Parallelogram Discovery

So during my sixth grade class today, we were attempting to discovery the area formula of a parallelogram from a rectangle.
I gave the students a piece of graph paper and a set of instructions.  They were to make a rectangle using whole number edges, find the area of their rectangle. Then they were going to draw a straight line from one corner to the opposite base, slide the piece over and form a parallelogram. With their parallelogram they were to then estimate the number of unit squares, state the base and state the height.
Then, they were going to compare the parallelograms to their rectangles.

It was going to be great! NOT!!!
First teacher mistake – I didn’t review what a rectangle looked like.
Second teacher mistake – I didn’t review what a parallelogram looked like.
Third teacher mistake – I got cocky thinking it was the best lesson in the world.

Luckily, my students were understanding and we stopped midway and reviewed what we were doing, talked about what the shapes looked like and overall I think it turned out well.

Hopefully, when we do it tomorrow with right triangles, it goes much better 🙂

I only wish I had taken pictures!!! 


Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpenr


I’m pretty excited about my new, purple pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies!  I’ve seen this pencil sharpener touted as the “world’s best pencil sharpener” on pinterest, facebook, google, classroom sites and everywhere else for several years now.  To be honest, I doubted how this could be true.  After all, isn’t a pencil sharpener a pencil sharpener? And how can this compare to an electric sharpener???

The answer to that question is a definite no!  My electric pencil sharpener broke at the end of last year, and I needed to think about a replacement. Not to mention, I wanted something that would last longer than one year! SO I figured, i’d try out the pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies.  So, off to the website I went for more details.  I soon found myself watching youtube videos of the pencil sharpener, and I decided I HAD to have one.

The neat thing about this pencil sharpener is it comes with a clamp to clamp it down 🙂
Some more pros – IT isn’t loud! Students can sharpen a pencil and I can teach AT THE SAME TIME!!! It stops sharpening the pencil when it has the perfect point. AND there is a clear drawer for the shavings that let me or the students know I need to empty it.

The sharpener also has this front plate that slides open and clicks into position.

I have tried the sharpener with with multiple pencils and they all got the perfect point. I first tried Ticonderoga (and of course it was great). Then I went to a “cheaper” pencil and worked just as smooth!! I even used it to sharpen all of the plastic covered “it’s a boy” pencils for my baby shower!!!

The link for “how to use it” is right here


Perfect Cube Lab

Figuring out 64 is a perfect cube

One of the topics that my students have trouble with is memorizing their prefect squares and perfect cubes. Because of this, we did a lab with perfect squares where they were given graph paper and had to make squares. Then we talked about the relationship between the edge lengths and the areas. It went GREAT 🙂 

The next day, I sent them on a mission. The students had to model whether or not a given number was a perfect cube and then (with their model) figure out the cube root. I gave them little blocks and sent them to work with their partner. 

Working on figure out if 25 is a perfect cube

Last year, I gave them a list of the prefect cubes,  talked about a cube and said “go memorize”…well that didn’t work well. This year, after their cube lab, I had them journal “How can you find the value of a number squared from the model of that number cubed” and told them to make a cube, look at it and really digest what it meant, what the face shows and what the edge length shows.

This was FANTASTIC!!! The kids loved it 🙂 Then of course wimg_20160909_141402e made a list in our notes of perfect cubes and honestly, they made the list themselves. They were able to experiment up to 5 cubed and I am really proud of them!!


Interactive Notebooks: First week

First off…Sorry I’ve been gone so long!!!

So last year I got really involved with interactive notebooks. I was able to utilize some amazing blogs to help me get started and I have found myself using them this year too.  First one was Sarah’s Rubin’s Blog and the second is Mrs. Hester’s Blog and without those blogs, I don’t know what I would have done!!

Since I knew that all of my students wouldn’t have their notebooks on day 1, I told them I wanted them on Monday (We started school on a Thursday so that was plenty of time and not a lot of class time). I also knew that not every student would have their notebooks on Monday so I bought a bunch (73 to be exact) from Walmart when they were 17 cents to make sure I was prepared!! and I am glad I did because I gave out about 20. Luckily that then means I have plenty for next year 🙂

Anyways, On the first day with out notebooks, we created a table of contents and paper clipped four pages together (4 9 weeks) so they wouldn’t accidentally use a table of contents page. Then they started numbering!
I gave the students 5 minutes to number as many pages as possible. This was so exciting for them and many of them began to race each other.

