Friday, September 15, 2017

7th Grade Math in MN: Days 13-17

Week 4
Day 13: White Board Game & Histograms
Day 14: Intro to Mean as Fair Share
Day 15: Interactive Notebook Notes & Mean as Balance Point
Day 16: WoDB and Median Activity
Day 17: Prodigy Intro (hearing & vision screening)

This week our goal was to get through all the mean and median lessons we needed.  Although we didn't make it, the students did learn lots about mean and median.

Day 13:
We started the week with White Board Game like usual.

White Board Game Questions

We then transitioned to a lesson on Histograms that begins with a Which One Doesn't Belong.  Since this our first unit of the year, this is the first Which One Doesn't Belong of the year.  So I had to introduce the activity to the 7th graders who had never done this activity before.  I start with a slide with a terrible super easy which one doesn't belong that has 1 obvious answer.  We talk about how this is a boring problem because it is way to easy and only has 1 answer.  We then did 2 practice WoDB's to get the idea.  

Intro to Which One Doesn't Belong

Warm Up #1 - WoDB 

 Warm Up #2 - WoDB

Finally the Histogram WoDB

The students did struggle a little with the histogram discussion.  They pointed out a couple obvious ones and then struggled to come up with any more.  So I will be looking to retool this one for next year.  

The students finished off the day in a hurried fashion with the histogram card sort.  That went great for the short time we had left.  It was our last day of histograms and I am confident students can make histograms and compare Shapes, Outliers, Center and Spread between 2 histograms.  

Day 14: Introduce Mean as Fair Share (Lesson 6.8.9)
We started with the prescribed warm up from the lesson which went great.  The students dove right in and found so many great solutions.  The students quickly realized they needed a sum of 16.  I love how this warm up gets the students thinking about the total involved with finding the mean.  It makes teaching how to find a missing value, given the data and the mean, so much easier of a jump.  So again, I am loving the discussion and setup of this curriculum!

The students then transitioned to a problem involving getting cats into crates.  It is a great basis to get them thinking about mean as fair share.  It makes the idea approachable and easier for the students to relate.  They solved these problems rather easily and we then had a great discussion about their solutions.

I loved the setup and discussion of these problems so much, I added this question to Activity 1.  I was worried that I was jumping the gun, but the students handled it great!  I need to work on the formatting of the question, but overall it was a great add to the problem.  

Day 15: INBs & Mean as a Balance Point
We put a couple notes about SOCS and measures of center in our notebooks today.  It was the first time we added math content to our notebooks.  It took a long time.  In fact we only got to try Activity 1 from Lesson 10 from 6-8.  The students seemed to grasp the idea of the balance point as mean.  We have been talking about a balance point for dot plots and histograms the entire time, but this let us put numbers to the discussion.  

Day 16: Median
We started with a quick warm up (which was actually the FA from day 15.  I asked the students about variability of 3 sets.  They quickly came up with the right answer and this led to a deeper discussion of variability.  

Today was  classic line up by length of name activity.  I used this as a launch point for finding the 5 number summary.  So we started with min and max and then median.  We then talked about using a method for median besides crossing off on both ends.  The visual of having students up and in a line always helps this.  We then concluded this by showing how to find quartiles.  (It is such a natural extension of this lesson.  

Day 17: Screening & Prodigy
This day of class was mostly taken up by hearing and vision screening.  So I quickly introduced the kids to the math game Prodigy.  Despite complaints (for only the first minute or so) they quickly got totally engaged and were totally into the game play.  I even saw some kids carrying around their iPads during lunch so they could continue to level up.  So not bad, for a day of 10 minute classes.  

Lesson 9 Google Doc, PDF
Lesson 10 Google Doc, PDF
Lesson 13 Google Doc, PDF

Thursday, September 7, 2017

7th Grade Math in MN: Days 10,11,12

Week 3
Day 10: Lesson 5 - Dot Plots & Stat Questions
Day 11: Lesson 5 & 6 - Histograms
Day 12: Lesson 6 - Histograms & Desmos Polygraph

It was a great week of discussions about data.

