Sunday, August 4, 2013


I should be working on setting up my interactive notebooks (INB) for  classes, but that task seems overwhelming, so I procrastinated by thinking about my warm-up.

I have a 6th gradeish level math class first period. As a school for students with learning disabilities, many of whom have challenges in reading, there is an emphasis on improving reading. All first period classes complete a set of reading fluencies (timed, repeated readings) with their students. This occurs daily.  I've not had math first period in a long time, and I needed to work out a way to get the reading done and then easily slide into more mathy-type topics.

I decided to use the Estimation 180 as a start of class activity.  As students finish their readings (I think I'm going with paired student reading, with a rotation of one-on-one reads with me as there are an odd number of students in my class). The Estimation 180 of the day will be projected at the start of class, and as students finish up their reads they will complete their estimates. A great handout was posted recently on the site. I've modified that handout into a 2-per-sheet workspace to be pasted into a student composition book. This will be a separate notebook from the INB since my intention for the INB is for students to be creating their own "textbook". (More on this as I work out the details)

My worksheet. Click to download from as .docx or as pdf

I originally was thinking about going with white boarding and just using the Estimation 180 recording form, but I really wanted a record of the students' work preserved so they could refer back to it. Using the composition book and form, students get the help of a structure to work with, but also to have the page opposite, page under, or even next few pages to use to work out their thinking. To give this the importance and room it need, as well as to give this a different emphasis from their INB, it needed to be in its own space.

I'd like to keep track of their ongoing accuracy with estimation, but I haven't decided on individual collection forms in their notebook (may create redundancy with recording data) or a group bulletin board where that is collected as we share.  This may depend on the classroom space (not sure what room I'll be in for this class).

Edited to add:
I used the free Lexia Readable font on this form. It is available for download.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#TMC13 - Exhaustingly Exhilirating

Last year I was a member of #twitterjealousycamp for sure. I wanted to go to St. Louis, but a combination of the cost and social insecurity deterred me.

With this year's TMC being in Philadelphia, a mere 5ish hour drive away, the cost became less of a deterrent and I volunteered to present so that I was committed to be at TMC in a tangible way. Apparently my sense of commitment is stronger than my social anxiety, and I found my way to Twitter Math Camp in Philadelphia.

I had quite a few fears about meeting up with a whole bunch of people I'd only ever interacted with online. Not safety fears, but social fears. My first fear was that nobody would attend my session. My second fear was that I would end up eating alone. My third fear was that I would end up hiding in my hotel room. My fears turned out to be unfounded and my experiences at #TMC13 were amazing.

My session went well (I think). Nine people came! @lmhenry9 live tweeted the session. She also got me to volunteer to do a repeat for #globalmath department on Sept 17th.  She's very tricky like that.

I did not eat a single meal alone.  I had great meals and even better company. And I only hid in my hotel room for short stretches just to decompress from the overwhelming amount of awesomeness.

A few of my TMC13 program highlights

While I came away from these days in Philly with some great content and classroom ideas, the more important take aways were the relationships. The people I met and interacted with were amazing; I can't even begin to say enough about just how awesome, how inviting, and how smart they all are.  I came to TMC13 with fear and trepidation, but left with a new group of friends. It was hard to leave, but the best part is that I can visit with them ALL the time via twitter and their blogs and globalmath and google hangouts and and and...

Monday, July 29, 2013

#TMC13 Presentation

On Friday, July 26, 2013 I presented at the 2nd Twitter Math Camp.  These are the slides from my presentation.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Keep the Date

I've been think about making a teacher's binder, but haven't quite nailed down what I want to go in it.  I did know for sure that I wanted a smallish calendar to stick in the front pocket.  I've tried the full paged three hole punched deal and it was too big and I didn't use it.  I looked around a bit in my shopping travels and found nothing I liked, so I decided to make one myself.



It is just the right size; not too big, not too small.  I made the cover in Photoshop Elements using digital scrapbooking paper from the Wheels on the Bus kit by Queen Wild Scrap.  I made the inside in Excel. It covers from July 2013 through August of 2014.  If you would like the file it is uploaded here. It is seven pages.  The order will seem bizarre, but if you want to print your own follow these directions.
  • 1. Print page one
  • 2. Print page 2
  • 3. Put page 2 back in the printer so that page 3 can be printed on the back, UPSIDE DOWN.
  • 4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for pages 4, 5 and 6, 7
  • 5. Stack the pages with page 1 on the bottom blank side down/printed side up, page 2 face down on page 1, page 4 on page 3, and page 6 on top of page 5. Face up pages should seem right side up, with the face down pages upside down.  
  • 6. Put inside cover printed on thicker card stock paper.  Fold the entire thing in half. Staple along the center seam.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TMC prep time!

After getting an email today from Lisa, it became a little more real that TMC13 is about three weeks away.  I better get my act together!

I'm putting out a request for samples of tests and quizzes from any of you from any class.  My intent is to share with folks ways to change assessments to make them more accessible to those kids with challenges.  I think it would be valuable to show the essentials ideas with a variety of subjects and teacher styles.

Please send anything you are comfortable sharing to me, fourkatie, at my yahoo mail!

Thanks in advance!!!

Edited to add:  I'm looking for anything and everything.  They can be good, bad, or ugly.  I can give you credit or black out your name.  I'm just looking for authentic examples of quizzes and tests.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Charged up!

I've got some made4math ideas floating around, but haven't gathered the supplies yet to attack any of them, but I did just set up a work area in my living room. I decided it was time to a have a work surface other than the nightstand next to my bed.  My favorite part of this new work space is that I have set up a charging station for all of my devices (and those of my kiddos).  I used this magazine rack from Ikea
Flata storage rack from Ikea
What caught my eye was that it has many openings and I thought that I could repurpose it as a charging station.  I fed the cables for my laptop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and iPod through those openings and now I have a place for all the devices to charge.  A plus is that now I also know where the iPad and iPod that my children use are at the end of each day.

Front View

Side View

So not exactly a #made4math, but a repurposed, organizational idea!