Then, on page one, I used an idea I got from we did a Classroom Progive me 5cedures and Policies summary. This ended up being homework for most students, but they had to trace their hand and write down 5 things from the Policies and Procedures that was important to them! I stressed that these notebooks needed to be personalized and I wanted to establish this early. I had so many kids go like “UGHHH Homework” but then when the heard it they were excited to do it 🙂
(Idea came from Sarah Rubin and I am so glad I found it!!)


Would you believe that my 6th and 8th graders were excited about homework??? and they turned out so good, I wish I had pictures!!

Boring Worksheets

So, I am fairly new to the teaching profession. I am almost done with my third year. Being a new teacher, I complete every worksheet that I give my students before I give it to them.

Well…This one worksheet that I was trying to complete was SO BORING. This was Sunday night and I swear I did everything I could do to not complete this worksheet. I found distractions, I even did some laundry. I am the teacher and I did not want to complete this assignment!! This really made me think about what I was going to give my kids.

Because this assignment was so boring. I decided to make a change. The material was important and kids needed practice with it! I decided to take all of those questions (there were 33) and make them into cards.

These cards are “Quiz – Quiz -Trade” cards. They have  question on the front and the answer on the back. The students quiz each other and then trade. This is actually a Kagan strategy that I learned during a training and the kids loved it! It lasts for about 15-20 minutes and the kids are super engaged for that time.

I am glad that I decided to do this because they seemed to really get the concept of one solution, no solution and infinite solutions with systems of equations. PLUS – I have this activity for next year instead of a boring worksheet 😀

PBL part 2

So the students put finished their projects and made presentations the week before Spring Break. It was very exciting because I had them check their trend lines with the graphing calculator so they could see how accurate they were.

I am so impressed with all of the hard work my students did. 🙂 The PBL Started off scary and I was intimidated, but I think that the kids really learned a lot from it!! I can’t wait to grade the projects.

My First PBL

Last week I started a PBL about functions, statistics and probability. The project is called What will They think and it has been a big huge headache!!!

Day 1 – we watched the Coca-Cola video and than looked at Jelly Belly’s website. We than discussed how their marketing was different what what would need to be considered when launching a new product. The students were SO EXCITED during this process. The students created the driving question of “How can we use research and data to find out what products people want?”  I was quite impressed with it!

From there, students were put into groups of 3-4 where they brainstormed product ideas and possible answer choices. We discussed viable answers (after defining viable) and what we would need to do to make sure our data was usable. This was kind of tricky because students wanted to do so many different things. Once each member came up with an idea, they did group critiques.

My day one was almost the same exact day 1 as Jessie Hester. I was thankful to have her blog as a guide for this PBL.

Day 2: The groups picked one survey question to finalize and use for their groups. Then the groups typed of their survey question and had to survey at least 10 people (This was where the headache came in). We than did some notes on correlation and statistics definitions.

Day 3 – two way table notes and practice

Day 4 – Most of my students DIDN’T HAVE any data which was so frustrating. SO, because of this I became frustrated and gave them another day to get survey results. Then we did some practice problems and what not.

Day 5-6 Scatter plot and two way table practice notes.

Day 7 – The students did simulations using a spinner at Math is Fun. This was good for them to gather the data. This is where I am right now with my PBL.
Today was stressful in the fact that so few students had data that when they were completing their tables, the data was skewed.

Tomorrow is Day 8. Students will be putting together their final projects. I will have pictures for my next post!


The Beginning

I am at the end of my third year of teaching and boy has it been interesting! During my first year of teaching, it was all about keeping my head above water.  Year two, you make notes about what went well, and make modifications to things that didn’t.  Then, year three…Everything was supposed to go super smooth!

I am currently teaching 8th grade math and I love it! We have a great math department and are able to ask each other for advice when needed.

My first and second year, I dabbled in Interactive notebooks. This year, I can safely say I am *doing* Interactive notebooks! I actually just got back from presenting about them at WVCTM and it was so much fun!! I had never given a presentation before and I think I did well. I also got to meet my HERO Dan Meyers!! Dan Meyers

I most definitely would not have been able to have such a fun time with my Interactive notebooks if it wasn’t for Mrs. Hester’s Blog. Jessie Hester has been a HUGE inspiration to me and was the beginning of Interactive notebooks for me.  I anticipated the content development would be time intensive, and knew I’d be putting in more hours at school with being a new teacher, but her blog has made it so much easier for me.

Soooo, when I was presenting at WVCTM, I was told that I should start a blog so I can help others as well. Thinking that it was my time to pay it forward, I hope that this blog can help someone as much as JessieSarah Hagan or Sarah has helped me!!