All Blog Posts (183)

ACT/MME preparation

I teach both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.  In our district we spend time in Algebra 2 for review targeted to MME preparation.   I was wondering if any other districts spend time preparing their students for the MME. 

I concentrated a lot on reviewing geometry topics last year since our students take geometry in 9th grade and algebra 1 in 10th grade.  I attended a workshop at the DACTM conference last fall where the presenter said to really review the pythagorean triples and right triangle…


Added by Claudia Heinrich on January 23, 2011 at 1:42pm — 1 Comment

Lesson Observation

I am working with June to perfect my teaching and to focus my teaching on Algebra and a "math talk community".  Currently I am teaching 6th grade mathematics.  This is the first year that students are introduced to variables, negative numbers, and the like.  The way I see it, is this is the year that is going to predict their algebraic future.  I am THE teacher you can blame when they don't know how to solve a simple equation or understand an algebraic expression.  This is a critical year…


Added by Kara Roberts on January 21, 2011 at 9:21pm — 3 Comments

Linear vs Square measure.... so double the square---the Pythagorean theorem from another direction

 It sounds so simple--

Draw a square.

Now draw a square with twice the area.


It is very hard not to get 4x the area as an answer from you students.


Figuring out that you need to use the diagaonal of the original unit square   or √2

as the new side of the square that is twice as big...

Thus the new square is now √2 x √2 and the new area is indeed twice the unit area.


This is counterintuitive but a good discussion…


Added by KC Mowrey on January 21, 2011 at 7:12pm — No Comments

Spaghetti Bridge Completed

I've got some great pictures to post, but the Spaghetti Bridge lesson is in the books for the year.  I had a great Power Point, and great intentions, but I think there are some much-needed changes that need to be made to the lesson (or at least to the mind-set of the students).  Here's the Power Point I created:


\uap>… Continue

Added by Beverly George on January 15, 2011 at 4:12pm — No Comments

Power Point in Place

I've got my Power Point ready for this week's lesson on Spaghetti Bridges.  Found a rockin' video to grab the attention of the class.  Turns out the collapse of Galloping Gertie (Tacoma Narrows Bridge) has footage posted on YouTube from 1940!  Talk about the integration of history and science!!  Talk of the engineers' need for testing is a natural transition to the activity.  I'll post the Power Point and a debriefing after the lesson.


Is it sad that I'm excited to go to…


Added by Beverly George on January 9, 2011 at 9:59pm — 2 Comments


It's about that time of the year for midterms or finals! 

 I teach middle school, so only have a midterm for my 8th grade Algebra students.  I am wondering how much emphasis you (or your school) place on the these test scores.  I am guessing for high school, much more than we do at the middle school level.

For my 8th grade group, the final at the end of the year helps to determine placement of students in high school. 


Any tips or suggestions for making…


Added by Brenda Mescher on January 9, 2011 at 4:14pm — 4 Comments

The Test Chinese Schools Still Fail ----Why rote is good but only to a point...... 


This is an op-ed but worth the read . 

It reinforces that  what we are trying to do in A4A is not only worth the effort but necessary for the furthering of our…


Added by KC Mowrey on January 9, 2011 at 9:28am — 2 Comments

Factoring trinomials with a leading coefficient >1

I don't know why this has turned out to be so difficult this year for the kids to understand.  I have been teaching this for 15 years and it seems that there was always a way to get them to grasp the concept.  First of all , they have seen it in algebra 1, 2 years ago.  I have tried the old trial and error dry erase sheets that I posted on afa earlier.  I have tried the logical approach to the understanding of the FOIL frontwards and backwards.  I have tried the box method that seems to be…


Added by Jamie Tuch on January 8, 2011 at 5:58pm — 2 Comments

Barbie Bungee Jumping Now, Spaghetti and Textbooks Later

So, I did the Barbie Bungee Jumping this week.  Yay!  I honestly adore this lesson.  There are so many skills that come together in linear functions.  Besides, I've got some great pictures of some big, tough, 8th grade guys playing with Barbie.... what could be better?


