Category Archives: Teaching

Solving Quadratics by Completing the Square – Add ‘Em Up

I made an Add Em’ Up activity for my students to practice their skills of solving quadratics by completing the square.
Here it is Solve Quadratics by Completing the Square

And here is the one one I made on solving quadratics by factoring.

Here is solving using the quadratic formula.

 

Solving Quadratics by Factoring – Add ‘Em Up

I made an Add Em’ Up activity for my students to practice their skills of solving quadratics by factoring. I plan to make one for the pick best method. When I do I will share it.

He is the solve-quadratics-by-factoring-add-em-up.

Revised. The answer key had two answers switched in group 1. Here is the revised document. Solve Quadratics by Factoring Add ‘Em Up.

Here is the Solve by Completing the Square Add ‘Em Up.

Here is solving using the quadratic formula.

Twitter Math Camp and Change

If you would have asked me 2 years ago, when I started teaching again, that I would be attending a math teacher’s conference called “Twitter Math Camp” I would have called you crazy. I’ve never understood twitter to tell you the truth. The only reason I even have a twitter handle is because my friend and co-worker that talked me into going told me to sign up on twitter. Then I never used it again, except to post my blog posts and WordPress does that for me. Thank you WordPress.

My entire math department on our way to TMC14 in Jenks, OK.
My entire math department on our way to TMC14 in Jenks, OK.

So anyway, I get to TMC and realize that is the thing. Posting on Twitter. And I’m out of the loop. I asked a few people for certain materials and videos and they said just tweet me and I’ll get it right back to you.

Like it’s that easy. Who do you think you’re talking to?

Oh, my mistake. I am a “Twitter” Math Camp. I forgot for a second.

Each time I posted had to be taught by someone (luckily I’m completely surrounded by people who love to teach so much they do it for a living). You’d think by now I would have the hang of it.

Nope.

I still don’t know the different between # and @. What do they mean? Give me a freaked break, they aren’t words people. What language are you speaking?  But I’m going to keep at this until I get it. I promise.

Well maybe it’s not a promise. Maybe that’s a threat. I don’t know. Take it how you want.

WOW!  I really got off topic. My post was going to be about how super, awesome this all was. I am a geometry teacher so I go off on tangents sometimes. Forgive me. Apparently this is going to be a long post. But that’s okay because I haven’t posted in a while.

 

Back to TMC. I’ve got to say. My mind has been opened up to all kinds of things. I now have some new goals and things I want to try out this school year. This all couldn’t have come at a better time.

1. Interactive Student Notebooks – I did a ISN last year, but it was pathetic and was really just what I normal teach printed on smaller paper so they could glue it in their notebooks. It did really help with organization because it also had their homework in it. This year I’m going to make it AWESOME! Bring on the Foldables! Bring on colored paper! Bring on markers! I will only do this for one of my preps this year. Baby steps. Baby steps.

2. No Homework – I’ve always intended for homework to be done in class. But yet, I still call it homework. I give the students plenty of time to do the practice problems in class, but if they don’t finish then they have homework. This year I am going to emphasize that it is not homework. I really need to phrase it better. They should get it done before they leave. If they don’t, then they gave themselves homework. That’s not quite how I’ll word it, but I have a few weeks to think about that. Hopefully you get my drift though.

3. I’m not following my textbook – WHAT!?!?! Well, by my school guidelines are that I have to teach what is IN the textbook, BUT, I don’t have to teach it in the order it is in. So this year, I shall mix it up a bit. I’ve never felt any Geometry class I’ve ever taught has felt like it flows well. It just doesn’t. So with my lower level class (the one with the new ISN) I am going to change it up and see how it goes. If it turns out horrible I can change it back next year, no harm, no foul. If it turns out to be wonderful then my advanced class will get a make over next year.

 

What do you think? Three pretty big changes in one year. Should I consider doing more or am I nuts? I’m up for suggestions, comments, smart remarks… Bring it on.

My Dilemma

I just gave a test in my advanced geometry class. I’m not feeling the advanced part of that right now.

Half of the class aced the test. The test was over trigonometry, you know, SohCahToa. Guess what the other half got on the test…

F’s. There wasn’t even that much in between. And it was half and half. Well 60% good 40% bad.

What do I do? 2 of the F’s were below 10%. Do I stop moving forward to get that 40% of the class up to par, making those who get it frustrated? Or do I move forward having that 40% come in during my tutoring time and/or before and after school to work on it and then retake the test?

I’ve never had a topic so divided. HELP!!!

Guiding the Way

I used to teach at a high school that had block scheduling. I loved having all of that time during one class period. I didn’t like having the students every other day. I now teach at a high school that has 48 minute class periods. That is 3 minutes more than half of what I was used to.  AHHHHH!!! Talk about the need to change how I teach.

The first thing I noticed was that students take WAY too long to take notes.

Solution…

Guided notes. Makes more work for me the first year doing it, but saves an amazing amount of time in class. Plus, we don’t have to wait for those really slow writers to catch up.

Here is a couple of examples of my guided notes.

Advanced Geometry 7.4 Notes

I use Cornell notes for my Advanced Geometry classes.

Geometry 6.1 notes

My Geometry classes’ notes are made to cut in half and be taped inside their composition notebook. (I’ll explain this later.)

Pre-Calc 7.1 Notes

For Trig/Pre-Calc I just go through the beginning of the section and use the main things they need to know and examples that will help them do the type of problems they will need to solve.

There are a lot of advantages to using guided notes, but one of the big disadvantages I see and regret that it causes, is that students don’t know how to take proper notes without guidance. How will this help them in college? I’m torn about it.

I teach Sophomores in Geometry and Juniors and Seniors in Trig/Pre-Calc. I make guided notes for ALL of them.

What is your opinion of this?