Saturday, October 25, 2014

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

This week was Spirit Week at Clover Middle! To say the least...Team 8<3 was on it!
I sent a reminder to my kiddos throughout the weekend to remind them of the upcoming Spirit Days and encouraged them all to participate. Needless to say...we did :) Here's a little recap of our week:

Monday was Camo Day. This day correlated with doing "acts of kindness" secretively. It was great for this city girl. Yes, I had to borrow a camo shirt from my sister-in-law; this girl owns no camo. It was great seeing all my kiddos dressed in disguise! 

Tuesday was Tie-Day Day. This day correlated to spreading Peace throughout the school. It's been awhile since I've worn Tie-Day, so yes, I ended up purchasing a special shirt for the day! Team 8<3 was definitely colorful for the day! 

Wednesday was Unity Day where all students wore blue. This was important because blue represented standing up and against bullying in school. Therefore, we were all united together against bullying.

Finally, Thursday (our last day of the week) was College Day. This day correlated with students setting goals for themselves, and encouraging each other to reach those goals. 
Overall it was a week filled with Spirit! Team 8<3 showed a great representation overall and really participated! We could not have been more proud of our little team :)

As far as Math goes, we did a lot of review in preparation for our two tests on Thursday (10.23). Both Pre-Algebra and Algebra had tests on patterns and sequences, and lines of best fit respectively. So, I'm excited to share what we have coming up in the next few weeks as we begin our new chapters. 
Until next time... :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

End of Quarter Check In

Can you believe it's already close to the end of the 1st nine weeks? I mean seriously?! We have been in school for almost a full quarter already! My kiddos got their interim report about two weeks ago now, and my grades are due for report cards in only about two weeks! This is absolutely crazy!

So, needless to say, I thought it was about time for a check-in on what we've been up to. This is my first year teaching only one subject, and I have to say, it's fabulous! My schedule begins with planning until about ten in the morning. Then I have an Algebra and PreAlgebra class for an hour each, before lunch, followed by my Academy class, and ending the day with another PreAlgebra and Algebra class again for an hour a piece. My days fly by! I mean it's October for goodness sake!

Currently in Algebra we have moved into our actual Algebra curriculum. No more review for these kiddos! We have done the overview of function families; everything from linear, quadratic, exponential, and absolute value functions, and are now moving into really analyzing and understanding linear functions. To begin the overall unit, we started our lessons by reviewing scatter plots and what it takes to make a scatter plot. One of my colleagues, Allison Stanford, who recently moved back to the Clover area from a brief year in Mississippi, shared her idea for reviewing scatterplots. Students each get a shoe to color and decorate as their representation on a classroom graph. I gave students their shoe template on a Friday after they finished their last review test. Over the weekend students were to color and decorate their shoe, find out their shoe size, and their height. All students were told to measure their shoe size in men's sizes, and get their heights in inches.

The graph after students established the independent and dependent quantities.
On Monday students came in, and in their groups, created a quick sketch of a scatterplot to represent their small group of three or four. Students had to decide the independent and dependent variable, their quantities, and then plot themselves, as dots, on their sketch. After all groups had sketched their group graph, we began plotting the points on a larger classroom graph that I had created on the wall before beginning class.
Students plotting their shoes on the classroom sized graph.
After the graph was complete, and all students had plotted their shoes, we analyzed the graph in terms of it's characteristics. We reviewed the terms surrounding graphs such as independent and dependent variables (and why they were those quantities), outliers, increasing or decreasing trends, and associations. This lesson then lead into the discussion of lines of best fit to represent the data. This was a great lesson to use to get students thinking about, if we were to draw a line through the shoe plots, how would we represent all the data that was presented. Students really understood how to analyze lines of best fit as we began writing the equations for the lines later in the week!

The final graph after 3rd period plotted their points. 

For my PreAlgebra crew we are beginning our lessons into functions as well. However, instead of beginning with scatterplots and lines of best fit, we begin our overall unit with sequences and patterns. The idea is to relate functions as ongoing patterns and that sequences will fit into the equations that we can write for linear functions. Students were also seated in groups to begin, and were given two sequences from our Carnegie text. Students were given manipulatives that they could work with to demonstrate and continue the given sequence. Sequences ranged from building toothpick houses, to building block stairs, beaded necklaces, and penny pyramids. After students created their sequence using their manipulatives, they could then answer the questions in their text about the term numbers, patterns, and overlying question.
Students working together, with their manipulatives and iPads to determine their sequences.

After students finished their sequences, they took pictures and uploaded their patterns to our My Big Campus group in order to present their findings to their classmates. Students really enjoyed being able to work with their hands, create their sequences using manipulatives, and then present their unique versions of sequences to their peers.

We have had a great, wonderful, fantastic, amazing start to the year and I could not be more impressed with how hard my students are working. They are doing a great job! They come into class everyday ready to learn, enjoy math, and learn new skills. We are off to a great start and I can't wait to see, and share, what our year has in store! Until next time... :)