Algebra 2 Teacher Blogs!

Check out these blogs from teachers who teach Algebra 2! If you teach Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Math 2, or Math 3, then please scroll down to add your blog to the list!

These are the blogs of the teachers who signed up to connect already.  You can fill out the form at the bottom.  I will add you to the list when I update this page (about twice a month).

Check out the #Alg2Chat hashtag on Twitter starting in September.  We will be meeting Thursday nights, 9PM EST.

Amy McNabb
Jonathan Schoolcraft
Henri Picciotto
Jonathan klupp
Dylan Kane
Wendy Menard
Shaun Carter
Lisa Winer
Mark Kreie
Andrew Stadel
Trever Reeh
Shai McGowan
Sean Sweeney
Bonnie Davis
Lisa Henry
Brandy Cajudoy
Melissa Allman
Ali Grace Eiland
Tara Daas
Lane Walker
Mary Williams
Matt Baker
Julie Reulbach
Brian Palacios
Lauren Goldfish
Marsha Foshee
Heather Rosson
Nolan Doyle
Jennifer abel
Laurie Hailer
Christie Bradshaw
Robin Mathews
Sara VanDerWerf
Andrew BC
Steve Dull
Suzanne von Oy
Madelyne Bettis
Nate Goza
Jennifer Kelly

If you teach Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Math 2, or Math 3, please add your blog to the list!

Once added, you can see the other Algebra 2 teachers in this spreadsheet.

Calling All Algebra 2 Teachers! #MTBoS #Alg2Chat

TMC16 this year intensely motivated me, to the point where I cannot stop thinking about math ed, even on vacation!  I came up with this idea this morning, and have to get it down before I go to the beach so I will stop thinking about it, and relax!

If you are going to be teaching Algebra 2, please add yourself to the list below!  I did this when I taught middle school, and it was great!  I even was able to develop a monthly newsletter of resources for those who signed up.  No promises, I have much ambition before school starts and then run out of time. But for the first time in two years, I am feeling my old momentum come swinging back!  Hurrah! And thank you all for inspiring me!

I created a shared Google Folder for us to drop our favorite goodies in.  How great will it be to have a place with ALL THE THINGS when we are looking for resources?!  As a community, I know we can do this!

Julie, @jreulbach

PLEASE add the #Alg2Chat to any Algebra 2 post you tweet about.  :)  Let’s bring this back!

Experience (or Re-live) #TMC16, Virtually

The #MTBoS (Math Twitter Blogosphere) is an amazing community of math educators who share ideas and resources freely with others through blogs and Twitter. It is a strong online community where we are constantly learning from one another and growing better, together.


Twitter Math Camp 2012

 Twitter Math Camp (TMC), an amazing “grass roots” conference for teachers, by teachers, was born when we decided to finally meet in person five years ago in 2012. This initial small meeting of 37 teachers (#TMC12) has grown to a conference of over 200 in just five short years. I have been to all five, as it is the one conference that I do not miss, and it is one of my favorite experiences of the year!

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 7.43.15 PMI love Twitter Math Camp so much that I want to share it with everyone. And I want you to get to experience it, even if you couldn’t be there this year to experience it with me! Luckily, it is TWITTER Math Camp, so almost everything can be accessed online!
Here is your how to guide to virtually “attending” TMC16 online. The best thing is, you don’t have to decide which amazing session to attend (out of 12!) during each block, you get to read about them all! In fact, I will be virtually attending all 11 sessions every block that I did not get to attend because I was in a different session!

1) Search the #TMC16 hashtag on Twitter and read the tweets. You will find amazing quotes, pictures, and most importantly links to many of the great resources presented at the conference.  Note: There are a ton of tweets so it will take a while to read through. In fact, there were so many tweets that #TMC16 was trending multiple times per day during the three-day conference. Additionally, since it is a Twitter conference, the teachers are constantly communicating with each other through Twitter, all using the #TMC16 hashtag. So you will see many tweets that are not resources as well.

2) Go to the Twitter Math Camp website. Here you can read more about Twitter Math Camp. After that, I would read the TMC16 Complete Program with Descriptions so you will know what sessions you want to learn all about.   There are a ton of sessions so take notes! You will need them when you access the TMC Wiki to get the session materials (see #3). The Twitter Math Camp website will also contain the #TMC16 Archive, which is all of the videos recorded of the conference as well as many reflection blog posts by other teachers about the conference. Many math educators blog about their experience. These blog posts are excellent as several teachers will give specifics and details about each session to supplement the raw materials that you can find.

