Sunday, April 19, 2015

CountDown is On!

So apparently this year just wants to fly by. It's already mid-April! My little softball season is down to 4 total games left, my little 8th graders are 1 week away from their ACT End-of-Year test, and we are roughly 6 weeks away from the last day of school. I'm getting a little emotional :(

Our March Madness Book Battle competition through My Big Campus has even come to close. Our Championship round involved a head-to-head match-up of The Hunger Games and Divergent. The Hunger Games was the reining champion, but with 58% of the over 300 total votes by students and teachers, Divergent pulled off the upset for this year's Champion. Congrats Divergent (even though my personal vote went towards The Hunger Games ;) )

In my last post, all about March's good points, I totally forgot to mention that this March held the Ultimate Pi Day! Of course, as a Math teacher, I had to do something to celebrate this occasion with my students. Since the date actually fell over a weekend, I wanted to make sure students gave the the the attention it deserved ;) Therefore, my Math teammies and I came up with a Ultimate Pi Day Collage project for students to complete over the weekend. With our 1:to:1 iPad plan for students in our district, students were instructed to take pictures of Math in real-world examples they saw throughout the weekend. The specific pictures they had to find were given as the following:
3. - Places where the Pythagorean Theorem could be used.
1 - Selfie (so we could identify who made the collage)
4 - Non-Linear Functions
1 - Set of Parallel Lines
5 - Linear Functions.



Students took their pictures over the weekend and then had class time Monday to use an Photo app of their choice to put the pictures into a collage. Students also had a give a brief description as to why the pictures they picked represented the given concept. Not to mention, every collage they put inside of the final collage earned them an extra point! The students really enjoyed this activity and putting their own personal spins and touches on it. We got some really awesome collages to show off!

Along with Pi Day Collages, students got to use their iPads this week as we were beginning to wrap-up new material. Again..we only have 1 week until our END OF YEAR TEST! Can you believe it? It's just ridiculous.

Back to reality...In our Algebra class we were "re-hitting" the Real Number System and it's Properties. We covered this material at the beginning of the year. Now when I say beginning of the year...I mean like way September time, so wwaayyy beginning of the year. Instead of taking two days to review old-school note style something that these kiddos have already studied (not just this year, but even in 7th grade!), I decided to give them a little bit of ownership in their notes. Students were given the types of numbers (Whole, Natural, Real, Irrational, Rational, and Integers) as well as the properties (Commutative, Associative, Distributive, Inverse, and Identity). Students were to use any iPad app of their choice (many picked Notability, Keynote, or Pages) and define the type of number or property and give an example.

There were several differences in student turned in material, not only in apps, but in colors, pictures, details, etc. It was interesting to see the wide range of note-taking I received. Everything from black and white note pages, to full-out close to 30 page slide shows. I am still fascinated with the amount of time and effort students put into creating things on their iPads. I love to see the amount of quality and skills they have when they are given the chance to create something on their own with little instructions and guidelines.

After creating their notes, students used what they created to complete a homework assignment that had two parts: 1) students were given an example and had to identify what property is was displaying. 2) students were given a completely solved equation, step-by-step, and students had to label each step and what property was used to solve the step. I even got the comment the next day "My notes really helped me do my homework." (Although this is what I go for everyday! Haha)

I am amazed at how students are using their iPads and how creative they can be. I am eager to see the quality of projects and work that I will receive following our END OF YEAR tests (have I mentioned that it is in 2 weeks?). I am looking forward to seeing how creative students can be when not limited to textbook learning. I've got some pretty exciting things planned and I'll be sure to share!
Until next time... :)