Friday, September 26, 2014

Math: Week 4

SOLs Covered:  Review of SOLs 7.1d/8.5, 7.1e/7.3ab, & 7.16/8.15 (MSM2); SOL 8.2 The Real Number System & Review of SOLs 7.1d/8.5, 7.1e/7.3ab, 8.1a (7H)
Math Packet:  Wk 1-3 Test Study Guide (MSM2); #4 The Real Number System & Wk 1-4 Test Study Guide (7H)
Upcoming Assessments:  CCPS Wk 1-4 Quiz (MSM2 on Wed. 10/1; 7H TBA); PEMDAS Quiz (MSM2 on Fri. 10/3); Alg. Substitution Quiz (7H on Fri. 10/3)

They're finally here!  This week the students finally got their Chromebooks!  It's been a little hectic with the county's first year distribution Chromebooks to all middle schoolers, but I think we're already off to a great start.  Students received their Chromebooks through English classes on Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday, which was a half-day for students), the first three classes of the day had lessons provided by the county to help the students to become familiar with the device.  In my last block of the day, I allowed the students to practice some of what they'd learned throughout the day while I sent them practice sites related to our review topics through Hapara, a site that allows teachers to interact and monitor the devices remotely from our own laptops.  While the students are not necessarily thrilled with this idea, it does help teachers ensure students are working the way they're supposed to as well as allow us the ability to interact with the students while at school (share documents, calendar events, websites, etc.).

For the "math portions" of our week, both my MSM2 classes and my 7H class reviewed for their first test of the year.  While this is a summative assessment, which normally do not qualify for an Error Analysis (EA), however due to the loss of class time and the general excitement of Chromebooks, they'll be given the chance to complete an EA on this first one.  A few students have already asked about adding the opportunity to "buy" a chance at an EA with their points (my point systems are further explained below) and I've told them I'm thinking about it.  In addition to the review, my 7H class also had work on the real number system, which they all took to fairly quickly.  On Thursday, I started all of my classes with an Edmodo Snapshot reviewing topics from the test before we went over the study guide in detail.  Once finished, students spent the rest of the block and most of Friday working on the test.  As students finished the test, they received the account information for at least some of the sites I've set up for them to use throughout the year.  Those students who did not finish with enough time to get this as well as those I did not get to will receive their account information during whatever free time we have in class, though a few of the sites they will set up themselves and "join" the class pages using the codes they'll find in their Synergy StudentVUE message center.  Some of the sites are more for review and to build up their basic math skills, which they'll work on predominately on their own during "free time" in class or outside of school hours.  Other sites connect directly to our math topics and will be used during regular class time as assignments or enhancement to the curriculum as well as on their own time.  We will likely add to these sites throughout the year as I come across new ones that I think will work for class/education purposes.

Recently I've had a few questions from parents/guardians about my class point systems and while it's all been explained in class to the kids, I wanted to make sure all the parents/guardians understand them as well.  I have two points systems in place for my classes:  Liberty Points and Lambie Points.  I use both systems to integrate a bit of financial literacy into the daily mix.  I gave all the kids a grid of 100 Liberty Points last week that will last them for the term (they'll get a new one at the beginning of each term).  Most commonly these points are used for turning in late work.  Whatever the most recent math packet was can still be turned in within two days (if due on Friday, it will still be taken on Monday/Tuesday) without penalty.  After that, students must "pay the late fee" using their Liberty Points.  All they need to do is staple the points to the front of the late assignment before turning it into the drop-off tray or if it's more than one, they can always give them to me directly or ask for a paper clip.  I mark out their "payment" when I go through their packet again.  The points are used for a few other things as well ("buying" a new packet if they lost the old one, turning in an Error Analysis past the deadline, retaking assessments, etc.).

Any points left over at the end of term get turned into me and I'll convert them into my other point system (Lambie Points) which I liken to the rewards you get with some credit cards and the like.  These points can be used for pretty much everything the other points can be used for along with a few other fun things ("shopping" from the class treasure chest, buying an open notes assessments, etc.).  Lambie Points can also be earned in other ways (good behavior, doing extra work/puzzles given out through Edmodo, donating supplies, etc.).  This is also the back-up for those students who might lose their Liberty Points (there's always at least one at the beginning of the year before they realize the importance), so they can still "buy" their way out of trouble, though they'll likely have to work even harder for it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Math: Week 3

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.16 & 8.15 Properties of Real Numbers (MSM2); SOL 8.1 Order of Operations (7H)
Math Packet:  #3 Properties (MSM2); #3 PEMDAS (7H)
Upcoming Assessments:  Properties Quiz (Bl. 1/2 on Mon. 9/22); CCPS Weeks 1-4 Quiz (MSM2 on Tues. 9/23; 7H TBA); Test Weeks 1-4 (All Blocks Thurs. 9/25 & Fri. 9/26)

In this last week leading up to the distribution of the students Chromebooks, we've had to give a little of class time in preparation for it.  The list with the students who still owe items required to get the Chromebook (signed copies of the Mobile Device Usage Agreement as well as the Student Code of Conduct along with the $50 fee) was sent to teachers on Thursday.  I made sure all students who still owe something knew what they owed and got copies of the papers as needed.  While most of my students are "good to go," those who still owe items might be unable to get their Chromebook on Monday and Tuesday if they do not get this taken care of ASAP.  If any of these students are not able to get their devices, I'll still have paper work we'll be doing at least part of the time in class; students without devices for whatever reason will have alternative paper assignments.  We also had a lesson to go over the basics of Chromebook use and the county's Acceptable Use Policy that was covered in all first block classes throughout the school.  We'll have a few lessons next week as well.

