Monday, December 28, 2015

Digital Interactive Activities...Go Paperless!

It's soon to be a new year and maybe you are looking for new your school going 1:1?  Do you have access to a set of chrome books or iPads?  If you do, you might like to start using some interactive activities that will allow you to use no (or at least less!) paper in your classroom.

This can be a slow process.  At the school where I teach, we spent an entire year preparing for students to each come to school with their own iPad.  Then, we spent an entire year learning about apps we could use in the classroom.  This year, our second with 1:1 iPads, is being spent working on integrating the iPads into the classroom environment.  Not everything has to do with can you use the iPad or computer to REPLACE or ENHANCE some learning activities.  It doesn't have to happen all at once.  Take a lesson or two that you would like to explore using technology to teach.  Try that...reflect, analyze, reach out to other friends using technology in the classroom, what worked, what didn't, try again.

I am going to start the year in my classes with asking my class to reflect on their First Semester and then to think about what they would like to accomplish for second semester.  This is a great activity which I often don't do when I think about all of the paper this generates...I want to read what every student has to say about it, but when I think about how nice and clean my desk is right now and what it will look like after I collect that paper from every student...UGH!  As an added benefit, I can read the student's responses right on my iPad...I can read them while I am waiting for my son at band practice or my daughter at gymnastics...Yay!

So this year, I am going to have students fill out their own reflection sheet on their iPads, or at home on their computer, and ask them to turn it in to me digitally!  We use the Learning Management System called Schoology, but you could have the students submit through other systems as well such as Showbie or even through email. paper!

Here is what my reflection sheet looks like and a link that you can check out at my TPT store.  (template courtesy of Danielle Knight - Study All Knight).

[Here's the link: Second Semester Goals]

Also, I don't know about you, but my class needs constant practice to keep their basic algebra skills fresh!  I made a fun factoring puzzle that students can interact with on their computer or other 1:1 device.  You have seen these puzzles before...students cut and paste.  I don't know about you...I love this activity but it's painful to me watching everyone take so long to CUT...I mean what are they doing...cut on the lines...move along!  Anyway, this is the same type of activity, but students move the pieces virtually!  Fun :)

[Here's the link: Factoring Puzzle]

I know everyone isn't a math teacher out there, so check out some of my friends' products and blog posts about Digital Interactive Products.  If you need more information about using digital products in the classroom, be sure to read the blog posts below!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Desmos and Geogebra Ideas that I Want to Use in My Classroom

Do you ever find the perfect idea for a topic just AFTER you have finished teaching it?  Me too!

This isn't really a blog post, it is a collection of ideas for Desmos or Geogebra that I find that I want to use in my own classroom.  Feel free to click through the links to check out what I am finding!  Check back as I will be adding to this list.

1) Graphing equations of lines - get through the maze: (check out the blog Simplifying Radicals)

Equations of Lines Maze with Desmos

2) Inverse Graph - shows the inverse and the function and the points on each graph.  (check out the blog I Speak Math)

Inverse Graphs

Here is a worksheet that goes with it: Inverse Graph Worksheet

3) Increasing Decreasing Domain Range - uses a turtle moving along a graph to show students increasing and decreasing (check out the blog Reflections of a High School Math Teacher)

Increasing Decreasing Turtle in Motion

4)  This is a blog post that explains why we use radians instead of degrees in calculus.

Why do We Use Radians?

5) Here is an activity to do as an introduction to radians from (Math Teacher Nerd)


1. Using a compass, make a circle on this sheet of paper.

2. Measure the length of the radius and measure a piece of yarn to that length.

3. Using that yarn, lay the yarn on the circle and mark the circle arc that is one yarn's length.

4. Using a protractor, how many degrees (approximately) is this?

5. Now, continue to measure the circle using your yarn. How many yarns (radii) make up a circle?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Little Book of Calculus Rules (part one)

Sometimes there are just things that must be memorized.  My students drive me nuts because the JUST.WON'T.MEMORIZE.

So, I created this fun and easy foldable out of one single piece of paper.  Quite honestly, that is really the very coolest part :)

(To see how to fold this book, check out this pinterest pin:

Fold One Piece of Paper into a Mini Book)

Here is what the book looks like after it is printed - notice...only one piece of paper used!

Here is a picture that shows the size of the book after it is folded.

Would you like to make one of these with your calculus class?  Check it out in my TPT store:

Little Book of Calculus Rules

Friday, December 11, 2015

Using Google Drive Slides in the High School Math Classroom

Using Google Slides in my classroom has been an awesome addition to other technology activities that I have been working to incorporate.

Let me explain...

I have wanted to try working with interactive notebooks in my high school math classroom for a super long time.  But, I just could not muster up the energy to try all of the cutting, gluing, and cute marker writing that I see on lots of other people's blogs.  I see the value in it, and think at least some of my students would enjoy it.  But the TIME involved in the cutting and gluing just seemed like a lot to spend.  I know it works for people, and I am glad about it, but for me I just haven't been able to do it.

But, I like the idea of it.  I like the idea of the students being able to move pieces around and show me that they know which things (graphs, equations, solutions, vocabulary, etc correspond to each other).  I LOVE the idea of students being able to submit things paper, yes please :)

There are apps available that allow students to move such items (for example, Stick Around), but nothing that I found that was going to work exactly for me.  I need math notation and I need the ability for students to graph things and type equations.

So, after thinking and thinking about it...I went to my friends online and I found that Danielle Knight (Study All Knight) and Jean Adams (Flamingo High Math) were thinking along these lines as well.  Danielle has some ELA materials available for Google Drive and Jean Adams has some math activities available for use with Google Drive - check them out!

I decided to give it a try...could this type of activity be valuable to the students in my math class?

{Note:  My students each have their own iPad that they bring to school everyday}

The first thing I tried was an activity in my calculus class.  They had real difficulty finding the derivatives of trig functions.  I thought if I showed them some of examples of functions that looked similar but that had different derivatives, it would encourage them to start looking for the differences in the original functions.

Anyhow, here is a picture of the slide I made and sent to my class electronically:

Since this is just a picture of the activity, you can't see actually move the boxes.  But, in the actual google slides document, the students move the white boxes so they match with the original functions.  Students then submit this document back to me electronically through our learning management system, Schoology.  Yay, no paper :)

This activity worked well...I am going to try to make more activities like this...stay tuned!