Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

This has been the most trying year for me.

  • My 95 year-old grandmother passed away in October, the day after my birthday. She had a long, wonderful life, but we were extremely close, as I lost both parents when I was in college. She was the last living grandparent, and her death finalizes my feeling of being an orphan, as the unconditional love of parents/grandparents is now forever in my past.
  • On the day of my grandmother's funeral, my best friend was diagnosed with ALS. I've blogged about this here and here. Debbie's own blog is a tough read, but it's also a way for me to get inside her head and know what she is really going through. Debbie had a colectomy earlier this year as well, and so it's been a very trying year for her, and therefore me. 
  • My son left for college, i.e., empty nest, empty room, and empty heart sometimes. There were calls home where he felt better after talking to me, but where I tossed and turned all night, not able to sleep as the worries left him and instead swirled 'round and 'round in my head.
So the math teacher in me can't help but notice and feel that my parent function no longer exists, the downward slope of my friend's deteriorating health is devastating, and as a mother of a college student, one day to the next is completely sinusoidal through the ups and downs of roommates, fraternities, and exams. It feels as though what's above me (parents, grandparents), what's below me (son) and what's side-by-side (friend) is in shambles, and it's more than any sane person can take, let alone me.

Top this off with the fact that my school, the place where I have worked and devoted my life to for the last 22 years (in some ways, also a parent to me), has been going through huge growing pains (to put it lightly), and it's pretty easy to see that I am a bit of a mess. 

But there have been good things. And that's what I really need to focus on. So in no particular order, here goes:
  • I have my family under one roof right now and have all the things I ever would really need right now. Including one good cup of coffee, at this very moment. 
  • I have traveled. I went to Israel with a women's group and came back with 10 new friends, some of which I keep in touch with every single day. I went to Quebec and Montreal on an Immersion trip with students, and it was also the trip of a lifetime--dog sledding, ice hotel, tobogganing, etc. Two trips of a lifetime in one year ain't so bad, right??
  • I became a TED-Ed innovative educator and traveled to NYC for an amazing weekend with a fantastic group of people and am working on an exciting project called Students Teaching Students.
  • I work with a great group of colleagues that have stayed strong through our trying year, and I am thankful for them and their strength. Their quick texts or conversations passing in corridors means more than they will ever know.
  • I've lost 10+ lbs this year, and kept it off, after trying to lose weight for year...thanks to Elite Fitness.
  • I have written two riddles for TED-Ed and am in the process of writing a third. One made the Top 10 Most Popular TED-Ed Animated Videos list!
  • My problem-solving course is exciting for me, as I can make it whatever I want, and I love being able to spend time on problems that I never had time to do in the regular curriculum.
  • Kindness and love from family members and friends who have reached out to help me during this difficult year. 
  • The Haute Yoga studio, and the ability to workout regularly.
  • My students, past and present, and my math club, which amazes me that we can keep 60+ students after school every Friday to practice.
  • Laughter, though lately I need to get it back into practice. 
  • I have helped others to do things that made them feel good about themselves...this always makes me feel good, and I need to do it more. 
  • Being connected to an online community where I can see what other teachers are doing around the world at any given moment. And I can share what I am doing as well.
  • Stitch Fix and FabFitFun boxes, which have been exciting to come home to. Is this silly to write about? Maybe. But I don't care...it's true. Sometimes, it's the little things.
Resolutions. 
This may be the first year that my resolution is not to lose weight. It never worked anyway. So I am going to try this instead. This is a mind map made by a former Google coach. I'm going to keep mine private. Half of it is blank. I've got some thinking to do today!











Watch the video here:
Here's to a fantastic 2017 to all...whatever you do, make it a great year, with kindness, helping others, and making you the best version of yourself possible.





Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Can you solve the 5 Robbers Problem? Students Teaching Students

I am very proud of my student in my Problem-Solving class, who, as his final exam project, created a TED-Ed lesson that is a take on the Pirates and 100 Gold Coins puzzle. The task was to model it after a TED-Ed riddle, and he did exactly that. Here is his full lesson, complete with the 5 multiple choice questions in the "Think Section," and "Dig Deeper" and "Discuss" sections. My student used http://www.videoscribe.co/ to complete the lesson, which made animation fairly simple. His voiceover was really well done. This is the first year I have done this project with my students, and I would definitely change some things in the future, such as having them start it earlier. Here is his full TED-Ed lesson. 


Can you solve the Five Robbers Logic Puzzle?



Here is the project description and rubric.

I am currently working on a TED-Ed innovative project that I am calling #StudentsTeachingStudents. Below is a Padlet that I am working on to include lessons from students who create videos to teach other students. You can find other student projects on there. My plan is to create a handbook on best practices for students teaching lessons through video and TED-Ed. If you are interested in having your students create lessons and have them posted on this site, please let me know!


Made with Padlet

Saturday, December 24, 2016

My Wonder Woman.


My Wonder Woman.
Or, An Ode to My Childhood Best Friend who has ALS

Her arms
Would squeeze me tight when she saw me. Would share the same sleeves of borrowed sweaters. Would move about wildly when telling a story. Would link my arm as we strolled. Would carry firewood for her dad. Would eventually rock three babes to sleep.

Her legs
Would walk miles with me, up and down Farm Lane. “Hi Irene,” she said midsentence, as we waved to someone passing us in a wood-paneled station wagon—what were we talking about? Anything. Everything. In long, puffy winter coats as we slid on the ice on a beloved snow day. Barefoot on the hot, uneven asphalt in the summer, against her mother’s wishes. All along North Valley Road, past the triangle.  To the playground. To the Post Office. To Pine Valley Swim Club, where we squirted on baby oil and basked in the sun on side-by-side weathered lawn chairs and talked about boys. Matching blue bathing suits. And to the Creek, when we did things you do when you are 14-year-olds, but you shouldn’t. 

Her voice
Greeted me with a happy, sing-song falsetto.  Would let out lots and lots of giggles. Could burst into songs from Free To Be You and Me at any time. Sang along to Meatloaf on an 8-track tape in her bedroom with a brush as a microphone. Would say, “Bless me,” after she held in her sneeze. Interchangeably called her oldest daughter and me each other's names when I visited. Built me up when I was down.

Her fingers
Would draw like magic, would write silky smooth, would cut up salads that I never had in my house. Were not old lady fingers, as someone once told her in the 8th grade, which stuck with her, but were perfect. Did they wear a grandfather’s baby ring? Someone’s. Hers? Tied the Indian skirts we wore (that we thought were perfectly normal till we saw in high school that they could tell we were from Roosevelt.) Gripped mine as we danced that silly dance at any Jewish party. Stirred the cream in my coffee during midnight breakfast runs at the diner on Route 130. So hot in my house that their freshly painted nails wouldn’t dry. They text me now. Thank G-d.

Her breathing
Was soothing to me when I slept over, as she inevitably fell asleep first. As I did Jumble puzzles in some book of hers or was it her grandmother’s? I felt so comfortable sleeping over her house, next to her. Was it a trundle bed? So many secrets we told in those beds, so many laughs. Ice cream in bed!

Her support
Was steadfast. Unswerving. No judgment. Never! She told me to stand up for myself. Not let others treat me badly. I needed that. Held me up when I was down-literally and figuratively...I needed her then. Need her now. I need to let her know that.

Her tears
Flowed easily, readily. Still do, only mine flow with her now…even when we are laughing, or when we are miles apart. Like now.

Her neck
Giraffe? Did she say that her neck reminded her of one? She loves giraffes. I think of her whenever I see one. Lots of people do. First hickeys, babies nuzzling. Best friends necklace, long gone. Now it tires. Heads are so heavy, aren’t they? Constantly thinking, constantly planning, constantly worrying. It will be ok. She tells me that, so it will.

