
Cal Armstrong: ""... but with the growth o…" « Deck.ly
"... but with the growth of PLNs, perhaps you are not only hiring one person in isolation, but also the acces… (cont) http://deck.ly/~sEHKp

Free Technology for Teachers: How to Create SelfGraded Quizzes in Google Docs

http://www.hartdistrict.org/westranch/2010%20Summer%20Assignments/H%20PreCalc.pdf

http://www.stfranciscatholichighschool.org/summer10/files/Honors%20Precalculus%20Summer%202010.pdf

http://www.mbhs.edu/departments/math/Honors%20Precalculus.pdf

http://www.achieve.org/files/ADPAlgebraIPracticeTestSpring2009.pdf

5 Free Calculator Applications for iPad
5 Free Calculator Applications for iPad http://bit.ly/ecBNQC

SearchReSearch: Clever trick to make YouTube videos fill up the browser
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Things I've Tagged (weekly)
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Factoring schmactoring.
Right now we're factoring in Algebra 1. It wasn't something that I was looking forward to; we've been struggling a lot lately with both behavior and material. (I'm still trying to forget about the weeks we spent solving systems. Sheer torture.) Last week we talked only about GCFs, which I thought were going well until I graded half of the quizzes. There were 4  5 kids with 100%+ (I had a couple of bonus problems) and everyone else was below a 50%. A little disparity, anyone?
This week we've been factoring quadratics (just ) using the Xbox method. We make an X to find the two values whose sum is b and product is c (have you seen the productsum puzzles on ilovemath.org?) and then make a box to finish up the factoring. I was worried that it was going to be too much writing for the kids but things seem to be going well. Today's plan was to practice some more.
I wanted four of those five kids to do a little more today, knowing that they would get bored quickly with doing the Xboxes... and that's when they go crazy and drive me crazy. (The fifth boy is super smart but is autistic and OCD. I didn't want to push.) so I wrote up a sheet with a combination of GCF and trinomials mixed up... and problems with both a GCF and then a factorable trinomial. I had the chosen few work on the first couple of xbox problems with the rest of the class so I could make sure they were comfortable, then gave them the second sheet. The amount of work and concentration that they showed that assignment was amazing! The one boy who is constantly up and around and bugging everyone else got every problem done... with help. I didn't have to tell him one time to sit and work and stop talking.
:)
I promised him tomorrow would be more of the same... and then I'm going to move them on to solving the equations that they're factoring! Hopefully this will be the end of the behavior issues....
I can't believe that I almost forgot! Got my new ipad today at school! Woo hoo! Now if any of you can tell me how to use it in class I'll be forever grateful :) (Someone on twitter mentioned that I might be able to use it with geogebra... definitely need to figure that one out!)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Random stuff
(I found the latex editor here.)
2. As we were discussing last night's assignment (checking out graphs and limits from them), one of the girls asked if we could watch Mean Girls in class. After discovering that several of the kids have the movie at home, I said sure (at least the part where they reference limits!), we'll do that tomorrow. They were all pretty excited until they realized that the juniors have an academic awards breakfast tomorrow during first period and won't be in class. Then they got mad. :) (Several asked if they could skip the breakfast!)
3. I got my possible classes for next year from my department head yesterday. Because of people moving from our school to the other school in the district, there's no one else that wants to teach the Honors Precalc. (Can you imagine?! It's my favorite!) So it looks like I'll be teaching all three of those (down from 4 total this year, 2 are mine), 1 college prep Algebra 2, and I'm picking up the Honors Algebra 1. I'm iffy about the Algebra 1  I've taught the Honors class before, but the problem is that it's not really honors. The "real" honors kids are now taking Algebra 1 in 7th grade. The next level takes "Honors" Algebra 1 in 8th grade. So these are kids whose parents want them in an honors class but weren't ready for Algebra 1 when the brightest of their class was. Twice. And they're freshmen. Double whammy. The good thing about the class is that I'm getting out of teaching the Integrated Algebra 1 (our general level) but unfortunately, that means my class size will go from 12 to 22ish. Yuck.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Getting back to NCTM
Session 2: Trig Tricks You’ll Love (with Ann Coulson)
I got there late but was in time for sin/cos spaghetti, trig cutups, patty paper exponential folding, patty paper conic folding. The place was packed – I sat in the “gallery”. People seemed to be enjoying the session, but I'd seen it all before. I left early.
Things I've Tagged (weekly)

http://fac.southwestern.cc.il.us/collindw/courses/Math203/PDFConcepts/piecewiseLimits.pdf

http://kinetigram.com/micds/Maple10Tutorial/ExploreCalc01/TexPdf/ExploreCalc01TexPdf.pdf