3)  Watch the videos from #TMC16. (They are all not up yet, but will be).  The keynote speakers and the “My Favorites” were recorded each day, plus a few extraneous moments. “My Favorites” are 5 – 15 minute mini-talks teachers give about a favorite thing from their classroom. The “official” videos were taken by Glenn Waddell.  You can also watch the  videos I took with Periscope. Periscope is fun because viewers can heart moments they love and write comments, all of which you can view when watching the replay of the video. I discovered that I could sketch on the video while people were talking! So, I had some fun with that too. I am working to put all of the videos in one place permanently, but haven’t had time yet. Also, I had never used Periscope before this conference, so my first videos are untitled and the orientation is vertical. Sorry! Thank you to Sam for showing me Scopedown so I could download all of my Periscopes before they disappeared!  However, for some reason the orientation is all messed up when I downloaded it.  Ugh.

4)  Check out the Twitter Math Camp Wiki for the resources! The TMC wiki contains most of the materials from each of the sessions. It is packed with links, pdfs, and sometimes even the presenter slides! Bonus: It also contains all of the information from every Twitter Math Camp session since it was created in 2012. Be patient, as some presenters have not had a chance to upload their files. You can also tweet a presenter and I am sure they would be happy to send material to you.

FINALLY, once you are all done “attending” TMC16, you should share your #1TMCThing on Twitter. This is the ONE thing that you learned from TMC that you would like to implement this year. Please tweet it out, and don’t be shy! Think of TMC16 as an online school. You have earned your virtual certificate and should definitely tweet along with us. Because you are one of us. If you are still not convinced, here is Shelli’s tweet. She was not able to attend TMC this year, but followed the hashtag during while TMC16 was in session.  She even discovered and shared her #1tmcThing. Missed you Shelli.❤

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Going forward, if you are NOT on Twitter, interacting with math educators, you should be. So sign up now before you miss any more of the amazing things math educators are doing there! I’ve grown more in the past few years than I have in my entire career. If you want to meet more of us, the MTBoS directory is a great place to start! Follow people on Twitter. Follow @TMathC. Follow me at @jreulbach. Say Hi to me!  Ask questions!  We will help you!  Search hashtags and use hashtags when you tweet. It will be life changing.

Some hashtags I frequently use:

#MTBoS – Talk to the math educator community

#alg2chat – Algebra teachers (alright, so right now this is mostly me – but I’m not going to quit trying to make it happen!)

#msmathchat – Middle School Math Teachers

#tmc16 – Everything TMC16


Once again, I am in the wonderful world of #TMC16.  These are my people.  It is an overwhelming, exhausting, but most importantly exhilarating experience even for a seasoned TMCer like me (this is my 5th TMC).  In fact, I am going to my family vacation to the beach one day last so I don’t miss the closing ceremony on Tuesday.  I only get this experience once a year and can’t miss a moment of it.

I am doing Chris and Mattie’s “Talk Less, Smile More” morning session.  It is amazing.  Right now I am working with a group of Algebra 2 teachers to develop questions around quadratics.  I will share it once we get something on it.  We are having great discussions, and much laughter, together.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 11.01.37 PMI saw a request on Twitter for Periscope so I decided to video some of the action here.  I have never used Periscope so the first few videos are untitled, shaky, and turned the wrong way!  But, I am getting better and hopefully sharing some of the TMC16 goodness with all of the wonderful math teachers that wanted to come but couldn’t this year.

I loved Sam’s My Favorite today about Math Exploration Projects.  He was inspiring and I can’t wait to try this with my students.

Tracy Zager truly moved me with an inspirational keynote today.  You need to watch this. Her well prepared talk was full of humor, math, and emotion. I adore her. I could not even believe that she added a Desmos Activity builder into her talk for 200 people after just learning it two days before.  I loved everything that she had to say, and am going to be more intentional with vertical alignment.  TMC has made me acutely aware of the need to vertically align mathematics education, and that we all need to play a part in this in order to affect change.  I learned that it was important to close each class.  This is something that I rarely do, and don’t know how to do effectively.  After an SOS tweet, David Coffey sent me a link to “22 Powerful Closure Activities“.  I love this community.

I went to Jonathan’s awesome session and sill have so many questions.  We examined the standards (my group used a Wordle), watched Marble Races, were blasted with the inception button, and just absorbed Jonathan’s brilliance.