IT WILL! So I say, slamming things down on my desk. Tuning out, eyes filling up during a meeting. Curtly responding to my son. Snapping at a friend who is trying to help. Disbelief. Shock. Anger. Sadness. ONWARD ME NOW – Wonder Woman as an anagram. No. Nope. No. NO!

We performed in plays together. I remember I was the witch in the Wizard of Oz in grammar school; “I’m melting!” I screamed in a perfected witch's voice…”I’m mellllltiiiiiing!”

She’s melting. My friend. My sister. My life. And I…

…I can’t hold her up.

-->

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

An Incredible Ted-Ed Weekend for Innovative Educators

I am just coming back from a completely amazing #TedEdWeekend in NYC. I met 26 other Ted-Ed Innovators (TIEs), 3rd cohort and was blown away by their brilliance and humbleness. Each had a story that was completely unique, from Malaysian Maggie, who learned English from listening to American music as a child to Anthony from "Johnsonville," who failed four grades before dropping out of high school and getting his GED. Everyone's journey was unique, and we were all brought together through TED-Ed, an idea branched off from TED, and created by TED Fellow Logan Smalley. Thirty of us were selected from a pool of a few thousand (again, we were blown away by this...being blown away seemed to be the theme of the weekend), and had been "meeting" via several video conferences to discuss our individual TED-Ed projects. The goal was to help us to prepare our pitches for our finalized projects, which we were to give on the TED-Ed stage at 330 Hudson Street.

Friday night, I met my roommate. I was blessed with Delene McCoy from Arkansas, who made me laugh the second I walked in the door by realizing she had to close the bathroom door to let me in...close quarters in NYC!! She was the best roommate I could ask for! I am so happy to have gotten to know her. We got our amazing #swagbags, including a handwritten not from Sting (not Sting, as I thought, and we laughed about that, too.) I settled in, comfortably, awaiting to meet the other people in our group.
photo by Anthony
photo by Christie
Cohorts from Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Jerusalem, Pakistan, Africa, Ireland, Hawaii, and more all got together Friday night at Terra (shout out to my friend Mary for the suggestion!) and chatted and got to know one another in person over drinks and delicious Italian food. The weather was crisp and the chatting was loud as we walked back and went to bed excitedly, to await the next morning's agenda.

We walked over to the Cadillac House in the morning for breakfast (where you can have meetings in their cars!) and had a surprise visit from the head of TED, Chris Anderson. Chris inspired us to no end, telling us that there are now "4 R's to learn in school: Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmetic, and Rhetoric," and that "Ideas want to spread. They want to be free."
photo by Saad
Then we went to the TED-Ed stage and watched an incredible group of kids give their TED Talks. For me, this is when I realized that this is why I do what I do; for the kids! It's all about them, and giving them the power to express themselves and learn along the way...and teach US!!! ALL kids were fantastic - I don't even know how to begin to say how impressive these students were, but the two that stood out to me were:
And

There my mind was blown, yet again.

Two surprise famous TED talkers also spoke with students.



and


Personally, this was exciting because my famous blogger BFF's famous poet daughter loves Sarah Kay!
After some talks, we went to a presentation by LittleBits, award-winning magnetic building blocks, which bring out the hidden engineer in you in the easiest possible way. Delene, Mbao and I enjoyed making things buzz and light up. There was even a challenge as well as a rock paper scissors competition!

The next highlight was a roundtable discussion with the founder of https://girlswhocode.com/Reshma Saujani, who spoke about how she founded Girls Who Code, and didn't even know how to code herself. Basically, she hit rock bottom and turned it all around for herself, empowering thousands of young women along the way. 

Here is an interesting and provocative video that she shared with us that was just so cool: 
And a Verizon ad about what a girl hears when you tell her she's pretty:
And finally the TED-Ed Mannequin Challenge! 
We headed out to dinner to Otto Pizzeria, a restaurant owned by Mario Batali (go RU!) and had delicious food and talk.

