Far Side Expansion

repost from Make Math Not Suck

I have been doing this activity LONG before computers were a staple in the classroom. (We won’t talk about how many years that’s been!) I love this project now as much as I did when I started.

I used to have a Far Side by Gary Larson desk calendar and each year I would keep the images and use it for this project. I don’t buy the desk calendar anymore, but you can find Larson’s comic’s online.

I take the comics and cut them equally into 3-4 congruent parts (depending on my groups). Students must work in groups of 3-4 to decide on a grid size for their original and a scaled paper size and grid size. Once they’ve worked together to draw this in, they start sketching their drawing box-by-box. We spend about 4 -50 minute class periods on this project.

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The students have a lot of fun with this and are proud of their product when finished. It also reinforces teamwork. When one person doesn’t complete their part, a picture is hung up for viewing incomplete. So sad.

Here is the planning guide I use for this project. If you use it, post about about it on Twitter, and tag me @MandiTolenEDU.

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Categories: Geometry, Scale Factor | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Bullied to Bully

This isn’t a story about technology. It’s also a long post, but if you stick with me until the end, maybe it will help you see a few of your students in a different light.

I was visiting with my son a few nights ago about social interactions. I decided to share a story with him. It’s not a story I’m proud of, but it explained a point I was making. After sharing the story with him, I realized that maybe others would benefit from the story too.

When I was in elementary school I was the youngest in my class and the smallest child by far. I was also considered gifted. Now, I’m not certain how that label was given to me, but in reflection, I did learn faster and thought differently than others in my class. I am from a small community and my class probably had a total of 15 students. Some years we combined grades in one classroom. When you have that few children in a classroom, a gifted student sometimes sticks out like a sore thumb. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, without other children, so I interacted with other students more like an adult would. We also didn’t have a lot of money.

So to summarize, I was the small, smart, poor, articulate kid who was an easy target for most students. I was bullied a lot! When I say bullied, I don’t just mean verbally, because that did happen often, but also physically. Once in elementary school, a group of boys took me by the arms and threw me into a concrete wall. I ended up in the emergency room with a concussion. I couldn’t even tell you why it happened. Another time, a student threw a pencil at my head and the lead broke off. I still have the mark under my skin. Another time a student put pins in clay and made clay balls. He would throw them under my seat (and others, he bullied indiscriminately) when I was in the act of sitting down so I would sit on pins. The event that changed everything for me though, happened during my 8th grade year (our school was K-8).

Our teacher left us alone in the room often. One day I had said or done something to upset some boys in my class. I don’t remember what I said or did, but I had angered these boys. When the teacher left the room, 4 boys held me down and set my hair on fire with a lighter. Thankfully only about an inch was singed off, but the event was terrifying for me. To make matter worse, the teacher tried to support these boys instead of me. He would bring up the event often and make fun of me. On the day of our elementary graduation, that teacher made some snarky comment to me about the incident. I decided, at that exact moment, that I would never be bullied again.

Since our building was K-8, we chose which high school to attend. I walked into that high school with a chip on my shoulder and determination. I became the bully! I chose weak people to make fun of because it took the spotlight off of me. I stood up to people, sometimes for good, but sometimes for show. By my sophomore year, people were afraid of me and many didn’t like me. I had a small group of friends, whom I protected with my words as well. I was not bullied in high school. That was my goal. I was also not a nice person in high school. I made others feel like I had felt. That last part wasn’t a conscious outcome; I didn’t set out to hurt others. My goal was to protect myself.

I don’t hold ill feelings against those who bullied me. That hurt has long passed. I hope, for those that I bullied, the hurt has also passed. What I did realize through my experience is that many who bully are trying to protect themselves. What they are doing is wrong, but they need help! Punishment empowers them, builds their image of a badass. I decided in college to be a better person and I was. I found a balance between being stepped on and being a horrible person.

What do I want to you take away from this? Look at the bully. Why are they hurting others? Consequences need to happen for poor actions, but until you know the root of the problem, the bully won’t stop. There are truly cruel and broken people out there who hurt for the pleasure of it. But, I’m convinced that many of our bullies are hurt people protecting themselves and they need someone to help them.

Categories: ramblings | Leave a comment

Apps with Google Slides

I stumbled across this post by @micahshippee on Kasey Bell’s website ShakeUpLearning.com. Micah is part of my Google Innovator Cohort and he is amazing.

Micah created an activity where students use Google Slides to create an “app” that you can load on your phone or tablet. I decided to use this wonderful idea to review area formulas. My students created an app where you could click a button and find the formula and an example for each shape. I love when you create a project that students are excited about! This project fits that description.

Bonuses: Students were VERY ENGAGED. They were still working when the bell rang and didn’t really want to stop. They were helping each other, critiquing without being prompted, and giving great advice. I was MORE THAN excited when students came into class the day the assignment was due with the app already loaded on their phone. They were soooo proud!  I think, as an extension of this activity, we will share our apps with lower grade levels, who are learning about area for the first time, and have them give us feedback through Flipgrid.