Day 10: We started with a review of what makes a "good statistical question."  I then made the decision to skip lesson 4, as dot plots are not really a 7th grade MN standard and we need to get to histograms, box plots, measures of center, and measures of variability.

So we jumped to lesson 5.  We did the warm up, which required some calculations with percents.  Since I am jumping into the middle of the 6th grade curriculum, the curriculum assumes the students can do percents.  Since I am actually at the beginning of this year, we did the warm up together so we could review how to calculate percents.

In 6th grade, the students do many factor puzzles.  They get pretty comfortable solving these.  So I use that throughout 7th grade to help set up any problem that can be solved proportionally.

The four part box is their setup for factor puzzles.  We put in the 3 red numbers and solve for the number that ended up green as the percent.  All the while we emphasize percent means out of 100.  Most of the students remembered pretty quick, and the new ones caught on really quick.

We finished this day with a discussion of Activity 1 and another percent problem  With this problem I wish there was another number of dots besides 3.  It could easily lead to confusion.
Day 11:
We started with the glorious discussion starter problem in Lesson 5.  There are 2 dot plots and the students are given 5 statements and they have to figure out if they agree or disagree with the statements.  It led to wonderful discussions, as most problems in this curriculum do.  

We then jumped to Activity 1 of Lesson 6.  We started just by examining the given histogram and asking students to THINK-PAIR-SHARE "what do you notice? what do you wonder?"  Ideally I would have ave them stand first, but again, time is short.  However we still got the students to notice and wonder all the right things about histograms.  
We then ended the day by answering the five questions about the histogram.  Most students did it with little problems after our great notice/wonder conversation.  

Day 12:
We plan to finish up Lesson 6 and histograms on this day.  Based mostly around a compare/contrast of dot plots and histograms.  
We will then create our first histogram together in class.  
If there is time we will follow up with a DESMOS polygraph on histograms.  

This should wrap up a marvelous week of statistical discussions in 7th grade math!

Google doc link to my student facing Lesson 5.
PDF link to my student facing Lesson 5.
Google doc link to my student facing Lesson 6
PDF link to my student facing Lesson 6.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

7th Grade Math in MN: Day 9

Week 3
Day 9: White Board Game & 6.8.2 - Statistical Questions

We started the day with a White Board Game, since it is the first day of the week.

Since we started with that game, we skipped the warm up and jumped right into Activity 1.
The students had great discussions matching up the questions to the data set.  At one point the students were confused about which one was "books read" and which one was "number of pets."
We did bring up that maybe this area loves animals and hates reading, but we eventually went with the "correct" answer from the materials.  

We were then starting to run out of time, so we jumped the gun and started talking about "good statistical questions."  I mentioned that two of the above questions are not good statistical questions.  Then they discussed in groups to identify those questions.  

The students then worked as a group on questions from Activity 3.  We then quickly discussed the results to this activity.  

The day was great. I am already starting to get worried about my timeline as I am already going to have to add a week to this data unit.  So there is no way I can take a week off Proportional Relationships.  I have a hard time imagining circles going any faster than 3 weeks either.  
This is why i push all the algebra to the end of the year.  I know I will pick up any lost algebra skills in 8th grade.  (In MN 8th grade math is basically Algebra I).  

A downloadable PDF of my student facing handout is here.  
A google doc, that you can make a copy of to edit, is here.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

7th Grade Math in MN: Days 7-8

Week 1
Day 7: Lesson 6.8.1 - Got Data
Day 8: Lesson 6.8.1 - Got Data

We actually got to use our first problems from Illustrative Math this week.  We started with a sixth grade unit about Data.  In MN, 7th graders are expected to study data distributions, and more complex uses of mean, median, and mode.  This would include effects of outliers and missing data points, as well as picking which measure of center is the best for a situation and data set.  We are going to use Unit 6.8 to launch into these standards.

So we started with Lesson 1 this week.  It did take two days as we are also getting our interactive notebooks set up as well.  So we started each class by putting 2-3 things in our INBs that are based on our class expectations, group work guidelines, growth mindset graphics and a "How to Learn Math" handout based on this bulletin board.

