Archive for May, 2016

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Posted: May 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

The past few weeks in PreAP 7th Grade Mathematics has been used to look at the Pythagorean Theorem. I introduced the unit to my students by saying,

“A lot of teachers would teach this to you by giving you a formula and telling you to plug numbers in. However, I’m not going to teach that way.”

Some students were excited, some were upset. I know that some students are more formula driven while some are more explorative. I enjoy using AIMS The Pythagorean Relationship when teaching the theorem. It allows students to first see the squares around the triangles and then build the understanding of the formula themselves.

After students had gone through the understanding, I wanted to try something that I saw Tyler Cronin post on Twitter having students flying a kite while using the Pythagorean theorem. My first thought? A song got stuck in my head. So I played the following for the class.

Kids were excited to watch the video and some even knew the song! Then I told them that we would go fly a kite.

I found kites on Amazon that were not too expensive. I got them pretty quick. They are small in size and not that expensive, so I wasn’t sure how well they would fly. . . but they did great!

Besides having some difficulties with the wind not staying steady, it went pretty well. The conversations that I was having with students was great! Some students wanted to keep the string short so that they could work quicker. The kite wasn’t flying so well and a student said, “If we fly it higher, there is more wind, so it will stay up better.” Wait, that’s not math . . . but I loved how that input helped the group see success.

Other conversations that I had included the transcript below.

  • Student: We’re trying to find the height.
  • Me: Correct.
  • Student: So the ground from the person holding the kite and the person under the kite is a leg. The string is the hypotenuse, so we’re trying to find a leg?
  • Me: Correct.
  • Student: After we find those measurements then we square the numbers and we take the answer of the hypotenuse and subtract the leg?
  • Me: Correct.
  • Student: Ok, thanks.

As she was talking with me, she didn’t have notes. She was just remembering what to do and getting the process down before going back to her group and leading them through it. Do you know what’s even better? At the beginning of the year this student was not confident in math and was often relying on a friend for answers. Now, she’s the leader and truly understands what is going on.

You can check out some videos from Gus’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. Remember, Gus is my class mascot and shares what is going on in the classroom.




Summer Planning

Posted: May 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

Well, summer is upon us. . . .well, some of us. For those of you who do not start school until Labor Day, I know that you have awhile to go still. I have 8 days left with my students. I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by again.

So what am I doing this summer? Well, I’m a teacher . . . so nothing. I’m going to sit at home and do nothing all summer.



Now for the truth . . .

School is ending May 20.

The week of May 23, I’ll be cleaning around the house, mowing and getting our dog to the vet and the dog park. This is a pretty easy week.

The week of May 30, I’ll say goodbye to May and then have a PLC training. I’m excited to finally go to a training over PLCs so that I can get more understanding of how to work together. I’ve been using PLCs in my schools for several years, but now I think I can get more insight to the purpose and how to get more things accomplished.

I’m running a half marathon here in Stillwater on June 5. It will be my 3rd half marathon to run. Then I’ll be off to OKMathLeadership for our final installment. I’ll be presenting, which can me scary, but I know it’s going to go great . . . . speaking of which, I should get things finished up for that.

The week of June 13, I’ll be headed to the Nuts and Bolts Symposium in Destin, Florida. I’m excited to go and learn and meet new people. Will any of you be there?

After returning, then I’ll be able to relax and start putting together some things that I learned. It will be my first chance to really put things in place and start to really look at next year and lesson planning.

After a quick jaunt to the Bahamas on a cruise in July, I’ll return to the classroom and start getting it set up. There is a little painting that I would like to do and redesigning of the space for next year.

So, here we go. Summer is upon us and I have PLENTY to do!

Tornado Watching

Posted: May 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

Screen shot of my Periscope.

So tonight was a first for me. I grew up in Kansas and I now live in Oklahoma, but today was the first time I ever saw a tornado. It was amazing. I know that they are powerful and very dangerous, but seeing one is just surreal.

First, I know that I was safe. It was over a mile away. I hope everyone is okay and there is minimal damage.

This evening when I got home from work, I had no idea I was going to see a mighty twister go by, but I did. As I was standing in my neighbors yard with my neighbors (yes, many think we’re dumb, but it was a bonding time) we watched in wonder. We discussed what we saw and were amazed.

Standing there I was calm. Just moments before I was scared and nervous wondering if I was going to lose my home, but when you can see it at a distance and you know you’re fine, it really does seem amazing that something that big and powerful is just right there.

Here are the videos that I captured. It was a little a mile from me.