Monthly Algebra 2 Blog Posts! #Alg2Chat

Thanks to all of the Algebra 2 Teachers who submitted a blog post this month!  Don’t forget about our Algebra 2 Twitter Chat, this Thursday at 9PM EST (#Alg2Chat).

We would love to have you blog with us!  Here are the topics that we will be discussing at the #Alg2Chat’s on Twitter this month.  It would be great for you to blog so you can share your blog link during the discussions.

9/8/16 – Student Engagement

9/15/16 – Rich Problems for Algebra 2

9/22/16 – Making Groups Work

9/29/16 – How You Use Technology

Fill out this form to submit your blog post.

Blogging Initiative, 2016

2015 was a tough year for me, as I was at a new school, teaching all new classes in a different division!  I did not have much time to blog.  But now it’s 2016, and the new blogging initiative is almost here!!  With the new year comes a new resolution for my blog…

I, Julie Reulbach at iSpeakMath, resolve to blog in 2016 in order to open my classroom up and share my thoughts with other teachers. I hope to accomplish this goal by participating in the January Blogging Initiation hosted by Explore MTBoS.

You, too, can still join in on this exciting adventure!  All you have to do is dust off your blog and get ready for the first prompt to arrive January 10th!

We matched new bloggers up with mentors during the month of December.  However if you would still like to mentor anyone (or get help) please check out the spreadsheet.  This is a self-directed spreadsheet, so be sure to pick a mentor or someone to help when you sign up!

Blogging Class for Middle and High School Students

At my school, the first week back is called “WinTerm”.  It is a week where all of the students get to take different classes.  We have all day and half day classes, and some students even go on trips for the week.

I decided to teach a half day class on blogging.  I created a blog for my students on how to blog with daily instructions.  It has been such a fun week!  My students have done an excellent job – and even ran through everything I wanted to teach them by Wednesday!  So Thursday I had them read and comment on each other’s blogs.  Today I am going to teach them how to REALLY use Twitter.  Teenagers seem to use hashtags pretty randomly or mainly for sarcasm.  I also introduced them to so they could understand the coding behind the blogs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About mid-week we decided to do a group blog called “Study Songs” where songs and mnemonics are posted to help them study for school topics.  We put a form on there so anyone reading the blog could submit their favorite mnemonic.  Share it with your students so they can contribute too!

You could do blogging with a middle school class as well, probably beginning in 7th grade.  I taught one of my 7th grade students how to blog last year because she had a great idea that needed to be shared!  I have included her blog as well.

I was pleasantly surprised at how fast they went through the material I wanted to teach them this week.  And I really love reading their blogs!  I am learning about fitness, fashion, books I need to read, movies I need to watch, and food!  I have included their blogs below so you can also see what students are capable of!

Check out our blogs!

7th Grade Blog (8th now)

  • Leila, Only at Woodlawn, This blog is written by the class of 2019 about all of the wonderful things that ONLY happen at Woodlawn!

Why I Love To Blog

Kate’s question, “Why do you blog?” could not have come at a better time.  This Tuesday, I will be talking about social media with the math teacher education students in the Master Teacher Fellow program at at Wake Forest University.  I can’t wait to share all of the responses to Kate’s question with them!  I hope that all of your responses will encourage them to blog as they enter the wonderful world of teaching next fall!

1. What hooked you on reading the blogs? Was it a particular post or person? Was it an initiative by the nice MTBoS folks? A colleague in your building got you into it? Desperation?

After being out of teaching for almost 10 years, I heard about Dan’s blog from a speaker at NCCTM.  Reading his inspirational blog made me want to be a better teacher. I was hooked.  Reading Dan’s blog also led me to many other math teacher blogs.  I was amazed at all of the free resources that I found on every blog I read.  This type of sharing simply did not exist when I first entered teaching.  I was amazed at the generosity of the teacher bloggers. 

2. What keeps you coming back? What’s the biggest thing you get out of reading and/or commenting?

The quality of the resources I find on blogs keep me coming back.  The thing I love the most about blogs is that it isn’t just a lesson like you would find in a book or on a website, but there is a dialog.  Teachers not only share their lesson, but they tell you how tell you how they taught it, how it went, post examples of student work and even pictures, and even tell you how to improve it when you teach it.  This type of dialog is invaluable when you are considering teaching a new lesson for the first time.

