Thursday, November 15, 2018

Star Wars Systems 2

Previously, I created a systems of Equations Warm-Up/Exit activity that was 17 years in the making!  I'm "that teacher" when it comes to goofiness so this was right up my alley.  Read about and get it for FREE here!  I also have links for the fonts.  This year, I created a new one and wanted to share in this quick post!

I have both the Word and PDF for you for FREE!  I set this one up a little different as I wanted them to practice using the calculator to find the intersection points so the points are not exact.  I also have the first equations for them on the first problem to do some guided practice.  

I'm also working on one where they draw the light sabers!!  I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Generic Escape Room Template!

Previously, I had posted about trying to create an escape room!  You can read about it here.  It was very overwhelming and I usually end up going way overboard and making things more complicated than necessary.  My first escape room was actually not the case but creating an interactive 'escape box' was not simple.  When I went to use it this year, I of course had to 'fancy' it up!

Last summer, I spent some time getting to try out and develop escape rooms.  This year, when redesigning, I found it simpler and discovered I could make a generic one to share with my Systems Maps.  

I was blessed with a Breakout EDU kit through Donors Choose but you can do it without!

All you need is (some items have examples pictured):
-Some problems to solve or questions to answer!  
-2 locks with changeable combinations (so you can set them to my answers)
       -1 3-digit combination lock
       -1 4-digit combination lock 

-a hasp (to use the 2 locks to secure the treasure)
-a lockable box (I chose one big enough to put 'treasure' in 
        Dollar Stores have lockable tool boxes you could easily use

- I created QR codes for the students to receive when they solved/answered their problem to get the clue so you will need a QR code reader for this.  You could also just print the clues but I wanted to integrate some technology into our Scavenger Hunt Escape Box!  I also wanted a little something extra instead of just handing them a number to the combination.
-treasures 😏

Basically, I am doing my Systems activity I linked earlier but each time they come back, they get a QR code now.  

It will link them to clues that provide numbers.  The numbers will be arranged or used to find the combination for each lock.  The 4th clue for each lock will be how to arrange the previous 3 clues.

I named them small and large lock because I was using these locks from my Breakout EDU kit.  You could label each one if yours are the same.

There are 8 clues but you could easily adapt it to less, just give multiple clues to some groups.

I also made a class sheet for them to keep track of their clues on, also, if it lasted longer than a class period, I had the info so they could pick up where they left off.

We will be 'escaping' the last week of November and I will update you further.  

These clues will remain in place as long as I have this Google account so you may have your kids use them.  REMEMBER.... if you copy them it will change all the QR Codes so you will need to recreate everything (I think!)

Everything you need to escape any assignment can be found here for FREE!!  


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Sphero-ing Our Way Around the Coordinate Grid

If you have previously read my blog, you know I usually go overboard!  I usually end up creating something extravagant or if I get a new manipulative, I try to work it in everywhere.  This summer and school year, I was awarded several grants and as a result, I had to caution myself to not go so overboard that I overwhelmed myself and my class.  Enter this quick post about using Sphero to find slope!

The WS is somewhat simplistic and the robotics integration is really more engaging than intense but it was a different way to find slope form 2 points.  As many students as wanted to were able to drive a Sphero on the coordinate grid I taped onto the floor.  I would then tell them to name the coordinates from two Spheros to put on their WS.

I displayed the WS on the board so they could copy down if they were 'busy' driving.  After a few problems, I changed one axis too.  You might want to be cautious if you make negative points dominant for differentiation.

On a couple of problems, I also changed the scales and made each tick 2 or 1/2.  You could really do anything you wanted!   

This was just how we practiced slope from 2 points.  I also had problems on the back to write the equations but we had not reviewed that skill yet.... I had a lot of Professional Development this month!

While this was not an intense integration, it was effective and engaging which is always a desirable outcome!  

Get the WS here for FREE!  The font I used for the title was A Little Sunchine and you can download it here for FREE!


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Earning the Grade for X and Y Intercepts

Several years ago I attended a session from a teacher in Clear Creek ISD named Ms. Brumbelow.  She presented an activity where the students went around the room to solve problems but each one had a point value that they earned.  The points were based on difficulty.

I liked the idea of differing points and the opportunity to complete what 'you want to do'.  Personalized, individual learning nicely wrapped up in a classroom activity.

First, I gave some basic intercepts notes.  My students have previously learned intercepts so no more than a review was necessary.  I used this foldable from Math by the Mountain on Teachers pay Teachers.

It was perfect.  I loved how concise it was yet covering everything necessary!  I'm a firm believer in using what I can find.  This foldable was well worth the money!

For the assignment we did the Around the Room/Pick Your Points Assignment.  I do not have a creative name for this so all suggestions are welcome! 

Students receive an answer sheet that is not numbered as I do not want them influenced in any way of what problems to pick.

