Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Class Summary: Apr. 25-29

SOLs Covered: 6.13, 7.9&10 (New 6.13) Angles, Triangles, and Quadrilaterals
Math Dictionary Sections: (27) Angles; (28) Triangles; (29) Quadrilaterals
Upcoming Assessments: 2-D Geometry Classification Test (Thurs. 5/5/11); "You Can Do It" SOL Review Quiz 3 (Fri. 5/6/11)
SOL Review Section: Computation & Estimation

Despite a malfunctioning fire alarm this week, I believe everyone enjoyed the return of geometry, especially since the topics are all ones they are familiar with from elementary school: angles, triangles, and quadrilaterals. With angles, students had to classify (acute, right, obtuse or straight) and measure angles. Nearly all students perfectly rememberd the proper classifications for angles, however quite a few have had a little trouble with the measurements. In elementary school, most students used angle rulers for measuring instead of the traditional protractor. While I also prefer the angle ruler due to its ease of use, students need to know how to use the protractor as that is the only angle measuring tool available on the computerized version of the SOL test. In conjunction with the "real protractor," students were taught how to make an "estimation protractor" by folding a piece of paper in a manner similar to how a basic paper airplane is made, which leaves them with the "key" angle measures of 45°, 90°, 135°, and 180° at the fold lines.

Our work with angles merged directly into our work with triangles since one of the ways to classify triangles is by their angles. We reviewed both classification methods angles and sides) as well as introducing the new concept that the sum of a triangles measures is 180° and how to use this information to find an unknown angle when given the other two angles. For the quiz on angles and triangles, I yet again walked through the quiz with them using the document camera to help them learn how to properly show their work in preparation for the SOL tests that are fast approaching. After the quiz, we jumped right into quadrilaterals, which will be wrapped up next week since most of Friday was taken up with the second SOL review quiz.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Homework: Apr. 25-29

For the week of April 25, 2011

Mon. 4/25
All Blocks: 9-1 & 9-2 Study Guides, all
Printable protractor can be found on TeacherVision.

Tues. 4/26
All Blocks: Triangles & Quadrilaterals worksheet, Study Guide #1-4 & Practice #1-6

Wed. 4/27
All Blocks: Complete Triangle booklet by adding items (either by drawing or gluing pictures) that contain triangles, classifying each by its sides and angles.

Thurs. 4/28
All Blocks: Triangles & Quadrilaterals worksheet, Study Guide #5-8 & Practice #7-17

Fri. 4/29
All Blocks: STUDY!!! Play DimensionM!!!  SOL Review!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekly Class Summary: Apr. 11-15

SOLs Covered: 6.18, 7.17&18 (New 6.14) Graphing Data & Data Analysis
Math Dictionary Sections: (26) Graphical Methods
Upcoming Assessments: Angles & Triangles Quiz (Wed. 4/27/11); "You Can Do It" SOL Review Quiz 2 (Fri. 4/29/11)
SOL Review Section: Numbers & Number Sense

The first two days of the week were taken up with our SOL simulation test. This test along with the previous benchmark tests give students a better understanding of online testing works. It also gives an idea of what students could expect to score if they took the SOL test now. Since we still have several more units to cover and are only just now getting into our big review, most students should see their potential scores increase over the coming weeks and definite improvement when they receive their final SOL score. Unfortunately, the county's online testing system is unable to support the virtual tools that students will be expected to use on the actual SOL test, thus students began practicing these tools through the ePAT Launcher software that has been loaded to all of the school's computers. This program can be downloaded to home computers from the VDOE website for further practice outside of class, which I highly recommend as they will be able to continue using the same program (needing occassional updates) for the rest of their SOL tests while attending any Virginia public school over the coming years. This will become even more crucial since the state is beginning to include non-multiple choice questions (referred to as Technology-Enhanced Items or TEI) this year to reflect changes made to the 2009 Standards of Learning (aka SOLs).

