Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Nov. 12-16

SOLs Covered: 7.16 & 8.15c Properties of Real Numbers; 7.13a Verbal Expressions
Math Dictionary Sections: (13) Properties of Real Numbers; (14) Algebraic Concepts
Upcoming Assessments: TBA (after Fall Break)

This week seemed to go on forever!  That's probably because it's the first full week of school since the hurricane struck two weeks ago and last week was shortened for teacher workdays and the election.  Because of this, I believe I'm going to make this a shorter summary; Ms. Lambert's tired!   Just kidding (a little), but I do have a few other things that need to be taken care of offline, so this will be a short-and-sweet WCS.

Monday, we jumped right back into continuing our work with properties, reviewing for the quiz that took place on Tuesday.  Immediately following the quiz, students started working on translating verbal expressions and sentences into algebraic expressions and equations.  Students have covered this topic before, but this year they have the added twist of translating two- and multistep expressions and equations on top of the usual tricky phrases.  We did a quick review of translating English to Mathish (as I like to call it) but then went into some of the finer details in phrasing, such as how the word "less" can be used in different ways ("less" and "less than" meaning subtraction but the latter with a reversal of the numbers, "is less than" meaning an inequality) and how grouping symbols can be required based on particular turns of phrase ("twice the sum of a and b" means 2(a+b) since the only way you can multiply the sum is if you add first, which can only be accomplished with grouping symbols per the rules of the order of operations).

We followed up with several different review activities (I Have... Who Has?, a matching activity, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? review game) along with a detailed review of this week's properties quiz.  Usually we do not go over the quizzes in detail immediately as a class in order to give students the opportunity to complete an Error Analysis of the their quizzes and earn back points to boost their grades.  However I've noticed that many students did not understand how to properly go about their analysis nor were many giving proper explanations, instead saying things like "I was confused, but I'm not now" or "I messed up, but I get it now."  Thus I decided we'd go over the entire quiz, covering not only the correct work and answers but also how to properly explain the original error and/or why the question has to be answered a certain way.  Students seem to better understand the process now and appreciated my comparison of "Penny vs. Sheldon" explanations.  Going into the test on Friday, students used these thoughts to take a bit more time to think through their answers to these new questions, striving to be a bit more "Sheldon" and a bit less "Penny" with their work.

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