I then have all the problems hanging around the room and in the hallway.  Students have complete freedom to answer whichever questions they want to get up to a hundred points.  i recommend they do extras in case they get one wrong.  Below is a selection of points included the hardest 30 point question!

In case you are curious, majority of these problems are taken from the released STAAR Tests (Texas Standardized Test).  

I have it in both Word and PDF for you.  And of course... I do not just have generic fonts!  You can get the title font, KG Girl on Fire, for Free here at


Friday, October 5, 2018

Career Headbands

This summer I participated in an Externship grant where we explored and were able to shadow different careers to bring back to our classroom.  Since there are TEKS (state standards) about budgeting and careers, this fit perfectly into Math Models.  Even if it was not a standard, it was a wonderful activity to help our kids explore different careers.  

There are so many different paths out there that I want to show my students to help them find their place.

Of course, I had to add in a couple of fun ones... my son has wanted to be both a Jedi and Pokemon Trainer!!  

I also put descriptions for some of the more difficult to describe/guess careers.  I also provided students with a check off list of all the careers.  There are over 60!

My classes are smaller so I broke it down into front page cards and back page cards.  The students seemed to enjoy it and some learned something new!

I made a direction PowerPoint to display but also explained.

I kind of helped them out with some sample questions and hints like,
Would I work in the mall? or tell them they would work in the mall.
Is it in the medical field?
You would come across someone working this job a lot.

OR the best hint of the day by a student....  "The movie you are in came out in 1977." 😆

The first time, we only did one card each.  This could be done so many times and even as a quick Warm-Up.  

I provided each student a copy of the hint sheet in a dry erase pouch so they could mark off if they wanted.  Even looking through all the jobs, they might see or learn something new. 

And if you do not have the plastic headbands, do not fear as I have a template of one you can use with your students.  I pre-made some and laminated them to save the cutting time and be able to reuse them but if yo plan on using them a lot, I'd have them make their own to keep in their notebooks.

They seemed to enjoy it and hopefully they might have a new idea of what lays ahead in the future!  And just in case you did not know, and Ocularist makes fake eyes!

Get a copy of all my resources here for FREE!!!  the font I used for the titles and career names was A Little Sunshine which you can download for FREE here at dafont.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wheel of Equations Notes

I love gimmicks!  Interactive notebooks lend themselves to gimmicks and the Wheel of Equations are perfect!  This is a short post sharing my favorite note delivery template!

Yes, I hum as I rotate the wheel to the next problem.  And yes, I purposely chose problems far from each other on the wheel so the Wheel of Fortune theme could be fully completed in my glorious nerdy humming display.

I got this from a grant I participated in a few summers ago from Jennifer Clayton and Valerie Blackburn.  It was probably my favorite takeaway!  It also allowed for more problems on my one-page notes too so... extra practice!!

I first gave a top sheet of the 3 Questions and then had them connect the wheel directly to ther notebook.  This was to conserve paper.

I discovered that students are not very versed in brads/brass fasteners so I started doing it whole page which made it easier to use in the notebook.

The wheel perfectly fits in the blank space and the page perfectly fits in a spiral notebook!

I have them put the brad right through the middle!  These notes are always a hit and the students periodically play with the wheel.  It's also easy to refer back to these notes because they are so unique!

They, of course, could be adapted to any note or activity!

Get all the templates here for FREE!!

Enjoy!  And I'd love to hear feedback or any other things you create with it!


Monday, September 10, 2018

How Do I Solve This? Problem Processing and Testing Strategies Activity

A couple of years ago, I noticed that a lot of times we gave practice problems but not necessarily word problems until the test.  I wanted to start helping with not only math but testing strategies to help prepare them for future classes.  

I also looked at frequently missed STAAR Questions (Texas Standardized Test) and wanted to help walk students through them.  I did a quick template of How Do I Solve This?  and applied it to a number of problems.  
The questions might need editing or a change of order from each problem.  These activities are to both help them get started and write about math!  I usually do some with them (especially the first few) and then assign some throughout the year.  I will do them with the unit they apply to and use them as spiraling.  

I have had some positive feedback from students and they definitely get quicker at them.  When I grade them, I usually put a check if they got it correct and wrote sufficient information and an X if they missed the problem.  They still received credit for trying.  My goal is the processing!!!!

Here is an example of a multi-step inequality problem.  

I always tell them as far as the writing goes, there is no write or wrong.  Often, throughout the day, different classes even have different responses.  It's all about processing the problems!  At least trying to get started!

Here are a couple others so you can get an idea of what I am trying to get them to express.

I have 20 done as of this writing and they are all available here for FREE!  These are great for exit tickets, warm-ups, assignments, and spiraling.  I have based these off released STAAR Tests from Texas Education Agency which you can access here for FREE.  These were all from the Algebra 1 tests.

If you ever have any questions about how I do one, please feel free to ask me!  I usually post most answers throughout the year on my Twitter and Instagram @cbhsrichmath as they are part of our notebook that I post almost daily.