twitter or her blog then you are missing out. Pause reading and go follow her right now, you won’t be sorry.
I switched it up a little and used Starburst instead of Kisses. I also had counters that were red on one side and green on the other. I loved that as students balanced their equation, they physically flipped the counters over to show the sign change.
I used her activity sheet (see her post), but then continued to practice by putting equations on the board because my students wanted to practice more. We also ended putting an example in our notes at the request of the class. We also added examples with negative y but flipping the cups upside down. We have to switch the sign (change colors of Starburst or flip the counters over) to put the cups upright. You can’t put candy in an upside-down cup.
Here’s what I love about this activity. 1. Students were physically balancing these equations and could see why terms change signs. 2. When students tried to combine a variable and a constant I could remind them that you can’t add counters and Starburst together. 3. They now understand why you divide EVERY term by y’s coefficient; you have to know how many will go into each cup. I have referenced this activity many times while continuing to work with students. Thanks Julie for the awesome idea!
Last year I posted a vocabulary activity I’ve done many times with Geometry and our circle unit. Our students love this project so much we decided to use it for other units as well. Our first unit in Geometry is basic vocabulary and notation. My colleague, Tessah Wood, wrote the activity and, once again, our students LOVED it.
Here are some student examples:
We didn’t have our Chromebooks yet so I created an information page instead of putting in a Slide Deck like I would normally. I’ve included the PDF version of the instruction sheet and the scoring guide and you may recreate it if you want to make changes.
This was a great way to practice their vocabulary and their notations and allow students some choice and creativity. I gave students feedback on their project when they turned it in and allowed them to fix any mistakes they had and resubmit them. It was a great first lesson and discussion about learning from our mistakes to improve.
Let me know if you use this lesson. I love to see examples shared on Twitter so please tag me @MandiTolenEDU if you share.
I don’t give vocabulary assignments very often. I usually teach it as we go in context of the lesson. Every now and then front-loading vocabulary will make lessons flow more smoothly. That’s the case with our circle unit. I can’t take credit for creating this project, but I really do like it. Students have to look up the words then create a picture with circles and label each one. Once I begin the lessons on this they are already familiar with the vocab. One student asked me during the activity if we could do this more often, “Anytime you can color in math, it’s a good day.” We actually color in Geometry often, so I guess he has a lot of good days 🙂 I’ve included a few examples below and then attached the Slides I gave them with more examples. Use it freely and let me know if you do. I love it when others can benefit from something I already do.
Who doesn’t love two truths and a lie? I picked up this idea from a fellow teacher. She doesn’t tweet but I want to give a shout out to Ms. Wood for this one. We started doing this during the comparing functions unit but you could do this with any unit. Imagine solving equations where two were solved correctly and one wasn’t. Great way to encourage students to defend their answers.
I do this in groups. The whole group has to agree what the lie is and be able to explain why. The lies are supposed to be based on common misconceptions, not some random wrong answer. The team presenting gets points if no one guesses correctly. Each guessing team writes on a whiteboard to commit to an answer. The team gets a point if the pick the correct lie. They get an additional point if they can accurately explain why it’s a lie.
Anytime you can make learning a game students love it. I love that we are sneaking critical thinking into the game.
Here are some examples of papers created. You decide what the lie is.
We have created these on individual whiteboards, scrap paper, and large chart paper. Whatever you have will work. I do recommend thicker markers if using paper. If not, the back of the room can’t see.
Please share topics you use two truths and a lie with. We would love to use them too.