Here is the activity I gave the students. My instructions are taken directly from Micah’s post because they are so thorough. He is cited in the activity.

Create an App for AREA (1)

I’ve also included some of the apps created by my students. OMGee, they make my heart happy. You should be able to click on the phone below and it will open a Google Drawing file where the links are active. If you use this activity, please share on Twitter and tag me @MandiTolenEDU and @micahshippee.

Imagine what else you could do with this activity!!!

 

Categories: App, Area, Geometry, Google Slides, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Student Created Trig Word Problem

repost from Make Math Not Suck

For the last 9 years, I’ve had students do a Trig project where they use handmade clinometers to measure the height of an object taller than they are. I love this project because it shows the application of Trig and guides students through a thought process to solve this type of problem.

This year I wanted to shake things up a bit. I wanted them to do the same project, but this time I wanted them to write an angle of elevation word problem. Students struggle with the word problems, and writing them helps them understand the process and required information.

As always, I was blown away by the creativity of some of my students. Their word problems were hilarious! They were problems I would WANT to solve. I took a few and used them on our assessment.

Since we had a recent ice storm, pictures had to be taken inside. It was Homecoming week, so we had some interesting backdrops. Students used the HOCO decorations and wrote their stories around them. Aren’t kids great?

Angle of depression is still giving us issues so maybe next year I’ll have them measure something below them. Maybe from the bleachers or the top of the steps. Hmm… food for thought!

Categories: Geometry, Google Slides, Trig | Tags: | Leave a comment

Create a digital Breakout

I love Breakout games and watching students interact with each other to solve problems. What I don’t like about physical breakout games is students missing out on some of the puzzles. The collaboration is great, but when using it as a review, not all students experience the same things. Digital breakouts can be done in groups of 2 or individually and allow the students to experience all of the puzzles.

I created a tutorial for digital breakouts a few years ago, but with the changes to Google sites, the process is sooooo much easier now.

Here is an image that outlines the basic steps.

Digital Breakout Infographic

  1. I try to write my prompts and story ahead of time. This saves me time when I’m putting everything in a Google Site. For the Christmas Breakout I recently wrote, my story line was kind of lame 😦 but it went along with the 12 days of Techmas I created for my school.

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2 and 3. I create my clues in Google Drawing or Google Slides, and I use outside sources like jigsawplanet.com and Snotes. The more creative you are the more fun your breakout will be. I was provided a document from Charles (I wish I knew your last name) at the EdTech Team Summit in Topeka. His crowd-sourced document is loaded with great ideas for digital breakouts.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Er-YHzLAzezTBliy6OUB9Wq5TqyR15sqx2wKsKbCCME/edit?usp=sharing

This first image of the gnome I uploaded into jigsaw planet and created a puzzle, and the second one has a clue hidden in the music notes. You can also overlay transparent images on a Google Drawing so it makes an area clickable. See the animation below.

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You can add more images for visual appeal or as fake clues. You also want your background and titles to be fun. I created some fun graphics in my TrianglesOnly.com breakout.

4. You will use a Google Form to create your locks. I sometimes embed a countdown timer from youtube. BreakoutEDU has a great one that is free to use.Screen Shot 2018-10-27 at 10.49.18 PM

You can also use images of locks to visually represent what lock they are looking for.  You want to click the 3 dots in the bottom right corner and select response validation. Set the lock code to what you want. Remember, they are case sensitive so tell your audience how to type it.Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 2.46.05 PM

5. Now we will put it all together. I use Google Sites (sites.google.com) and house everything there. You can pull directly from your Google Drive to embed your Google Drawings (with transparent links), Google Forms, and any images you have stored in your drive. Word of caution, if you plan to use multiple pages (which I sometimes do) have participants open the Google Form in a new tab so they don’t lose the combinations they have already entered when they click on a new link in the site. If you are not familiar with Google Sites, Matt Miller has a walk-through on Ditch That Textbook that will help.

Here is a link to a Christmas Breakout I made to follow-up our 12 Days of Techmas.

And another Breakout for Geometry called TrianglesOnly.com

Hopefully you will find creating Digital Breakouts as fun as I do. I know my students love them.

Categories: BreakoutEDU, Google Drawing, Google Sites, Google Slides | Tags: | Leave a comment

Custom Google Classroom Headers

I love to customize my Google Classroom banners. I mean, the ones provided by Google are super cute, but if you can add a Bitmoji then it’s better I say. I also sometimes include some icons for the content area. I create my own to avoid copyright issues, but noun project is another great resource to use.

Header example

Google Classroom Header.png

You will create these in Google Drawing. Google Drawing is located in your Drive under more Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.55.37 PM  or in your Google waffle.Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.54.00 PM

Now we want to go to page set-up under file, select custom, change inches to pixels and create an 800 x 200 pixel canvas.2018-12-04_21-58-27

Now the fun can begin. If you right click (or control click) on the canvas it will allow you to change the background of the canvas. I like to use the gradient feature so the middle is a little lighter.

