Monday, June 2, 2014

Probability Carnival

Today was SOOOO much fun!  Students spent the day playing probability games their peers created using their knowledge of games of chance.  We just finished our probability unit last week.  Instead of assessing the students with an unit test I decided to do a unit project.  Another 7th grade teacher created a carnival game project where students create a game that involves chance rather than skill.  We provided a rubric which required a scale model game (that could be played),  directions to play the game, theoretical probability, experimental probability and expected payout.  Students worked in pairs and created a game for our carnival during class.  The project took about 3 days and we held the carnival on the 4th day.  

My students took turns running their games and playing other students' games.  The other 7th grade math teachers sent groups of 5 students over to test our games.  I gave each student a stamp card which was their "payment" to play the games (usually one stamp).  This was helpful for visiting students because they went back to class when their stamps were used.  

I provided the "baseline" reward which was candy.  If students wanted leveled prizes they had to bring in the extra prizes.  Students brought in extra candy, stuffed animals, bouncy balls and fancy pencils.

Two pairs of students did maze games where the dice decided your path. 

We had versions of the duck game.  One group used ducks, another used floating fish, and the third group used "lilly" pads.

This duck game had dice involved.  you had to pick a duck that match the sum of the dice your rolled.

We also had the lollipop pull! We had to discuss how the probability of pulling a lollipop with a dot on the bottom changed as lollipops were pulled.  It was great problem solving for the students to figure out how they were going to keep their probability the same.

We had MANY marble games - choose color combinations to earn a reward!

This group used string instead of marbles...

We also had MANY dice games....

 And lastly we had spinners...

"Flick the finger" made me a little nervous- Thank goodness they did not trace their middle finger! 

Our last day of school was suppose to be Thursday but we have to make up emergency days from the cold winter.  This was a great way to start our countdown to summer! I love that students had fun playing games but math was involved in each game! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Octahedron Summaries

We are wrapping up our 3-dimensional unit which has become one of my favorite units of the year.  One reason it is my favorite is because we summarize each unit on paper plates creating a octahedron by the end of the book.  This is the second time I have done octahedrons, you can read last year's post HERE.

The plates explained the following concepts: 

                              - Area formulas for triangles, circles and trapezoids
                              - Rectangular prism nets 
                              - Surface area of a rectangular prism
                              - Volume of a rectangular prism
                              - Surface area of a cylinder
                               -Volume of a cylinder
                               - Volume of a sphere 
                               - Volume of a cone

Last year my directions stressed an explanation for each concept.  Many of the students' explanations were hard to apply to new problems so I changed my flipchart directions this year.  

I had students write the steps in words and numbers (example) for each for the volume and surface area plates.  

The plates turned out great and this year I remembered to have students decorate their plates when they finished their directions.  We hole punched two plates at the top and ran string through to hang the octahedrons.   

I heard one student say "it looks like paradise!"

 I totally agree - math paradise :) 

The other 7th grade teacher hung her octahedrons along the back of her room.   Doesn't it look like vertebrae?  I am going to keep this in mind for next year. 

I love doing this summary activity! The plates get the students out of the book and keep them engaged throughout the unit! 

Happy Teachers Appreciation Week :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

EdExpo Favorite Sensory Objects

As promised I have many products I want to share that I learned about at the EdExpo in Dallas.  The very first booth I visited was the Boinks booth. 

 The first product they showed me was the boink which reminded me of the Chinese finger traps.  Boinks are cute little toys that have multiple uses including a pencil grip.  The only issue with the boink is that is acts like a spring and flies through the air - no way could I handle those flying in my classroom.  

The second thing they showed me was the fidget.  I LOVE the fidget!  It is a small tube with a marble that you can move back and forth with your thumb - so simple!  I especially love that it doesn't have any kind of liquid inside for students to spill.  I was "fidgeting" with the fidget the whole time I was learning about all of the Boink products.  I was hooked :)

My other great sensory find was the The Dough Source's DaVinci Dough.  This dough was scented to promote clarity, creativity and focus.  The two scents are lemon ginger and vanilla orange - both AMAZING!  

I had my tutor student use the lemon ginger dough during our reading session.  I noticed she was relaxed and really liked the scent.  

If you are in need of any sensory tools look into either of these products.  Both of these products are great for the regular and and special ed students.  Next time you are at your local teacher store look for these to try :) 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

#EdExp02014 Favorite Products for any Classroom

As you know I had the opportunity to attend the ED Expo in Dallas.   You can read more about the expo and my funny travel experience here.  I am still overwhelmed with all of the amazing products I saw at the expo.  Today I am going to tell you about 2 of my favorite products that could be used in ANY classroom! 

Time Timer Watches 

I am obsessed with these watches! I want one SOOOOOO bad! The watch visually shows how much time is left and vibrates (or has an audible alerts) when time is up.  I have a digital timer but it is small and I keep it on the front table so it is hard to keep track of the time while helping groups.  

You can find the watch HERE.  These watches are clearly popular because the adult watches are sold out as I am writing this post!   

Time Timer Clocks

The clocks come in all different sizes.  I would love to have a big one at the front of the room for students during independent or partner work.  Time Timer also has 3 inch clocks that would be VERY useful for groups to have at their table.  I would think productivity would increase when they had actually set the timer themselves and have a visual  of the time left at their table.  These timers can be purchased in bulk so talk to teachers in your building to create a large order for a cheaper price :) 

You can check out the timer clocks HERE.