CnmWX7JWYAIDhQjEveryday after the sessions, Sara Vanderwerf  brings her backward bike for people to try.  This is a very “feel good” way to end each day.  Instead of us just walking our own separate ways, people gather outside to sit in the sun, chat, and watch each other try out the bike.  As Sara said, it’s such an awesome community builder.  I have really enjoyed getting to know Sara these past couple of days and love working with her.  I admire her energy and passion.  I can’t wait until I have time to pour over her blog in detail. As with so many others here, I wish we lived closer so I could work with her on a more regular basis.

FullSizeRender 24We ended the day with Math Trivia night hosted by Mathalicious.  My team sang between rounds, Disney songs, Madonna, Sweet Caroline,… It was a blast, and my team won!  I have never come close to winning trivia before, so it was pretty exciting.  My team even got a badge that we can wear tomorrow AND on the first day of school. Life goals.

There was so much more today.  So many great tweets, links, pictures, and moments.  But I’m exhausted.  Night all.  <3

Create Custom Card Sorts and Marble Slides in Desmos!

Seriously, you can CREATE your own custom card sorts and marbleslides on Desmos now.  Gone are the days of paper cutters, laminators, more paper cutters, lost cards, and broken rubber bands.  Yes, everyone can create their own card sorts.

Here is the collaboration of the card sorts the amazing teachers at #TMC16 have already created.  Please ADD YOURS if you make one!  And here is the Desmos bank, please add it there as well.

Here is the how to guide of how to create your own!

First, you must go to to sign in to your teacher account.  Then here are the steps, in pictures.

Card sorts and Marble Slides are called LABS.  You need to enable these features in order to create them.  Once you are signed in, click on your name and then select LABS.Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.38.04 PM

Click to enable Marbleslides and Card Sort.

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Once enabled, you just select LABS like any other slide type in Activity Builder.  You can add Math or Text Cards, Image Cards, or even GRAPHS as a card!  I’ve heard you can even insert GIFS as image cards, but haven’t tried this yet.  You can also create an “answer key” for each card set slide.

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Here is what it looks like when you are building.


Here is what the student will see.

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Here is what the cards look like to the students once sorted.


Supporting Students – Homework

As I teach an accelerated math class, I feel that a small amount of homework is crucial for success for my students (and, not just “doing” homework, but doing it well).  I got closer to being happy with my homework system this year, but it still took too much time for me to  check and especially to record.

What I did this year:

  • Published solutions – This goes first because it is KEY and so amazing.  I published fully worked out solutions to homework every day by 3PM.  I encouraged students to check homework AS THEY WORKED instead of afterwards.  No-one learns well when they are practicing incorrectly.
  • Required students to check their completed homework against my solutions and mark the ones they missed or did not understand with a different colored pencil.  Kids really did this at the beginning of the year.  It made such a difference.  They knew which ones they had missed and we hit the ground running everyday.
  • Assigned a manageable amount of homework.  I aim for no more than 30 minutes each night.
  • “Lagged” the homework.  I assigned previous material each night and starter homework (easy, skills based) on new topics.  I only assigned tougher questions after we had been working with the material a couple of days.  This way there was no pressure to finish my lesson so they could do the homework.  Also, students didn’t complain as much about not understanding how to do the homework.
  • Checked the homework each day, 2 points per assignment, 1 point for incomplete homework.
  • Entered the grades in the grade book once a week.

What did not go well is that checking homework took up too much of my class time.  I walk around with my grade book, stop at each child, look at their homework, then take time to record the grade in my gradebook.  And, after Christmas I did not do a great job of checking it everyday.  As a result, many students stopped doing it.

Additionally, some students never checked their solutions online.  They did their homework as fast as possible, just to get the credit.  They had zero idea if they were doing it right.  They did not care if it was correct, as long as it was “complete”.  This did not help them and wasted my time looking at their barely complete work day after day, trying to decipher if they had actually done it or were just scribbling anything down.  This has to stop.

I loved Amy’s post about accountability.  And even though I hate taking the time, if I really want students to be accountable, I need to make sure they are actually doing their homework well, and be more systematic about checking it.  I also loved how Julia is planning to check homework next year.

Next Year:

So, here is what I am planning for next year.   I am still working on it though and any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

My biggest change is that I am going to have students keep a Homework Journal.  I will require every student to do every homework assignment (even Delta Math problem sets) in a graphing composition book.