We talked about all this stuff last week, and by putting handouts in their INB this week, we get to revisit these topics again.  

We then started the data set with a "what do you notice and what do you wonder" activity with a dot plot.  I let them notice and wonder on their own, then discuss in groups, and then we called on a random student using the spinner.  

Then we talked through the 5 possibilities for the dot plot.  This took a little longer than I expected because they were into the discussion.  So then we previewed the survey questions, then defined numerical and categorical data.  Then the students did Activity 2, we discussed it.  Finally, I had the students do the formative assessment question on their own and turn it in for me to review.  

The next day we had a great discussion about whether zip codes were numerical or categorical.  Not one of my students picked it as categorical on the FA.  So I started by going over the 2 choices that were obviously categorical, and then I told them that there was 1 more.  I let them talk in groups for a minute or two and then we discussed.  It was a great discussion and we eventually landed on ZIP CODE being categorical and why it was categorical.  

The students then spent the rest of class measuring and answering all the survey/data questions.  All in all a great first lesson using Illustrative Math.  Great thinking and discussing by the students which is exactly what I want during math class.  

A download of my "student-facing" PDF is here.  
A view only Google Doc of the "student-facing" handout is here.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

7th Math in MN: Week 2 - Days 4-6

Week 2:
Day 4: White Board Game & Multiple Intelligences Presentation & Assignment
Day 5: Noah's Ark Problem (sub plans)
Day 6: Start Interactive Notebooks & Work time for Multiple Intelligences Assignment

We are still not to the Illustrative Math curriculum that I am so excited to dig into.  I believe that will happen on Thursday (Day 7).  So this week we started off like we do every week with a game I call "White Board Game."  This is something I got from a White Bear Lake math teacher many years ago.  It is pretty simple and gets junior high students working on math competition (MathCounts) problems in a relaxed group environment.  I wrote a blog about this game a while ago.  (HERE)

After that, we finished up my Prezi presentation (sales pitch) on why they would be successful in math.  The third and last day is all about multiple intelligences.  We talked through the 8 main intelligences and then they took a quick self-assessment.

With the 7th graders, I use this shorter one from Edutopia. 
With the 8th graders, I use this slightly longer one.

We talk about how to use the students' strengths to their advantages when studying.

I then have the students create slideshows showcasing their strengths to present to the class.  There is one little trick I use that totally changes the game.  I ask them to only put their names at the end.  So each day starting Week 3, I will present 1 student's presentation each day.  Then after the presentation, the other students try to guess whose it was.  It is pretty fun and the students enjoy it every year.  Here is a sample of a student's slideshow (name withheld), down below.

The students will also start their Interactive Notebooks on Wednesday (Day6) and then get the rest of class to work on their slideshows.  Then we will finally jump into the Illustrative Math curriculum on Thursday (hopefully).

I almost forgot, Day 5 was a weird one.  My daughter got sick on the way to school.  I had about 20 minutes to come up with sub plans.  So every class of mine did the Noah's Ark math problem today.  It seemed to go reasonably well from the notes the sub left.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

7th Grade Math in MN: Week 1

During the first week, Wed, Thur & Fri, in our district I really try to focus on a couple points.  None of them are using any curriculum except some of YouCubed's Week of Inspirational math tasks.

My Goals of the First Week:
1.  Class Expectations and Routines
2.  Growth Mindset
3.  Group Work Norms
4.  Convince students I care about them

Day 1

Name Tent Feedback
Like many teachers, I start with Sara Van's great Name Tent stuff.  I continue this for the first 3 days.  Since this is the first time I am ever using this, I am not sure about next week.  Although I now curse the name SaraVanderwerf as I was up until midnight on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Class Expectations
I have 4 simple class expectations.  We go over them in about 5 minutes this first day and we will revisit them many times over the next couple weeks.
1. No Meanness - from Dave Burgess
2. Make Mistakes - Growth Mindset
3. "YET" - Growth Mindset
4. Ask Questions - self-advocacy

100 #s Task
Like many teachers, I also start with Sara Van's great 100 #s task in 7th grade.  As they work, I take some pictures and then we notice and wonder about the pictures.  Great way to start group norms.

