Desmos Art Project

Last year I had my students create an art picture using Desmos.  I showed them examples from Staff Pics, Creative Art to motivate them and give them ideas.  My students loved the art they saw on Desmos, and were excited to create their own pictures.  They came to me outside of class to learn how to graph certain functions, restrict their graph, and color in their art.  It was a blast for me and a great learning experience for them.  I loved how excited they were about creating their art!  I have done this with students in Pre-Algebra and up, but you could change the project to make it appropriate for lower grade levels by having them graph only lines, or having them plot points in a Desmos table and connect them.

To keep all of their art projects in one place, I created a Desmos Activity Builder for the project.  Having them do the project through an Activity Builder helped me manage all of their graphs so I could easily view them and access them for help.  By using an Activity Builder, I was also able to include the instructions for the projects and helpful tips for them.  I used teacher pacing, and restricted the screens to 1 – 5 during the project.  After they finished the project, I turned on the “Reflection” slides so they could fill those out.

I had them print out their Desmos Art, and I made a huge collage of it on my wall in the back of the room.

My Activity Builder Includes:

  1. Project Instructions Screen
  2. A link to Learn Desmos so they can use more advanced equations
  3. Example screens that taught them how to restrict and color their graphs (and more) for them to examine and play with.
  4. A blank graph screen for their project
  5. A screen to describe their project
  6. Two “Reflection” screens for after the project was finished.
    1. What did you like the most about the project?
    2. What would you change about the project?

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Here is the work of the Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 students at my school.

Desmos Art

Desmos Art Collage on my wall!

My Favorite Math Games

Playing game in math class can engage even my most reluctant students.  It is so inspiring to see them light up with competition!  For this weeks challenge I decided to compile all of the games that I have blogged about in the past.  Most of the games listed below include powerpoint templates that I have created.  I always forget about the great games I have used in the past and hope this will be a good reminder for me and anyone else who may need it!

My top three for high school are Math Survivor, Trasketball, and Speed Dating!


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Math Survivor Game (Powerpoint Template included) – This is currently my FAVORITE game that I play in class.  I usually play it on review days.  I love seeing kids make alliances screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-8-53-16-am
Trasketball (Powerpoint Template included) – Another great review game that is always a big hit with the kids.  I love to get them up and moving. photo-1
Speed Dating – Great to get kids working with different people all period. HS students will be embarrassed bc of the name and work quietly. lol! Thanks Kate!
Row Games – These are partner activities for specific topics instead of a general review. Thanks Kate!
Flyswatter Review Game (Powerpoint Template included) – Students screen-shot-2011-05-12-at-9-21-00-am
Matho (Powerpoint Template included) Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 11.13.55 AM
Draw It! Game (Powerpoint Template included) – Students compete by writing or drawing  or Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 10.03.50 AM
Add It Up Partner Activity Thanks Rachel! 20120929-131353
Kahoot – I have used other online quiz games, but my students always beg for Kahoot. IMG_3157
Zero Game for Integer Operations – Great middle school game! img_3850
Euclid the Game (Geometry) – This is a game that helps kids learn constructions. screen-shot-2014-09-07-at-9-39-41-pm
Favorite Middle School Math Class Games – A Compilation

One-Sheets Are Back!

We just finished our first chapter in Algebra 2.  This means that we also just did our first “One-Sheet” Study Guides!

  1.  I provided them with a list of the 6 main topics of this chapter.
  2. They brainstormed in groups about what should go under each topic, using their notes and book.
  3. They folded a brightly colored piece of paper into 6 sections and label each section with the topic.
  4. Gallery Walk – They walked around the room and examined each other’s boards to see it there was something great they wanted to include on their sheet that wasn’t on THEIR board.
  5. I take pictures that I post so students can go back and read the boards if they would like.

Brainstorming with their teams

Gallery Walk of the finished boards

Creating the One-Sheet


Creating the One-Sheet from their boards

Week One Done! SOS Internal Clock

Week one is in the books!  It was SO GREAT to be back!  I love starting new each year, and especially meeting an entirely new batch of students.  They are so fresh and truly inspire me the first week of school.  It reinforces how much I love what I do!

I am also EXHAUSTED.  You know, the “I haven’t even worn shoes much or woken up before 9am in two months” exhausted.  I don’t sit down while teaching, unless I am joining a students group, and am not used to standing so long.  The first week is stressful because I have so many things to do to start the year and am afraid I’m going to forget everything.  I wake up almost every morning around 4:30 or 5am, even though the alarm isn’t set until 6, with things running through my mind.  I literally was in bed by 9pm every night this week, but usually didn’t fall asleep until 10 or later.

I was so excited for this weekend!!  My son had a football game over 2 hours away Friday night, so I didn’t get to bed until 1:00 AM.  I had planned on SLEEPING UNTIL NOON today, but my body had other ideas.  Apparently, my internal clock has been totally reset and I awoke at 6AM.  I stayed in bed until 7, desperately trying to fall back to sleep, with no luck.  So, I decided to get up and DO THINGS.

I got up and ran three miles (well, it was definitely more of a walk speed as I’m exhausted and haven’t exercised in toooo long – BUT I DID IT).  Then, because I love to cook and miss it when during the school year (teaching plus 3 boys in sports), I went on a cooking spree and made two quiches, a cobbler, and pasta salad this morning.  I also organized my unit binders and blogged – TWICE now!  I am feeling invincible right now.  BUT, I see a giant nap in my future…

Have a great weekend!  And take care of yourself.

Organization – The Struggle is REAL

I love being organized, but have such a tough time with it.  I move too fast, do too much, and don’t leave enough time to put things away at the end of the day.  But I try.  I love making things organized for my students, so I don’t have to waste class time passing out papers and materials, or getting work for absent students.  Most of my organization tips I found from other people, and am even trying something new after reading the blog posts this week!


Plastic Grading Folder/Pocket:

I put all assessments that need to be graded in a clear plastic pocket.  There is a hi-lighter and Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens in there for grading.  This way I can take my grading with me to all of my children’s activities.  The plastic pocket is durable so the papers don’t get messed up on the soccer field.  🙂


IMG_1653Student Math Numbers:

I give every student a number at the beginning of the year.  They put this number on all of their graded work.  It helps me quickly alphabetize the papers so I can enter them into the grade book.

Extra Handouts:

I have two hanging file folders on the wall, one for each prep, that I label for each day of the week.  I put extra handouts in there so if a student loses theirs, they can get another one.  This is also great for tutors as they can see any work we’ve been doing.


Table/Team Folders:

I got this amazing idea from Sam Shah last year!  I have one folder for each table.

  • I put their handouts for the day in each folder so I don’t have to pass them out.
  • They put work they need to return to me inside the folder.
  • If a student is absent, then the next day any handouts they will need is inside their folder!
  • I have Homework Responsibility sheets in there as well so they can fill out a sheet when they first come into the room if they didn’t do their homework.
  • I also put their name (on a post-it) on the outside of each folder.  This also serves as their seating chart.  When I want to change seating, I just switch the post-its.  It’s great for me bc I’m a very visual person, especially when arranging seating!
  • I keep their folders on the table by the door, so the students get their table folder as they come in.  But, if I want to change where a TEAM sits, I just put their folders on a different table before they come in.



I keep all supplies that students will need on a big shelf in the back.  This way I don’t have to get them out and distribute each time!

Unit Binders!

I have not done this yet, but after reading Greta’s organization post and a slew of tweets I am going to try to use unit binders.  I am hoping it will keep me more organized.  I bought a box of 12 1 inch binders on Amazon for $27.00!  But now the price has increased to $37.00!?

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