I sat near Tom Rielly, who is responsible for the TED Fellows program, among other things. I think he must have started as a stand-up comedian! We had great conversations, and the night ended when a table of gentlemen bought Prosecco for all of us, upon learning we were educators. Only in New York!!

That night, some of us saw family, saw the tree at Rockefeller Center, or practiced pitches.

The next day was for US, the TIEs. No longer did we hear the excited energy of the kids, it was us, and so we took the elevator up to the 11th floor at 330 Hudson and practiced our "elevator pitches."

We arrived to take some pictures on the TED-Ed stage and to have breakfast, and by then word buzzed around that we had someone who was going to do our make-up and hair for our profile picture. WHAT!? We just were so excited, I can't even tell you.

We spoke a bit and then headed to give our pitches. Each of us took the stage and spoke about our project, the one we applied with and then tweaked each time we spoke with our cohorts on the video conferences. They were awesome! It was amazing to see this group speak about their ideas and goals, and wow! Mind blown, yet again.
After the pitches and a fantastic Mexican lunch at TED-Ed HQ, we learned about animation. All I have to say is, more mind blowing. We were broken up into groups and taught how to use Stop Motion animation, which we all immediately wanted to use in our classrooms when we got home, as you can see below:
Here are the animation movies we made!animation link 1animation link 2animation link 3

We each had our head-shot, and then we ended the evening talking as a group about where we go from here and other things that I can't remember, as my head was spinning from this amazing weekend of learning and connecting and sharing. The whole TED-Ed team was unbelievably professional, and everything went so smoothly--if something was wrong, I can tell you we did not know about it. The interns were equally incredible!

It was definitely hard to say goodbye at the end, but I know it's not forever. We bonded as a group and will stay connected. 

Delene and I could not end the weekend in NYC without making it to Broadway to see Beautiful, the musical about Carole King. It was absolutely incredible and perhaps my favorite Broadway musical to date. 
This was an unimaginable weekend that I will never forget. I'm excited to start on my project, which is called Students Teaching Students. I envision students all over the world creating videos for other students using the TED-Ed Lessons. In my mind, I see students working hard to create lessons that are shared and watched throughout the world. Kids and adults do TED Talks, why should only adults teach the lessons? It's a lofty goal for me, and I will track the progress eventually. 

Want to know more about TED-Ed? Here's some more info. 

If you haven't started a TED-Ed Club, now is definitely the time! Logan's goal, to have a TED-Ed Club in every school, is no so far away. Kids will learn presentation literacy and so much more. As David Saunders said in our follow-up video conference today, public speaking is no longer about memorizing and restating a poem. THIS is what it's about!

Learn how to be a TED-Ed Innovative Educator here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Making Jacob's Ladder with Chocolate Bars

video
I've had this toy for quite some time, which is called "Jacob's Ladder." I have probably had it for at least 20 years, but I dug it out of cabinet before school started this year, and it's just the sort of thing kids come and play with before class. It's very "touchy-feely" and counterintuitive as to how it works...put those two things together and BAM! Fun class project!

Jacob's ladder from Wikipedia:

One year, many years ago, a student asked if they could make one when I gave them a very open-ended project - and he did--just by looking at my toy. So this year, I decided to have it become part of my Honors Problem-Solving Seminar, though I think it would be a great thing to do for any class before a holiday break.

I thought it would be easier to Google for instructions, and lo and behold, my favorite things all mashed together came up: something you can eat, play with, and in some sense, involves math (or problem-solving!)  Here's the site I found:

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO SEE THE INSTRUCTIONS! (This summer I hope to make up my own instructions and video)

Kit Kats were recommended, but they were super expensive, so I chose Ghirardelli chocolates because they were on sale at Target. However, I realized after that we had to tape back their extra edges.





