## Friday, November 21, 2008

### Move and Learn

I thought it was an awesome idea. I incorporated it the next day.

The first round I gave them numbers from -12/12, -11/12, -10/12, ...0 ... 10/12, 11/12, 12/12

They did this with only a couple of mistakes in about 4 minutes. I then made cards of the same exact numbers except all were reduced. -1, -11/12, -5/6, -3/4 ... and so on. The second round proved to be a little more difficult than the first round. However, there was a lot of computations going on. There was a lot of movement going on. And furthermore, after they set themselves in order, we checked to see that the order was correct.

And yes, there was some off task behavior when the students were lining up. However, I think they gained a better understanding of what a fraction is and where it belongs than if they had been sitting in their seats watching a fraction lesson.

Extend the Idea:

Give each person in the class an integer on a card. Then I will ask them to pair up with someone else and add their integers. Now ask the class to line up from least to greatest in PAIRS. The students cold multiply the numbers as well.

Move and Learn

Thanks Heidi Heslinga. I appreciate you sharing your idea with me.

## Wednesday, November 12, 2008

### Category Sort

This is the latest structure that I have been using in my classes. The directions for this activity are "Sort these into three categories" This gives the students a little less structure than normal. This is how I set it up.

- Partner work: I gave the slide to the students. Then, I had the student try to decide if they could combine at least two items together. They continued to put things into categories until they were all in three categories. The students worked together for about 3-4 minutes.
- Student Sorting and Explanations: Then I had a student picked at random to come to the board and put two of the items together. That student had to explain why they put the items together. The next student came up and put two more items together, or added to the previous students work. This continued until all the items were in one of the three categories.
- More Time: At times, I gave the students some work time with their partner to get the rest of the items into the correct category.
- Closure and Summary: Then we reviewed the activity and the key points of what was important.

## Sunday, October 26, 2008

### How would you mulitply 11 times 29?

- One way would be to multiply 10 times 29 which is 290 and then add another 29 which is 319.
- Another way would be to multiply 11 times 30 and which is 330 and subtract one 11 to get 319.
- Another way would be to add 11 plus 11 plus 11 ... and so on until you have done it 29 times.
- Another way would be to use the column method. See below.
- How about using a calculator?

So I think that I need to work harder at showing multiple methods to solve a problem. I need require my students to find multiple methods of solving a problem. At the high school level, it is more about how students are thinking to solve problems. I know they can get a solution. More importantly, how did you come up with it. Justify your thinking.

So, yes it does matter how you solved the problem. The way you solved it might just help me understand it a little bit better.

## Friday, October 17, 2008

### More on When Students Teach

She calls it "Teacher, Student Pair"

- Separate your students into pairs
- Have them designate one person a teacher and one person a student.
- Now give the class a problem for the pairs to work out.
- The designated teacher can only explain how to do the problem and the designated student can only write the solution to the problem. With these rules the pair must try to solve the problem.
- Remember, if you have the pencil, you can't talk. If you don't have a pencil, you can talk.
- Now give the class another problem and the pair will switch roles.

## Friday, October 10, 2008

### When You Teach, You Learn

I have been trying to have my students teach each other. Lately, when a student gets done with a math problem, I tell them they must walk around and help others arrive at the solution. By the time I have 3-4 other "teachers" helping me, the whole class catches on to the idea of the problem.

Give it a try. Students love to help others. Give it a try.

## Sunday, September 21, 2008

### Text to Voice Lesson

I tried a matching sound lesson with my class this week. It went really well. I gave a problem like 3x + 5 -6x - 4. I made eight sounds altogether of which there were 4 matching pairs. For instance, one of the sounds was the word "coefficients". Another matching sound was the words "three and negative six". Remembering that they can't see these words. They have to hear them. I think they even have to visualize the numbers. This to me reaches a whole different set of students that are auditory learners in a visual classroom.

