Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's been a while!

Well it has been a while since I have last blogged! With the end of the school year and the start of the summer, things got crazy! 

 However, I started planning new organization/classroom management strategies for next year. Today I created a great way to keep track of students who plan to retake a test instead of trying to remember who verbally told me they wanted to do a retake and the day they mentioned. I created this form for students to fill out which requires them to state their current test score, explain why they did poorly, explain what they did to be more prepared this time, and check off days they are available to retest.

It is free in my TpT store so please check it out and download it!

Retest Request Form


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Hi all!

I am so excited I have reached 50 followers on TpT, so I am doing a giveaway!! I've had many sellers make generous donations!

The give away is broken up into 3 categories:
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • middle/high school

You may enter to win prizes from what ever category you would like. Most sellers have donated any product up to $5.

Good Luck!!

Thank you everyone who has donated!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Polynomials Unit - First Half Synthesis and What I used.

Hi all!

I thought I would share with you today about the unit I am teaching in my classroom. We are on our polynomials unit which I have broken down into features of polynomials and operations with polynomials.

Last week, we focused on features of polynomials. I started the unit out with my Polynomial Investigation. This is packet that begins with key vocabulary and terms and then the second half is a students centered investigation. The first half included strategies like the Frayer model shown below to help students really understand key vocabulary.

There we also many pages of notes and pictures for students to read through and learn. I taught this by using my document projector to project the packet up onto the board. I went through the first half of the packet with students because I wanted to make sure they had the correct definitions and were understanding how to do the practice problems.

The second half of the packet was a polynomial investigation which had students use technology to graph polynomials from 2nd degree to 6th degree, describe intervals of increase and decrease, roots, extrema, end behavior, vertices, etc. This was all discussed in the first half of the packet. The end of the packet helped students discover the relationship between roots and degree and vertices/extrema and degree. 

The students enjoyed being able to graph on their own and work with one another. This was extremely successful.

Their homework was then to do my Polynomial Coloring Activity
Students were to color key parts of the graphs I gave them with the indicated colors and then identify specific information. The hands on and visual aspect of this activity made students really grasp the concept. 

At the end of the week, students took the Features of Polynomials Quiz and did amazing on it! I was so pleased with the scores and how well students understood the concepts and material. This was a very successful first half of a unit!

We are now on operations of polynomials and I hope that this half is just as successful as the first half!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

50 TpT followers giveaway (soon!)

Hi all!

So I decided to create a thread in the TpT forum a couple of weeks ago about doing a 50 follower giveaway and had a form for people to fill out if they wanted to donate to it. I had an amazing response from 13 people. I went from 6 followers to 30 followers. Now I seem to be stuck at 30. I am eager to launch this giveaway, but I need 20 more followers! :(

If anyone would like to donate, fill the form out:

Please follow my store:

I hope I can do the giveaway soon!!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 20, 2015

Secondary Link Up!!

Hi all! 

 I decided to do my my first link up ever! I want to try and help grow the secondary community, so I made a link up for all secondary teachers. Feel free to post two links from any subject matter or topic for secondary education! 

 Also, feel free to share this post with anyone so they can join too! 

 Make sure you follow my blog for more link ups!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Literacy in Mathematics

When I first became a teacher, I did not understand the importance of literacy in math. However, after taking a graduate course on it, I now realize the utter need to teach our students how to be literate in our content areas.

When most people hear math, they do not think of reading and writing. In fact, I was the only math teacher in that course and I constantly got, "This must be so hard for you. The strategies are easy to use for me because I teach _______ (insert some humanities course here). I don't know how you can have students read and write in math."

Well, I do. I figured it out.

Here are some effective strategies to promote literacy in mathematics.

Response Logs/Journals
Journals not only help students, but they also really help teachers. Journals can be used in many ways. A way that I like is to have students keep a response log. After a lesson, activities, etc., students can take out their journal and write. They can write about what they liked most, how they best learn, what confused them, what they are unsure of, what they still have questions about, etc. That way, when the teacher reads the journals, he/she knows how his/her lesson went.  They will understand what they did well as a teacher and what they need to fix. They will also know where the misconceptions/issues are now before a test instead of students doing poorly and then finding out. It helps the teacher plan appropriately so the students get the most meaningful lessons. The teacher can respond in the journal for the students to read. This is a great alternative for the student who does not want to raise their hand and ask questions in front of the whole class.

