Saturday, October 13, 2018

Five Great Things This Week: Puzzles, Google Slides, Rubik's Cube, Spirit Week, and Math Community Service

Fifty! Phew! I made it! It was a fabulous birthday with a ton of surprises and so much to be grateful for! I'm also SO grateful for my job. Every day, I come home nourished (and tired!) and here are a few reasons why.


This is a fun weekly international competition that you can sign up for here. It's created by @asharpeducator. My Problem-Solving class and math club really enjoyed it. It's tough enough yet doable and got a lot of kids talking...particularly the calculus-loving student who doesn't get to see problems like this much. But really all kids can do it with a little help. I'm going to see if we can send this problem out to all students via email so that any student can access if they want.  Even if only five students in the school open it, that's still more students talking about math! I'm hoping it will be a good problem for teachers to throw on the board if they have some time at the end of class. Sign up and give it a try!


I Started rewriting all of my lesson plans in Google Slides instead of word this year afer initially seeing @mathycathy's short ibook: Using Keynote to Explore Math Relationships Visually Now I know I'm using Google Slides and note Keynote...our school uses everything Google, so it made it easier for me. But she really opened up my eyes about how much better it is than word. And then @howie_hua tweeted this:
Adding comments after the lesson is a GAMECHANGER!! Every year, I forget to change the one mistake on a lesson and don't remember until I'm in the middle of the more!!

Here is a lesson I made on Inverse Functions that I taught to my Pre-Calculus AB class using Google Slides. Give it a try!


All 13 of my Problem-Solving students solved the Rubik's Cube within 3 minutes after only a week and a half of learning how to solve it! I purchased Art Benjamin's version on Amazon, and we watch the first four of eight algorithms together as a class. I find that Art Benjamin's method is the easiest for students (and me!) to learn. Then, I give students either the link to my blog post on solving the cube with extra videos of me explaining how to solve, or I give them my Youtube playlist. Some students really need me to go through every algorithm with them, which I do either on the side or during extra help, but others wanted to learn it on their own and were able to watch the videos at home. Anyone really can solve the Rubik's favorite year was when I learned it along with the students, which I highly recommend! My class is probably the only one where the teacher allows  the clicking of Rubik's Cubes all period as students solve problems...they are learning kinesthetically!


Kids love it when teachers dress up for spirit week! Even though it can be out of your comfort zone, you must do it! We had "Dress as a Movie Star" day, so my colleague and I dressed as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler from Baby Mama., but of course, we were "PreCalc Mama." So fun!


For my math club, I reached out to Florence Fuller Childcare Development Center to see if they needed math tutors. They do! After a few weeks of emails, back and forth, we had two people from the center come out and talk to our club about how we can tutor their students during their aftercare program. They talked to our students about how meaningful it is both for their students and for ours. The club members seemed really interested. We are hoping to send a few students each week to meet with kids and help them with their math homework and hopefully to form a meaningful bond and mentorship program. Is there an economically challenged development center in your neighborhood? Reach out and see how your kids can help! Our math club is a lot about competitions, but it's equally about community service and peer tutoring. I hope this will be a meaningful experience for all involved!

It's been quite some time since I blogged, but it feels good to be back. Let me know if anything worked for you!


Mermaid of Brooklyn - Wendy Menard said...

I am intrigued by the Google Slides idea - do you do an actual lesson plan in there, or just your board presentation? And is there a place to leave yourself notes (like in PowerPoint)? I use Smart NoteBook, but it's a terrible piece of software on my Mac; slows it down and crashes frequently. I'd love a good alternative. I'm also using Classroom, so I'm imagining a good tie-in there as well.

Lisa Winer said...

Hey! I left you a message on Twitter, but it's an actual lesson plan! Click on the link and you will see. Then I leave myself a comment on anything I want to change for the next year! I make a PDF copy for students and for my Notability app, as all teachers have iPads and Apple TV for projection; let me know if you have any other questions!