Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Word Wall

My word wall started with this picture posted on Pinterest (http://www.ashleigh-educationjourney.com/2013/06/five-for-friday.html) and in the description another pinner had written "units instead of letters".  Well, that got me thinking.  I teach two subjects with two different sections of each.  I started to think, what about classes instead of units?  From there, my word wall was born for this year. 

So here it is!  My word wall stated by putting the names of the classes I have in circle frames that I figured out how to make myself on my computer.  I made two circles for each of the classes that I teach just to give more room for more vocabulary words.  I glued the subjects onto coordinating card stock, cut them out and laminated them.  I them bought coordinating ribbon and attached Velcro down the center (or as close as I could get).

The next thing I did was went through all of the free clip art that I had downloaded and found these cut frames from Debbie Burton @ K is for Kinderrific (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/K-Is-For-Kinderrific) in the colors that I had made my circles.  I printed them in the size that I wanted, glued them to card stock, and laminated.  The final step was to put Velcro down the middle of the cards, so I can stick them onto the ribbons.  I need to make a few more though! :)

The last thing that I did was took a dry erase marker and wrote the vocabulary word on the frame.

I know that traditionally, a word wall grows as more and more vocabulary is added to it.  Due to space issues, I can't do that.  I wanted to be able to put up key vocabulary words for the unit and then erase the words and put up the next units words.  This feels like it will be fast and easy for me.  So, I think that I will be able to manage it.

This is just a close up of the cards with the vocabulary words on them.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I just wanted to let everyone know that I can be followed using Bloglovin.  Bloglovin allows you to follow all of the blogs that you love in one place.  It is free and easy to set up and use.  I had read that it is a good replacement for Google reader, so after looking into it a bit, I decided to claim my blog and make it easier for others to follow me.  I have put a button for Bloglovin on the right hand side, so if you would like to follow me using Bloglovin feel free to push it! :)  

Thanks to all who do follow me whether you use Bloglovin or not!

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Variable, Factors, Terms, Oh My...

Lesson 2 in the Saxon algebra book focuses on the key vocabulary associated with expressions.  The text focuses on the words: constant, variable, coefficient, factor, and term.  So, to make the lesson not just a list of vocabulary words or a bunch of Frayer models, I opted for some simple foldables that define the key vocabulary.  The picture above is how I am setting up the INB page with the students.  The pictures below show an up close view of two of them.
The outside of the top foldable.

When students lift the flap, they will see the definition of the vocabulary word.

For the terms of an expression, I wanted the students to see it separated out more, so I made this accordion style foldable.
Inside each term is in it's own box and is labeled at the top as the first, second, third, etc. term of the expression.
What I really like about this lesson is the processing that I am going to have the kiddos do.  The Saxon teacher's edition has math background notes and in this lesson, they have a Venn diagram to show how the vocabulary words are related.  They also wrote some statements that were true based on the diagram.  I turned the statements into true/false questions and the kiddos need to use the diagram to determine if the statement is true or false.  I then ask the kiddos to write two true/false questions of their own based on the diagram.  I want to have them swap notebooks and see if a friend can answer their question correctly.  I think that it is a good tie in with the first lesson that also dealt with sets and Venn diagrams.  We'll see what happens in September!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Classifying Real Numbers Foldable

 The first foldable for next fall has been made!  The first lesson that I teach in my algebra text is on sets and real numbers.  When I think about classifying real numbers I always get the image of nesting cups that you used to be able to buy for toddlers.  I wanted to somehow bring that idea to the foldable that we made for this part of the lesson.

Now, I have seen the traditional Venn diagram of the sets.  My problem with it is that I have noticed that my kiddos have trouble picturing the sets of numbers and being within each other.  They often forget that 7 is an real number, rational number, integer, whole number, and natural number.  They will usually just say that it is a whole number.  I wanted them to see that whole numbers contain the set of natural numbers in a way that was different from the traditional diagram.  So I started by folding a piece of paper in half and putting real numbers on the outside of it.

When the students open the foldable they see that real numbers contain the set of rational and irrational numbers.

Now I realize that not all of the sets show up at once.  That is what I am going for.  Rational numbers have many subsets.  So to show that rational numbers hold the integers, the students have to lift the flap.

 Continue opening the flaps and you will see all of the subsets appear.  In each flap, I have the definition of the set, examples of what is included, and non-examples to try and help the classification process happen smoother.
Just through the assembly of this foldable there are so many opportunities to reinforce that a natural number is also a whole number or that a negative number is part of the integer, rational, and real numbers, but doesn't fit the definition of a whole or natural number.  I also like that it shows that the set of rational numbers holds integers, whole numbers, and natural numbers, but not irrational numbers.  Yet, at the same time, the kiddos see that real numbers hold rational and irrational.


 I added this post to the Interactive Linky Party at 4mulaFun.com (http://www.4mulafun.com/).  Go and check it out for some other great ideas related to INB!

