Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Interactive Student Notebooks and Foldable #1

I've been reading A LOT about Interactive Student Notebooks. I spent all summer researching, planning and thinking about how to best implement an ISN in my classroom. Up until a week before school I was convinced of what a GREAT idea they are, but I know myself. I am not organized. My desk and teacher tables are a mess. I misplace pens and papers and notebooks constantly. My students love to laugh at me looking for things that are right in front of my face. It's a vice that I'm working on, but it's not fixed yet :) I couldn't see how I would ever be able to effectively maintain the amount of organization required.

After discussing it with a colleague and reading Sarah Rubin's amazing how-to guide (here), I decided to commit. I KNOW this will be good for both me and my students!

Following Sarah's guide, I spent the whole first week of school doing the following:

1. Decorating the cover of the composition book
2. Setting up the Table of Contents
3. Going over class rules and procedures (in the ISN).
4. Completing a learning style survey
5. Take a multiple intelligences inventory

(all of this was borrowed from here)

In keeping with the the Interactive part of the ISN, I want to use more foldables this year. I am starting the year teaching Box-and-Whisker Plots and created a foldable in Powerpoint for students to take notes. This foldable covers the 10-step method of creating a plot (an idea I got from a colleague at the school where I worked last year).

TO C M LULU DI (To See my LuLu die)

(Yes I know this is kinda weird and morbid. But, I promise, the kids remember it!)

T - Title
O - put data set in order, least to greatest
C - create a number line
M - median
L - lower extreme
U - upper extreme
L - Lower quartile
U - Upper quartile
D - draw box-whiskers

I like to create foldables in Powerpoint, because I find it easier to align things and move things to exactly where I need them. It seems like I am always fighting with Word on the formatting. I copied these 2 pages front and back, then had the students fold on the solid lines and cut on the dashed lines. This created a 10 tab (one for each step) foldable.

BAWP Foldable

Here is a picture of the final product:

I like to teach box-and-whisker plots at the beginning of the year so that I can do lots of examples using class data (like class test grades) to reinforce. I have found that this topic is really difficult for many of my below grade-level students and the constanst reinforcement all year really helps!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Awesome Target Finds for 30 Cents!

The dollar section at Target is awesome, especially for teachers. This past weekend, I got a ton of stuff 70% off. I got each of these items for 30 cents each and couldn't be more excited!
Lesson plan book, foam clock, spanish reward stickets, memo book, student planner, 2 self-inking stamps and 6 small plastic containers!
Unfortunately, many of my 7th graders can't read an traditional clock with hands etc. They beg me to hang up a digital clock, but I refuse. We are going to learn to tell time the old school way if it kills me. I plan to hang this on the whiteboard with magnets and do a few problems with them during the warm-up, hoping they will catch on over time.

Love these spanish stickers! I plan to keep one for myself and give one to my fellow cheerleading coach and 2nd year spanish teacher. (update: gave her the stickers and she was SO excited and eager to use them. I love to give other people presents they really enjoy :) )
These self inking stamps are the best, especially for 30 cents. I think I will be going back to see if I can get a few more :)

Metric Measurement and Valentine's Day

This is an old post I wrote right after Valentine's day, but never posted. Not sure why. Either way, I think it's worth reading:

One of the things I love about middle school is that the kids are still 'little' enough to enjoy cutesy things. Even though they often drive me crazy, I really wanted to get my  kids Valentines this year. I ignored the day last year and felt like such a scrooge. So last night I went to Target and bought Fun Dip Valentine's, thinking I would pass them out to the students at the end of the period.

On the drive to school this morning (I commute an hour one-way) I got to thinking about how I would give out the candy without losing a bunch of class time. I couldn't just hand it out on the way out the door because Fun Dip is a time consuming candy, and I am sure the other teachers wouldn't appreciate me giving the kids candy and setting them free in the halls.

I didn't want to use my class time either, though. I really value my class time. I hardly let kids go to the bathroom etc. I always tell them "We don't miss math class, no matter what!" I try really hard to make sure every minute is well spent. I kept struggling to find a way to make the Fun Dip relevant and part of the instruction.

Here is what I did:

Today we learned Metric Measurement. Students learned to convert between metric measurements by counting jumps and moving decimals (we'll cover the multiply and dividing the rest of this week), using KING HENRY DIED BY DRINKING CHOCOLATE MILK. 

As an exit ticket, students were given their pack of fun dip. Students had to read the package and find it's mass (measured in grams). Then they converted that mass into 3 other units; kilograms, centigrams, and milligrams. When they were done, and had all 3 correct, they were allowed to spend the remaining few minutes eating their treat! The students loved it! They were so eager to try, worked hard for the correct answer, and celebrated in their success :) I was such a happy teacher!