MAC1147  Handouts & Worksheets
tags: precalc

Screen+shot+20110407+at+5.30.04+PM.png (566×240)
tags: amc_alg1

50 Fabulous Web Tools for Group Projects  Rated Colleges
50 fabulous web tools for group projects: http://www.ratedcolleges.com/blog/2009/50fabulouswebtoolsforgroupprojects #projects #web 2.0
Thanks!
I realize that these numbers are nowhere near some of the blogs I read, but honestly, I'm still amazed that anyone actually reads this. Thanks to those of you who take the time!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Prom is in the air!
A couple of days ago, one of my students from last year stopped in after school to ask if I would help her out in saying yes to prom. Her date is in one of my classes this year. Of course I agreed  I'd never want to stand in the way of young love! (gag.)
She brought in a list of statement that she wanted me to say to the class. I was to have them stand up and if the statement wasn't true for them they were to sit down. It started out pretty general (you're taking precalculus; you're a boy; you're a senior. . .) and after 7 or 8 of these we were left with only the intended recipient. As the winner, he was given a 5 lb bag of flour with a note on it that said to look inside. The girl had told me she thought he'd wait until he got home (because I didn't want a big floury mess) but the other kids urged him to open it up and check it out. He headed up to the trash can (thank goodness) and slowly emptied the bag. Nothing in there.
Today the girl came in with a pretty red flower and asked me to give it to him in class. So as we were getting started, I told him that there'd been a mistake yesterday and he'd gotten the wrong flower (flour... get it?). It had a note taped around the stem.
Overall, a cute idea. I guess the days of just asking and saying yes are gone!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Super size paper
Yesterday in Algebra 2 I wanted to take a day and give them a chance to ask questions. We'd started exponential functions last week right before I left and then they had a couple of activities about them while I was gone Thurs/Friday. I knew there would be some questions (that were hopefully cleared up in class!).
So after taking questions, I showed them a clip from Mythbusters where they dispell the myth that a piece of paper can only be folded seven times. Here's what I showed.
Then I gave them all pieces of patty paper and had them start folding. We looked at the number of layers and the surface area. They all seemed to enjoy it while looking at the exponential functions formed.
Of course, then, there were a bunch of kids that wanted to give it a try. On the clip they have a footballfield size piece of paper.... I'm not sure where to get that! Where did I go? Twitter. It seems as though a bunch of the kids are now on twitter, so a couple of them pulled out their phones and tweeted the question. Almost immediately I had a response from @sarcasymptote, who said that his dad is local and works for a paper company. He suggested that I contact them about it. (I did... we'll see what happens!)
The funniest thing is that when the kids found out that I was on twitter, we started comparing numbers. They were super jealous when they found out how many followers I have and how many tweets I've made.... they finally realized that I'm cooler than they are! :)
I also heard from @jamestanton, who did something like this with his kids in class, but they used a roll of toilet paper. That could be an option if the kids are really interested... though we don't have a mileslong hallway to work with!
I just got response from Smart Papers!
Ms. Fouss,
Thank you for your email and thank you for your service in educating our
future generations. Your class project sounds interesting.
What SMART Papers could give to you is a sheet of paper approximately
10ft' wide, the width of our paper machine. We can vary the length. How
long of sheet do you want?
Woo hoo!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
And we're off....
1st session: Differentiating for Gifted Learners
 Math forum pow
 QELP (from community college in nw) – environmental data sets keyed by math topic
More to come:
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Things I've Tagged (weekly)

Http://commoncoretools.wordpress.com is doing the analysis of standards across grades and domains by CCSS writers. #nctm11
tags: nctm11

tags: alg2 gigabyte exponential

MacdonaldTechForTeachers  iPad Apps for Education
tags: ipad

Making Mathematics: Pascal’s Triangle Resources
tags: pascalstriangle precalc

2008jan20Coloring_pascal_triangleEugenio_Hernandez.doc  Powered by Google Docs
tags: pascalstriangle precalc