  • Lagging Homework and publishing the answers as I did last year.
  • Require students to check answers and mark ones they did incorrectly with a different color pen/pencil.
  • Homework Journal – Students will do all of their homework in a graphing composition book.  The only thing in this book will be homework.  Our calc teacher does this and loves it.  He talks about it all of the time so I have to try it next year.  He calls it a journal and encourages them to write in it.  He tells them to write what did they not understand, what questions they have, and so on.  I could even have them write about how well they felt they understood each assignment.  I do a red/yellow/green for each assessment and think this may be valuable for the homework assignments as well.
  • I will have a section in the back of the journal for their weekly Delta Math problem sets.  I want students working these problems out (and Photo-math is a problem).  Hopefully this will help with both things.  This will make it take longer to do some sets, so I will assign less problems per set.
  • Incorporate “Criteria for Credit” to illustrate to students what a well done math assignment should look like.  A teacher at my school has the students create and then follow this criteria at the beginning of the year.  It is great and I am going to adopt it.  I have also talked her into guest blogging about it now that school is out!
  • From Julia – Each day I will circle any questions they did not fully and correctly complete with a red pen.  I will walk around the room and do this, I will not take them up.
  • Students are encouraged to complete circled problems ( to earn partial credit) before the homework journal is graded.
  • On quiz/test day (or about once every week), I will take the journals up and grade them.  I will take off full credit for every problem not completed, and give half-credit back for any completed circled problems (problems that were incomplete before).
  • Absent students would need to write down each assignment in the book, and ideally complete them before taking any assessments.  I would like to check this, but it may be too hard to keep up with.

Last year I walked around recording their homework scores as I went around the room on my grade sheet.  This is such a pain.  It takes time to look at the work, then time to put a grade down.  And I don’t even mark on their paper.  With Julia’s new system,  I can just walk around the room circling without having to record anything.  So checking homework each day should go much faster.  Then I can take the time once  a week to get the grades down.  And, since incomplete homework is already circled, it should not take long to grade (hopefully).

I love the idea of homework quizzes, but I don’t know if I would keep this up.  Making, distributing, grading, and recording a quiz takes a ton of work, even if it is online.  And I don’t want to create more work for myself.

I am hoping that more work setting things up at the beginning of the year will make the rest of the year easier.


Appreciating Discovery in Mathematics

Most students are unsettled by my “discovery” based style of teaching, at first.  However, once they let go of the way they have always done math, they really enjoy it.  I feel that they retain more, as my focus is never on memorizing formulas and procedures that are always quickly forgotten.  Well, maybe they don’t always retain more, but they seem to understand more of what they do retain.  We do use some formulas in my class, they are just not our first “go to”.  Formulas are what my students develop, individually and then as a class.  We only use formulas after we have investigated them, and understand them.

At the end of the year it is wonderful to see how much they appreciate this and feel that they understand the math they are doing!  I received a couple of lovely thank you notes from my freshmen, and other students wrote comments on my end of year survey as well.

Thank you so much for giving us context in math so we fully understand where things come from. No math teachers have done that for me.

Keep making us discover patterns, it helps us to think more in-depth.

Understand the WHY!!! just because productive struggle isn’t always fun doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful! it makes understanding and remembering concepts easier.

Thanks for a great year and challenging me to grow in this class!

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Supporting Students – Reviewing the Basics

I teach Algebra 2 to students who have just completed a year of Geometry. They do some algebra throughout the year, but are still rusty on many skills when their year with me begins.

This summer I am assigning an optional review on Delta Math for my students. It’s mostly basics with some beginning Algebra 1 topics. I included rounding, basic percents, fraction operations, order of operations, exponents, slope and linear equations, and basic factoring.

I will give my students a pre-assessment in the first week of school so they will know exactly what concepts they still need to work on.  I plan on reteaching the concepts that the majority of the students struggle with.

However, I’m not quite sure of the best way to help students that need more support than this.  I will leave the Delta Math set live so students can continue to practice those topics.  I plan on holding algebra one review sessions during student choice times for students that need, or want, extra support.  But I would like to make sure it is enough, enough time and enough support.  I want to support students who need review, but I am afraid of spending too much class time reviewing basics.  I don’t want students who do not need the review to be bored in my class.

