###### Posted on July 22, 2016 at 9:08 pm by Lisa

Another TMC in the books. It still amazes me that we have now done this 5 times. Like Sam, I’m struggling to process TMC16 in a way that I can make coherent sense of. So, also like Sam, I am blogging this one definitely for me. Dylan Kane, quoting Steve Leinwand in his keynote talked about how we as teachers should be changing 10% of what we do in our practice yearly. No more, no less. Without further ado, here are things that will be in my 10% this year (and a few things I am bringing back): As I’ve already mentioned in my last post, I am going to bring more real-world mathematics into my classroom. Denis Sheeran talked about I See Math. I am going to be more conscious of what I see in my world that may be interesting mathematically and/or to my students. I am going to make a more deliberate effort to include the real world […]

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###### Posted on July 17, 2016 at 1:07 am by Lisa

On a last minute persuasive pitch, I decided on attending Denis Sheeran‘s session – Instant Relevance: Day by Day Statistics for Non-AP Courses. I decided to go to Denis’ session because what he said about looking for the mathematics in the everyday and figuring out how to use it in your classes spoke to me. I’m hoping to do some of that this year. Here are some of the notes I made of what caught my attention: Students learn when they care about answering the question and they care about you. Don’t separate what you do every day from what you do every day. You asked the question, I’ll provide the (mathematical) tool you need. Over the course of the day, I figured out some things about myself as a teacher. I think that I have been standing at the precipice of a cliff trying to convince myself to dive into the pool of water of really integrating the real […]

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###### Posted on July 16, 2016 at 1:53 am by Lisa

Normally, I don’t blog during TMC. In fact, it’s the night before we start and I really ought to be headed to bed. But I had some thoughts and connections I had made while at the Desmos Preconference. After our kickoff to the morning, we separated ourselves into groups based on comfort / ability level with Desmos (beginning, intermediate, or advanced). At first, I thought I may be a beginner plus but not quite advanced, but once I saw the document that Michael Fenton created, I realized that I was a solid intermediate. After some discussion of where to head, Julie Reulbach made the point that if I went to intermediate, I could end up helping others whereas if I went to advanced, I would be pushed and would be learning from others. I definitely wanted to be pushed a little bit, so I went to advanced and promptly figured out I was over my head. But I stayed anyway. What […]

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###### Posted on June 12, 2016 at 11:06 pm by Lisa

With the school year being so busy, many things get left to do until summer hits. One of those things was weeding. I hate weeding. Well, maybe not the weeding part. Before I began weeding, I thought to myself, I hate thistles. As I was weeding, I thought to myself, I don;t hate the thistles that much. They come out of the ground easier (although I can never seem to get the full root structure). What I really hate is, well, I hate dandelions. Dandelions are a bugger to get out of the ground. You think you have the root and as you pull, you don’t seem to have it all. Since I waited until early June, some many of my dandelions had gone to seed. So, now I’m trying to pull out the dandelions and not get the seeds into the ground. UGH. Did I mention I hate weeding? I’m kind of at the same point with my teaching. I know there are things I do […]

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###### Posted on April 24, 2016 at 9:40 pm by Lisa

On the afternoon I was digging through my Evernote archives, I stumbled upon this gem of a post by Elissa Miller. She was talking about checking to make sure they knew the difference between each type of factoring. I had just given an assessment on factoring and solving quadratic equations by factoring to my Algebra 1 students and they did poorly on it. I knew that part of it was they just didn’t practice enough, but I also recognized that they didn’t know how to figure out what kind of factoring to do. After looking at Elissa’s flowchart to help her students, I decided to create one of my own for mine. I printed these 2 to a page on card stock so students could put them in the folder in their interactive notebooks easily. What I decided to do is to offer feedback on the assessment to the students to help guide them in making better decisions on what […]

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###### Posted on April 21, 2016 at 2:49 pm by Lisa

I miss you all. It has been a difficult year in many ways for me, so I have not been as active on Twitter or on my blog. In the last few days, I have come to realize that I miss it. A lot. This has not been my best year of teaching. I’m not going to go into all of the reasons, but one of the conclusions I have come to is that part of it is that I have gotten away from the MTBoS (Math Twitter Blog-o-Sphere for the uninitiated). I haven’t been reading blogs, I haven’t been keeping up with Twitter (I’m still trying to figure out how to do that…) and I haven’t been looking at the awesome resources I have compiled from the MTBoS over the last few years in my Evernote. I need to go back to doing that. In fact, I have started to do that. I’ll share some of that in other posts. I do […]

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###### Posted on March 6, 2016 at 11:38 am by Lisa

An activity I’ve done with my Algebra 1s for the last two years (and is reusable) is scratch off cards. I think I originally saw the idea from Kristen Fouss but after trying to search her blog, maybe it was from Sam Shah. Regardless of where I saw it, here’s how it worked for me. Step One: Create problems with a box to place the answer. Step Two: Laminate the cards. THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you don’t laminate, you will need to put clear packing tape over the answer. I found it much easier to laminate. Step Three: Mix 1 part dish soap and 2 parts acrylic paint together. (I got those directions from here.) Step Four. Paint the mixture over the answer. This may take a couple of times depending on how heavily you paint the mixture over the answer. The first year I did it, it took me several coats because I painted too lightly. This year, it went […]

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###### Posted on at 11:05 am by Lisa

With apologies to Peter King and Monday Morning Quarterback, I’m going to borrow a format he uses in his columns. Towards the end, he adds 10 Things He Thinks He Thinks. I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging, so I’m going to try something like that. Without further ado, here are the things I think from this week (well, maybe the last few weeks). The longer I teach, the more I find that I prefer to use the precise language of mathematics. When I was a younger teacher, I tended to use more informal language in mathematics. Between Common Core and I think just wanting my students to have a more solid understanding of mathematics, I find myself emphasizing the formal language of mathematics. Having said that, I’m still not going all the way over to the edge of all formal mathematics. I have a hard time wanting to say that we added the additive inverse to each […]

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###### Posted on December 1, 2015 at 6:00 am by Lisa

We are starting to gear up for TMC16, which will be at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN (map is here) from July 16-19, 2016. 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 (http://bit.ly/TMC16-1). 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, however, this year […]

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###### Posted on November 18, 2015 at 10:48 pm by Lisa

No, seriously, how do you plan a unit? I know it sounds odd for a 23-year veteran teacher to ask the question, but how do you plan a unit? Backing up… we are getting ready to begin the unit with linear functions. You know the one, the one in Algebra 1 where we work on graphing lines and writing linear equations. Where slope and rate of change are formally introduced. I know my students are already aware of y = mx + b from 8th grade. I’ll be doing a pre-assessment this week to confirm what they already know how to do. But already knowing they’ve at least been exposed to y = mx + b does change some things. So, these are the Common Core State Standards that I am planning on working with in this unit: F-IF.6: Calculate and interpret the average rate of change of a function (presented symbolically or as a table) over a specified interval. Estimate the rate of […]

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