It's about time for me to report for "Auntie Taxi Service" duties, so I'll keep the math side of things short and sweet.  All classes got an overview of how to do an error analysis (quiz corrections) on last week's quiz in order to earn back points.  The MSM2 classes (Blocks 1/2 and 7/8) covered the properties of real numbers this week.  This is partially a review with some "beefed up features" added into the mix.  Block 7/8 was able to take the quiz as planned today, but due to the Chromebook lesson Block 1/2 didn't have enough time to get to it, so they'll be taking it on Monday.  The 7H class covered order of operations (A.K.A. PEMDAS, GEMDAS, GEMS, BIDMAS), which is again, this is a bit of review "beefed up" a bit.  They also had a quiz on Friday.

Well, my niece is coming in the door now from cross country, so I have to run.  If any one would like more details on this week, please feel free to email/message me.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Math: Week 2

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.1 & 7.3 Integers; SOL 8.1 Order of Operations
Math Packet:  #2 Integers
Upcoming Assessments:  Properties Quiz (Pd. 1/2 & 7/8 on Fri. 9/19); Order of Operations Quiz (Pd. 5/6 on Fri. 9/19); CCPS Week 1-4 Quiz (Pd. 1/2 & 7/8 on Tues. 9/23; Pd. 5/6 TBA)

Another week down and we are going strong!  This week's class summary will be on the short side since my "auntie's taxi service" is running this afternoon.  Students are already back into the routine of school and have assimilated my own class routines into the mix.  We're still a couple of weeks from when we'll get the student Chromebooks, so things will have to be tweaked to include those at that time.  Being the tech nerd that I am, I'll be ready to help the students figure out how to make the most of the devices.

This week's math topic was integers, including the basics what they are and how to work with them.  For my MSM2 classes (blocks 1/2 and 7/8), computation with integers is a completely new topic while for my 7H students (block 5/6), this is a review before we get into the more complex order of operation problems next week.  After working on this week's packet all week (in equal parts as whole class work, small groups, and independent), students took the first quiz today (9/12).  There are a few students who need a little time to finish the quiz up on Monday, but after they are all finished and I've gotten them graded, we'll go over how to perform an error analysis together in class.  Details for what all this entails will be included with next week's post.

I hope everyone has a restful weekend!  We'll have a busy week next week since we'll not only have our regular math lessons but we'll also have a little bit of "preview" lesson to complete school-wide in preparation for the following week's Chromebook distribution.  In the meantime, I'd like to challenge students (and their parents/guardians) to start thinking about questions they might have regarding the devices as well as what they think their idea of an integrated class "looks" like.  Obviously my main focus is my math class, but I really want to help the kids get the most out of the technology in all of their classes.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Math: Week 1

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.1 & 8.5 Squares & Square Roots
Math Packet:  #1 Exponents, Powers, & Roots
Upcoming Assessments:  Squares, Square Roots & Integers Quiz (Fri. 9/12); Pre-Assessment (TBA)

Welcome back to what should be an exciting new school year!  This year's blog postings will likely be a bit shorter since we have several new systems/sites we're now using in the district.  With trying to learn the ins-and-outs of all our new tech, I'll spend less time "here" and more time working with them.  Instead of posting links to digital copies of assignments here, students will be able to access them through our new grading system, Synergy, starting September 15th (parents will gain access soon after that).  For now, students will be able to find copies through Edmodo; codes were given out in class to join my groups, but students who have forgotten them just need to see me to get it again.  I'm also in the process of setting up a Google Site for my classes, which will house most of my resources as well.

All of this is in preparation for the county-wide roll-out of Chromebooks to all CCPS middle schoolers!  I'm super excited about this and have big plans for our new 1-to-1 device program.  This will be a learning year for all of us, but I plan to help students learn how to make the most of the new devices both for my class and in general to help them improve their educational experiences.  I'm also happy to help any parents with the technology once the county has everything ready to go.

As always, students along with their parents/guardians are always welcome to email/message/call if they have any questions or concerns.  I can be reached through my county email (listed in my class brochure and on the math letter), Edmodo, eventually through Synergy, "old school" paper letters/notes, and calls/messages left with the front office.  I do plan on having tutoring times available as well, but at this time I do not have a set schedule.  Until I have open tutoring times, any students wanting extra help need to simply check with me for a possible time.

