Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Base Ten and Place Value Flashcards

So I'm shifting to include some elementary level math activities on this page.  My son is in 1st grade and may or may not have inherited a math brain.  Anyways there are days he shows signs of math brilliance and there are some days he brings home a not so great score on a math assignment.  He told me the other day that he liked doing fractions...let's hope this continues!  Here's the flashcards I made for him.  I was inspired by these cute cards found here and I used a free border found here to spice them up.

April is the month of birthdays for my family.  You know age in years doesn't look so bad in base ten blocks...just a thought.

You may download and use these flashcards for your own purposes, especially to help a child learn math.  Do not use or sell these cards for profit.  All I ask in exchange is for you to become a follower and/or to share my blog with your friends.  Thanks!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Midpoint and Distance Formula Project

This is a small project I assigned students.  It reinforces application of the midpoint and distance formulas in addition to providing an opportunity for the students to problem solve and be creative.  I specifically designed the rubric for extremely quick grading.  You will notice that every student has the same problem, which eases checking for accuracy.  I also did not require students to use the midpoint and/or distance long as they could explain in writing their methodology in solving the problem that was good enough for me.  The end product was a variety of maps that were great to display.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Percent of Change Worksheet

Before I taught students how to compute any percent of change I would also present the following competitors and ask, "Who's the Biggest Loser?"  This would lead to laughs, but of course it intrigued the students and opened up a great discussion.  Do you know who the Biggest Loser is?

Here's a short activity I gave the students to complete:

CCSS Math Content 7.RP.A.3
Alaska 7.RP.3
Nebraska MA 7.1.3.c
Texas TEKS 111.24 (b) 3 (B)
Virginia SOL 7.4, SOL 8.3

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pi Day Resources

Pi Day is approaching!  Here are some resources to help you out...even though I think we should be celebrating the ratio of a circle's circumference to its radius or tau.  Why tau?  Well most people will tell you that a circle's circumference is 2πr and that the area of a circle is πr2.  Notice how both formulas refer to the circle's radius?  Also if we celebrated tau, then we could eat twice the pie!  I rest my case.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Multiplying Two Binomials

For those of you that don't know...a binomial is a two-term polynomial like these:


Probably the most common strategy of teaching students how to multiply two binomials is using the FOIL method.  FOIL is an acronym for "First, Outer, Inner, Last."  That is, multiply the first terms, multiply the outer terms, multiply the inner terms, and finally multiply the last terms.  It's easy to remember, so that's why I think it's popular.

Then there's the visual strategy of drawing a face.  I like to think I have a good imagination, but this visual just doesn't do it for me.  There's also the bird's beak.  If these strategies don't get the students excited about multiplying binomials then try this should do the trick.

Common Core Standard A-APR
Alaska A-APR.1
Nebraska MA 12.3.3.d
Texas TEKS 111.32 (b) (4)
Virginia Math SOL A.2

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Keeping Track of the Assignments

I penalized students for turning in homework or daily practice assignments late, which was after a short one class safety buffer.  If you didn't get a chance, you can read more by clicking here.

How did I keep track of what was turned in and when?  I would of loved to have one of those time stamp machine things, but alas there are two words to describe the problem...Teacher's Salary.

I kept track of all the incoming assignments by creating my own time stamp machine.  Here's what you need: A calendar, stamps, and ink pads.  I found a free printable calendar here at Hello, Cuteness!; stamps I purchased at Michael's (don't forget to use the weekly %-off coupons and your teacher discount); and the ink pads I picked up from a "free" bin from an outgoing teacher (these felt ink pads, found here, last longer, make less of a mess than the sponge kind, and are scented!).

  1. Each day select a stamp and color and record it on the calendar.  Place only the stamp and color of the day out...or else students will get sneaky!  I have 23 different stamps and 7 different color inks...that's 23 x 7 = 161 possible combinations!
  2. On the day an assignment is due (and you want to give a numerical grade for it) go around the room with a clipboard/tablet to record a grade for each student.  Any paper that is given full-credit is stamped with the corresponding stamp/color for the day.  These papers are not collected as the students were responsible for keeping them in their notebook/binder.  Incomplete papers are not stamped and also not collected (with the hopes that the student will make the attempt to complete it by the next class for full-credit).
  3. If a student has an assignment to turn in that is not on time, then he or she should stamp the paper with the corresponding stamp/color for the day and physically place it in the proper basket. 
  4. If any sheet of paper in the basket is missing a stamp or written detail of the assignment (i.e. Section 3.2 - p.342 #1-21odd), then it is returned to the student immediately without being recorded. (Do this consistently and they won't make the same mistake again).
  5. If any sheet of paper in the basket is missing a name, it should be placed immediately on a "No Name" board.  (My "No Name" board consisted of a string with clothes pins).
  • Student's can't easily lie about when they turned in an assignment.
  • You can fall behind with your grading and recording and still know when an assignment was turned in.
  • Doesn't cost a ton.
  • Some students are slobs with ink.
  • A desperate student can possibly acquire and use the same stamp/ink you used on a specific day and claim they turned in the assignment on time.
  • Keep a container of wet wipes in your room to clean the stamps.
  • Put the stamp/ink out for the next day just before leaving, that way it's ready to go if you have an unexpected absence.
  • Use felt ink pads.
  • Give a mini lesson to the students on how to ink and stamp without making a mess.
  • Display the stamped calendar for the students.
  • Make sure you record the due date for each assignment in your gradebook.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Need help with... 
...something for your math class? 
...finding extra math practice for your child?
...learning a math concept so you can help out your child?

Let me know.  I'd be happy to help out. :)