Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coolest Foldable Yet

This year we hired a new chemistry teacher, and she is now OFFICIALLY my "creative genius" idol. Every time I have been in her room, she has all these inventive ideas of things she's done with the kids to get them to learn. The latest is this foldable I saw her kids doing, and I just knew I had to do it soon. We're on the "special quadrilaterals" unit, and I'm going to do something with this.

Anyway, here is the general idea:
1. Fold a paper (longest side) into quarters.
2. Cut any size slits down the center two folds.
3. Cut 2 other papers so that they're just a sliver shy of 1/4 of page.
4. Weave them through the 1st paper as shown.

The beauty is that you get a SECRET extra "side" by prying open the middles. Notice the numbering on the pink strips. You eventually get "12" parts with how I cut it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Challenge for my Geometry preAP Kiddies...

In an effort to provide a challenge worthy of the students who always get EVERYTHING, I put the following problem on their last review packet with the intention that not everyone would get it, but that it would give the super smarties something to chew on.

Consider line AB that goes through an x-intercept of -8 and a y-intercept of 3. This line goes through the altitude in triangle DEF from vertex D. Find D, E, and F, and convince me that your points satisfy these conditions.

I gave my students the key to every other problem in the packet, so they could study for their test, but not this one. I was gone to a workshop while they took their test, and today when I came back, I had some students present their answers. No one got it (yet), but it provided some great conversation about what they did and how we knew it didn't work.

I was interested to see that some students just used a slope approach, and tried to find D, E, and F using slopes of things they knew. Mixed success. Some students forgot how to find points on a line, so we had a bit of review. I still didn't tell them the way (a way) to solve this, and mentioned that somehow, before the end of the 6 weeks, they have to each convince me that they can do it (for a grade). It's interesting having students come up to the document camera and present. We get to have a conversation on how to do so and how to talk to an audience. I also get to pick their brains about their understanding and also poll the class about their understanding (even though they're not the ones in front). ... We'll see what they come up with next.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can You Say Busy?

Whew! Coming up for air temporarily ... won't go into all the details because I'm sure everyone else either is or has been in the same place. I just got back from a PLTW training in Dallas that was awesome, and I learned so much.

One great side note about this is how one teacher handled students working in groups. You know how there's always "group issues": someone slacks or someone bosses everyone else around or friends always want to work together or whatever. Here are some tips from one teacher:

* During the year on his various group projects, the rule he mentions to the kids at the start of the year and as a reminder throughout the year is that you can never work in a group with the same person twice.
* He hands out a team management sheet that the kids have to maintain (online?) it has columns for task that needs to be done, who's responsible, target due date, completion date, comments. If the "responsible" person doesn't do their job, his/her name is scratched out and the "doer's" name is put there. That way there's a record of what/who.
* The teacher mentions that he should be cc'ed on all e-mails, so this way he can address various issues and kids as the project gets done as opposed to hearing at the end that so and so didn't pull their weight or so and so overwhelmed everyone else.

I liked his approach, and I'll try it next time, and institute it more next year. There was also this PHENOMENAL "cardboard chair" project for IED he mentioned. The kids actually go through this 9 week project and all aspects of polling people, making mock ups, doing the statistical analysis of body measurements, etc. to build this functional chair out of cardboard that should hold up to 200 lbs and weigh no more than 16 lbs. COOL! Hopefully, I'll get my act together this year to try it out.

There was also some great information on how to make short "desk top" videos to provide instruction for your kids (don't have my notes with me). That way, for the things you say 2000 times, or for the kids that are absent or for the kids that have to hear things again, you/they have this resource.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ocean Beach

I went on a solo vacation this MLK 3-day weekend holiday to Ocean Beach, CA, which is in/near San Diego. I'm guessing I left at a good weather time since it was drizzly and "cold" in our town. Brrrrr, 40's and 50's (spoiled TX person talking here). As I was walking around OB in jeans and thin layered tee's, I was hot and had to change to shorts. Nice. Well, except for the pasty white leg skin.

My hotel was RIGHT on the beach and had this view out the door:

People were surfing and walking the pier all weekend:

Palm trees everywhere, day and night:

Most of the electrical boxes were decorated:

A little south of town, there were dramatic cliffs:

I had to laugh at this sign on a church .... is this therapy for teachers who've HAD it with state-wide-testing?

It's a funky little town, and you can walk it all and get by without a car. I took the super shuttle in from the airport (10 minutes away). I took the public bus and trolley to old town and downtown. All in all a relaxing and fun diversion before the school craziness starts again on Tuesday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ribbon Hanging and Paper Foldables

I wanted to display all my students' posters, but appARENTLY hot glue ruins the backs of paper. I don't know why I didn't process that. I'm new to this whole hot glue on the wall business, and I saw that it just peeled off easily FROM the wall, and so I didn't think it further .... or something like that. Or maybe all the previous things I hot-glued were laminated. Anyhow, I asked our awesome librarian if she had any suggestions for displaying 90 plus papers. She suggested this:

You staple the papers to nice wide ribbon, and then hot glue the RIBBON to the wall. Presto!