Mattie suggested that I spend some time putting students together that can help each other, and letting them work with each other.  I do like this idea, as it will be more individualized help for students (instead of just me trying to help many students on many different concepts).  Also, often students understand other students better than the teacher.  I could do this in class occasionally or make it during student choice times.  If students volunteered to help others during choice times they could even earn service hours.  But, I haven’t even thought about how to structure this.

I would love ideas.  How do you support students that need extra help with basic skills during an already hectic school day/year?


Teaching Students How to Study with One-Sheets

I would love for my students to learn how to prepare for a math test. This one-sheet idea is the closest I’ve come, as they (eventually) do it all on their own.

At the end of last year I had my students create a study guide for their final exam. I had them make one page (or notecard) of notes for each chapter we had studied. My students commented that although they liked the idea, this was difficult to do at the end of the year. They wish we had summarized each chapter while we were in the chapter so they could remember more things to put on their sheets.  My best ideas often come from students.

So this year at the end of every chapter I had my students summarize the most important topics on the front of one sheet of paper.  Since this was new for them, I gave them a list of topics, then had them brainstorm in groups on whiteboard. Afterwards I had them fold one sheet of paper into sections (one section per topic), and then write the information on their sheets.  I encouraged them to include homework problems they had difficulty on, and notes from the in-class review.

As you can see from the picture above, some students created really thorough one-sheets, while others barely wrote the basics. To help model great one-sheets, I shared the most detailed ones with the class.  But this was after the fact and didn’t help students who had not made thorough one-sheets.


In the end of year survey, most students mentioned how much they loved the one-sheets. But several students mentioned that while they liked having one-sheets, they did not enjoy making them (or make helpful ones).  And that they would love help making a great one sheet.  After reading their comments, I talked to them in class about how to help them create better one-sheets. Overall, more of my boys mentioned that they struggled with making helpful one-sheets.  They suggested that we make the actual one-sheets together in class, especially at the beginning of the year when they are just learning how to make them (and before they realize how valuable the one-sheets will be).

So next year this is how I plan on introducing one sheets.  The first time we do one-sheets, we will make the entire one-sheet together as a class.

  1. Give students a list of topics and let them brainstorm together on whiteboards.
  2. Instruct then how to fold the sheet into sections and label each section.
  3. Give them class time to fill in the sections, guiding them about what is important to include and modeling how to organize the material.
  4. Share great examples as I see them in class so other students can add that information to their sheets.
  5. Finish the one-sheet in class (instead of taking it home to finish).

As the year progresses and they get more practice making the one sheets, we will do less in class.  I want them to learn how to make the one-sheets on their own so they will have this skill for future classes.  However, I will make sure to give them class time at the end of every unit to start making their one-sheets.

About halfway through the year my students became upset with me when I didn’t have them make a one sheet for a chapter.  Some students did it on their own but they missed the class time to brainstorm and work on it together.  By the end of the year most students were creating incredibly detailed one-sheets.  Seriously, some of these one sheets were a work of ART.

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Here are some of the white-boards and one-sheets that my students created this year:



Because Anne

And because May.  I never do these things, but Anne, you are awesome.  So here goes…

A- Age: I’m better with age.

B- Biggest fear: The dark

C- Current time:  9:11 (I was going to bed when I realized I hadn’t posted this!)

D- Drink you last had: Moscow Mule

E- Every day starts with: Working out to Game of Thrones.  Obsessed with the rower.

F- Favorite song:  F-ing Perfect, by Pink

G- Ghosts, are they real? NO

H- Hometown: Catlettsburg, KY

I- In love with: Life

J- Jealous of: Huff

K- killed someone?: hahahaha, not yet.  I have amazing restraint.

L- Last time you cried?: Today in the math office.  I laughed so hard I cried.  Real tears – last week, family can be tough (see K).

M- Middle name: Rae

N- Number of siblings: 3

O- One wish:  That everyone could just get along.

P- Person you last called: My sister

Q- Question you’re always asked:  What is going to be on the test?

R- Reason to smile: Summer

S- Song last sang:  Jamming by Marley

T- Time you woke up: 4:45 am

U- Underwear color:  pink

V- Vacation destination: Hawaii

W- Worst habit: so many….if you know me, you know my bad habits.

Y- Your favorite food: rare Ahi Tuna

X- X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth

Z- Zodiac sign: Capricorn


Nominate 8 more people…

Julia, Sam, Mattie, Chris, Elizabeth, Rachel, MeganSean