## Thursday, March 9, 2017

### The Line Game 2.0

I love playing The Line Game with my students, but there is one problem: not all students can easily see the graphs that are projected.  Then after face-palming myself, I created a Desmos activity.  Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

Now, instead of the students squinting to see the graph on my TV, they can see the graph on their computer screens.

Here is a link to the activity.

You will want to click the option with "Teacher Pacing" to make sure they are looking at the correct graph and not cheating by looking ahead.

## Wednesday, March 1, 2017

### Teaching With Desmos Activities

I've never really considered writing a blog post about Desmos.com because I figured people would just go to their site to learn.  But it might be beneficial to see how other teachers are using it.

Yesterday I gave my Algebra 1 students a test on graphing with slope-intercept.  The averages of the classes were 75% for the one class and 65% for the other class.  Clearly, they weren't ready for the test.  I decided that this topic is too important to ignore so we are re-learning and re-assessing on the topic.

This is a link to the desmos activity.

**Note**  Be prepared for inappropriate drawings on the activity.  Period 3 thought it would be funny to draw a penis for all to see. ((sigh))

## Friday, December 2, 2016

I created a game for students to learn about simplifying radicals before they actually learn how to simplify radicals.  The idea is for students to find matching numbers (or variables) and take them 'outside' the radical.

I had a student film this while I taught the students how to play.

Here is a link to the cards and square root mat.

## Wednesday, November 23, 2016

### SR Games - All (eventually) My Games in One Place

I was looking back at the views on my blog posts and I started to notice a pattern: The posts with the most views were the ones about games.  So, I decided to create a website that has all my games in one place.  I was going to wait until it was all complete and then publish the website, but why wait?  I published it early.  As of now there are 5 games finished on and 4 more to come soon.  Here is the link.  Go ahead, check it out, it's FREE!!!

## Monday, November 21, 2016

### Slope - Ping: A Classroom Game

Here's a new game for you all:  Slope-Ping.  I wanted a game that got this students up and out of their seats and this game delivered.

Game Objective:  Create the most slopes with ping pong balls on the board.

Educational Objective:  Practice finding slopes from a graph.

Materials:
I created my boards from pizza boxes, push pins, glue, and 4 of these grids.
12 ping pong balls (2 different colors).

 I purchased a lot of ping pong balls on eBay and make Xs with sharpie to color half of them.

Game Set Up:
Divide the players into two teams.  Each team picks their color ping pong ball.
Place the Slope-Ping board on the playing surface between players.
Shuffle the Slope cards and place them facedown to create the draw pile.

Game Play:

1) Draw four cards.  Each card has a different slope on it.

2) Bounce a ball.  All players “shoot” from the same side of the board (the “Negative y direction” sign will be closest to the shooter).  The ball must bounce at least once before it goes onto the board.  If your team has used all of its balls, take one off the board.  Teams take turns repeating this step until one team is able to…

3) Match any slope.  Line up 3 of your team’s balls to match the slope on one of the slope cards.  You must have 3 balls in line to match the slope.

4) Take the slope card and replace with a card from the deck.

5) Go back to step 2.

Winning the Game:
The first team to get 4 cards wins!

Note:  The students may become frustrated when their ping pong balls start bouncing all over.  I had the students create a barrier on three sides to help keep them on the board.  It also forced the students to shoot from the negative y direction.

## Wednesday, November 16, 2016

### Keystone Algebra I - The Bowl Problems

There is this problem in our Algebra 1 state exam, well it's in the sampler I'm not allowed to actually see the exam.  Yesterday my Algebra 1B students took their assessment on writing linear equations, just the boring stuff no applications.  So for XP points (read about those here) I gave them the bowl problem.  I explained that it was something I didn't teach directly yet and that it was challenging, but I wanted to see what they could do with it.

My Method (very typical):

I create two ordered pairs (1, 2) and (5, 5) where x is the number of bowls and y is the height of the stack in inches.

I determine the slope: 3/4

and I find the y-intercept: 5/4

So my equation is y = 3/4x + 5/4

Then the height of a stack of 10 bowls is y = 3/4 (10) + 5/4 or 8.25 inches.

Lily's Method:

The point of this post is to share the work of one of my students, Lily.

I saw that her equation was y = 3/4x + 2 with no work, she says that she did it all in her head (I did see her working on it without writing anything down if that makes sense).
So, I marked her y-intercept incorrect.

Then I saw how she labeled her variables:

x - variable: "The number of bowls on top of the first bowl."

y - variable:  "The height of the bowls."

And I crossed off her "on top of the first bowl" part because it wasn't the way I did it.

Then her answer for the height of 10 bowls was correct and I was like, "Wait? What?"  She plugged 9 into her equation instead of 10 and that's when it finally sunk into my thick skull.  She was composing functions!!!  Here is her work (and my comments) if you are interested.

## Monday, November 14, 2016

### Unsupportive Parents

You've seen this comic before I'm sure.  When I first saw it, I wondered if I blow things out of proportion.  Did that parent really just attack me, or am I too sensitive?  Is she asking questions to prove I'm wrong, or is she just trying to gather more information?  However, I received an email recently that is clearly blaming me for their child's performance.  The closing wasn't "sincerely" or even "respectfully", it was "this is unacceptable".  I am being reprimanded by a parent who has been bamboozled by her son.

Just a few weeks ago a girl had an incident with my substitute teacher while I was at NCTM.  The incident had nothing to do with me, it was an exchange between the sub and this student.  However, the parent demanded that I send her a copy of the lesson plans that I left for the sub.  Wait?  What?  The lesson plan had nothing to do with the incident.

I'm at a loss as to why I have to defend my almost every move.  I have to defend my lesson plans.  I have to defend my grading procedures.  I have to defend the grades they students earn.  I even had to defend my sick days to parents in the past (or at least was asked to).

Why have we lost support and respect?

My next move:  Write an email home to a parent whose child is doing fantastic work.  That always cheers me up.