Author: Lisa

Writing Quadratic Equations Card Sort

While working with having learners write quadratic equations, I found they were having difficulty even getting to the equation. One of the things that surprised me the most was how much difficulty learners had in translating what I would consider basic phrases (find two consecutive integers when the smaller number squared increased by three times the larger number is 47, for example). I put together a card sort with various types of situations that would result in setting up a quadratic equation and then learners would have find the correct equation and then solve the equation. None of these problems are looking for a maximum or minimum (i.e. the vertex). I realize that many of these problems may be considered pseudo-context, but they were what I could find to get close to what I thought the standards were looking for. This card sort was designed to work with the following Common Core State Standards: A.CED.1 Create equations and inequalities in […]

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I <3 Crocheting

At By TMC17, one of the really difficult decisions I had to make was what morning session I was going to attend. The math teacher in me wanted to attend Cal Armstrong, Bill Thill, and Peg Cagle‘s Rich Tasks Morning Session. The “I wanna play math” person in me wanted to attend to attend David Butler and Megan Schmidt‘s Mathematical Yarns Morning Session. (Recap: Rich Tasks won) But, I really wanted to learn how to crochet. Tina Cardone organized time in the evenings to learn crochet and help work on creating a square that would eventually be assembled into a blanket and donated (I forget to whom). So, I thought I would work on learning crochet that way. I tried to learn. I really did. But I’m not sure if my brain was really ready for it Wednesday night of TMC and Tina had a specific way she was teaching crochet and for whatever reason, it just wasn’t clicking for me. I wanted to […]

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Deliberate Language

At TMC17, Glenn Waddell did a My Favorite on being deliberate about the words we use to describe the humans in our classrooms: whether it in addressing the whole group (“you guys”) or how we describe the humans we interact with daily in our classroom settings (“students”). It got me thinking. I have been guilty of referring to a whole group of people as “you guys,” even when the group is not all male. I hadn’t really ever thought about it. I have been working on deliberately not using this term in my daily language. I am generally successful. I have taken to referring to the group of people in my classroom as “ladies and gentlemen.” I’m not really sure why I have stuck upon this phrase – maybe it is hopeful in that they will live up to the title (as opposed to boys and girls), but it is working for me at this point. I noticed today when I […]

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A fertile mind?

I have been here before. I have returned from (now my 6th) TMC and have lists of all sorts of ideas that I would like to implement in my classroom and teaching practice this school year. What is going to be different this year? I ask that question because I looked back at what I posted after TMC16 and what I wanted to change and very little of it happened. I didn’t have the heart to go back and look at TMC15 to see how I did there. I could certainly make excuses or list reasons why I didn’t do what I had wanted to. It really doesn’t matter at this point. So, what’s different this year? I think my mind was ready to receive the learning and implement it in my classroom. For years, (yes, you can go back and look if you really want to), I have been saying I want to implement (more) Rich Tasks in my classroom. I […]

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Standards Based Grading Revisions

I am looking at revising my grading in my Algebra 2 classes. If you could kindly read and offer some feedback in the comments, that would be greatly appreciated! For the past several years, I have used a form of Standards Based Grading. Assessments have grades for each learning target. Learning target scores are out of 10 points and students earn a score of anywhere of 5 (did not attempt) to 10 out of 10 points. In any given grading period, I have between 10 and 15 learning targets (so 100-150 points). Students can reassess any individual learning target. Score Level Meaning In Gradebook 5 No attempt I did not answer the questions and/or I did not show any of my thinking to answer the questions. Also given when I don’t show up for an assessment. 5/10 (50%) 6 Limited I don’t get it. I don’t even think I am starting this problem right. 6/10 (60%) 7 Basic I think […]

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Student Created Which One Doesn’t Belong

Towards the end of the year, I had a few days left with my seniors. Since we had been doing Which One Doesn’t Belong in warm ups each week and I had stumbled across what Mary Bourassa did with her students (look here and here for her thoughts), I thought it would be fun and interesting to see what they came up with. Here’s what I did with my students: Day 1 – We went over what made a good “Which One Doesn’t Belong.” Rather than providing them the exact WODB I chose, I had them either sketch or write what each option was. Some of them we did as a whole class, others they filled out the tables in their small groups and then we discussed them as a class. It took about 40-45 minutes to go through all 7. Day 2 – We worked through some of the incomplete sets using the same tables I used with them the previous day. […]

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Thursday Lunch Update

Shelli (@druinok) requested an update about Thursday Lunch. As long as I am in school on Thursday, I head to the cafeteria for lunch. I have kind of gotten into a rut with whom I sit, but I am in the cafeteria each week. I have a student teacher this semester, so part of the reason I’ve been in a seating rut is that I am trying to stay connected to a few groups of students. Generally what happens is I start to think about who I am going to sit with sometime on Wednesday. Sometimes I touch base with a student who sits at the table (which is what I usually do with the group of sophomore boys I sit with sometimes), sometimes I just show up at the table. What I found is if I wander around without knowing who I want to sit with, I usually end up wandering around and it is harder for me to decide […]

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Why I Love Julie Reulbach and Desmos

Transformations is something I have worked at over the years to have a solid series of activities and notes to help students comprehend how they work. (Side note, maybe I ought to look back at my blog more often. I had forgotten I had put together a couple of these things.) We are in round 1 of transformations. I am working with F.BF.3, which reads Identify the effect on the graph of replacing f(x) by f(x) + k, k f(x), f(kx), and f(x + k) for specific values of k (both positive and negative); find the value of k given the graphs. Experiment with cases and illustrate an explanation of the effects on the graph using technology. Include recognizing even and odd functions from their graphs and algebraic expressions for them. The learning target this time is: I can describe the transformation(s) that changed a graph of f(x) by replacing with f(x) + k, k f(x), f(kx), and f(x + k) for specific values of […]

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TMC17 Speaker Proposal Press Release

We are starting to gear up for TMC17, which will be at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School  in Atlanta, GA (map is here) from July 27-30, 2017. We are looking forward to a great event! Part of what makes TMC special is the wonderful presentations we have from math teachers who are facing the same challenges that we all are. To get an idea of what the community is interested in hearing about and/or learning about we set up a Google Doc ( It’s a GDoc for people to list their interests and someone who might be good to present that topic. The form is still open for editing, so if you have an idea of what you’d like to see someone else present as you’re writing your own proposal, feel free to add it! This conference is by teachers, for teachers. That means we need you to present. Yes, you! In the past everyone who submitted on time was accepted, […]


Thursday Lunch

This is something I have meant to do for a while. I finally got the gumption up to do it in October and have been doing it since then. I have grown tired of hearing the same types of conversation at lunch. I’m sure you’re familiar with most of it – complaints about students, the political situation, etc. While sometimes I’d like to eat alone, I still want some interaction during lunch. So, on one Thursday towards the end of October, I decided to go to the cafeteria and sit with the kids. (No, this isn’t me or my students. But you get the idea.) It was a little nerve-wracking at first. I didn’t know if I would find a table to sit at or students who were willing to share their lunch time with me. Fortunately, a couple of my students had an empty seat at their table and were very welcoming when I asked if I could sit at […]

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