Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Comparing and Scaling Partner Quiz Tip

Teach CMP?  This is my first year teaching the textbook series and I have been making many "do next year" notes to myself.  This tip/note I thought would be great to share with everyone who teaches the 7th grade book. 

I gave the Comparing and Scaling partner quiz last week and ran into the problem that students didn't realize you can't buy single hamburger buns when comparing prices for 30 students.  I didn't want to stop everyone during the quiz to explain the problem and didn't realize the issue until I started checking/dotting students' quizzes.  As I tried to think on my toes about the problem a light bulb went off!  OK so it wasn't quite a light bulb but more of a flashback to one of my favorite blogs! Leslie over at Jack of all trades  posted a video of clip from the Movie Father of the Bride to support LCM.  Although my students weren't working with LCM this clip fit PERFECTLY into the quiz.  

As with every partner quiz students turn the quiz in for the teacher to review once complete.  I dot problems with a colored pen for students to go back and review/correct.  Because many students do not get a chance to go back to correct by the end of class, I started giving students one period the next day to finish corrections.  Because almost every student missed the hamburger bun question I started class with the movie clip. 

This scene never gets old :)

I told students before I showed the video that the clip was meant to help them with one of the questions on the quiz.  Everyone seemed to know after the clip which question to correct.  Even my special ed students (who finished after school) were able to tell me about the clip HOURS later and figure out what to do with the hamburger buns.  

What a fun way to incorporate real world math problems into the math class!  I wish I could find a video clip for every math concept! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Smart Questions

A couple of months ago I started getting really frustrated with some of my students during group work activities.  I noticed a lot of students saying to their group "I don't get it".  Where do you begin helping someone if all they can say is "I don't get it"?  Of course as a teacher I am able to navigate through a series of questions to pin point the confusion.  Students on the other hand, do not always know how to ask questions or may not have the patience to figure out where the confusion started.

This frustration sparked the idea of having sentence stems that were general enough to help students during any math activity.  I call these sentence stems "smart" questions because I wanted students to realize that when they ask good questions they sound smart.  Every student wants to sound smart in school so why not give them a little help!  The sentence stems were first developed between my special ed teacher, speech pathologist, and myself. 

We came up with: 
  1.   I don’t understand __________ part or step.  
  2. I don’t understand ___________________ vocabulary word. 
  3.  Could you repeat ______________ part or step?   
  4. How did you get _________________? 
  5. Why did you do ______________ (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, etc.)?   
We didn't want to come up with all of the questions because we wanted our students to come up with some questions so they hopefully find more value to use them.  The speech pathologist came in and presented the "SMART question" activity to the class.  Our students were able to come up with a lot of great questions! 
I have yet to figure out how to upload a document so I just took a picture.  :)
**Thanks Amy for your help!**

Once we had the questions generated we cut the paper in half and pasted each half on the front and back of a bright piece of paper. 

 My Co-teacher bought restaurant stands for the questions so they would be at eye level to grab students' attention.  (Thanks Wendy!)

Doesn't it look great!?

I hear the students using a lot of the questions when working together on math activities.  I also give marbles to groups that ask/answer smart questions.  

After about a month of using these sentence stems I started to notice that it seems to take a while to find a question.  Having 11 different questions is a bit overwhelming.  If you think about using this strategy you might want to limit the card to 5 or 6 questions and have the same questions on both sides.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Versatile Blog Award!

Wow what a break! I had school until the 23rd so when the clock struck 3:45 I rushed out of school to start my 5 hour drive back to Cincinnati.  The drive went smoothly but I as I pulled into my brother's driveway and reached for my laptop that is always on the floor behind my seat - it was not there! Two thoughts ran through my head immediately 1) Someone stole it at starbucks in my 3 minute stop to get coffee or 2) I left it in my classroom! After being in panic mode I convinced myself that my laptop was indeed left in my classroom since I could not remember actually putting the bag over my shoulders.  

I was so bummed about my lack of technology for a week because I had so many blog ideas to write about over break.  When I got back to Chicago I was able to get into my school thanks to my school secretary and finally feel connected again.  

What a wonderful surprise to see that I was nominated for the Versatile Award three times!!


THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Jena at Caught in the Middle, Heather at Loose Shoelaces and Kate at To the square inch  for your nominations! All of these blogs have inspired me to try new things and be creative everyday!  I am not much of a commenter on blogs but believe me - I am look forward to reading your posts every night!
Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you with a link back to them. 

2. Tell 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they have received an award!
So here we go... 

7 things about myself: 

1) Over the summer I became OBSESSED with Starbuck's Via iced caramel coffee. 
2) I find crafts to be very relaxing to do at night. 
3) Thanks to DVR I have the WORST taste in television.  You name the bad show- I probably watch it.  
4) Back to the Beach is hands down my favorite movie of all time.  I have always wanted cute pajamas to dance on a balcony with my friends.  
5) I don't want to leave the classroom BUT I would love to eventually start leading professional developments or workshops during the summer - maybe over groupwork?
6) I love buying workout clothes from Lululemon  (not really in a teacher's budget) even though I don't really like to workout.  
7) I started to collect elephants when I was really little.  I still get one every year for Christmas :)

Favorite blogs to follow (I don't have 15 YET) 

I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break!