Sunday, August 23, 2015

5 Down... 175 To Go!

We are officially one week into the 2015-2016 school year and it has been a jam-packed week of fun! We have done several Get-To-Know-You activities and filled our time with A Week of Inspirational Math from and Stanford University. Oh trust me... I'm sharing it all :)

First we did some great Get-To-Know-You activities with students. Of course my personal favorite activity that helped me get to know my students involved Math! There's two slightly different versions of this activity. The first one was for my Algebra I students, while the second was used within my Pre-Algebra class. Students were given one half-sheet of paper that contained the instructions for how to complete their circle (divided into sections) using their favorite interests, hobbies, and memories.

For Algebra I students the instructions were given in terms of problems using fractions. Students needed to first solve the problem, before then converting the fraction they found as the answer into a fraction with a denominator of 24. They needed the final fraction to be into 24th's because their circle was divided into 24 pieces.

Pre-Algebra students were given various fractions and a circle that was divided into 8 pieces; therefore, in order to determine how much of their circle was for which interest, hobby, etc. students needed to make sure they had equal fractions of 8th's.

Here are some of the wonderful, colorful, and super informative completed circles done by my new kiddos! It's awesome to see the amount of time, effort, and creativity students put into these circles and how much we can learn about each other just by looking at them.

Aren't they awesome?! I will get these laminated in the upcoming week and then students will put these on the outside of their lockers! It's a great way to get to know students, their interests, and add a little color to our hallways :)

Throughout the week we also set the stage for important Math practices we want to incorporate throughout the year. Our district's Curriculum Instructor showed us this fabulous website over the summer during our development days that we used within this first week of school to get students thinking about Math, but also to get them thinking about why and how we think about Math. Our activities came from and Stanford University. We used their Week of Inspirational Math to get students comfortable within our Math classes.

The first activity we did is called Four 4's. We quickly watched a "Mindset" video before beginning the activity in order to get students ready for Math concepts and thinking. Students then worked together in groups to reach numbers 1 through 20 using only 4 4's and mathematical operations. For example: 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 would be 16. There are four 4's used within the problem. Another example would be 4 - 4 + 4 / 4 would be 1. As students worked together to reach numbers one through twenty it was interesting to see how they used their four 4's to reach the numbers. Students even got creative and used parenthesis to group operations together, use the square root of 4, numbers like 44, and more!

It was a great activity! Throughout the week we continued to work our way through the Week of Inspirational Math and their activities. Along with Four 4's, I think student's had a great time with Day 3's activity called Paper Folding. In this activity students started with a square piece of paper and had to then, using this square, fold the paper into various squares and triangles that had 1/2 or 1/4 of the area of the original square. Students did a great job with this activity and really enjoyed proving that the area was the 1/2 or 1/4 of the original. 

Along with awesome activities that students really enjoyed, there were fabulous videos (short! only about 2-5 minutes each) that really hit home some awesome ideas for the Math classroom. Videos included discussions about speed and mistakes in Math classes. Messages encouraged students that it's not about speed in Math class, it's okay to make mistakes, our brain grows when we make those mistakes, and many more wonderful messages. Students really liked the videos and the activities, they really got the students thinking, and overall it was a great way to start the year in Math!

I'm excited for week 2 as we begin to dive into our curriculum, concepts, and actual Math work! Here's to a great school year and lots of updates on the blog! Until next time... :)

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