Favorite Tweets of the 2017-2018 School Year

I can’t count the number of times I’m scrolling through Twitter and think, “Man!  I wish I would have seen this two weeks ago!” or I’ll be looking at stuff and think, “I was supposed to remember to use that when I taught that stuff!”  Here are many of those tweets from this past year.  Looking through last year’s post, I realized I need to go back through those for next year too.  (Also, after doing this, I can definitely see why Sarah does this weekly rather than yearly.  So many awesome ideas being shared!)

6th Grade Unit 3: Fractions (Part 3 -Fraction Stations Set 2)

I blogged here about the setup for fraction stations and here about the first set of fraction stations.  Below are links to many of the resources I use for the second set of fraction stations.  I’ll give the same caveat I did in my post on the first set -not all of the activities here are great.  I know that, but it’s a start.  My goal is to now gradually start improving each station.

The first set of fraction stations is solely review concepts.  The first year I did it, I liked how it was going so much and I felt that the concepts I was going to be teaching next would work well in another round of stations, so I created a second set of mostly new concepts to my students.

Here is the checklist I used.

3.  Decimal to Fraction
Activities:
• IXL
• QR Cards
• I *think* I created these, but I can’t remember.  If anyone finds them online, please let me know so I can give credit.
• Dice
• Roll dice to create a decimal.  Convert to fraction.
• Quizlet
• Desmos
• Card Sort
• I pulled out the percents.

5.  Order Fractions
Activities:
• IXL
• Order in the Court (The directions are on page 33 of this handout, similar to one I received at a conferences years ago.)

6.  Estimating Fractions
Activities:

Once a student has completed all of the stations, they are able to work on the puzzle/enrichment station.  Here is a list of many of the things available to students.  I’ve found that students like if I don’t put everything out right away and add a couple new things everyday.

6th Grade Unit 3: Fractions (Part 2 -Fraction Stations Set 1)

Last year I tried Michelle’s review stations for the first time, and loved it!  You can read about some of the logistics and set up of it here.

For the most part, the set up of everything was the same this year as last year, and I wanted to share what activities I had at each station.

I fully admit that not everything at every station is fantastic.  Not even close, but I tried something different and something pretty far outside of my comfort zone.   Now that I’ve done this for two years, I can see things I want to change, and one of my summer goals is to go through each station and really pick it apart and make improvements as needed.

Here is the checklist I give students to keep track of their progress.

3.  Comparing Fractions
Activities:
• IXL
• Fraction War
• Like the normal war game, but students flip over two cards to create a fraction.  The student whose fraction is greater gets all 4 cards.
• Comparing Fraction Puzzle
• Worksheet (It doesn’t look like the one I use is free anymore.)

4.  Adding Fractions & Mixed Numbers
Activities:
• IXL
• QR Cards (not free)
• Tarsia Puzzle (I cannot find the file for this, but it is likely from this site.)
• Bump Game
• Dominoes/Dice
• Students create fractions using dominoes or dice, add them, and check answers using Desmos.

5.  Subtracting Fractions & Mixed Numbers
Activities:
• IXL
• QR Cards (not free)
• Bump Game
• Dominoes/Dice
• Students create fractions using dominoes or dice, subtract them, and check answers using Desmos.
• QR Cards
• These are for regrouping.  I haven’t used this with students yet, but created them after doing the stations when I saw students needed more practice with these types of problems.

Once students complete all of the stations, I have a 6th station for them to work at with puzzles, challenge problems, and other activities.  Here is a list of many of the things available to students.  I’ve found that students like if I don’t put everything out right away and add a couple new things everyday.

Distributive Property

Earlier in the year my 6th graders talk about the distributive property without variables. Partway through this post I shared how I introduce that idea to students.

Later on in the year we start talking about the distributive property with variables.  I started by reviewing how they used the distributive property earlier in the year without variables.  I was so impressed with how many different ways my students came up with to use the distributive property to multiply 7×48.

This year I used Illustrative Math Unit 6 Lessons 10 and 11 to introduce the distributive property with variables.

Illustrative Math Grade 6 Unit 6 Lesson 10

Illustrative Math Grade 6 Unit 6 Lesson 10

Illustrative Math Grade 6 Unit 6 Lesson 11

Illustrative Math Grade 6 Unit 6 Lesson 11

As we were working through the resources from Illustrative Math, I loved how they incorporated the idea of factoring, without explicitly calling it that.  I had done a little bit of that in the past with this puzzle from Open Middle.

Again, I was super impressed with all the different solutions they came up with.  I didn’t quite use the “rule” of the Open Middle problem and allowed students to use fractions and decimals.