(8-10-14) I was going through Pinterest and I came across this slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/ProfessaX06/real-number-system-foldable-5151675.  In it, there is a foldable very similar to the one that I created.  I must have seen this at some point and have forgotten when I made my version of it above.  My apologies to the authors below for using their idea and not giving them proper credit. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Couple Quick Summer Projects

Well, I have a goal next year to use interactive notebooks in my math classroom.  This is an idea that I toyed with for several years, but never fully committed (sigh).  I decided, after reading a lot of blogs and gathering lots of ideas, that I was going to make interactive notebooks a reality this year in Math.  So I am hoping that by going public with my goal, I will make it a reality.  I will also be blogging about what we put in them when the school year gets going. 

I really liked Sarah's idea at Everyone's a Genius (http://everybodyisageniusblog.blogspot.com/) for the front cover theme to be "Numbers about Me".  My sample covers are pictured below.  I wanted the covers to be very different from each other to show that there isn't a "right" way to make the cover.  I just want them to be creative and find how numbers are a part of their life.

My Example for 7th Grade INB Cover
My Example for 8th Grade INB Cover

The other project has many different forms and it is common on Pinterest.  It is using the word "NOISE" to help students monitor their noise level in the classroom.  I like the idea, even in the middle school classroom, but I had to put my twist on it.  First off, I don't have a lot of extra wall space in my classroom.  Hanging something vertically would be better for me, so I hung the letters vertically on a ribbon.  My other concern is that I will set the letters down and not remember where I put them.  To avoid that problem, I thought that I could just fold back the letter and use a clothespin to hold it all in place.  Now, I'm crossing my fingers that it is an easy way to help students monitor their noise level during group work and a way to help me stop giving too many chances and not issuing a consequence.
Starting point: All letters showing
"E" is folded under and held back with clothespin
"S" is folded back.
Only "No" is showing so no talking is allowed

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Some Small Group Organization...

I have never been able to find a way to quickly organize small groups and assign roles.  I have done the normal tricks of counting off and the closets birthday to _____ is the recorder.  Although it has worked fine, I just always felt like I could do a better job with it and still have a it be quick and easy.  So as I was looking through blogs and Pinterest, I found some things that I think will work well and tweaked it a bit to fit what I want.

Role Cards for Small Groups
The first thing that I found was was my group roles.  I really liked the roles that Ariane used at The Science Penguin (http://www.thesciencepenguin.com/2013/06/science-lab-teams-freebie.html) and she had a freebie to be printed and used.  I was all ready to take the made for me item when I realized that the clip art was a beaker.  I thought it didn't look like it fit in a math (and social studies) classroom.  Since I wanted roles that could be used for either of the classes that I taught, I had to do a little remixing.  Basically, I kept the roles that she had and some of her descriptions of the roles.  I changed up or added to all but the director.  I added in a spokesperson because that was a role that I really wanted.  I also added clip art that matched the role for my ELL kiddos to use as a clue about what they are to do.  I made a set of group role cards with the job descriptions for each table group in my classroom.  They will be laminated and hole punched to put on a ring for future reference. 

The next idea came from Science Gal (http://sciencegal-sciencegal.blogspot.jp/2012/09/setting-expectations-for-group-work.html).  She had a simple way to switch the roles in groups.  She assigned the students a color.  The roles were then kept in a pocket chart and a color square was put next to each role.  Whichever student was assigned that color, did that job.  So simple and easy to do!  I could easily assign roles even if it was at the last minute.  Loved it!

The last thing that I did was make badges for each group with the roles in them.  It will take me a while to learn which kids are assigned which color.  Wearing the badges will let me observe and see how kids handle the role much easier than constantly having to check who has which role.  I am going to present it to my middle school kiddos as something that happens in real life.  You get a job and you wear a badge that identifies you as having that job.  Also, I found the badge holders and clips at Walmart.  It was $1.88 for 12 of the badges or 12 of the clips.  So it wasn't too expensive to put together.  Hoping the kiddos take to them.  I think they will.

Role Badges that I made for each group.

I have gotten a few requests for the files to make these role cards.  They are on several files, so there are a lot of "Box" boxes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Homework Question Board

Homework Question Board
Last year, I didn't like how I handled homework questions.  So, after thinking about what I have done in the past and how I could make it work with the Saxon program, I came up with this homework question board.

One of the nice things about Saxon is that they always have 30 questions of homework.  I found calendar numbers cheap at my local teacher store and laminated them.  I made a header that says simply "How do you solve number..." and then I found these cute mini clothespins at Michaels that had chalkboard fronts (in the $1.50 bins at the front of the store).  I used my white gel pen to write "Us Too!" on the chalkboard part.  There is an up close picture below.

"Us Too!" Clothespins up close.
Next year, I plan to have the students sit in groups.  After we correct the homework, I want them to work together to answer each others' homework questions.  If the entire group can't answer the question, then the group can come and flip the number over to the backside.  If another group has the same question they can add an "Us Too!" clothespin to the front of the number.  That will tell me that at least 8 people in the room needed help.  That is a question to make a note of and spend some time over the next few days or weeks.  Below is an example of what I think the board will look like in use.
Example of how it might look in action.