Classroom Setup and Goals – MS Sunday Funday

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This week’s theme is Classroom Setup and Goals.  Next week, the theme will be everything advisory. Please share how your school runs advisory, how often you do advisory and why, and most important, advisory activities!

Also, grab the MS Sunday Funday logo at the top to link back to this page.

Foldable Talk Summary – Recording, Links, and Powerpoint Included

Wow!  We had 65 people attend the second Global Math Department Foldable talk tonight.  We had some technical difficulties, mostly with audio.  I didn’t use a microphone last week when I jumped in on Megan’s talk so I didn’t think about using one this week.  But, I should have because I was hard to hear.  I hope I didn’t speak too fast (I have that tendency), which would make poor audio even worse.  If you didn’t get to go, you can view (and hopefully listen) to the entire presentation here.  So far I can only see the chat and the slides.  I am hoping that the audio is still processing.

Here are the slides from my presentation.  Pictures of some of the foldables are at the end.

To download the actual foldables, visit the Math Teacher’s Wiki.

Math Class Notebooks – MS Sunday Funday

Welcome to a collaboration of posts by amazing middle school math teachers!

#msSunFun

This week’s theme is Math Class Notebooks.  Next week, the theme will be everything advisory. Please share how your school runs advisory, how often you do advisory and why, and most important, advisory activities!

Also, grab the MS Sunday Funday logo at the top to link back to this page.

Graph Paper Interactive Notebook in Math Class – MS Sunday Funday

Last year I transitioned from regular notebooks to spiral bound graph paper notebooks.  I LOVE graph paper notebooks for two main reasons.  First and foremost, I never have to pass out graph paper.   We make many tables, charts, and graphs in my class so having their notebook BE graph paper is just divine.  Additionally, I teach 6th grade and many of them still have giant handwriting and/or their work is all over the place.  With the graph paper notebooks, I can strongly encourage them to put one number in each square.  This helps in almost every mathematical procedure that they do.  Numbers are small, neat, and all lined up.  Beautiful.

 I also do a modified version of the INB (Interactive Notebook).  I didn’t do very well with the Left Hand Page OR the Table of Contents last year, but thanks to Megan I am motivated and planning to be much better this year!

Most teachers like to use the composition books for the Interactive Notebook.  They DO have these graph paper composition notebooks!  But, I would have to buy them all myself and have the students reimburse me.  My parents have a hard enough time finding the graph spiral bound notebooks and I don’t want to stress them out further.  Whatever you do, don’t let them use the notebooks with the glued in pages (not the composition books).  The pages of the notebooks with the glued in pages start falling out, in mass, after about 2 weeks of use.  This is a nightmare.

Notebook Tips:

  • You will probably need one notebook per semester.
  • It usually takes us about 30 minutes to set up the notebook initially.
  • Have extra blank notebooks on hand it you want to set them up any day in week 1.  Someone is not going to have theirs yet.  You just give them one of your new, blank ones, email the parent a reminder, and then collect theirs as an extra when they bring it in.  You can use this one next semester.
  • Use Foldables or half sheets for their notes whenever possible so you don’t have to trim every worksheet you give them.  That gets very old, very fast.
  • Modeling is the key when doing a math class notebook with younger students.  I have 6th and 7th grade, so I made a Powerpoint that shows how to set up the notebook step by step.

Read more Middle School Math Sunday Funday Posts!

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Made for Math Monday – Math Reference Books

I teach middle school, so by the end of the trimester, student’s spiral bound math notebooks are pretty beaten up at best, and downright nasty at worse.  So, at the beginning of each trimester I have students start a brand new notebook for my class.  At the end of the year they each have 3 beaten up, spiral math notebooks.

I did not want my student to just take these notebooks home – as I knew they would probably end up thrown out!  So, I decided to have them use their three notebooks to make make ONE Math Reference Books.

They went through each of their three notebooks and tore out what they felt was the most important pages (keeping the pages in date order).  Then, they compiled these pages to make on concise Math Reference Book.  They used the back cover of two of their old notebooks to make a new front and back cover for the new reference book.  Then, they tied them all together with yarn and decorated the cover.

I had the students make a pocket for the inside of the notebooks as well so they could keep any chapter or study guides we had made.  It was very interesting to see what pages most students decided to keep.  Almost all students selected the pages with foldables on them.  One student ONLY kept pages that were foldables!


I kept their Math Reference Books in my room and will give them back next year to use in class when they have questions or get stuck on review problems.  I will also let struggling students take theirs home when they need more work or remediation.

I am hopeful that this will be a resource that will help jog their memory when they forget a concept or procedure (since it contains notes that they took in their own handwriting).  I would also like for them to see the value of taking good notes through these reference books.  I also like the fact that all of their hard work from the year before is not thrown away and forgotten, but used as we go forward and built upon previous concepts.

Turning Words into Math – Graphic Organizer

I made this graphic organizer to help my students quickly (and visually) reference the math symbols that words often translate into.  I had them glue it onto the back cover of their notebooks for easy reference.  The words are not centered on the page so that the paper can be easily cut down to fit onto spiral bound notebook pages.  The PDF file is below.  Thanks!  🙂

Words Into Math Graphic Organizer and Word Bank

Creative Commons License
I Speak Math Materials by Julie Reulbach is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://ispeakmath.wordpress.com.

Writing Linear Equations from Word Problems – Foldable

6th and 7th grade students do not like to write equations for word problems. They just want to scratch out some calculations and give me their answer. Often, their answer is correct, but I would love for them to develop how to write an equation from a word problem at this level.

I made this four step foldable to visually slow them down, and illustrate the steps they need to take when writing an equation from a word problem. The students caught on very easily when I did this in class with them. For the first time, they seemed to realize that they needed to complete several steps in order to solve a word problem (by writing an equation). I emphasized the importance of the equation.

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This is the example that I wrote on the board to illustrate how to write an equation and solve it.

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PDF and Word File of the Foldable.

Sorry for the upside down picture!  I was trying to post using my iPad.  That app needs work!