Sunday, May 31, 2015

Swimming Into the End

We are now 1 full day and 3 half-days away from the end of the year school. Seriously, it's flying!

Before I get into all the fun projects students have been working on...I need to take a minute a brag on a specific group of mine. I have two Algebra I classes (8th graders taking the 9th grade course) and a total 36 students between the two. We recently had our End Of Course (EOC) test that counts as 20% of student's final average for the year. Students need an 85% average for the year in order to receive the high school credit and continue advance Math courses in high school. So, to say this test is a big deal would be an understatement. Well...onto bragging: out of my 36 students (drum roll please) there was a 100% passing rate! All 36 students passed the test. We had 1 D (with a 76%...1 little point from a C), and 22 A's...12 of which were 100%!!! I am beyond proud of these kids. They worked their little booty's off and put in some serious time and work this year. I am speechless with how wonderful they did on this's unbelievable! I of course had to spread the word on Social Media ;)

While my Algebra kiddos were in straight beast-mode for the EOC, my Pre-Algebra buddies were working super hard on reviewing linear equations. They were given 12 little problems using either two coordinates or a coordinate and a slope. Students were to write the linear equation representing the line in slope-intercept form. Once students had their 12 equations (and were correctly checked by me), students were given 12 coordinates and a piece of large graph paper. Students then plotted the coordinates in order, connected the dots, and matched up their equations to which line it represented.


Once all those steps were complete, students then decorated their picture. We even had our own little "Fishy Fashion Show" and the entire team including our four teachers, got to vote on their favorite. Here are some of the fabulous participants in our show:


After a vote by our entire team (69 students and 4 teachers; and we even had an assistant principal vote!) we had a winner! With 34% of the votes...Our winner.....

Students really seemed to enjoy this little project. It would be great to do before End of Year testing to review writing linear equations and matching equations to specific lines. If only it didn't take about a week (a very, very relaxed week) to complete ;)

After their review of linear equations, PreAlgebra kiddos got to review angles created with parallel lines and transversals. Students were given a blank piece of white paper with a few guidelines. Students were to create a neighborhood/town scene by drawing two parallel line streets with transversal streets. With the angles that were created, students were then to strategically place various components of a neighborhood/town. For example: students were to place houses on alternate interior angles, a school and a building on corresponding angles, etc. 

There were several students, my non-color fans, who did the simple assignment exactly as decorated, nothing flashy...but still perfect! Then there were of course my artsy kiddos who really got into the assignment and drew everything from parks, parking lots, trees, and even lakes/ponds. Students did a great job on this review assignment as well!  

So between my Algebra kids working on their EOC review and test, and my Pre-Algebra buddies reviewing various concepts, these past two weeks have been very productive! We are into our final week of school beginning tomorrow (can you believe it?)! My Algebra kids are wrapping up a quick quadratic review project involving Angry Birds so I'll be sure to share their final products, as well as, our Moving-On Ceremony this time next week! Until next time... :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Beginning of a Wrap-Up

It's testing season. When I say "testing season..." I mean 3 English/Reading/Writing ACTs, Math ACT, Science ACT, Science PASS, Social Studies PASS, English I EOC, Algebra I EOC, and all 4 content area SLOs. Yep...some of my poor little 8th graders will take 13 tests all within the month of May. Not to mention...those students who elected to take Spanish or French I during their Academy time, will have their end of course test during this month as well; up to 14 tests!!

Around testing, it gets very challenging to see some of my classes, get review material in, and keep students interested in doing Math following a few hours of testing. So needless to say, I need to create a way for students to review Math materials...given the idea that I may not see them but for twenty to thirty minutes some days (if I get to see them at all), and given that I need to make sure they are at least a little interested in what I'm having them do.

My idea...Let's use the iPads! Kids love those things right? :)
I went through our curriculum, textbooks, and lessons and came across 12 chapters for each Algebra and PreAlgebra class that we've covered throughout the year. Within my 2 Algebra and 2 PreAlgebra classes I divided kids into groups of two or three in order to cover all 12 chapters of material. Groups then drew chapter numbers out of a hat to determine the chapter their group was responsible for. For example my large Algebra I class of 26 students had 9 groups: 8 groups of 3 and 1 group of 2. My smaller Algebra class (of only 10 students) had 3 groups: 2 groups of 3 and 1 group of 4. Within both classes, there were 12 groups that would cover the 12 chapters of material.

Once students had their groups and their chapters they were ready to get started. Students had a 3-piece checklist. Students were to create their own review station for their chapter. Within their station they would create a Vocabulary Page, a Note Page, and a 5-to-10 question quiz. Students were to use their iPads and any APP of their choice to create the three components. It was awesome to see student's creativity and personality come through in the various ways they chose to represent their chapter. Check out some of the submissions:

Click here --> Chapter 5 Entire Station

I even had a group great their own website holding all their information --> Click Here for Chapter 7

One of the group's vocabulary page with pictures. 
Another vocabulary page with student examples.

An example of a quiz created by one of my Pre-Algebra groups!

After students created their "Review Stations" (I gave them three class periods), they then spent the last two days of the week using their iPads to virtually visit all the stations. Students took the notes, memorized and reviewed the vocabulary and then completed the station's quizzes. Students completed the quizzes using online quiz websites, Kahoot!, Notability, and Pages apps. Students then took screenshots of all quizzes and uploaded into the corresponding Station Quiz under Schoolwork in our My Big Campus groups. 

Students really seemed to enjoy this way of reviewing rather then simply getting packet after packet and going through what feels like a billion multiple choice questions! Within the next weeks Algebra students will be reviewing those mounds of packets using their Algebra standards as we move towards their EOC (End-Of-Course test). We will play review games each day with a different standard. My plans are Kahoot!, Survivor, Jeopardy, and ZAP! Pre-Algebra students will begin a project reviewing finding slopes of lines through two points, and writing the equation in slope-intercept form. I'll be sure to post their projects and progress! I can't wait to see their artsy-crafty side. :)

As we are reviewing...we are also getting prepared for our annual 8th grade Charleston Field Trip. My Social Studies teammate is busy preparing her room for those students staying at school and participating in Virtual Charleston. Her room is the South Carolina Aquarium where students will learn about South Carolina Pirates and The Hunley throughout their Virtual Charleston experience. Just check out how crafty and fabulous this underwater-classroom looks!

Yes...She really hand drew and painted this! 

A panoramic view of the coral reef and ship wreck! 

So basically my Social Studies teammate is awesome! Super creative, super imaginative, just overall fabulous! She did all of this with things laying around her room or from the dollar store! Super thrifty!! Well, now it's time to start decorating my room... Barn Quilts here we come ;)

Before I leave for the post...It's time to brag on my little softball team from this year. We had an amazing season, finishing 2nd in the County Championship to York Middle School. This year's girls are a beyond talented group of girls that I have had the pleasure of working with for the last 2 years. I'm not sure how we are going to manage next year without our 11 8th graders...but we are excited to see them succeed and do well at the high school level. I will miss these girls, but look forward to next season as my 2 7th graders become positive team leaders


Something to look forward to in the next post...My Pre-Algebra kids create a linear fish scene, my Algebra students get introduced to the game ZAP!, and we virtually visit Charleston for the end of the week. Loads of fun coming up... Until next time.... :)