Sunday, October 25, 2015

Explain"ing" Everything about Slope!

The first nine weeks are officially over. We finished off the first quarter with parent-teacher conferences Thursday night after school (yes, after a full day teaching we have conferences from 4-7pm) and Friday morning from 8am-12pm. It's super nice to have the two days back-to-back for conferences and it's really nice to get off Friday at noon, but Thursday is one long day.

With conferences on Friday that means students get a freebie day at the end of the quarter and enjoy themselves a nice three day weekend. We had a PreAlgebra test on Wednesday, so basically, according to our pacing guide, we were "supposed" to start the next chapter on Thursday before a three day weekend. Needless to say, Mrs. Blocker (my co-teacher) and I didn't start the chapter with our kiddos. Our next chapter might be the most important chapter of the year, so after some discussion, we decided to leave the first part of the chapter for Monday. We figured covering the overall basics, definition, and importance on Monday would be better than a Thursday before a long weekend.

Our next chapter introduces slope and rate of change to students. We do lots of vocabulary the first day then work on finding slopes/rates of change using graphs, tables, word problems, etc. said above...probably the most important chapter of the year! To make sure it wasn't a "wasted" day, Mrs. Blocker had a great idea to show Slope Dude and Algebra Man's videos on slope as an introduction.  If you're not familiar with these videos, let me share this awesome-ness ;)

After showing students these videos, we discussed how these videos set a foundation for what we are covering in the upcoming weeks and how the overall idea and understanding of these videos will help students later in the coming weeks. Then we told students that they would be using the app Explain Everything on our iPads to create their own Slope Dude Video. Students were given the following directions, along with the restriction of no skiing Slope Dude since that was the example, and left to create their own:

Students thought the idea was a little silly and lame at first, but once they started making their videos on Explain Everything...they ran away with it! We had some great videos turned in and students really got creative with it! Check out some of them: 

The videos turned out great and students really enjoyed making them! Explain Everything was great to use and super user friendly since it was most kid's first time using the app. Students were able to use the app with no problems and easily save the video to their camera roll and upload it to Canvas

There are two videos that I just have to share in order to show their creativity and how students really used the video to display their personalities. However, one had a slight mistake in identifying "undefined" slope, and the other video has a brain-slip in the same part, but came around by the end of the video to correctly label all the parts! But I really like these videos for how creative both students were! 

I loved this idea that Mrs. Blocker and I came up with for our introduction to slope and will definitely be using this in the upcoming years. It was a great way to end the week and prepare students for ideas that we would be covering after their long weekend! 

Before closing out this post, I have to share updates on my fabulous team this year. We have matching Team 8-1 Monogrammed shirts that we rocked for Parent-Teacher conferences. Made by our wonderful Mrs. Blocker!

My science teammie and I rocked out some war-paint for our big rival football game. Both our 7th and 8th grade football teams took down our in-district rival Oakridge Middle

And finally my co-teacher, Mrs. Blocker, and I participated in a Glow Race this weekend with the Sheriff Office in Shelby, NC to benefit the Special Olympics. We rocked out with our tutus and custom made "Let it Glow" shirts made by my fabulous co-teacher. (Seriously...she's awesome! Check out her Etsy shop here!)

It's been a great first nine-week period and I can't wait to see what comes up next! We have basketball season (my favorite of the year) in two weeks and I'm pumped! Updates on our start to the second nine-weeks and basketball season coming soon. Until next time... :)