After the simulation testing was completed, we jumped right back into our statistics unit with a review and quiz. With the several simulation tests for various subjects and our first math SOL review quiz, I felt bad the students had so many assessments this week and decided to take it easy on them with this quiz. On top of all the testing, many students are still struggling with basic test-taking skills, so I used one of the library's document cameras to project a copy of the quiz to the screen. While students had their own copies in front of them, I walked them through the quiz one question at a time, showing how to properly highlight the important parts of each question and some of the work that needed to be shown. They were left to find the final answers, but all students agreed this was the easiest quiz of the year! I may try this with several of our other non-SOL review assessments over the coming week in the hopes of continuing to aid students with the much needed testing skills.

We took a little break after the quiz to take part in Poem in Your Pocket Day, part of National Poetry Month.  Students wrote math poems in whatever format and on whatever math-related topic they wanted.  Several examples can be found below.

As previously stated, students also had their first math SOL review quiz. We lovingly refer to these quizzes as the "You Can Do It" quizzes. A letter about these quizzes as well as my previous post (Spring SOL Review Season!!!) can further explain the purpose behind them, but they essentially provide the students and me with information on which areas they need to focus the majority of their study time. We'll pick up with our review as well as a few new topics after Spring Break.

Enjoy Spring Break!!! Happy Easter!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring SOL Review Season!!!

It's that time of year again!  April showers bring more than just May flowers.  They also bring about the SOL Review season.  To prepare students for the rigorous bout of testing that will soon be upon us, the Math 6 team has already begun our preparation.

In addition to the many in-class review activities students can expect over the coming weeks, they will also be working on homework packets composed of released Math 6 SOL questions.  Students will be completing the first section (Numbers & Number Sense) this week and will receive the rest of the sections (Computation & Estimation; Patterns, Functions, & Algebra; Probability & Statistics; and Measurement & Geometry) before leaving for Spring Break if they bring the required 3-prong folders that were first mentioned last week.  The first folder is to contain these homework packets and any additional review worksheets.  Any students who do not bring in the required folders will not recieve the homework packets in advance, only at the time they will be covered.

The second folder is to contain all of the old WWU Spiral Quizzes (9 total) and the new "You Can Do It" Quizzes (5 total), which will start this Friday and equal an SOL simulation test when combined.  The scores for these quizzes will be graphed in class so students can see what areas they need to work on the most and to help them understand the score they will need in order to pass the SOL.  A letter is being sent home tomorrow with further information on these quizzes.  We ask that all parents/guardians sign and return the letter on the first signature line to show that it has been read.  The letter will be sent again after the last quiz with the scores written on it to show the parents/guardians the areas each student needs to focus on the most.

These two folders along with the Math Dictionary are the materials students should turn to when reviewing on their own or with friends.  In addition to these, there are many websites bookmarked on the Class Portaportal on each topic covered in class as well as study aides (i.e. virtual flash cards, study forums, etc.) and JLab practice SOL quizzes.  Students can earn extra credit towards their Term 4 grades by completing JLabs as well as creating their own review materials, such as making math cartoons and virtual flash cards that can be shared with their classmates.  They can also find the link to various state resources, including the ePAT program (1 & 2), which allows students to practice the various etools provided on the actual SOL test as well as the new question formats for the non-multiple choice questions being introduced this year.

Good luck to all and happy reviewing!!!

Homework: Apr. 11-15

For the week of April 11, 2011

Mon. 4/11
All Blocks: Bring two 3-prong folders by Fri. 4/15

Tues. 4/12
All Blocks: Signed (1st signature line only) SOL Review Parent Letter

Wed. 4/13
All Blocks: SOL Review Packet #1 (N&NS) #1-8 all

Thurs. 4/14
All Blocks: SOL Review Packet #1 (N&NS) #9-15 all

Fri. 4/15
All Blocks: STUDY!!! Play DimensionM!!! SOL Review!!!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Weekly Class Summary: Apr. 4-8

SOLs Covered: 6. 18, 7.17&18 (New 6.14) Graphing Data & Data Analysis
Math Dictionary Sections: (26) Graphical Methods
Upcoming Assessments: Simulation SOL Test (Mon. 4/11/11 & Tues. 4/12/11); Informal Statistics Quiz (Thurs. 4/14/11); "You Can Do It" SOL Review Quiz 1 (Fri. 4/15/11)