How Do Response Logs Improve Literacy Skills in Students?
Students play an active role in the learning process. They sit down and think about how they have learned a topic and set goals. This allows students to understand where they want to be with a topic. This benefits students also because it helps a teacher realize where instruction needs to be adjusted to meet the needs of their students by actually reading and listening to where students want to improve. Writing about thought process helps students become deeper thinkers and writers. Teachers provide feedback to students on where they are doing well as well as suggestions on how they can improve. The feedback is personalized to each student, not the class as a whole. Specifc instruction to a student can benefit their learning. Teachers get to better understand how their students learn and can create lessons that accommodate the learning styles of their students. Also, the teacher will know where there are misconceptions so areas can be revisited and mastered instead of waiting until a test or quiz to realize students do not understand something.

Things That Could Be Included in Math Response Log Entries:
·        Examples of problems to show understanding of a concept
·        Creating/writing word problems to show understanding
·        Predictions about a topic before it is taught
·        Definitions of key vocabulary
·       Descriptions or explanations of how a problem is solved including diagrams/drawings
·        Justification of a solution to a problem
·        Summary of the day’s lesson

·        Reflection on the student’s own understanding and the questions that may still exist.

Frayer Model
The Frayer Model is a great way for students to learn vocabulary words in any discipline, not just math. However, this is very effective in math because students get to be organized. They get to define a word, draw a picture or list characteristics, provide examples and non-examples. The great thing about providing non-examples is that students often struggle to understand what a word means even when they see examples. However, helping them understand what is NOT that word, helps them better understand what is that word. This is also an easy reference for students. Students do not have to search through a long page of notes to find a word. They now have this very well organized paper that they can easily find to refer back to.

How Do Students Benefit From Using the Frayer Model?

This organizer helps students identify and understand unknown vocabulary words or concepts. It promotes critical thinking. The Frayer Model draws on the prior knowledge of students and helps them build on it and make connections between the two. It serves as a visual reference for which students can learn a concept or compare examples and non-examples of it. Students benefit from providing something that is an example of it and something that is not an example. It helps them better understand the word or concept and easily identify other things that can be defined as such word or concept.

Cornell Note Taking
The Cornell Note Taking Strategy is a very organized note taking template/strategy. The notes are broken up into three categories: notes, main ideas/questions, and summary. Students record their notes during class/reading in the notes section. Later on, they go to the main ideas/questiosn column and fill in the important questions that could be asked or main points from their notes. Further, they go to the summary section and pull out everything they feel is important and summarize there. Not only does this help students organize their long notes into sections with important information, but it also can serve as a study guide.

How Does Cornell Note Taking Aid in Reading Comprehension?
This method helps students recognize and mark the important information in the text.
It helps the student recognize the main idea of important themes in the text.
Students often just write down everything and then have long messy notes. However, this strategy requires students to go back, pull out just the important information, and reorganize it in a neat and easy to read manner.
Student gains control and become more efficient in the learning process.
This strategy can help move students from passive readers to active readers.
It links thinking and comprehension which results in long term learning.
Helps a student become a better reader.
Good note taking forces interacting with the text.

Setting Up The Paper/What the Template Looks Like
Take a standard 8.5"x11" paper. Draw an 8"  vertical line leaving about 2.5" on the left and 6" on the right. Then draw a horizontal line leaving the bottom section 8.5" wide and 3" tall.

How to Take Notes
The note system takes on 5 R's.
Record: The first R is record. Students are to take down as many key ideas or facts as possible during the lecture in the right hand column. They should skip lines between ideas. Abbreviation is encouraged.
Reduce: The second R is reduce. After the class, but in a timely manner, students are to take all of those key ideas and facts and reduce them into questions on what is most important  and record that in the left column. They should then summarize the key ideas in the bottom summary section. Summarizing will help them make connections between the facts and to remember them as well.
Recite: The third R is recite. Students should cover up the right column and just use the questions and ideas in the left column to state the facts as fully as they can in their own words showing comprehension. Then, they can uncover the right column to check what they have said. This process helps transfer the information into their long term memory.
Reflect: The fourth R is reflect. Students should look at their notes from each lesson for a topic and try and reflect on what the main ideas or themes are make connections to each lesson. They can take all of the recall columns, left columns, and look them over together and try to determine the themes.
Review: The last R is review. Students should look over their notes. If students commit ten minutes a week, then they will retain most of what they have learned. This will also help assist them in being prepared for the final exam. If they study throughout the unit and don't

There are many more effective strategies that I will continue to write about!

