Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spaghetti Triangles

In my Advanced Geometry class we had been learning about triangle centers. If you had ever taught triangle centers, you probably know that students are confused pretty much the entire time since there are so many different things to remember. I found this beauty on Teachers Pay Teachers from All Things Algebra (she is wonderful!) to help students organize their information and see the four different centers in one location. It has been a lifesaver and has helped the students out a lot.

Once we wrapped up triangle centers, we started the Triangle Inequality Theorem. For my advanced students, this would have been a pretty easy concept to say, "here it is, this is how it works, do it." At this point, however, we are tired of doing worksheets and taking notes. So I was searching Pinterest for some ideas on how students can discover the theorem, not just have it given to them. I came across several different posts that I liked and combined them a little. One post that I liked in particular was called Spaghetti Triangles (and I'm sorry that I didn't credit that person, but I can't really find the pin). In this activity, students are given 10 pieces of spaghetti noodles (I actually gave mine linguini because it's just a little bit thicker). They had to break one noodle into three different pieces, measure those pieces in centimeters, and try to make a triangle. They did this 10 times, all the while figuring out what they needed to do to break their noodle to make a triangle. They then had 3 questions they had to answer regarding their results and what conclusions they could make. They LOVED it! It's hard to get some advanced students into simple tasks like this, but this was one that everyone participated and was engaged in the entire time. Once we finished the activity, we came together as a class and talked about some examples of measurements that did and did not make triangles. This helped lead up to talking about the triangle inequality theorem and how it works with triangles. This is probably one of the most fun activities that I had ever done in a class. It was simple, yet very effective. Here is the paper I gave my students. Feel free to download it and use it for use in your own classroom.

Spaghetti Triangles

Here are some pics of my students doing this activity.

If you use this, you won't be disappointed. I'm sure your kids will love it. Enjoy!

Speed Dating Activity

This is a good  activity for students to practice something without you having to grade a bunch of papers.

Each student gets a card and they have to complete whatever task/problem you give them. Once they have it complete, they raise their hand to have it checked by the teacher. Once everyone has it right, they are the master of their card. You then start the activity.

I set my desks up so students are facing each other. You set students across from each other. They then switch cards and perform the problem. Once they are finished, they ask their partner if their answer is correct since they already have the correct answer. If it is, they switch back. If not, their partner is responsible for helping them arrive at the correct answer.

Once all partners are correct, you then choose which partner will rotate. One thing that I do to make this easier is select two different colors of cards to distribute. Then I just pick a color and that partner will be the rotating one. You continue to do this until you either run out of time or they get back to where they started. This is great for several reasons:

1. It promotes collaborative learning in your class
2. All students have experienced success
3. You don't have to continuously check answers and answer questions
4. Students are responsible for their own understanding

Here are some pictures of my class doing this.

I hope this is an activity that you try. I don't use it a whole lot, but it's  good one to use when you just need a little something more in your lesson plans. Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Classroom Set-Up

I finally have gotten the chance to remember to put pictures up of my classroom! Between jury duty, coaching, conferences, collaborative work, and teaching I have not been able to post much lately. Here's what my classroom looks like.
Back of the room
The objectives board
Supplies cabinet
Student supplies and binders
My desk
Exit slips
No name board where I put papers that have no name...they usually go unclaimed
Yellow slips are used when students do not have homework to turn in but want to turn it in late. I don't accept late work that doesn't have a yellow slip. Request to retest slips are used when students want to retake a test. I allow one retake per quarter.
My objectives board for Algebra I. I love my filetastics!
I sometimes put pictures of kids doing activities on the instagram board.
My deak. I bought this classroom decor pack on teachers pay teachers. It was originally for elementary, but I tweaked it quite a bit to fit my theme.
My bulletin board. This wall was basically blank. I just added black paper and a border for an instant bulletin board. As you can tell, I took these pics a while ago.
Front of the room.
Random memes. My students love these.
This is where I keep extra papers for each class.
Before school started we had a sign making party with our building. This is mine.
This is my pen holder that I love! My friend and I painted pottery over the summer and I needed something fun to keep my pens.
Thus is my version of the "copy, file, and return" system. The top tray is for papers I need to copy. Middle is for papers I need to file. Bottom is for papers I need to return to someone. It works quite well for me so I'm more organized.