Four out of seven groups were textbook cases.  They followed the directions, asked a couple of minor questions, and were on their way to making predictions about how many rubber bands it would take for Barbie…


Added by Beverly George on January 7, 2011 at 8:27pm — 2 Comments

Mile Markers Activity

I did the Mile Markers Activity this past Tuesday after teaching the graphing of absolute value functions and before teaching piece-wise function. This was the perfect placement of this activity. It reinforced the absolute value functions and gave students a real-life situation where it is portrayed. I then had the students think about writing a rule without absolute value symbols. Of course, they were insistent that it couldn't be done. When asked for their reasoning, it was because the…


Added by Barbara Assenmacher on January 6, 2011 at 4:53pm — 2 Comments

"First look" analysis of the common core and ACT

Welcome to 2011 everyone.


\uap>Attached below is a study published by ACT that reflects on and uses last year's ACT data from states like Michigan to predict how students would have preformed in relation to the Common core standards.


\uap>Not surprisingly, the study confirms the ideas and principals of mathematics instruction that we have been discussing at A4A for two years now!


\uap>Here is an exerpt from the… Continue

Added by Arthur Weiss on January 1, 2011 at 8:00am — No Comments

Moving Forward with a Meyer-ized Project

After our most recent after-school meeting, my colleagues and I decided to move ahead with a linear function project that we are going to "Meyer-ize".  Our plan is to present the following:


"Will a box of spaghetti (minus the box) support the weight of a…

Added by Beverly George on December 29, 2010 at 9:31pm — No Comments


Change is a part of life…I get that.  Trying to adjust to the changes in my life over the last year hasn’t always been easy.  Since January of 2010, my father passed away, my school closed down, and I’m in a very different teaching position. I certainly haven’t found a way to escape change.  For the purpose of this writing, I will focus only on my new teaching position. 

I knew in advance of my school closing…


Added by Jeff Willard on December 28, 2010 at 9:30am — No Comments

NEWS FLASH! Adults pin blame on parents for schools' problems

I was reading the December 12 issue of The Macomb Daily and came across an Associated Press-Stanford University Poll on education. Below are some excerpts:

- 68% of adults believe parents deserve heavy blame for what's wrong with the U.S. education system

- 35% of adults believe teachers deserve a great deal or a lot of the blame

- Conservatives were more likely that moderates or liberals to blame parents

- 67% of adults believe the U.S. is… Continue

Added by John Pizzo on December 21, 2010 at 1:50pm — 1 Comment

Interesting website for teachers.

The following website lists ,by popularity, the top websites for teachers. It might be worth a look for some people.

It is nice in the fact that it pulls them all into one site and lists them in an easy to read fashion. I found a few that interested me and figured someone else could find it useful.

Added by Jamie Tuch on December 13, 2010 at 10:23pm — No Comments

Dan Meyer is my hero!

Every time I see Dan Meyer, I can't wait to get back into the classroom and try something new! His theory of having students build a solution to a vague question is problem solving at its best. Isn't this what the real world is like? In the work force, we are encountered with these types of problems several times... a colleague needs to leave early, and we work together to find out a solution as to who will cover her class... a new design to a part is needed on the assembly line because the…


Added by Beverly George on December 11, 2010 at 8:36pm — 5 Comments

Pandora- Mannheim Steamroller

When I sit at my computer working alone

I usually turn on

once there I always select "Mannheim Steamroller"

or "Mannheim Steamroller-- holiday"

it is mostly instrumentals

but usually by artists I have never heard of.

It just lightens the mood as I slave over correcting papers.


Added by KC Mowrey on December 11, 2010 at 11:41am — No Comments

Was I "Professionally Developed"?

Yes, Yes, Yes! I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to learn something new and exiting! I hope that I can raise the interest level of my students with these thought provoking activities. I recommend this class for all Algebra teachers.

Added by Andrea B. Minor on December 6, 2010 at 12:00am — 1 Comment

SBG after 12 weeks

Besides wanting to change the overall culture in my classroom, the main reason I wanted to try standards-based grading was to increase the number of students passing my classes. Well, here we are after the 1st trimester, and I only had very minor improvement in that goal.

I have 18 Algebra 1 students, and 4 of them ended up with a C- or above, which is my cutoff for credit. That is an absolutely horrible percentage, and about par for the course ever since the new standards were put in… Continue

Added by Sean Karsten on December 5, 2010 at 7:57pm — 4 Comments

Teaching to the Middle

I was watching CNN Morning news the other day and the following story caught my attention:

Former Govs. Bush and Wise push for digital learning

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, R, convened at the national summit on education reform in…


Added by Claudia Heinrich on December 5, 2010 at 4:22pm — No Comments

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