Structurally, I picked a student at random to come to the Smartboard and to pick two of the sounds. The student would play each sound twice and then return to their desk. I would then pick another student from the class at random. They would do the same thing. Eventually, the matching sounds would be discovered. A student would then be able to pick the pair and put them together. Success! Students were called up until all four matches were found. Give a try and let me know what you think.

I have a podcast on Smartboard Lesson Planning called Teaching with Smartboard. It is a site trying to help teachers with the integration of Smartboards into the classroom.

I last posted about a site called Hearwho.com. Since this post, the site has added a clip at the end of the MP3 file that advertises their product. This doesn't work out well in the classroom. I have found another site that I'm now using called vozme.com. It works great. Let's hope this site will continue to be free without the added advertisement.

Have a good week!

## Tuesday, September 16, 2008

### Cool Site

A colleague showed me this site and it is awesome. You just paste in some text to the site and it will change the text to a sound file in MP3 form.

You can change your text to a male or female voice (Mike or Crystal).

I see a variety of educational uses for this. Specifically for me, I can use MP3 sounds in SMARTBoard software.

I can't wait to make a lesson involving sounds with my Smartboard.

## Sunday, September 14, 2008

### Brain Breaks

I first heard about these breaks from Jean Blaydes Madigan. She has a lot of ideas about movement within the classroom. She came and did a workshop at our school and it was excellent. Since then, I have just heard of different ideas that I can use in my classroom. They have come from colleagues, speakers, or blogs. I want to hear about other peoples brain breaks so I created a website that we can do just that. It is called Brain Breaks. It is at http://brainbreaks.blogspot.com. Check it out and you can write a post as well.

## Saturday, September 6, 2008

### "Do Hard Things" a book by Alex and Brett Harris

I have been reading an excellent book by Alex and Brett Harris called "Do Hard Things". The idea is that we have low expectations for teenagers and usually they fulfill them. However, I have been challenged in my own journey by this book to take a leap of faith and Do Hard Things. The section that I'm currently reading is "You can't get to success without risking failure". This is how we often are paralyzed by the fear of failure into doing NOTHING. I certainly can relate to that. The amazing thing about this book is that these guys are actually teenagers themselves. They are (were) 19 when they wrote the book. They are twins.

So get the book, and then Do Something Hard this Week!

## Sunday, August 31, 2008

### Teacher Movies

I have seen all of these movies and would recommend any one of them. I have not put them in any particular order.

Mr. Holland's Opus

Freedom Writers

Lean on Me

Stand and Deliver

October Sky

Akeelah and the Bee

Dead Poet's Society

To Sir, With Love

Finding Forrester

Tuesday's with Morrie (TV Movie)

## Thursday, August 7, 2008

### Diigo

Just yesterday, I created a new free diigo account and had all my Delicious sites exported then imported to diigo. It was about 10 minutes worth of work. Now I can use my diigo account, yet keep my Delicious account active.

Lucy Gray taught me this. Thanks.

Here are my two sites. Feel free to check them out.

http://www.diigo.com/user/dsladkey

http://delicious.com/inbox/dsladkey

Dave

## Saturday, June 28, 2008

### Wordle.net

Let me know what you think,

Dave

## Monday, June 9, 2008

### Enjoy the Journey

I was thinking that we often do not enjoy the journey. We almost always desire to get to our destination as soon as we can. That means most of the time we are not enjoying ourselves because we are hardly ever at our destination. How about we start planning take some time to reflect and enjoy our journey. I know that I need to concentrate on this because I am far too often in a rush. I will work on thinking "Slow down and enjoy the moment".

Dave

## Wednesday, June 4, 2008

### School is a Place to Learn from your Mistakes

There are a few mistakes that we can't allow to continue in our schools;

1. Repeated violations of integrity.

2. Physical and emotional abuse to our students.

3. Neglect of students.

Most mistakes are just are opportunities to learn. Isn't that what we do in our class? If a student makes a mistake in my class I often take this route with them. I talk to them individually. I give them a consequence (if needed). We reflect and then we move on.