The finished product!

video

What I would do differently next time:
--find chocolates that are more rectangular and inexpensive
--use the same color ribbon that is on the website because we kept getting confused as to which was which
--use thinner ribbons...those students who used thick ones did not come out as good.

AND--this is very important! Make sure you have extra chocolate for the kids to eat before hand, or else they will want to eat their candy! My students really enjoyed this activity, and they said they would make nice stocking stuffers for little kids.





Monday, November 14, 2016

Making your own Ted-Ed lessons to introduce a topic or for remediation


I never knew how easy it was to create a lesson using the Ted-Ed interface until I had to do one as an assignment as a Ted-Ed Innovative Educator. For homework, I had to make up a lesson on anything I wanted to. The first one I created was about the Monty Hall Problem. I uploaded the video from the movie 21 and then easily added multiple choice and open-ended questions. There was even a place to input the time of the video that students could go back to rewatch as they were answering a question. 
Here is my Ted-Ed Lesson on the Monty Hall Problem - click on the link to the left, as below it's only a picture.

Here is how you build a lesson - it is super easy!

  • Go to http://ed.ted.com/lessons and create a username and password.
  • Click on "Create a Lesson"
  • Paste in a video url that is already on the web or one you made and uploaded to YouTube.
  • Tell what the video is about in the area that says "Let's Begin"
  • Enter questions in the Think category (multiple choice or free response).
  • Under Dig Deeper, you can add links that you want students to investigate further
  • Under Discuss, you can add a question that is open-ended that all will answer (note: here, everyone can see everyone else's answers and students will have 15 minutes to edit.)
  • Under ...And Finally, you can add whatever you would like. For 21, I added an extra question that was an extension to the Monty Hall Problem. 
You can choose to exclude any of the categories as well. 

I have a student who needed community service hours for math club, so I had her show how to solve a synthetic division problem with complex numbers on Explain Everything, and I assigned it as a Ted-Ed Lesson to my students. They really liked it, and they did really well on their quiz, so I am happy they had the lesson to refer back to as necessary. Here is the link to the lesson below. 

Finally, you may want to look through the Ted-Ed lessons yourself, as you can use one and tailor it to your needs. 

Please share if you have created a Ted-Ed lesson!





Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ted-Ed River-Crossing Riddle

Yesterday, a new Ted-Ed River-Crossing Riddle came out. Here is what it looks like, below, on the Ted-Ed site.

If you've not seen Ted-Ed riddles, you are in for a treat. I've written about them here and here and here. This is the second Ted-Ed riddle that I've worked with Ted-Ed to create. It's been so much fun, and the kids love working on them. I love that anyone can customize a Ted-Ed lessons. I will blog very soon about how to customize a lesson, as I just did one and assigned it for homework. It was super easy. For now, enjoy the riddle!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Box Investigation

Shown below is the picture of a word problem that is often found in homework problems when discussing relative maximums and minimums. This year, I decided to give it as an investigation to my Algebra 2 Honors class with very little help. I broke them up into groups and then gave them the document below. What followed was a 40 minute class of strong discussion, aha! moments, and deep learning of how what we do in class can be applied to the real world. Students recently learned how to find the maximum and zeros on their calculator, but were not adept at setting their window before this activity. We had 40-minute classes due to a special assembly, but 50 minutes would have been perfect for students to have created the boxes in class. it is interesting how, even after solving everything, some students were unsure how to make the boxes. Seeing the whole problem through was important. I assigned the creating of the boxes for homework.


(also found here.)

Graphing calculator pictures:
A picture of the maximum volume
A picture of one non-extraneous value of x where the volume = 400.