After going through that, students worked on this distributive property puzzle.  When students finished that, they started working on some Yohaku style puzzles I created.  This was my first time creating my own puzzles like this, so I had no idea how it would go over with students.  When I made the puzzles, I found two solutions for each.

This activity went over SO much better than I even imagined, and my students found solutions that were much more creative than the ones I had found!

When I was explaining how these puzzles worked to students I told them that if I did it correctly when I made them, each one should have at least two solutions.  One student asked, “But what if you did it wrong?”  I told them that very well could have happened. I’m human, and it’s May.  I’m tired.  😉

After the first group found two solutions for the same puzzle, one student told me, “You did it right!  You didn’t make a mistake.”

My students were so engaged while working on these puzzles.  They were so persistent.  I loved seeing all the eraser marks on their paper as evidence of them trying again and again and again until they found something that worked.  Students were cheering when they found a solution.  I wish I had recorded them working on these.  It was fantastic.

After the bell rang one student said, “Could you make some more of these for next week? Maybe nobody else liked them, but I thought they were fun.”

I also am looking forward to have a conversation with this student about the right column.

I completely understand the student’s thinking.  This is the same student who came up with this solution earlier in the week.

Here is the link to the puzzles I created.

If you create more, I would love to see what you come up with.  After sharing a picture of the puzzles on Twitter, Yohaku created a few similar.  You can find them here.

Solving Equations

Then we start solving equations using the distributive property.

I gave them a couple review problems prior to starting this.  The problems were similar to the following.

1. 3(x + 4)
2. 3x + 12 = 24

Then I told them we were going to use both of those ideas today and put the following problem up:  3(x + 4) = 24.

As students were working on this one student goes, “Oh Ms. Bergman, you are so smart.”  Another example of a student noticing that I am intentional about the problems I put in front of them, and I love it.

(Also, yes I know we don’t need to use the distributive property to solve 3(x + 4) = 24.  We talk about that too.)

I made an Add Em Up activity for this.  You can download the file here.  Add Em Up is an activity I got from Sara Van Der Werf.  You can read her post on this activity here and a post I wrote here.  Students are always super engaged when doing this!  We also spent some time doing Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces with these problems and students were also super engaged in the math they were doing.  Here are some of the problems we used for VNPS.

One Good Thing: Volume 5

I’ll admit, my expectations for today weren’t too high.  I had a final for my grad class last night until almost 8:00, so yesterday was a long day.  Teachers have inservice tomorrow, so my students have a 3 day weekend.  It’s May.  The weather is finally nice.  I felt like I had so much going against me today, but man, today was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.

My day started with one of my 6th graders working on some Yohaku style puzzles I created.  I hadn’t used these before, so I had no idea what to expect.  Would it be too hard?  Too easy?  I didn’t know.  It was the perfect level of challenge for my students.  I wish the eraser marks showed up better in the picture below.  My students were SO persistent when solving these.  There was cheering when a solution was found, and when they found a solution, I challenged them to find another solution.  And then another using fractions.  My students were engaged in these puzzles for well over 20 minutes.  It was fantastic!  I plan on writing more about this portion of my unit soon.

Class was over and a student said, “Could you make more of these for next week?  Maybe nobody else thought they were fun, but I thought they were really fun.”

*****

My 8th graders are working on solving systems of equations.  We were getting into systems that have no solution and infinitely many solutions.  My lesson plan wasn’t anything special, at all.  Some of my 8th graders have been struggling to focus lately, but both classes worked SO well, the entire hour.

*****

My other 6th grade classes were testing today.  One student left this note on her test, and then left little notes/jokes throughout her test.  She most definitely made my day.

*****

My 7th grade class was shortened today, and over a third of my class was gone for track and many others were leaving partway through the hour for softball.  While my students were taking a short quiz, I this thought, “Maybe today would be a good time to try Dan Meyer’s Taco Cart 3-Act…”  I’d never done a 3-Act before, but I’d been wanting to try this one for over a year.  I decided now was as good a time as any, so we did.  I let my students know that I’d made a last minute decision on what to do.  That I hadn’t done this one before.  I could be great.  I might not be, but they were going to be my guinea pigs.  One student’s response, “Yay!  I love being a guinea pig.”  Students are so awesome.

While the math involved for this 3-act was from a prior unit, the conversations students had while doing this task were so much better than the lesson I had planned.

*****

My final for my grad class was yesterday.  That means I didn’t spend today after school working on next week’s homework for that class.  Definitely a good thing.