Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Oct. 15-19

SOLs Covered: 7.1a&b & 8.1b Fractions, Decimals, Percents & Scientific Notation
Math Dictionary Sections: (8) Number Theory; (9) Fractions; (10) Decimals; (11) Decimals, Fractions, & Percents
Upcoming Assessments: The Real Number System Quiz (Fri. 10/26); Test #2 (Tues. 10/30)

I've been feeling a bit under-the-weather this week, so I'm keeping things short and sweet with this week's WCS.  If I leave anything out or if anyone has questions or would like clarification on things, please feel free to email or leave a comment and I'll be happy to give more detail when I'm running on all cylinders again.  This week has been a continuation of our work with comparing, ordering, and converting fractions, decimals (which includes scientific notation), and percents.  For many students, it's been a bit painful, especially since this is a non-calculator standard for Math 7 in Virginia.  Fractions seem to lead to more terror and fear for some students (both young and old) than any of the creepy stuff that pops up this time of year for Halloween.  Because of this (and my theories I wrote about in last week's WCS), I've continued to push students to spend more time practicing multiplication and division, including the use of flash cards, in order to nail down the basics.

There are a ton of games they can use for their practice, some on the accounts I've made for them, others bookmarked in the class Portaportal, and there are probably tons of others floating around the web and in apps I haven't come across yet.  An app/site I haven't had a chance to try out yet but that came highly recommend by David S. (in my block 7/8 class) is Brainscape, which advertises itself as "efficient mobile learning based on brain science."  I love hearing about new (or new-to-me) apps and sites, so please share any of your favorites so I can share with everyone else!

Throughout the week, we did several different activities that required converting numbers to and from fractions, decimals, and percents.  I believe the favorite of the week was "Basketball Shoot Out" (or bean bag toss as I only have to mini-hoops), which required students to keep track of their stats (shots made to total shots attempted).  Since the hoops were so popular, I've decided to keep them up and I'm trying to think of other things we can use them for throughout the year.  If you have any of your own ideas, please share!  One idea already thrown my way came from Damien E. (again from block 7/8), who thinks any student earning an A on any quiz or test should get to a chance to try the luck (or skill as the case may be), earning extra Lambie points for making a basket.  I think this is a great idea and we can start on Monday using the results of today's quiz for this week's unit.
Decention from MathPlayground
As I believe I've mentioned already, this is my first year teaching the Middle School Math 2 (MSM2) curriculum (my past experience is made up of 6 years of MSM1/6H and 1 year of Algebra I & AI Part 1).  Because of this, I'm revamping the Math Dictionary with each unit and making changes/additions as I see a need arise.  While working on scientific notation and negative exponents last week, I had the students copy  a few additions from the Promethean to the first section, Exponents & Roots.  I finally got the updated section uploaded to GoogleDrive, so students can print the section and replace the old one if they choose.  While we're "talking" about the Math Dictionary, I've had a few students ask for help getting the 6th grade edition downloaded to their digital devices for their personal review.  I'm more than happy to help, though I've told them they need to have their parent's permission before bringing any devices into school.  Any students with Apple devices would also need to bring in their USB cables (I'm an Android lover, so most of my cables aren't compatible with their various Apple devices).

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