Math Forum: Exploring Pascal's Triangle
tags: pascalstriangle precalc

Math Forum/USI: Pascal's Triangle
tags: pascalstriangle precalc
Friday, April 15, 2011
Before I get in too deep...
1. A post at dy/dan by Dan Meyer referencing a clip from The Daily Show. Just thought it would be fun to throw at my Algebra 1 kids and have them check the math.
2. Kate Nowak at f(t) brought back Qbert (created by Jason Dyer last year in a response to a challenge thrown out by Kate to create something fun for the binomial theorem). I'll be covering the binomial theorem on Monday in precalc and it might be fun to use something like this with them. That's assuming I find the time this weekend to check it out.
3. A semester review project from Mimi at I Hope This Old Train Breaks Down (which I think I'll refer to now on as IHTOTBD because it takes me forever to type that :) ). They're going to make a geometry magazine.... I thought that sounded cool! I guess it's time to think about what I want to do for the kids to review this semester  that'll definitely be on my list. A guy mentioned to me today at a session that last year he had the kids each pick a topic and they were to make a 58 minute presentation on it. He said that most made videos and they LOVED it. Another on my list.
4. I don't know where she finds the time, but Julie Ruelbach just made her first imovie with her class singing their Equation of a Line song. So cute. So totally can't see my high schoolers even giving it a shot. :)
5. I'm going to be hitting conics soon with my Algebra 2 kids and just saw this post on Square Root of Negative One Teach Math from Amy. It talks about a deck of conics cards that she says really helped her kids understand (and like?) conics. Definitely something to try! (I just emailed the originator and asked for the files.)
One last thing before I crash. I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden my google reader looks different. It used to have the navigation stuff in a column on the left side of the screen. While I was just reading, I guess I clicked something and that's gone. Does anyone know where it went and/or how to fix it?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
How much will it cost?
So I decided I'd let my Algebra 1 kids figure that out for me.
I googled directions to Indy from school to get a total number of miles one way (122). I found the specs on my car to give them an average mpg, and I gave them a chart showing the price of gas at some local stations.
It was a fun little exercise, especially when they figured out that I'll get a nice little overage! (I recall there being a nice mall in downtown Indianapolis....)
Monday, April 11, 2011
Change of plans!
I'm going to be out on Thursday and Friday for #nctm11, so not getting done what I wanted to today changes my plans. Originally, I was going to do this:
Mon: Mathematical Induction
Tues: Review/practice
Weds: Binomial Theorem
Thurs/Fri: Review all (plus sequences) for quiz next week
I found this picture on flickr... the caption said it's from a subway station in Portland. Random. 
Now what I'm thinking is this:
Mon: Sequences
Tues: Mathematical Induction
Weds: Review/practice
Thurs/Friday: Exploration into Pascal's Triangle
This new version will probably be more fun for the kids (hopefully). I'm going to give them some stuff about the history and patterns in Pascal's Triangle for Thursday then the application of it (expansion of binomials, combinations) on Friday. I think this'll work.
When I decided to do this during my plan bell 2nd period today, I checked out my links on diigo as a starting point (they're here if you're interested). It's so nice to have resources available!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Things I've Tagged (weekly)

YouTube  Escher's Tessellations
Escher's Tessellations  Great showcase of the master's works http://ow.ly/4sh7t

Free Technology for Teachers: 7 Good Sources of Mathematics Videos
tags: videos

Free Technology for Teachers: Maths Master  Instructional Mathematics Videos
tags: videos