I think this problem tied together many things:

  • Why domain of a function is important in the real world
  • How to adjust windows on the graphing calculator
  • How to find the relative maximum on a graphing calculator
  • Why the relative minimum of the graph didn't matter (out of the domain.)
  • What an extraneous root looks like (the graphing calculator gave a third answer outside of the domain for a volume of 400 cubic cm.)
  • How to work in groups as a team (though each student did have to create their own boxes)
  • How letter e) could have been solved two ways: by using the so far unknown intersect feature of the graphing calculator or by setting the equation equal to 400, subtracting 400 and finding zeros...this was cool for kids to see!
  • The eventual tie-in to polynomial graphs
  • The actual making of the boxes

Perhaps my favorite comment (several mentioned that they loved doing this) was when a student said that when he heard we were doing an investigation today, he was nervous, but then during and afterward, he was excited and really enjoyed himself.

I was observed during this class, and in the write-up, my department chair noted that every student was focused, on-task, and working together for the entire period. He wrote that students exclaimed: WE GOT IT!!!! and that "the teacher smiles and laughs with glee." Ha. Yep. Every damn day.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Quizlet and Quizizz for Practice or Formative Assessments

As I sat down to write my lessons for Monday, I started looking for quick formative assessments online. In a matter of minutes, I was able to tailor some uniquely to my classes using the sites http://quizlet.com and https://quizizz.com.

QUIZLET

For one class, I wanted students to review parent functions.
1.  I went to http://quizlet.com.
2. I searched "parent functions".
3. I found several quizzes and one was very close to what I wanted. I clicked on it.
4. I clicked on "copy".
5. I added/deleted things I wanted. When I needed a picture or equation of a cubed root function quizlet automatically suggested graphs and equations it had in its memory!
6. I clicked on "create."
7. I clicked on "add to class."
8. I created the name of my class.
9. I clicked on "add members" and then "automatic join link" which I will post to my class.

Students can use flashcards, take a "test," match, and play quizlet live (my favorite.)
Here is the link to my quizlet: https://quizlet.com/_2na0r8
(Side note to quizlet: I reallllllyyy miss space race (replaced by Gravity.))

QUIZIZZ

1. I went to https://quizizz.com.
2. I searched for vertex form quadratic functions.
3. I found a quizizz I liked by looking at the questions on the right and scrolling. I clicked on this quiz and then clicked "duplicate."
4. I clicked on "edit" deleted questions I didn't like and added by using the search button. This was BEAUTIFUL because it gave me questions from other quizizzes (try and spell that on the computer!) questions already premade! I added them.
5. I clicked "finish."
6. I saved the link and shared it with my colleagues.


I like that you can also assign it for homework!

What are your favorite websites for formative assessments? I have blogged about others here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

MATHO! as a review game

This blog post was crossposted at mathequalslove. Thanks, Sarah!
I learned how to play this tried-and-true game with my classes in my first year of teaching. It was when I wrote answers on an overhead transparency using those felt tip transparency markers that smelled sour when they got too old. I remember cleaning the transparencies with Windex or even sometimes in the sink, math dreams swirling away.

Now, I write the answers on a piece of paper, snap a picture with my iPad, and project it on the wall with my Apple TV. A lot has changed in 25+ years technology-wise, but not the love of this game. I don't know a kid who does not enjoy playing it. It's low key and yet there is a bit of friendly competition with who gets MATHO! first.

Here's what you do to prepare for the game.

  • Write out about 30 review problems. I wrote them out using Notability on my iPad ahead of time. MATHO! is probably better when you don't have a ton of long problems. Here is an example of the first few for review of functions...the rest are linked here as a pdf.
  • Write out the answers to these questions in a different order on a separate piece of paper. I literally write the answers all over the place and boxed them. Here's an example of what it looks like (with a link here.)