3. If you write, why do you write? What’s the biggest thing you get out of it?

I love to write because I want to give back to this community.  I am so appreciative of all of the support I have found and want to share this with as many teachers as possible.  I also write so that I can remember specifically what I did in a lesson and can refer back to it.  I like writing about lessons I need help with.  The teachers that comment on my blog and help me make lessons better are so helpful to my teaching.  I am not a great writer, but I am comforted that mostly math teachers read my blog.  

4. If you chose to enter a room where I was going to talk about blogging for an hour (or however long you could stand it), what would you hope to be hearing from me? MTBoS cheerleading and/or tourism? How-to’s? Stories?

I would love to hear your story Kate.  I think that it would inspire others, as you and so many other bloggers have inspired me.  I could never thank this community enough for all that they have given to me.  They have changed my teaching and thus made my everyday work like so much more enjoyable.  THANK YOU ALL MTBoS!!

Amazing New Bloggers! Math Blogger Initiation, Week 2

Congratulations to our new bloggers!  They are halfway through!  This week, I get to blog about 10 more new bloggers.  I even had time to write my comments about them.  I’m so sorry to my last week bloggers as I was an overstressed zombie and did not get to write reflections.  I am seriously in awe over how great these bloggers are and can’t wait to see all of the new material they create!

I was also assigned a blogger who stopped blogging and even deleted their blog altogether because of negative comments after Week 1 of the Initiation.  I am not sure who this is yet as I started my first week of school and did not get to read all 130 new blogs.  However, I am truly sorry that you had a negative experience.  Please know that we have all had negative comments and experiences, it is a part of social media.  But, it does not have to define us.  And, when you persevere, you will see that the many good comments and benefits will outweigh the bad.

Nutter Buttersmith @reminoodle has a blog named **The MathSmith**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **Review Games by Students for Students“** and the author sums it up as follows: **I shared my review game project that I use to have students conduct their own exam review with games they create and implement. I included my description for the students, my rubric, my reflection piece, and some pictures of review games students have created.** A memorable quotation from the post is: **As exam review each semester (and this year, each trimester), I gave students a group project worth 100 points to come up with review games for each chapter that will be on the exam.**

My comments:
Remi is an amazing person who I adore for many reasons but especially because she crochets!  She has given me many great ideas this summer on her blog.  I love that she included such detailed instructions and all of her files in this post.  It makes the activity effortless to implement!  Also, she is posting a ton of blogs right now and will be around for the long run.  This is a site that you don’t want to miss!

Mr. Carby @NateilCarby has a blog named **Change over Time**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **All Student Teachers Should Learn SST Procedure“** and the author sums it up as follows: **Most teachers assume other teachers know about the SST process. Most don’t. And the ones that do, don’t do it EFFECTIVELY. ** A memorable quotation from the post is: **If our job is to put students first, we need to consistent with that even if it means more paperwork in the process.**

Thank you Mr. Carby for bringing to light such an important issue!  Most teachers are not trained to handle these special needs our students have, especially if they do not have an IEP.  Being a student teacher can be daunting, especially if you do not know that you can get support from something like SST.

Lauren has a blog named **From a Math Class**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **They Don’t Teach You That In School“** and the author sums it up as follows: **This post is about a first-year struggle with paper traffic. The system I developed for filing and staying organized is highly ineffective and causing me to lose my mind.** A memorable quotation from the post is: **It’s like trying to power my house with a potato.**

I love this post because I feel your pain Lauren!  In fact, you have inspired me to make “Organization” the Middle School Sunday Funday blogging topic after review games!  And I agree that there were so many things they didn’t teach us in “teacher school” that we really needed!

Kevin Krenz @kevin_krenz has a blog named **Rational Limits**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **[NBI] Modeling Temperatures with GeoGebra“** and the author sums it up as follows: **One of my better lessons from my first year of teaching was having students model monthly temperatures in GeoGebra. Students had to struggle to interpret the different parts of their equations within the context. It helped trig become more concrete for them and gave me a more accurate measure of their growth. Next year I’m going to start the unit with this activity.** A memorable quotation from the post is: **The more that I grow as a teacher, the more I believe in teaching modeling with mathematics.**

Wow.  This blog is a must read.  Kevin is using Geogebra and Google Documents with his students for a fantastic modeling lesson.  Also, he has embedded every document he used into his blog with Scibd.  Don’t be fooled, this is no “baby blogger”.  Kevin is hi-tech and knows what he is doing.  Also, my favorite part of the entire post was his “next time” analysis.  You are spot on Kevin.  As I am always telling math candidates that I interview or watch teach, always start with the real world example.  It’s the hook, and students will love it!

