Sunday, September 20, 2015

Interim Check-In

Interims went home Friday. Let that sink in...It's halfway through the 1st 9 weeks already! I feel like school just started. We are halfway through September! Within our first 4.5 weeks of school Algebra has had two tests, PreAlgebra one test, and we are just moving through this curriculum like it's our job!

As we've been working it on a daily basis, one thing we needed to cover in Algebra I before getting into our Algebra I curriculum is the 8th grade standard of surface area of cylinders and volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres. We aren't given much time (like any teacher) to get through our curriculum in the first place, but in Algebra I we also have to hit the 8th grade standards that they may not have gotten in 7th grade. So needless to say, we introduced, covered all these topics, and tested this unit in a week!

We began the week with introducing surface area of cylinders. This is the first year that we've had to do surface area; therefore, I was on a mission to find a new creative way to introduce it to my kiddos. I searched and searched and found a simple little fun activity that allowed students to grab the concept of surface area, and understand where the formula came from. Students were broken into groups of three to four and given one cylinder shaped object (anything from pencil cans, cookie containers, breadcrumb containers, etc.). Students were also given this worksheet page to work through as they looked into finding the surface area of their cylinder. Through this worksheet page students cut out pieces of paper to cover their cylinder (including the top and bottom). This page also allowed students to make the connection that the length of their rectangle was equal to the circumference of their circles for the top and bottom of their cylinders. We then reviewed the area formula for circles and rectangles before making the connection that we could replace the length portion of the formula for our rectangle with the formula for the circumference of the circle to simply use pi, radius, and height within our surface area formula.
Students really enjoyed this activity and really understood where the surface area formula came from by completing this activity. I enjoyed seeing the little lightbulbs going off in students' faces as they made the connections. I will definitely be using this activity for when my PreAlgebra kiddos get to this concept later in the year! 

Currently this year students are excited for a new reading challenge we've gotten into. Our librarian has told us about a "Read Your Way to the Big Game" challenge for students. ("The Big Game" referring to South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Clemson Tigers of course!) Check out the details here! Students are challenged to read six (6) reading-level appropriate books to qualify for the grand prize--Palmetto Bowl tickets (one winner for each team)! Each prize includes four tickets, sideline passes, and pre-game activities. 

To help get students motivated about the competition my team and I created a fun interactive bulletin board for our hallway. Students were to pick one helmet (either for the South Carolina Gamecocks or the Clemson Tigers) and decorate it with color and their name. Once students have successfully read one book they get their helmet placed on the 50-yard line. As students work towards their six books they move their helmets towards a touchdown! Once students are in the end-zone for a touchdown, they can enter to win the grand prize! We are excited to get all of our students entered into the contest and hope one of our lucky kiddos wins the whole competition! 

Finally it's been a very social start to the school year! I have gotten the chance to see some pretty awesome old students of mine at Friday night football games and we even had our first 8th grade teacher social this weekend. It was nice to hang out with my awesome teammates and fellow 8th grade teachers outside of school and just enjoy each other's company. 
Some of my fabulous students all grown up and in high school! Miss them! 
My wonderful 8-1 Team! These ladies are the best!
Just the best co-teacher ever! :)
I have to say this has been a fabulous start to the year and I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store. It's going to be a fantastic year with some wonderful teammates and kiddos. 
Until next time .... :)

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