With the first week of the final term, we've gone into overdrive. The week started with a virtual lesson from the MathScience Innovation Center on crop circles. All sixth grade math classes participated in the virtual lesson, interacting with each other and the MSiC teachers through Elluminate© and the use of webcams, interactive whiteboards, and polling tools. Throught the lesson, students learned how farmers use the concept of "crop circles" to more effectively water their crops while trying to utilize as much area as possible. Students were challenged at the end of the lesson to attempt to use more land than the farmer in the examples given in the lesson.

The rest of the week was used to review the various graphical methods students are familiar with from elementary school and to learn a new one, the box-and-whisker plot. Students used their "old" skills to analyze various graphs and plots and to graph the results of our previous probability experiment, The Great Kiss© Toss. They also learned how to make and read a box-and-whisker plot through a foldable they made to add into their math dictionaries. The made several other box-and-whisker plots, including one for The Great Kiss© Toss, and analyzed premade plots. We will continue the unit next week and conclude it with an informal quiz, which will most likely be open notes and possibly include some discussion.

My students will all start their Math 6 SOL Simulation test on Monday, which is the formal launch of SOL Review season for us. This test will not be included in their Term 4 grades, but it will give students a feel for what they can expect on the actual SOLs. It will also provide me with information needed to more precisely pinpoint each student's strong and weak areas, allowing me to help students plan for their own personal review in addition to tailoring our classroom review for the areas we need the most work.  A letter detailing more of our SOL Review plans will be sent home next week.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Homework: Apr. 4-8

For the week of April 4, 2011

Mon. 4/4
All Blocks: 2-3 Practice, all
SOL REVIEW MATERIALS: Bring 2 folders (with prongs for hole-punched papers) by Fri. 4/15

Tues. 4/5
All Blocks: 2-4 Practice, all

Wed. 4/6
All Blocks: 2-6 Practice, all

Thurs. 4/7
All Blocks: Box-and-Whisker wksh

Fri. 4/8
All Blocks: STUDY!!! Play DimensionM!!!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Weekly Class Summary: Mar. 28-Apr. 1

SOLs Covered: 6.19 & 7.16 (New 6.15) Measures of Central Tendency
Math Dictionary Sections: (25) Measures of Central Tendency
Upcoming Assessments: Central Tendency & Graphing Quiz (Fri. 4/8/11); Simulation SOL Test (TBA)

Most students were already very familiar with this week's work on the measures of central tendency. After reviewing what they remember about central tendency and the range of data sets and starting work that analizes gas prices (which will be concluded next week with our statistics unit), we viewed a YouTube cartoon on mean, median, and mode. This lead to a review activity that took place over Wednesday and Thursday, which had students writing scripts the first day for their own cartoons that were then animated the next day using when we went to the computer lab. Students got to choose from any of the topics we've covered this year, including those they are already familiar with that will take place in the upcoming term. All of the kids really loved the activity! Since this was their first time using the site, many students still have work to do on their cartoons, especially after discovering and delving into the many features the site has to make the cartoons more entertaining. I've promised to try to book the lab or netbooks in the near future so they can wrap up the cartoons they were working on for this assignment, but students can continue working and making other cartoons (for my math class or any of their other subjects) on their own outside of school. Any math cartoons made outside of class can earn them extra credit towards their final grades. They can also view and learn from their peers' videos through the accounts I made for them.

This week also allowed us to conclude our probability unit by watching Deal or No Deal™ during advisory and discussing the probability of a contestant walking away a winner. The show gave many students a new appreciation for how the laws of probability can affect their desired outcome for other situations as well. We compared the elimination of cases on the show to the elimination of answer choices on multiple choice questions, which allowed students to understand how the odds for a desired outcome can increase after each elimination and why certain testing strategies work.  Friday was a student holiday, which means they had an extra day to study over the material we've covered so far. Measures of Central Tendency by Kimberly Lambert

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