  • Have MATHO! sheets (linked here) ready to go. That's it for preparation.
Here's what you do right before playing the game. 
  • Give students blank MATHO! sheets. Tell them to fill in the 24 spaces with 24 of the 30 review problems. They should scatter the answers in different boxes to ensure that everyone has a different MATHO! card. This takes a bit of time, but if you play a song and tell them that after the song ends, they should be done, they are usually on task and copy the answers quickly. There are more answers than there are spaces, and this spices it up a bit because some of the answers will not be on everyone's cards. 
  • Have students check that they did not copy any answers twice. I ask them to switch with a partner who can look and double check for them.
  • Ask students to take out paper for doing work. If you have students that are not self-motivated, you may want to collect this paper for a formative grade after the game. Students must show work to get credit.
  • Tell students that even if they know what the answers is before they see the question, they have to do the work and not call out the answer. (Sometimes, if an answer is obvious, i.e., there is only one graph, I will put a WRONG but similar graph as an "answer" so that they will not just pick the graph without thinking.) This also spices things up, as not every answer will be used. 
  • Project question 1 on the board. Have students write the work down and put an X in the box if they have it. Walk around to help struggling students (I put mine in groups to help each other.) Go over on board if necessary. Continue with the next question and repeat until someone gets MATHO!
  • I have students continue this game after the first MATHO! so that many students are able to get MATHO! I only allow a student to win twice if they get blackout (all squares have an X).
  • I give my students a choice of candy. I get fruit roll ups at the dollar section from Target or lollipops or any kind of candy. 
That's it! I think 50 minutes is a good amount of time for the game. There are probably websites that will scramble the cards for you, but I think the kids enjoy filling in the spots. They get excited when the one they wrote is on the card and chosen and mad when they didn't write one down that gets picked. It's just good wholesome fun :)

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to Solve the Rubik's Cube 2.0

When Art Benjamin visited our school, I bought his DVD called "The Mathematics of Puzzles: From Cards to Sudoku." "Mastering the Rubik's Cube" was one of the 12 lectures on the DVD. I watched it this summer and was surprised how easy his method is. I broke it down for my students in my Problem-Solving class, and here are the 8 steps. I do think it's easier (and clearer instruction-wise) than my former blog post on solving the Rubik's Cube. Also, here is my post on why I teach it in my class and a link to the mosaic contest in which we won 3rd place.

8 Steps
First Layer
1. The Daisy
·      The yellow face is on top
·      White petals will surround the daisy.



2. The Easy (bottom edges) 
·      The yellow face is on top
·      Twist cube so the white petal finds its center

·      Rotate face 180˚
·      Repeat for the other three white petals
·      Flip Rubik’s cube upside down and look at white cross 

3. The 123 (bottom layer) 
·      With white daisy on the bottom, find a white corner on the top rim
·      Twist it until its other color finds it’s center (it matches in color with the center color)
·      Hold the cube so that this white cube is on a side.
·      ONE: Point with your index finger to the white. If you’re pointing with your right hand, you will twist the right face away from you. If you’re pointing with your left hand, you will twist the left face away from you. (UP)
·      TWO: Right hand, twist the top CLOCKWISE. Left hand, twist the top COUNTERCLOCKWISE. Either way, whites will match up.
·      THREE: Right hand, bring right face back down toward you. Left hand, bring left face back down toward you. Either way, now white corner is in proper place on the “daisy.”
Note: a 1-2-3 always starts with an “up”

Complications:
What if there are no white corners on the top rim, but there is one in top face?
            1. Rotate white so it’s directly above a non-white (unsolved) on bottom face.
            2. Perform 1-2-2-3 move
            3. Now the white is on the rim, so you can repair with the 1-2-3 move.

What if you don’t have any whites on a tip rim or face? Do a 1-2-3 move, and it will move a white piece into the top rim or face, and then you can repeat. 



