## Day 180

Last day! Somehow I missed a few days this month…. but what a wonderful, full year it has been.

Ready for summer and www.austinalgebra.com !

## Day…

The end of the year is quickly approaching ..   We’ve been busy wrapping up curriculum and students are now finishing an Algebra Menu Project.

## Day 152 – Project Presentations and Review

Students finished presenting their Data Collection projects to the class.

They then worked on a review for the upcoming test tomorrow.

## Day 151 – Thinglink Interactive Book

A step away from math class today…

Another teacher and I have worked on putting together an interactive book created by our National Junior Honor Society and Student council students.  The book was created for their First grade book buddies, a group of students that they visit and read with 4 times throughout the year.  It was done as an effort to promote reading literacy.

To create this book, we used two main resources: Thinglink and Soundcloud.

1. Thinglink is an interactive photo page where you can “make your image come to life” by adding music, video, sound, text, or links onto the page.

2. Soundcloud allows the students to record and upload their voice.

Here is the link to the Interactive Book!

From the cover, you can navigate through the pages by clicking on the “tags.”  As you get to each student, you can click on their “tag” to open another page from that book buddy showcasing something about our school.  There, too, you can hear them speak the words on their page.

## Day 148 – 150 Data Collection and Graphing Project

To wrap up our “Collecting, Displaying, and Analyzing Data” unit, we started a project today that will continue for the next few days.  Students picked a survey topic and were asked to survey at least 50 people.  They had to have at least 5 choices for their “population” to choose from.

From this data, they will create a cumulative frequency table, bar or circle graph, and answer some follow-up questions based on the results.  Today we met up with other math classes so they could get close to 50 data points.

## Day 144 – 145

I was out these days, but students were in good hands with the subs!  They did a final review before STAAR.

## Day 142 – 143: Review Stations Around the Room

We have done this type of review before, but never with so many problems!  To practice for the upcoming STAAR (state test), I posted 54 problems all around the room and in the hallway.

These problems were from the released 2013 Math STAAR

Students were placed on a team and were told to “divide and conquer”.  I wanted them to work individually, but still have a group to check in with.  Their goal was, as a group, to complete all 54 problems over the course of 2 days.

I was so pleased with the activity.  They worked, they talked to each other about the problems, they asked questions, and most importantly, they were up and moving around.  Giving them the choice of the problems they want to try gives them ownership.  Also, having so many problems to choose from, the students were able to find their own space and attempt solving at their own speed.

I wanted them to be able to get instant feedback, so I created a wall of answers.  Each note card had the answer on the back, so students could periodically “check-in” to see how they are doing.

It was a simple way to practice problems, but worked really well! We will continue tomorrow.

## Day 137 – 139: NCTM Conference New Orleans

Several of my colleagues and I were fortunate enough to travel to New Orleans for the NCTM 2014 conference. It was amazing to hear so many great presenters.  There were two overall topics that resounded with me:

1. The importance of writing, reading, listening, and speaking math.

2. We need to provide students with problems that get them thinking, talking, then solving

Writing and speaking “math” is something I know to do, but need to do more of.  Teacher, Beth Nickle, gave great ideas and insight into how she uses it in her classroom.  She provided her full presentation here.

The second resounding topic was the fact that it so important for students to inquire.   So many times we present material without giving students the chance to question, think, or talk it out.   The following presenters touched on this topic:

• The team from Mathalicious provided real world lessons that are challenging, engaging, and require students to think critically.  One such example, was a lesson titled “Pair-alysis” in which students would figure out how many possible combinations of Nike Shoes they could design (based on the options at Nike).
• Geoff Krall – discussed how to design a problem based classroom.  “Effective problem-based learning classrooms adeptly foster problem-solving skills in students by steeping instructional meaning in the context of complex tasks.”  In one example, he created a video for his students involving moving.  He left them to the question, “Should I rent a smaller truck and take several trips or rent a larger truck and take less trips?”  It was left open-ended,  allowing the students to figure out the variables.  What is needed to solve this problem?
• MathSolutions spoke of the importance of having academically productive talk in the classroom (presentation here).  They showed a 3-act math, which once again promotes inquiry in our students.  They ended with a quote, that I think wraps it all up:

“Our goal is not to increase the amount of talk in our classrooms, but to increase the amount of high quality talk in our classrooms—the mathematical productive talk.”

We want to promote this kind of talk for our students. To get them there, we need to challenge them and get them thinking critically through engaging problem scenarios.