I've been meaning to write on here for a few weeks now, so rather than let another day go by, here are some things going on in my classroom recently...
Area & Circumference of Circles
Last week my 7th graders explored circles. It's kind of a random geometry standard in the 7th grade CCLS, and I wanted them to go beyond simply calculating area and circumference, so we explored these three tasks from Illustrative: Eight Circles, Designs, and Stained Glass. We also explored the Penny Farthing from the MAP. They all led to some interesting conversations about perimeter and representing units with pi, and a number of students used ratios as opposed to straight conversions, which I didn't even think to use (I love it when they do that). Definitely going to do more with circles next year.
Systems of Linear Equations: Standard vs General Form
My 8th graders began their second to last unit of the year before the Regents exam, It's in the System, and I am really enjoying it so far (it might be one of my favorite 8th grade units). We had an interesting discussion last week about the difference between the standard form and general form of a linear equation. The standard form being, Ax + By = C and the general form bring Ax + By + C = 0. From what we have gathered, there are benefits to using one over the other, but why is the standard form more common than the general? Why make the distinction? Definitely a conversation to be continued. I also found this Linear Systems bundle from Desmos, which I had used before, so I am excited to have them explore it this week.
Spring 2017 NYC Teaching Lab Demonstration Cycle
Earlier this week, a former colleague of mine, sent me a message on LinkedIn about this free Math Demo from Teaching Lab in June, because it was going to use content from Mathalicious, which I love, so I signed up. It is two days of Math PL, including an inquiry cycle of trying out the material with my students, and then analyzing the student work. I am excited, but the only potential downfall is that my 7th graders already explored the problem they are using, Coupon Clipping, earlier this year and it doesn't fit into what my 6th or 8th graders will be doing in June. When I signed up, someone from Teaching Lab reached out to me and suggested pairing me up with another teacher in Queens, so see them teach it and then analyze their student work, which is a possibility. Hopefully all goes well and I am able to attend this PL.
The NYC Math Lab
Speaking of teaching labs, I also applied for the NYC Math Lab in July. I have never gone before but it looks like a good opportunity to connect with other math teachers in the city and analyze our practice.
The Teachers Guild Fellowship
My AP sent me a link to the Teacher's Guild Fellowship, which I had also never heard of before but sounds exciting. According to their website, "Throughout the one year Fellowship, you’ll design an innovative solution, share it across your school or district, and be a part of a cohort of 10 exceptional educators from across the U.S. who believe in the power of teacher ideas to transform education from the ground up." I felt really supported that she thought of me, and I think I am going to apply because I would love to do something to support strong math education. Applications are due next month.
Math for America
So, once again, I have submitted my application for MfA. This year, the whole application process will occur before the end of the school year. I am nervous, especially because it was rough when I didn't get in last year, but I am glad that I decided to try again. Now we play the waiting game to see if I get an interview again or not. Part of my reapplying, involves me continuing to explore something I am excited by and continue to learn about in math, so I am currently reading Taming the Infinite: The Story of Mathematics From the First Numbers to Chaos Theory, by Ian Stewart. I wish I had time to read more at a time, but with work and life, I can only read so much at a time. There is just so much math out there! Some of the topics in the book have been beyond my understanding, but it has introduced me to other ideas, such as spherical geometry, which totally goes against the idea that a triangle's angles add up to 180 degrees. Again, another conversation to be continued.
Test Prep & Photography Club
Next week we go round two of state testing, so my 6th and 7th graders will be doing test prep this week. I usually do a combination of station and math lab work to keep it interesting. At least it's only week of test prep, then three days of testing, then we go back to our regularly scheduled programming. It's crazy how fast this year is going. Tomorrow is my first Photography Club meeting, and I am excited to do something different. As much as I love Math Club, it's always good to change outlets everyone once in a while, and I am excited to share my creative hobby with my students. So far 24 students have signed up. Our electives meet on Mondays, so this cycle is only seven weeks long (although don't get me wrong, it's kind of nice knowing that there are only seven Mondays left in the school year) ;)