Requiring Algebra II in high school gains momentum nationwide  The Washington Post
Friday, April 8, 2011
What a week! And my new bird.
1. I was only here 3.5 days. I had a sick boy at home on Tuesday and was out for a half day on Thursday because we had to grade the practice OGT that was given to the freshmen. (Oh the fun.) The good thing about the grading is that it usually only takes us as a department about an hour, but we're out the whole afternoon. That gave us another 1.5 hours or so to catch up on work, chat, and keep tabs on the Reds score.
2. My sub for both days was a retired teacher from school that's a peppy, fun, interesting lady. The kids normally really enjoy having her here, and she likes being here. She actually sat with my Algebra 1 kids both days and did the work with them. She had a ball doing it (she told me) and they're still talking about how much they like her. (And my Algebra 1 class was crazy amazing this week. They were so good.... I asked them what was up with that and they told me it was because they like what we're working on now. Freshmen.)
3. I was looking over some Algebra 2 assignments (solving radical equations) this morning and noticed that a lot of the kids are making the same mistakes, so I pulled out an old favorite activity of mine that I definitely don't use enough. I copied down a few problems, worked them out, and made copies so everyone had one. The key was that every problem had a mistake in it.... and of course they were mistakes that I was constantly seeing. (Note to self: error analysis is the way to go!!) They got really frustrated with me as they were trying to find the mistakes because they didn't see what was wrong.... I'm hoping that I made some headway today!
4. As I was grading those assignments, I noticed two that were identical. (Ugh... more cheating.) One of the boys involved was the first in the room, so I asked him about it. He denied copying and said they'd worked together. We had a little talk about the difference between the two (copying vs working together) and he continued to deny. The other boy involved was in the room at this time and wouldn't answer the question to say that there was no copying involved. Boy #1 sat in his seat and pouted the whole class. I was surprised, though, that at the end of class (after everyone had left) he stopped at my desk to tell me that I was right; he'd copied and he was sorry. Said he just gets so caught up in the moment that he lies and then regrets it later. I was really amazed at the maturity of that and gave him the opportunity to do the assignment over the weekend. Hopefully he won't do that again to me.
5. (This just happened as I was typing) One of our math teachers is going to the other high school in our district next year to teach because of different cuts that have occurred. I have her daughter this year in Honors Precalc. I know the daughter has enjoyed having her mom here and is bummed that mom won't be here for her senior year. The daughter just came into my room offering me presents  either salt & pepper shakers or a foam bird that she'd made in an art class in exchange for being her "mommy" next year. Isn't that sweet? I was going to offer my services anyway (though I said I'd stop short of lending money because I never have any) but thought it was cool that she asked. :) (I chose the bird, obviously.)
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Things I've Tagged (weekly)

iPad apps for the Maths classroom  RT @republicofmath: It’s been great fun using an iPad during Maths... http://tumblr.com/xku1yb7cyw

square root of negative one teach math: Super Speedy Quiztastic Fun

DesignatedDeriver  Calculus Clipart
tags: clipart

Mathing...: A Comic Guide to Limits Part 1: When Limits Exist

Think Thank Thunk » How I Teach Calculus: A Comedy (Limit Definition of the Derivative)

iPad apps for problem solving « Brave new world
tags: ipad

Quick Tips: Mathematic Resources
Here's a great #math site with lots of links and all types of resources! Everyone should bookmark this site! http://bit.ly/hx3cuQ #mathchat
Hi ho! Hi ho! It's back to work I go.
I didn't have a whole lot planned for break except for a 2day vacation from my children. Unfortunately, my mom got sick and sent the kids home early. (She's actually still in the hospital but is expected to go home on Monday, thank goodness.)
I did a little bit of work while I was home. In my Integrated Algebra 1 class we're going to start factoring soon... and I'm not looking forward to it. At this point, the only thing I'm looking forward to in that class is June 3rd. Is that horrible? I'll keep going and try to keep as peppy as I can and find stuff that they might actually enjoy doing, but they're dragging me down....
In precalc we're going to do a little bit of sequences and series then jump into limits. It's been several years since I've had the opportunity to get to limits, so I was doing some searching the other day to see if I could find anything interesting to at least intro them. (They'll get the boring version next year. Oops. Did I say that?) I had some help from @mrhodotnet, @samjshah, and @dansmath (in my comments here). Still trying to piece things together.
There was a conversation (on twitter, of course) about what you expect students to know when they take a certain class. For instance, I would expect anyone entering Algebra 1 to be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers (like fractions, negatives, etc). With my class this year that was a dumb dumb dumb assumption. At this point in the year I make sure they all have calculators; they can usually do the algebra, it's the adding and subtracting that messes them up. Julie put a request on her blog for topics that she called "Math's Greatest Hits".... what do you think they should know?
After my frustration in precalc earlier this year about them not being able to factor (see here and here) I made up a list of all of the skills I would expect my students to have when starting out the year. I gave a copy to the Honors Algebra 2 teachers who would be sending kids my way. My plan is to quiz them in the first week of school on some of those skills and if need be, get them reviewing on their own. Here's my version (if you have any suggestions, please let me know!):
Precalc skills