Second Layer
4. The Middle Layer 
·      With white daisy on the bottom (or yellow face on top—same thing), practice this move:

UP
TWIST
DOWN
TWIST
UP
TWIST
TWIST
DOWN
1
2
3
2
1
2
2
3
R
U
R’
U
R
U
U
R’

(NOTE: the above does not have anything to do with the middle layer. It is just for practice for later)

·      Only have to change 4 edge pieces.
·      Start by looking at the top layer and see if there are any edge pieces on the rim that do not use the color yellow.
·      Find one that does not use the color yellow and twist it so that it matches its center color.
·      The color of the top edge will either match the left or right face. Whichever side it matches, give that side a mental “slap.”
·      Twist the top in the direction of the slap.
·      With same slapping hand, perform the 1-2-3 move.
·      Lost a white, fix it by moving the color on the white cubie to match its center.
·      Perform the 1-2-3 with the side that contained that white face (white should be on the side, NOT facing you.)

If all four-edge pieces have yellow, we need to move a piece out of its wrong place. 
·      Find the piece that needs to be moved and perform a 1-2-3 move (no slapping required.)
·      Fix the white piece by moving it to match its center and follow with a 1-2-3 (note: the white will be on the side)




Third Layer
5. FUR U’R’F’ move (top cross) 
·      F = front, B = back, R = right, L = left, U = up, and D = down
·      When you see these letters, always move the face clockwise
·      If you see these letters with a ‘ by it, always move the face counterclockwise, for example R’ is moving the right face counterclockwise.
·      Up face is always yellow, down face is always white
·      L moves toward you, R moves away from you
·      Perform at “9:00”
·      If you don’t have “9:00,” do FUR U’R’F’. You may have to do this twice, but then you want “9:00
·     


·      Do FUR U’R’F’ one more time to get the yellow cross.



Just a reminder: R is up, R’ is down, L is down, L’ is up


6. The Fun move (top face yellow) 
·      Count the number of yellow corners on the top. Best case is one. You can only have zero, one, or two.
·      With 0 or 2 yellow corners, rotate the cube so that a yellow is in the upper left corner of the front face.


UP
TWIST
DOWN
TWIST
UP
TWIST
TWIST
DOWN
1
2
3
2
1
2
2
3
R
U
R’
U
R
U
U
R’
·      Repeat until you have only one yellow corner
·      Orient the cube so that the one yellow cube is in the bottom left corner
·      Repeat the “fun” move and the one yellow cube in the bottom right corner until you have the top face yellow.
   
7. The R’F move (top corners) 
·      Look around the top rim and see if any of the top sides have matching corner colors
·      If not, then do: R’ F R’ B2      R F’ R’ B2       R2
·      When you have matching corner pieces, move them to the back face
·      Repeat R’ F R’ B2      R F’ R’ B2       R2
·      Orient so that all corners should now be matched
(remember, R’ is “down”)

 (or, know that Up or Down refers only to the right side, and the mantra is:
D F D B2      U F’ D B2       U2
8. The “FFURL” move (top edges) 
·      All should be in proper orientation except for three or four edges.
·      If you only have three edges out of position, then you have one perfect side, which you want to move to the back
·      FFU   R’L   FF   RL’  UFF (or, FFU, both sides down, FF, both sides up, UFF)
  
All on one page:
1. The daisy
2. Bottom edges
3. The 123 move (bottom layer) (123 always starts with an up)
4. Middle layer (slap 123, adjust white 123)
5. FURU’R’F’ (look for 9:00)
6. The fun move (start with right up)
7. R’ F R’ B2  R F’ R’ B2       R2 (where R’ is down) or D F D B2      U F’ D B2       U2
8. FFU, both sides down, FF, both sides up, UFF

I heard from a former student who is a freshman in college and who told me today, "It's so much fun to know...I always use it as a fun fact during ice breakers!" Love. I hope you'll have as much fun, too! My fastest time is 2:45, but normally it's around 3 minutes. There are definitely faster ways, but this method is, to me, easy to teach...as long as you have willing students. 

My plan is to have my class teach some of the 5th graders at our school how to solve the first and possibly the second layers, so that maybe they will want to learn the rest on their own. I've joined a national Rubik's Cube club, and we may host a competition...we will see! Just like the Rubik's Cube, one step at a time :)