Numbers about Me
Then, if we have time, we do a quick group discussion and class discussion about my quick numbers about me quiz.  The kids usually get a kick out of it, and I get to introduce myself a little bit.

A busy and quick day 1, but it hits a little bit on all 4 of my goals.  This first day is super high energy, and I am usually ready for bed around 7:00 that night.

Day 2

Getting to Know Mr. Sieling 
Day 2 starts with ideas from Sara of MathEqualsLove.  I use the Getting to Know You Quiz.  Then the students create their own quiz for me to take.  That was great fun and students really loved it.

Sales Pitch
I have a 3 part sales pitch to the students I give every year about why they will be successful in this math class.  Part one is talking about What is Math and Brain Function.  We use SaraVan's definition that math is really just a "study of patterns."  Then we go into that the brain is made to identify patterns.  We also talk about what we need for the brain to function at its best.  We also talk about Mindset and that we make our brain stronger by doing difficult things and with effort.

Visual Patterns
We then finish up by working on a task from YouCubed's Week of Inspirational Math that is based on Visual Patterns.  After the sales pitch of doing difficult things makes you smarter, and a re-iteration that we expect students to make mistakes, they are usually super willing to give this task a go.

Day 3

We start with the students get their quizzes back from yesterday.  They can't wait to see how I did.  I ask them to mark them right or wrong, mark the correct answer and hand them back so I can study up over the weekend.

Blobs & Lines
Then we go to some movement and an icebreaker called Blobs & Lines.  It gets them moving, laughing and I get to learn a little more about them.
      Link to my Blobs and Lines slides

Sales Pitch
I then go back into Sales Pitch mode.  I quickly review my first part, then launch into my Mindset talk.  We watch this video on YouTube all the way through.  Then we go back through and pause each frame to talk about what it means.  The focus is selling them on effort makes you better.

We finish up the week by trying a Witzzle puzzle.  I have never heard of these until I read this post from MathEqualsLove.  A task that can seem daunting to a 7th grader at first, but when they get into it, they make good progress.  I even had a couple kids tell me they were taking the sheet home to finish this weekend.

All in all, a very successful week to start the year!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Illustrative Math in Minnesota

This year I am implementing a brand new curriculum, Illustrative Mathematics.  I am really excited as they always have had great mathematical tasks on their site. This summer they released their full 6th-8th curriculum.  Understandably so, it was based around the Common Core Math Standards.  However, in Minnesota we do not use the Common Core.  So my excitement was diminished when I realized that a complete re-organization of their units was needed to successfully do this in MN.

So after many hours I have come up with a plan.  It is briefly outlined below for 7th and 8th grade.  I will hopefully blog a little about this as I go.  I am sure changes will be needed, but right now, I am feeling pretty good about getting this done.

While I am excited to be diving into a new curriculum, and excited about all the amazing problems my students will experience this year, I do have a couple concerns.

1. I am trying to plan a curriculum I am only superficially familiar with.  Some of the units are out of the order to help students group ideas and give the class a better flow.  I am worried that some units will reference ideas we have not had a chance to go over yet.

2. 7th grade math in MN is packed to the brim with math.  It is hard to get in all the standards every year.  (I usually fail at this.)  Even with the IM units I have a planned 39 weeks of instruction.  This is too much.  I already know that.  We will see how the timing works out.  Since MN has packed so many standards into 7th grade, and those standards don't align perfectly with Common Core, I have had to grab some 6th grade units and some 8th grade units, while only getting to skip one 7th grade unit (7.7).  So with some of these units I will have to cherry pick the lessons so they flow into the big learning target ideas.

3. I will still have to supplement some higher end 8th grade material.  In Minnesota, the 8th grade math standards are all the linear parts of algebra 1.  So some things are not currently included in Illustrative Math.  So I plan on using some of my old CMP curriculum to hit these learning targets.  I hope when IM finished their HS curriculum, I can grab some units from there instead.