Also, we just finished the Isosceles Triangle Theorem and its converse buddy, and here is how my students took notes. Love it.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Is there a more fun thing that spills out of your mouth from geometry? I told my students that part of their homework was to repeat "CPCTC" 5,000 times correctly, and if they messed up, they had to start back at 1 (same for the whole phrase "corresponding parts of ...").

Anyway, this went well. I had them complete part of the following sheet in class JUST for proving the triangles congruent, so what three facts did they need to know and could they deduce from the picture to prove WHICH triangles congruent AND by what theorem/postulate. We did 1 together, then they did 2 on their own and we talked. Then 4 and 5 similarly (because they have special issues the kids come up against). I partly liked this sheet because it forced them to think about what they needed to use the theorems. They also messed up on #4 and claimed angle S congruent to angle S, so we had a discussion on naming conventions. They also messed up on #5 and put that angle W congruent to angle Y instead of claiming that the triangles were right. We discussed why the change/need and how ultimately you could just assume the triangles are right from the diagram.

Then I asked what extra things could they figure out BECAUSE they knew the triangles were congruent AND WHY. Then, in the white space on the right, we drew the 3 arrows from the triangle congruence statement to the 3 extra things we knew (flow proof style). They were fine with #1, and then some messed up with #2 because they were on autopilot and just put the 3 sets of angles were congruent (just like #1). We discussed how that's not NEW information and fixed it. Then I had them guess what reason we might claim. We finally got around to CPCTC. They finished the rest for homework.

Here's the sheet we worked on:

Friday, January 07, 2011

Geometry Cartoon Results

Love My Kids! I showed them my "beautifully rendered" cartoon depicting the SAS congruence postulate, and gave them their assignment. I basically wrote on the back of that cartoon something to the following effect:

1. Pick one of the following thms/posts
2. Create a cartoon, fairytale, soap opera, .... that shows your thm/post
3. Make it neat, accurate, .....
4. Suggestion: pick soon, then mull over your idea since that's the hardest part, THEN tomorrow create it. (we're on block schedule)

We had a discussion about it not looking like it's a last minute haphazard work.

Here are some samples of what I got back. It's a good mix, and I'd say about 90% of my students created something on par with these. I think I partly got good results because it's the 1st week back from break, so they don't have TOO much other homework. Also, I haven't done many "fun" homeworks for these 10th grade geometry students, so that's another potential reason.

This student is also taking French:

This is how she talks, so it's really funny. I freakin' love it:

Love the classroom theme:

Jerry Springer-esque. Hysterical:

Some people went above and beyond:

Holy Cow, a fairy tale in a booklet:

Very Creative:

Monday, January 03, 2011

Idea for Tomorrow's HWK...

I'm still batting around the idea, but I created this comic as an example for my geometry students. They were having difficulty applying theorems and parsing out what goes where in proofs. We'll do a whole class-worth of activities in a variety of ways to drive things home, but I thought their homework could be to create something like this that "uses" one of the theorems they've "learned".

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Slug Behavior

Yeesh! Okay, so I'm sick, and my favorite activities involve sitting a lot, but holy cow, one reason I'll be glad school is starting again is that it prevents me from lounging around and expanding in front of the gas fireplace and doing puzzles ... or walking a few steps to the cushy couch to do puzzles ... or walking to the computer to do online puzzles ... or using my husband's iPad to play Arctopia or Sudoku. Honestly, I burned 1 calorie yesterday, and that was just from the exertion of blowing my nose repeatedly.

I did get this great new puzzle book, "The Monster Book of Logic Puzzles & Sudoku", and that made me search on line to see if nikoli had a website. YES!. My new favorites are Heyawake, and Yajilin.

I think I'd be in danger of becoming like those chair people in Wall-E if I don't watch it. On a positive note, we're going to Alamo Drafthouse for a movie and dinner tonight (True Grit) - a great way to end vacation. Dinner WHILE you're watching a movie ... does it get any better?

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Okay, I just had to write that somewhere before it was too late, and I'm probably not going out today and writing a check. Last night was nice and relaxed. Had drinks with my friend, then went to dinner with my husband and another couple, Macaroni Grill. Oooh, high life. I was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you that this other couple had never been there. She started getting worried when I was drawing all over the "table cloth" with the provided crayons.

Got home around 10:15pm and looked on the Internet at the live stream from Times Square. I never did that when we were in NJ, but it's still fun to see it from afar. I think I'd get too claustrophobic being there. That and cold and worried that I wouldn't be able to find a bathroom and stressing about all the trash that would have to be cleaned up. But other than that, I'm sure it would be great :). I also like to go online on 1/1/11 (or 1/1/**) and see New Year's Eve pictures from around the world.

I think I lasted until about 11:30pm until I hit the sack after reading a bit in my new great book, "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie".

I have one resolution for me, and I thoughtfully made one for my husband.
Mine: Try one new recipe a month. Need to get out of my cooking-the-same-thing rut.
His: Take wife out on a date once a month.

See, what a nice wife I am. Now he doesn't have to worry about coming up with a resolution AND he gets a date consistently. You're welcome.