Tag Archives: math

A New Year Awaits = New things to Try!

Another school year awaits. Year #6 here I go!

#mtbos is a wonderful way to keep in touch with the math teacher community.  I always come across amazing ideas from incredible educators and there really are so many great things to try. Fantastic community we have on twitter–math teachers unite! Nonetheless,  I often forget about these great ideas  throughout the year, so to combat this I am compiling a go-to list 😀

Planning on focusing on fostering strong group work with  Fawn Nguyens math talks

  • John O’Malley Recently posted about finding ways to praise students more often, he created Amplifying Awards  after finding inspiration from other awesome teachers.
    • One thing I remember as a student in elementary/middle school is that my teacher always had a “prize bag” or “grab bag” for students by the end of the week. They usually included items that they themselves wanted to get rid of, but to a student, it could make their day. Definitely need to clean out my place and start a Prize bag.
  • Love Kristin Gray’s post about Talking Points Activity
  • Love Sarah Carter’s idea of a puzzle table and her Deliberate Practice Challenge
  • Used Sara Van Der Werf’s 100 Numbers activity last year, and Greta came up with another number activity This will be perfect since I know the 7th graders last year did the same activity…hehe, what a great way to spice things up for 8th grade.
  • Love What is Math? and What do Mathematicians Do opener to the year by Sara Van Der Werf
    • I have been thinking about this all summer in figuring out ways to incorporate identity more in the math classroom. I’ve adopted these ideas into a compilation of activities I want to roll out at the beginning of the year including: Privilege Walk, Numeric Me Infographic, Math Autobiography, and What does a Mathematician Look Like.
  • Genius Hour Mondays
    • If anyone has had success with this, please share. I am wondering if this can be a weekly endeavor for students, but I need something to hold them accountable for their research. I can also mesh this with a warm-up idea that deals with statistics and hot topics that students are interested in, where they can research and develop a solution to whatever they are passionate about. My colleague Sam has implemented this warm-up template that I for sure want to try this year. Students search for current data that is relevant to them and then create a powerpoint to share the data with their classmates. She developed a checklist.
  • Friday Ted Ed Riddles (Fermi Questions)
    • Ted Ed Riddles are the best on Fridays and serve as a way for students to free themselves from the curriculum but put their problem solving skills into place. I definitely need to figure out how to make this more of a collaborative and visible for students when they work in groups. Perhaps give them some silent think time and then bring ideas together.
  • Fawn Nguyen’s Fun Facts and Between 2 Numbers
    • Definitely need to read up on how she uses this, but it would be a great warm-up throughout the week for students.
    • I am also a fan of Fun Facts where a number is presented and students guess in groups what the number can represent. Would be a great opener to some lessons.
  • Daily Set
    • If there is ever time at the end of class, I love giving this to students. Perhaps this could be a brain break for them from the math they need to do.
  • Estimation 180
  • Would you Rather Math


Classroom Organization–*For me to take note of*

  1.  Student Center: Absent work, pencils, handouts,  supplies- markers, glue sticks (number by table and get 3 tier organization box or space maker box with group number); Turn in and Pass back Bin: 1 Hall Pass with lanyard attached
  2.  Word Wall- Notecards, students create with 4 quadrants: definition, picture, non-example, example
  3. Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces: Students post summary on the walls with expo markers–big ideas…* Make a habit of random groups everyday/week.
  4.  Loved maggie’s @hybrid_mobile 3 Trays for students to place exit slips/assessments Labeled:
    1. I felt the problems were simple and I feel confident in my response
    2. I felt it was a mix of simple and difficult problems
    3. I felt the problems were different and I am unsure of my responses
  5. Welcome Banner by Sarah Carter

Yep. That’s it, for now.

Summer Curriculum Project: Cultural Relevant Pedagogy in Algebra

This summer I am proud to share that I am on a team of very talented and dedicated educators teaching for social justice. We are 8th grade algebra teachers from a Chicago suburb and use the Connected Mathematics Program (CMP3). All of our algebra classes use the same pacing guide and we appreciate that this curriculum dives deeper into the mathematics and currently 80% of our 8th graders test into Geometry for the high school. However, one struggle is relating the curriculum to our diverse population of learners. We want to embrace students more as many often ask “When are we every going to use this?”  Yes, if you teach CMP3, Mugwumps are the cutest! But if we consider whether we are preparing our students for the 21st century through Mugwumps, we have a long way to go.

Our goal this summer is to implement social justice math into the 8 books from CMP3:

  • Thinking with Mathematical Models (Linear Functions)
  • Looking For Pythagoras (Pythagorean Theorem)
  • Growing Growing Growing ( Exponential Functions)
  • Frogs Fleas and Painted Cubes (Quadratic Functions)
  • Butterflies Pinwheel and Wallpaper (Transformations)
  • Say it with Symbols (Solving Equations)
  • It’s in the System (Systems of linear Equations and Inequalities)
  • Function Junction (All of the Functions and more)

I admit, this is no easy feat. And we are not seeking to perfect this over the summer. We are opening the conversation, collecting resources, and providing frameworks to help teachers figure out how to begin teaching Algebra through a social justice lens.

After our first meeting we have established the following agenda:

  • Essential Question: How do you use Algebra to describe equities and inequities locally, state-wide, and globally? (I am considering another question as well…since math is all about proving and justifying ideas, perhaps a broader question is Why? How can you Prove it?)
  • Creating Projects for CMP3: We plan to incorporate Project Based Learning using projects to replace some units. Two current units we are developing projects for are: BPW where students learn about transformations after watching this AWESOME video about The Complex Geometry of Islamic Design by Ted ED, research geometry and design in other cultures, code their own design, and 3D print it to create tessellations AND LFP where students analyze the map of Chicago and discuss distances (exact, shortest) , origin, etc.
  • Student Created Warm-ups: Instead of the traditional can you do x amount of problems in 5 minutes as a warm-up, how cool would it be for students to create/bring in their own warm-ups for meaningful discussions using graphs and data about current events topics. Of course teachers would need to provide an example and model it for students first. But analyzing data and graphs, determining the relevance and accuracy is a key 21st century skill; my professor Dr. Steven Wolk would totally agree.
  • Creating Guide for Teachers:  Kind of like a How-To begin or FAQ for teachers interested in implementing bits and pieces.
  • Creating a Platform for Teachers to ask Questions and Collaborate: We were thinking about creating a working Google Document, but perhaps this blog maybe the first start!

At the end of this summer, we hope to share our resources for all teachers interested in teaching social justice math.