Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Absent Student Folders

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I have been so inspired by the creativity that is out and how so many people make things so simple.  Over the summer months, I will be busy creating things for next fall.  I will post as much as I can over the next few months.

I loved this today when I saw it on Pinterest.  It is an absent student folder that is kept on the desk of the absent student and filled with the work completed that day.  At first, I thought it was a little primary for my middle school kiddos, but then I started thinking about the responsibility that the kiddos could have. 

So, this is what I decided to do.  I made 7 absent student folders.  I needed to make it more middle school looking, so I did a Google search for clip art of sick animals and found some great pictures.  I put the title of "Absent Folder" with the caption "Here is what we did while you were out..." underneath it.  I then took some scrapbook paper and glued my label to it.  I then laminated the whole folder.  What I love about this is that I (or a group member, preferably) can use a dry erase marker and write the student's name on it.  Everything can be collected and the folder can be put back in a designated spot for the absent student to pick up when they return.  I like this better than absent folders in a bin.  That means I have to remember, usually, to file the assignment.  I like the idea that it is out on the desk and that the group members take care of their classmates.

Here is my version:
 I think they will be great next school year!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My First Teacher Binder...

I have been seeing a lot of people's examples of teacher binders.  I wasn't sure that it would be something that I wanted.  I just always thought I needed the perfect lesson plan book.  Well, the other day, I found it.  The lesson plan book that was so perfect, it made me giddy, and then I saw the price.  It had a $59 base price.  Here is a link to it ( Lesson plan book).  What I liked about it was that it used different colors for the days of the week and the record book.  It also had everything that I could think of in one spiral bound book.  I know the school year just ended, but I thought I would try to see if I could create my own teacher binder similar to the beautiful lesson plan book that I can't afford.

So first thing I did was to get binder from Target.  I think red will be a nice pop of color on my desk.  Then, I came home and made a lovely cover using my Microsoft Word.  I trimmed it up and put it onto a piece of tag board and slid it into the front cover.  It is looking good already.
I had also purchased some tabbed dividers at Target as well for less than $2.  I found a calendar on TPT that was free for the 2013-2014 school year and it went under the first tab.  I then made a template for meeting notes.  It is pretty simple.  After the meeting notes section, I put a section for my seating charts.  Then added some graph paper that I simply three hole punched.
Meeting Notes Template
What took the longest was designing a template for my lesson plans.  I prefer to look at my lessons one day at a time verses seeing the entire week.  So I designed a daily plan sheet and color coded it.  I really like how it turned out and I am excited to see how they work.  This could be the expensive part, though.  I am not sure how much ink will cost me to print out pages.  In the long run, paying for the lesson plan book might be cheaper, but we'll see.  Here is the template I created:
Lesson Plan Template
Finally, I had to figure out a way to recreate the multicolored record book.  After a little looking, I found a record book that was only $1.  I took the book apart and I three holed punched each sheet.  By my calculation there was enough to get me through the year using only one side.  I them took out my highlighters and made my own multicolored record book.

Multicolored Record Book

I still want to add some of the things I'll be working on over the summer.  Things like my long range planning and the alignment of the lessons in my math textbook to our state standards.  In the end, I think I will have what I wanted without spending the money. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Linear Inequalities

This week is my last full week with my 8th grade algebra students.  One of the topics for the week was linear inequalities.  In the past, I have found that the kiddos have had a lot of trouble understanding why we shade one half plane or the other.  I saw on either a blog or Pinterest (sorry I can't find either one) of a teacher that plotted points that were solutions to the linear inequality.

So, here is my take on the idea.  I made this worksheet to guide the kiddos while they worked.  I asked the student to pick points and determine if they were solutions to the inequality or not.  If the point chosen was a solution, they were to graph it on their graph at the top of the page.  I also gave the kiddos a bank coordinate plan and asked them to plot all of the solutions their group found.

What I found was that the kids immediately noticed linear patterns for the solutions.  They were saying all of the double numbers seem to work, like (2,2).  Others found complete chaos and couldn't figure out how others were finding so many solutions so quickly.  We had to go to a band concert, so I had to cut the exploration time short.  But, I was loving what I was hearing as they tried to find solutions.  When some kids got a line parallel to the boundary line they thought they had found all of the solutions, so there was a great authentic math discussion.  I was so happy with how the activity went.

Next time, I would give each group a different color marker and ask then to plot all of their solutions onto one class graph.  That way we will have a larger number of solutions to observe and draw conclusion.  I would also not do this activity on the day we have a shorten class. 

The graphic organizer is what I used to wrap up the basics of graphing linear inequalities.  It is based on lesson 97 from the Saxon Algebra textbook.