Friday, September 07, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Sept. 3-7

SOLs Covered: 7.1d & 8.5a Squares & Square Roots
Math Dictionary Sections: (1) Exponents & Roots; MS Math Vocabulary; Web Resources; Sign Language Chart
Upcoming Assessments: Squares & Square Roots Quiz (Mon. 9/10); Pre-Assessment (Fri. 9/14); Integers Quiz (TBA)

We've had a pretty awesome start to the school year and I'm loving my new home at EDMS!  It's a truly amazing school with wonderful staff and students!  After spending the first day going over usual back-to-school routines (getting to know each other, reviewing school rules and procedures, learning the new class rules and procedures), we jumped right into learning on Day 2.  Students learned the basics about exponents and square roots last year in 6th grade, so part of the time was spent remembering what the summer months had "hidden" for a little while.  The biggest difference is that this year students will use their prior knowledge of perfect squares and square roots to estimate the square roots of imperfect squares.

Students should be working on memorizing the perfect squares through twenty (20= 400); this will make estimating much easier as they must determine between which to perfect squares an imperfect square sits to come up with a reasonable estimation (e.g. 30 falls between 25 and 36, so the √30 is between 5 and 6).  We watched the BrainPOP cartoons on Exponents and Square Roots, completing the review quizzes for each together as a class, went through an excellent Promethean board flipchart that went perfectly with this unit, and Block 1/2 even had time to do an activity that had the kids "playing" with plastic squares to create the perfect squares while determining how that relates to the imperfect squares.  After reviewing the first weeks unit on Monday, the students will complete their first quiz of the year.

Throughout the week, we've also worked on setting up our interactive notebooks, which I lovingly call the Math Dictionary.  Essentially we are making our own textbook for class, full of vocabulary, examples, writing prompts, etc.  To start the whole thing off, students created what I'm calling "The Doodle Pages" in the front of the book.  The front page is dedicated to "Numbers About Me," where students artistically represented numbers that have a special meaning to them (their birthdays, sports stats and jersey numbers, number of siblings, etc).  Since I've learned over my years of teaching that students love to "doodle" in their notebooks, this page and the page directly behind it have been provided to ensure the rest of the book is left ready for the notes, activities, etc we will be adding throughout the year.

We then set up the table of contents, first section, and what I am at this time calling the "Appendix":  a list of the many of the important middle school math vocabulary, two web resources pages with my sites listed as well as spots to add their usernames and passwords I will be setting up for various online math games, and a sign language chart that will be used for "showing" me their answers to multiple choice questions given during class (and for the fun of learning a little bit of sign language!).  Students really need to remember to bring this book to class everyday and are encouraged to bring it home every night to review and help themselves with homework.

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