If you don't have the budget for the clocks or watches you can buy the App or software for you computer or iphone/ipad.  The prices are very reasonable -  I am thinking about getting the app for my ipad to start.  Click HERE to check out the apps. 

Mooreco student desks

If I could create my dream classroom these desks would be included.   I did not expect to fall in love with furniture when I was at the expo but these desks are AMAZING.  The shape of these desks allow you to do any configuration. 

Click HERE to find more information on these desks. 

What really attracted me to these desks is the white board as the top of the desk!  Although I do worry about the residue of markers after years of writing, but think about the amount of paper you could save when you want students to practice or work collaboratively as a group! If your school is looking to get new desks you HAVE to keep these in mind! 

Find the award-winning Teacher Trendsetter products and much more at a retailer near you by utilizing the  zip code searchable database.  Support the small businesses in your community! 

You have my Top 2 picks from the Ed Expo! These products would work for any classroom and subject area in my opinion :) 

Stay tuned for my top products for Math, Special Ed, PBIS and Reading! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

EdExpo 2014

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2014 education expo in Dallas Texas over the weekend of March 8th.  I was asked to attend as a "teacher trendsetter" and rank my top 10 favorite products at the expo.  I have so many products to talk about but I thought you might enjoy a good laugh first.. 

For some strange reason flying has become more difficult as I have gotten older.  I start getting anxiety at least a month in advance about what time I need to leave for the airport, how to get to the airport, how long will it take to get through security and will there be a Starbucks in my terminal?  The night before I decided to take a taxi to the train and hope on the blue line to get to O'hare.  

I probably left my apartment about 3 hours before my flight so I would get to the airport and through security in plenty of time.  I am not able to relax until I am sitting at my gate waiting for my plane.   One year I went to the wrong airport (O'hare instead of Midway) so I can't relax until I know I have not made that mistake again!  Anyways..

I get to O'hare and go to United Airlines to check in.  I was surprised NO ONE was at United trying to check in so I was getting worried I was not in the airport.  I swiped my ID card and the computer said I did not have a reservation - PANIC ATTACK.. Trying to keep my cool, I ask the person what is wrong and they look at my printed itinerary.  Ma'am your flying American Airlines - not United.. Whoops!

I needed to get to a different terminal which meant I had to venture outside.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you know Chicago has been a snowy, icy mess since December.  Although the sidewalks were clear I noticed they were a little slick.  I stopped myself from slipping a couple of times and then the inevitable happened..  Not only did I slip, but I fell practically taking a nose dive into icy mud.  My legs, hands and suitcase were covered in salty mud.  I tried to jump back up quickly but of course I just kept slipping more.  I was so embarrassed and refused to look around to see how many people saw me.  

I finally got inside of the correct terminal and checked into the correct airline.  All I wanted to do was go to the bathroom to wash off but of course I needed to get through security.  If you could only have seen what I looked like walking around - DISGUSTING! 

This is my suitcase AFTER wiping it off in the bathroom. 

I would like to say that I was stress free when I was finally on the plane but I started wondering how I was going to find the shuttle needed to get to my hotel.  My shuttle ticket told me to find a kiosk in the baggage claim to dispatch the shuttle.  I could not find the dispatch kiosk so I went outside to find the shuttle.  No shuttle- only a sign.  I didn't think I would mind standing outside since I could enjoy the warm Dallas air - WRONG.  It was SO cold! My fingers were freezing and I could not get a hold of the shuttle company.  FINALLY I got a hold of customer service and dispatched a shuttle.  

I stayed in downtown Dallas at the beautiful Adolphus Hotel. 

I was so happy to have finally arrived at the hotel! 

I went to check in and then... "Sorry Liz, we do not have a reservation under Liz Gates but we do have a reservation for Liz Bates".  You have got to be kidding me... After another small panic attack we sorted out the mess and I was given a room.  

After that day I was seriously considering NEVER traveling again.  I went to bed looking forward to a new day and the edexpo!

Walking into the expo I felt like I was at a NCTM conference - I still wish I was going to New Orleans. 

When I checked into registration I was told I had a "ribbon" to wear for people to know I was a teacher.  

This is NOT a ribbon.  

The picture does not do it justice but the "ribbon" was a GIANT button! It was a wonderful conversation starter with many of the booths :) 

I was one of a handful of teachers who walked the floor and talked to different companies about their products.  After seeing all of the booths I made a top 10 list of products I would want in my classroom.  Making the list was very difficult since there were so many great products! Companies that made our top 10 lists were awarded a ribbon (seen below) which was on display for buyers of teacher stores and catalogs to see as they were making orders.  

I had so much fun walking around and discovering new products that I NEED for my classroom.  I was not allowed to purchase anything at the expo since I was a teacher and the expo is meant for buyers of school stores and catalogs.  I will certainly be finding some of these companies when I do my school shopping for next year :)

In the next few weeks I will be posting some of my favorite products found at the expo.  I figured it was only appropriate to end this post with one last picture of my messy fall :) 

Just in case you were worried - my ankles are not swollen.  Leggings bunched around my ankles is not a good look for me :)

Stay tuned for more info from the expo!