Good luck to everyone this school year and please let me know if I can be of any help!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Weekly Class Summary: June 9-13

SOLs Covered:  SOL 8.6 Angle Relationships
Math Dictionary Sections:  35 Angles; 36 Angle Relationships; 37 Angle & Line Bisectors
Upcoming Assessments:  NONE!!!

So here we are!  The year's officially over and it's been a great one!  On Wednesday, we had our awards ceremony with the finale slideshow, which can be found on Edline, followed by an attempt at an outdoor carnival until the rain forced everyone inside. With the wash-out, students instead got to come in and watch movies or socialize.

For math this week, we did a bit of work on angle relationships, which tied into my favorite end-of-year activity, origami.  While going through the steps for folding the paper, I pointed out the various things that relate back to our work this week and throughout the year:  supplementary angles found within the folds, how the diagonals of a square form perpendicular bisectors, etc.  It took a bit of time along with 12 pieces of paper per student, but students' final product was a 24-faced polyhedron.  Those who finished early also had a chance to make 8-pointed stars and/or other pieces of origami.



I hope everyone enjoys their summer break and stays safe.  I'd also like to encourage students to review every once and awhile over the summer so their math skills stay fresh.  To help with that, students will still have access to the accounts I set up for them this year aside from TenMarks, which they can instead sign up for on their own.  The county has also made resources available on their SOL & Summer Resources page.  And finally....

Have a great summer!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Homework: June 9-13

For the week of June 9, 2014

With this being the last week of school, all work is winding down for the year.  Grades will most likely need to be sent before the last day, but I still plan on taking a few small grades, mostly to help students get a little last minute boost if they put forth the effort.  The work will predominately be completed in class, but it would be good for students to review a little bit once they get home.

CW Packet for the week of 6/9/14

Friday, June 06, 2014

Weekly Class Summary: June 2-6

SOLs Covered:  SOL 8.10 Pythagorean Theorem
Math Dictionary Sections:  34 Pythagorean Theorem
Upcoming Assessments:  NONE!!!

Things are slowly winding down now, but we still have Math 8 topics to cover.  This week's topic was the Pythagorean theorem, one of my favorites!  We had a little bit of story time with "What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?" by Julie Ellis.  The book discusses a hypothetical situation for how the Pythagoras might have come up with the theorem since the actual events are unknown.  From there, we moved onto working some real world problems requiring the use of the Pythagorean theorem and then a few practice SOL type questions made by the district.  Students who finished up early got started on next week's packet, which they'll be expected to bring everyday next week.


The last day to turn in work for term 4 (missing or incomplete assignments, error analysis for assessments, and/or extra credit work) was Friday.  For any students who were absent or making up SOLs, I'll still accept the Pythagorean theorem work packet on Monday, but that will be the deadline for that.  At this point, I'm not sure what grades I'll be taking next week as we've not been told when to start sending grades, so we'll have to go day-by-day for future grades.  Any additional grades will be designed to help students improve their grades and will not have a negative impact on their overall grade unless the student were to refuse to do the work (thankfully something that rarely ever happens with this group of kids!).


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

End-of-Year Reminders!!!!

As we near the end of the school year, I would like to remind students to get in all of their missing or incomplete work and to consider earning some extra credit through TenMarks.  Error Analysis can also be completed to improve quiz and test grades .  Digital copies of all graded assignments (aside from quizzes and tests) can be found in the assignments folder on Edline as well as on Edmodo and the class blog.  Everything is due no later than Friday, June 6.  Parents and guardians, please encourage your children with this endeavor.


Monday, June 02, 2014

Homework: June 2-6

For the week of June 2, 2014

Tomorrow students will receive the new packet on the Pythagorean Theorem.  These packets will be due this Friday, though I ask that students who plan to be out Friday to please try turning it in early if possible.  Otherwise, they'll need to be careful to remember over the weekend and to turn them in when they return Monday, June 6th.

CW Packet for the week of 6/2/14


Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekly Class Summary: May 27-30

SOLs Covered:  All Math 7 SOLs
Math Dictionary Sections:  Review all sections
Upcoming Assessments:  Possible quiz on Pythagorean Theorem & Angle Relationships

Finally!  We've made it through the Math 7 SOL with today being the last day of math testing!  We got some last minute review in on Tuesday before Block 1/2 took the test on Wednesday, followed by Block 7/8 on Thursday, and culminating with Block 3/4 today.  The kids have all worked extremely hard and I'm so proud of them!  We're all a little worn out from testing, so I'm keeping it short-and-sweet this week (really this time!).  I'll give the kids a little break on Monday with some fun probability review to help de-stress after all the testing, but we'll get back into learning mode after that in order to cover a few Math 8 topics that were pushed back since they are part of the MSM2 curriculum but are not tested on the Math 7 SOL.



I hope all my students enjoy some down time this weekend!  Don't forget to spend a little time reviewing for your upcoming history SOL (even blocks on June 4th and odd blocks on June 5th).