I am going to remember this when I deal with my students. I must think..."School is a Place to Learn from your Mistakes".

Dave

## Tuesday, May 27, 2008

### Repetition

How can we get enough repetition in our classes?

This years Super Bowl commercials paid $90,000 a second to try to get you to buy their products. What is their goal? To help reinforce their product to you by repetition. They are trying to get enough repetition and not bore the audience. It must work. Because a lot of companies paid the 2.7 million dollars per 30 second spot.

We need to translate this to HS math. If I have an important point to make in class, I need to find creative ways to have it emphasized. Maybe I need to have the students discovery the idea. Then I will have them see it worked out with another student at the board. Then I might have a video of the same topic. Then I could give some practice on their own. It could be that they use individual white boards to go through the problem. I love Senteo clickers for the Smartboard so maybe I could use those to get the point across.

The average person needs 10-12 repetitions to learn a new concept. I think I need to remind myself and my students that it is OK to repeat a topic in different ways. This is comforting to students that they don't have to pick it up the first time. They are not slow for needing a few repetitions of the same topic.

## Monday, May 26, 2008

### Yearbook Time

I take it as a compliment when a student asks me to sign their yearbook. I try to write carefully that I really appreciated them in class. I don't always have the time to write as much as I want. For instance, I was about 1 minute away from starting my class when a student walks in and asks me to sign their yearbook. It was a senior and this was their last day. I thought, this is important. I took a moment to sign the yearbook and then was a little late getting my class going. That is OK. I feel that our students want our acknowledgment of them. For some of our students this is an easy way to have us recognize them. I find that some students that were complete goofs in class, ask me to write in their yearbook. I find it odd, but, I take this as a compliment. They must have thought my class was OK, otherwise they wouldn't have asked me to sign the yearbook. So we need to remind ourselves that our students want our support. Yearbook signing is one way to give it to them.

## Friday, May 23, 2008

### Pop Goes the Weasel and the Quadratic Formula

Hum Pop Goes the Weasel to yourself...

Hum it one more time...

Now put these word to it...

X equals negative b

plus or minus the square root

of b squared minus 4 a c

all over two a

I found someone else did it to on you tube. Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo6GJv4Nvx8

## Saturday, May 10, 2008

### Crabby

It is usually May when this happens to me as a teacher. I get crabby. One of my students will ask question, and I think, can't you figure that out on your own? I then proceed to answer their question with an attitude. That is a bad attitude. It certainly doesn't make me feel great about myself, and more importantly, my students suffer.

Crabbiness happens to all of us teachers. It is what we do about it that will make us different. Let's brainstorm.

- Share with another teacher your heart. Explain what has been happening and commit together to a positive outlook.
- Give your students a heart to heart. Be truthful and apologize for being crabby. Your students will certainly lift your spirits.
- Take a personal wellness day.
- Make a list of why you got into teaching.
- Commit to 100% concentration when the next student asks a question. Kind of like saying "Drop everything and Answer the Question"

Dave

## Sunday, May 4, 2008

### Newspaper Generator

I made this newspaper picture very easily at the site listed below. I can see this being a nice tool for students to have while creating papers or for entries for blogs. It is a free service. You put in the title, the date and some information and you can save the result as a jpeg to your computer. Newspaper Generator

Check it out.

### Animoto

## Thursday, April 24, 2008

### Delicious

There are other sites that do the same thing. I know that http://digg.com also does some of the same things. I started on delicious and like it so I will probably continue with it.

One thing that was a great relief to me was that I can import from my browser all of my current favorites. Also, I can export them back if need be.

Here is my delicious account: http://del.icio.us/dsladkey

## Saturday, April 19, 2008

### Magic Squares Revisited

Remember that magic squares are where you can add the row, column or diagonal to be the same number. You could use guess or check or a systematic algebra method.

Guess and check works and is fun.

However, our algebra students will like the systematic method of solving these.

Check out the solution using systems of equations.

Now you can go try using these with your students.

