I am linking up with #MyFavFriday to share my favorite ways to assign tasks and sometimes groups.

If I am working in groups of 3and 4 students, I like to find ways for them to get to know each other so I always assign the group tasks with a bit of either having to talk to each other or at least interact. Here's a starting list:

The person...

With the  oldest living relative

With the  youngest sibling

With the oldest sibling

Who woke up earliest

Who got the most sleep

Whose first name costs the most (a = 1, b= 2, etc...)

Whose middle initial is closest to A

Whose product of their birthday month and day are the least/greatest

With the Most pairs of shoes

With the Longest/ shortest name

Whose sum of their last 4 digits of phone number are the greatest

Has the most pets

Whose house number is greatest/ smallest

Whose been the furthest away

Quicker Method:

The person who...

Is tallest/shortest
Has the smallest / largest feet
Has the smallest /largest hands
Longest hair
Longest thumb
Lightest backpack
Longest span from thumb to pinky

These are designed so that you can assign tasks from one to all group members (ie from least to most or vice versa)

The kids LOVE to know what I will be asking for from day to day and will actually come up with their own if I am not so quick on my feet.

Please oh please come visit me on my Blog...I know you are already here, but I just made my first video using Educreations! I have a sub today (It is Yom Kippur...frustrating that one teacher said to me, "I hope you have fun on your day off! And my husband must attend a city council meeting...I realize we are a very small population...just makes me feel isolated...but for those of you out there that are MOT's, Happy New Year!) and wanted the kids to have any other resources available to them...I was at school until 8:30 pm, putting the lesson all together...yipes...fingers crossed.

Anyway...without further ado, here is the 4 minute video featuring...ME!

                                  Click on the Graph to Watch Video! (how cool is that???)
Finding Slope of Line
PS Julie! I did it!

PPS Next, the kids will do the videos! 
As promised, here are the amazing cooperative graphs my Algebra 1 students made. Not only are they beautiful, they were made during the last period of the day before the homecoming football game!
The students were given very little direct instructions. When enough groups had the same questions, I stopped, had a little pow-wow with them and sent them back to work. The students were so proud of this work. I must, must, must give credit for the inspiration for this problem from CPM.
 (Math 1, BR 23)

The basic idea is 6 cousins get $20 put in a savings account for the New Year. I made one error in the directions and had all the students use a full sheet of paper and one set of axes, not the first quadrant.

This young woman is an ELD student. What! Check her out! (her test average is 50%)
This young man has an IEP. He has fallen asleep (I mean no amount of noise would wake him) several times. Watch out!

This is the work of a very quiet young man who is currently sitting in the back. (That we change soon) Check out his answer to number 4.

So this was a successful day. Not so much today. The Monday after the Homecoming Dance. Three steps forward, 1.5 back...I'll take it.

I should be loading grades. I am planned. First period papers are graded...nothing I can do about making copies at 10pm on Sunday night, so I might as well tell you all what I made for dinner! (Can't wait to show the pictures of Group Graphs we did on Friday...will bring Ipad in tomorrow and post pictures tomorrow night)

Fresh Tomato Basil Soup with heirloom tomatoes, basil, and greek yogurt, Bean Salad (my 14 year old's fave with my dijon vinegrette and lots of parsley) and roasted Delicata Squash rounds.

I woke up and make Chocolate Zucchini Cake too.

Friday we shared Shabbat Dinner with a friends...they hosted us...yummy Middle Eastern faire,
Homecoming was Saturday Night, we all ate open-faced homemade pesto, hard cheese, and tomato sandwiches, and

Thursday night, I made the most heavenly Ground Turkey Stuffed Zucchini Boats (The 14 year old had her stuffing with Pasta because...)

Wednesday night we had Fresh Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce with Spaghetti (I had my sauce in corn tortillas) and Salad and

Tuesday night we had the left over Corn Tortilla "Lasagne" with fresh salsa.

It was a good week. Oh I remember what else we had for "dinner" Saturday night...Banana, Maple yogurt, orange juice, and frozen fruit smoothies.

Please Note: I live in Sonoma County, California...Sebastopol to be exact...I live in heaven.

AND...please leave a comment if you want any of the recipes!


Today I am meeting with a friend who has never taught Middle School before. She is a military mom and moves a lot. She is always last hired, nearly always temporary, and although a mighty fine teacher, never is usually anywhere long enough to get tenure.

So today, I am hanging out with her and getting her started on INB's, projects, and other fun stuff for middle school. It is my way of saying THANK YOU to all of you who have inspired me.

I hope I will posting her Middle School Math goodness here.
Wow. This has been wonderful. I hope we can keep connected. For week 4 I would like to share some student work from my Algebra 1 Classes.

I had an epiphany about how to get students to see the difference between solving these two linear equations:

 3/4(p + 1) = 6 and 3/4p +1 = 7

So I had the first student in each row of six (I share a room) come up to the front and Pow- Wow with me. I made the diagram and told them that they were going to go back to their "pod" (row) and take the students to the white board and lead them in a discussion about the similarities and differences in solving these two problems.

Here is "Group Awesome's response:

I was introduced to the anagram: SFDCVAM as "PEMDAS-ean" way to get students to think about solving a linear equations. Here are the notes:

I don't if you can see too much, but it starts with S--clear double signs, F--Fraction Bust, D--Distribute, C--Collect like terms, V-- bring variable to one side, A--add or subtract, M--multiply or divide. My department chair, Betsy came up with this (I think). So I used her example: Some Fat Dumb Cows Vacuum and Mop. Here are three student versions:

From the C student:
"Some Friends Drive Crazy Vans Around Mountains"

From the B student:

"Some Fat Ducks Can't Verify Any Math" (Did you check out the duck's eyes?"

From the A Student:

Well, you can read that one.

I love when math students get to shine using all their intelligences.

Anyone else have a INB week?


Math Blogger Initiative Week 3

I was super excited to have my week 2 post picked up by one of the blogging initiators. Lots of hits, 2 comments, one of which is mine...insecurity settling in...but wait, writing is for me...right...carry on!

Have you ever read an article you just didn't want to end? I have, I did...and I want to share it with you all. The best darn article I have ever read on math education, that made me drool with desire for similar discourse, is by Jerry A. Ameis in the March 2011 edition of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. So here is what I did after reading The Truth About PEMDAS:

The second day into teaching Algebra 1 I asked the students to write down the solution to
2 + 4 x 4. Thankfully I got the two responses I was looking for evenly distributed among the students, 18 and 24. A debate ensued and eventually the group that answered 24 buckled with, yeah,yeah. Then     I told them a rocky the squirrel story, how Rocky stored 7acorns in one tree and hid two sets of 6 acorns in another tree. I then had them illustrate the scenario. Every single kid got the correct answer and we had  good fun laughing at the "asparagas" trees one student drew for us on the board. We agreed the expression 7 + 2 x 6 was the correct one.

What was so empowering is that I could show them how smart they were and that they intuitively know that multiplication takes precedence over addition. I am sure the kids had new confidence going forward with working with order of operations.

I wish every lesson I teach could be as fun and empowering as this one. Please Mr. Ameis, tell me the rest of the story.