Valerie Higgins @Valerie1121 has a blog named **Crafty Math**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **Olympic proportions“** and the author sums it up as follows: **This exercise is an interesting review of proportions following the Olympics. It was slightly head-scratching–it wasn’t immediately obvious to students how to figure it out–but the logic behind it was automatically intriguing enough to provide a desire to figure out the true answer.** A memorable quotation from the post is: **And I thought to myself, “Self, this would be a fun exercise for the kiddos!”**

I love how Valerie showed us how Twitter gave her a terrific idea for her math class!  This is a great activity that she used to review proportions for the ACT, however as a middle school math teacher I am going to use this as a proportion lesson!  Thank you for bringing math to life Valerie and making it so interesting!

Jonathan Newman has a blog named **Hilbert’s Hotel**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **An Assignment of Which I am (was) Proud“** and the author sums it up as follows: **I used to be a middle school teacher, but my classroom management was horrendous. I tried so many different things, and because the students knew I didn’t start the year being strict, they ate me up alive and nothing worked. However when we did this activity, the students were so silent, you could hear a pin drop. We played Coordinate Battleship!** A memorable quotation from the post is: **Most things about middle school I don’t miss, but getting to capture their attention through a silly little game where they are learning mathematics and don’t even know it is one of the little things that I do miss. **

Jonathan blogs about Coordinate Battleship in a way that I have never played it with my class!  He has the whole class play together.  I thought that this was fascinating and especially loved how he had them say “Parenthesis, three, comma, negative four, parenthesis”.  In middle school they often forget the parenthesis when they first start writing the coordinates.  When I have the students play Battleship, they do so in partners.  However, some partners mess up but it is hard to catch with so many games going on at the same time.  This ensures the entire class is learning it correctly.  Also, I love the “Torpedo” tie in at the end and wonder if my students will realize what a slope of 0 will do! 

Bruce Ferrington @BruceFerrington has a blog named **Authentic Inquiry Maths**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **My Name is 6 x 7“** and the author sums it up as follows: **We used labels on all the kids to help practice and remember some of those harder multiplication facts. Children spoke to their friends as “49” and “56” – they really got into the swing of things and hopefully some of these times tables facts will be retained!** A memorable quotation from the post is: **For the day, all kids in Year 4 were given a sticky label with a multiplication fact written on it – this became their new name for the day.**

Bruce knocked it out of the park with this lesson.  What a great way to make memorization stick!  I teach 6th grade and they have such a tough time with their 12’s.  I am going to do this on Tuesday (and maybe all week!)  Thank you Bruce for such a fun lesson!

Matt Owen @_MattOwen_ has a blog named **Just Tell Me the Answer**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **I Love My Google Site!“** and the author sums it up as follows: **I’m pretty darn proud of my class website. I’ve put a lot of work into it, and I kinda want to show it off! I also just want to put it out there so I can get feedback.** A memorable quotation from the post is: **My website is really the vehicle that is allowing me to make a run at standards based grading and a flipped class model.**

I knew I would love this blog with I saw the Rick Astley reference and proceeded to get “Rick-rolled”.  LOVE.  I am with you Matt, I am really proud of your Google Site!  This is something that I have always been interested in doing, and after reading Matt’s post, I may have to actually try it!  His Google Site looks amazing and I love how he is using the Google Forms as well!

Rachel Rosales @rachelrosales has a blog named **PurpleProntoPups**.

The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled **Something to be proud of“** and the author sums it up as follows: **This is a RAFT (role, audience, format, topic) for systems of equations. It allows students to have some choice in their final product, while demonstrating knowledge of the “big picture” of systems of equations.** A memorable quotation from the post is: **Since a lot most almost everything I use has been stolen from somewhere, this was actually a difficult prompt to respond to.**

Rachel posted a RAFT on Systems of Equations and asks for our help in helping her improve it.  I am especially proud of Rachel for this blog post.  One of the most difficult things to do as new bloggers is to open up our lessons for critical viewing.  But, it is also one of the most helpful!  Please visit this site and help Rachel make a great project based lesson on Systems of Equations even better!

Update: Posts featuring all the others bloggers participating in the second week of the Math Blogging Initiation:

Julie, Fawn, Anne, Megan, Bowman, Sam, Lisa, John, @druinok, Tina, Kate, Sue