## Wednesday, April 16, 2008

### New Growth

For some reason, I decided to make an effort to water the plants on a regular basis. Actually, it has been Sundays. Every Sunday, I am watering the four plants. Something very amazing happened about 5 weeks after I started. New Growth. These plants had new shoots growing. I couldn't believe it. The big plant is like a tree and it has a new growth upward. The little table plant regained it's color. Incredible. All I did was give them some regular water and they have done things that I never thought possible.

So after I had been inspecting the new growths for about a week it hit me. Plants are like our students. They need constant attention to grow. They need daily/weekly attention just like my plants need weekly watering. If our students don't get that attention, they often don't grow. I think of just a simple word of encouragement. I think we can "water" our students by showing interest in what they are doing. Also, we can notice when they are absent. I realize that I not only need to make random acts of encouragement, but I need to schedule these acts so that growth can occur. I know the math is important, but it is also important to genuinely care for my students.

## Friday, April 11, 2008

### Google Reader

Here are some of the things that I subscribe to:

Focus on the Family

Teachers Love Smartboards

The Whiteboard Blog

What is School 2.0

Bulls Basketball Update

How do sign up? Just get a free gmail account at www.gmail.com. This will sign you up for all of the google services. Once you have a Google gmail account then you just go to google.com and you will see some Google services at the top. Click on where it says more. You will see Reader as an option. Click on that and you will be ready to search for all of your favorite publications for free. Now when you go to Google Reader you will be able to see which of your sites have new posts. Check it out.

## Wednesday, April 2, 2008

### Change the Atmosphere

Why is it that some people have a knack at understanding driving directions? For instance, if you are explaining where a restaurant is and the person is completely engaged in what you are saying and can find it. Others will look at you with that glossy eyed look (we teachers see this from time to time) that says I have no idea what you are saying. I think it is because we learn differently. Another example of this is when someone says to me “do you know where Main and 15th streets are?” For me immediately I think of the picture of that intersection with the landmarks. I even remember the conditions of when I saw it the first time like cloudy or rainy. Others might remember the intersection from a map view. So, let’s relate this to the classroom. We set our classroom up to be the same for every learning experience. Maybe, just maybe, if we changed the atmosphere of when they learned something, they would remember it better. Just as I remember the conditions of an intersection, I think students remember the conditions of our classroom. So let’s alter it! I just thought of a few that I’m going to try:

- Turn off the lights, and use flashlights to study the lesson.
- Push the desks back and have everyone (even the teacher) sit on the floor
- Turn on music while learning.
- Have students bring in their favorite plant from home for the day
- How about blindfold hour? You must learn only with blindfolds on.
- How about everyone can only write with their weak hand for 30 minutes?
- Turn all the desks 180 degrees.
- Have all the students bring in a pet day
- Teacher must sing directions.
- Students must sing questions.

We will not reach everyone with this. However, I might reach some students that I have never even come close to getting through to. As teachers, let’s get ourselves out of our own comfort zone, because when we do, others are probably in theirs.

## Thursday, March 27, 2008

### Self-Talk

- Try to think of one positive thing about this student. (sometimes this is hard)
- Find a time in which to communicate this positive thing to them. (this is really hard)
- Try to find an obstacle that this student has been battling and empathize with them. Maybe it's their home life. Maybe it is a lack of friends. Or maybe it is a lack of self confidence that is coming out in the wrong way. Then I use this to understand their situation a little better.
- If you think this about this student, then probably others think the same. Therefore who is going to stop the cycle?
- Think back to when you were in 8th grade. Do you remember? It was tough. I would like to think the adults in my life were rooting me on, instead of giving up.
- Make a point to say hello each time you see this student.
- I pray for this student and my attitude towards them.

"Whether you think you can or can't, you are right". Henry Ford

What are some techniques you are using to stop your negative "self-talk"?

I still believe each student can change,

Dave

## Tuesday, March 25, 2008

### Magic Squares

## Monday, March 24, 2008

### Voice Thread

### Thinking Blocks

Check it out.