Thanks for reading,

Figuring This Blog Thing Out!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Okay, so I'm such a newbie! I'm still trying to figure this whole blog thing out. I've been looking at other blogs trying to get ideas and see what others are doing and I noticed that everyone had a button to follow them on Bloglovin. After doing some research via Google, I realized that it is a great place to organize all of the blogs you follow, etc. Therefore, I made an account and now have a button for everyone to follow me via Bloglovin!

I'm hoping this helps me gain some followers!

So yesterday I shared how I became a premium seller for Teachers Pay Teachers the day before. I'm excited that three of my products sold yesterday! That has never happened for me. I also keep slowly gaining followers on TpT. I am up to 21. My Facebook likes have increased to 12. I have 17 followers on instagram. Now I need to get some on here! This may not seem like much, but baby steps works for me. Any progress is progress.

If you have any advice or tips, please leave a comment :)

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Hi all!

Okay, since I decided to really go forward with trying to promote my TpT products, I also decided to become a premium seller. The benefits of being a premium seller is that there are no transaction fees, which are $0.30 every sale if your aren't premium, and you get 85% royalties where you only get 60% if you aren't premium. It only costs around $65 for the year which isn't too bad. I'm hoping that this helps me earn more money.

I wanted to also give an update on how things have been for my TpT store since I created a facebook page, a blog, and an instagram. I am now up to 18 followers for my store. I only started with 5 before I created all of this. Getting my facebook, instagram, and blog out there is hard though. I only have 10 facebook likes and 17 instagram followers. I also only have one follower on here. I keep using the Teachers Pay Teachers forum to try and spread the word about my store and all of my sites.

I was very excited to wake up this morning and see that one of my products sold when I was sleeping! That is always great!

Sunday, I posted a new product, polynomial investigation. I started it with my students yesterday and, so far so good. I will post an update toward the end of the week about how I used the product and how it went!

Thanks for reading,

Friday, April 10, 2015

TpT Freebie

So last night I decided to change my free download. I wanted to show my buyers the quality of my work & the rigor of my questions.

I decided to take a page from my Volume and Surface Area product. This page includes a great check all that apply question assessing properties and vocabulary and then a rigorous open response question applicable to the real world.

Please check out my free download!

Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Writing In Mathematics

Hi all!

Today, my students took their quarter 3 final exams. It was as Algebra II exam that consisted of functions, notation, quadratics, parent functions, and complex numbers. The past few days, I had students work on a review packet and then went over it with them. What I noticed today was that students need more practice writing about mathematics. One of the open responses required them to write about a function they graphed using mathematical terminology. Students were given a bank of words that they could incorporate. Many students did not know how to use the words properly. However, if you asked them a question about the word, they would get it right. For example, they all could answer questions about domain and range, but when asked to write about it, they struggled.

Writing in math is so important to literacy. Often times, we think of math as numbers and computations. However, it is one thing for students to be able to do those computations, but it is another thing for them to actually understand what they are doing and explain it in words. My goal is to start implementing writing activities in my classroom more often to get students thinking critically about the math and improve their literacy skills.

I've looked into literacy strategies and found a few good ones. One strategy is journaling. After teaching a lesson, students can write in their journal about what they liked, what they understood the most, what they struggled with, how they learn best, etc. They can ask questions or anything they are still confused about. The teacher can then read through the journals. This will help the teacher understand what they students learned, what they need to be retaught, how the lesson went, etc. Teachers can use this tweak their lessons and better teach/meet the needs of their students.

Another strategy is the Frayer model which is a model to help students better learn vocabulary. I will dedicate a separate post to these literacy strategies, but just wanted to share a couple that I think could be helpful.

Does anyone else feel similar about literacy in their content area or have noticed students struggling to write?

Thanks for reading,

P.S. I will start posting about some of my TpT products, how to use them, etc. soon. I wanted to begin my blog discussing my journey through TpT and also discussing things I use in my classroom, things I've noticed, etc. because I don't just want this to be all about pushing teachers to buy resources. I want teachers to be able to come freely and read about my teaching journey and share similar stories, advice, etc. on here as well.