Friday, March 08, 2013

Weekly Class Summary: Mar. 4-8

SOLs Covered:  7.5 & 8.7 Surface Area & Volume
Math Dictionary Sections:  (37) Solids; (38) Perimeter & Area; (39) Circumference & Area; (40) Surface Area & Volume
Upcoming Assessments:  Surface Area & Volume Quiz (Tues. 3/12); Data Analysis Quiz (TBA)

We've had yet another exciting, quick week after a snow day on Wednesday and a two-hour delay on Thursday.  Despite the shortened time, we've still been very busy.  Monday had many students finishing the last test.  Most students have received their test back at this point aside from a few who had to finish later due to absences.  Students have until next Tuesday (March 12) to complete their error analysis on the test to earn back half-credit for each of their missed questions.  The error analysis will not be excepted after that as we will be going over it during SOL Boot Camp, which officially started this week, though my last two classes have not yet been able to attend their first math boot camp during SOAR due to the closing and delay.  Seventh grade has its SOL Boot Camp each year to give extra review time throughout March and April in preparation for May's SOL tests.  I have mini-lessons we will be going over throughout boot camp, but we will also be going over all of our old assessments again; once we've gone over them in boot camp, the only way to pull that grade up would be with a complete retake, which can be "bought" using either of the class points systems.

Once student wrapped up their test, they moved onto reviewing the basics of three-dimensional figures (a.k.a. space figures or solids) in preparation for our work the rest of the week on surface are and volume.  At this time, we are only covering rectangular prisms and cylinders, though we will look at cones and pyramids after the SOL test as those are Math 8 portions covered in the MSM2 (Middle School Math 2) curriculum.  We started with the basics of how the formulas work:  volume is the area of the base times the height of the shape for both prisms and cylinders while surface area is the area of each of the flat surfaces of the shapes, which is simply the area of each of the rectangles in a prism but a bit more complicated for cylinders which are made from two circles (for both of which we find the area) and a rectangle (when flattened out) that wraps around the circles, thus making the length of the rectangle equal to the circumference of the circles that we then multiply by the height of the cylinder as it forms the width of the rectangle.  Students started copying their notes this week to the Math Dictionary as I've found many students are no longer reading the sections I've been giving them.  By copying the notes, I know that they've at least read the notes one time themselves as they were copying.  The electronic copies of the notes are still being uploaded to their various spots on the web, so students are welcome to print a set for themselves, but they are still expected to copy in class to ensure they've had that guaranteed exposure.  We'll be continuing our work with volume and surface area through the first part of next week, exploring a bit more what happens when you change one of the dimensions of a prism.

Volume by Shmoop
As I've mentioned several times in the past, I've been working on the electronic copy of the Math Dictionary quite a bit this year.  I still have several things I want to tweak with a few different sections and I always seem to find extra information I want to include to give the kids just a bit more of an edge on their understanding of the concepts.  Despite the work I feel still needs to be done on it, I have come up with a complete eBook version of the Math 7 Math Dictionary.  There are still a few pieces left blank in the whole version (sections waiting to be added) in order to keep the table of contents accurate, though the changes I plan to make may require adding a few more pages to a few sections.  I'd thought about holding off until I had a bit more completed, but I've had a few student requests, so I put together this first draft version of the full eBook and have already helped a few students upload it to their various electronic devices.  I have a micro USB cord I can use to help students with Android devices, Kindles, and Nooks, but students with iOS devices will need to bring in their USB cable if they'd like my help uploading to their device.  When I've finished up the next version (I doubt it will ever be a "final" version how frequently I decide that this-that-and-the-other needs to be added), I'll be sure to update here to let everyone know.

Gr. 7 Math Dictionary Version 1
It appears Edline is not working at all today (or at the very least not at this moment), so at this time I will not be able to update grades or anything else on Edline.  With yet another Edline tech issue popping up, I want to remind everyone of the importance of checking grades frequently to ensure each student is getting credit for all of his/her work.  Again, I'm taking extra precautions to try to ensure that the tech problems do not have an affect on students, but I'd appreciate the extra help and vigilence from the students and parents to help with this.  If the site is "fixed" by this afternoon, I might be able to update, but with the issues being on Edline's end of things, it's hard to tell when things will be up and running again.

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