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I’ve you know ANYTHING about me, you know I like to use the Bitmoji extension. You can learn about how to use the extension in this blog post. Now remember, you don’t want to put words in the middle of you banner because Google Classroom will put the class label in the middle. You also want to leave a little room on the outside edges so it fits your browser configuration.

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I added the words Happy Holidays too. Word Art is another fun tool to use if you want to play around with it.

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Now you are ready to download your creation. I like .png, but you can also use .jpg

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Now that you have your image in your downloads folder or whatever location you send your downloads. Now let’s put this into Google Classroom. Click on the upload photo link in the bottom right corner. Select or drag your image in. TAH DAH, you have a new custom header.

2018-12-04_22-28-47You can see my previous custom header and the new holiday header I just created. Notice the color does get a little darker when you upload. You might also play around with the location of your images. I move mine more towards the top than centered so it looks centered once inside of Classroom.

Now, let’s take this a step further. How about you let students create custom headers and each week you display a new one? Evan Mosier is having one of his classes do this and he has shared a site will the headers created by his students. They are free for anyone to use.

If you make one of your own, let me know @MandiTolenEDU on Twitter. If you use a banner from one of Evan’s students, give them a shout-out on Twitter.

Categories: Bitmoji, custom headers, Google Classroom, Google Drawing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Stop Motion Videos

Stop Motion videos in Google Slides is such an easy project for teachers and students. I first learned about Stop Motion from @ericcurts on his blog Control Alt Achieve. @jmattmiller also has some fun stop motion information on his blog too.

I created a super short little stop motion that I turned into an animated gif using Tall Tweets then embedded into a Google slide presentation, even cropping it because it acts as an image.

download (12)

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Stop motion videos are super easy to make in Google Slides. For the one above, I created background then I drug in my Bitmoji and placed it at the top.

 

 

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Next you duplicate the slide and using the arrow keys or sliding with your mouse, move your image a little bit.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 9.16.20 PM.png Continue the process until you have moved your object to the end.  This short little movie had 11 slides total.

Now the fun begins. Using the website Tall Tweets, load your Google Slide, this sometimes takes a bit depending on the size. Next, select the duration. Play with this a little until the movie looks like you want. You can check by clicking the create gif button. When you are happy with your movie, you can save it or tweet it.

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Below are some stop motion videos I created for a Triangle Congruence lesson. So yes, you can use stop motion for academic purposes too. Image how much fun it would be for students to create their own!

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If you make stop motion videos, please share and tag me on Twitter @TTmomTT. I would LOVE to see them!

Categories: Bitmoji, Geometry, Google Slides, Stop Motion, Triangle Congruence | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Bullet Journal Teacher Planner

I love to create sketchnotes and have tried my hand at bullet journals.  I love creating sketchnotes on my iPad, but I have always kept a paper journal. This year I discovered a PDF linked electronic bullet journal that you can use in Notability or GoodNotes. I wanted to try it out but not spend a ton of money on it. I discovered a tutorial online that taught me how to make one using Keynote. OH MY GOSH, it was so much fun. I created a teacher planner and I LOVE how it works. I’ve provided the PDF file for you to use if you want to try it out too.

Yes, I know, you can use Google calendar and I do, but there is something about writing on a calendar that works for me.

You click on the tabs on the side to take you to the month you want. You can click on beginning of the week to take you to the week you want.

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You need to store the PDF in Google Drive or Dropbox and import it to Notability. You can also use GoodNotes, but I haven’t personally tried it.

Enjoy the file. Remember this is my first attempt so I can’t promise perfection. You an also go on Etsy and search for electronic bullet journals to find some others have created.

PDF File

Categories: Notability, Planner, sketchnotes | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Choose Your Own Adventure *Updated*

A lesson is only as good as the updates you make. This activity, which I first blogged about here and here, came from Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller. I love this idea and now use it as an alternative assessment activity. Please go back and read how this started for me.

One reason I love this activity so much is because it gives students choice and freedom of topic, they become the teacher so they learn the content more deeply, they peer edit which is a very crucial skill, and this year I added a Flipgrid component in collaboration with another school.

I have updated my planning documents a little. They are posted on the posts, but this will be the most up-to-date document I have. I have also created a Google Slide presentation so very little teacher direction is needed. Another update I made this year was to increase the level of peer editing. Students do not intuitively know how to do this, so I updated the document so they have a little more guidance. Lastly, and probably the most exciting part for me, was creating these CYOA stories for a sister class in another district. We sent them our completed stories and then each student left feedback via Flipgrid. We’ve sent our stories to this district before but having video Feedback through Flipgrid was amazing and meant a lot more for my students.

I’ve included some fun examples from this year. I encouraged my Geometry students to create circular images as part of the story.  You can check the links above for examples from previous years including some Algebra 1 examples.

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Including the Flipgrid responses from our sister school was an amazing addition. My students loved seeing the faces and hearing their reviewers. It also made the audience “authentic” to them. We did get permission from their parents for my students to view them but we did not include releasing it publically so I can’t share the link to the grid. I’ve included a screenshot of the grid below.

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You can find a link to my resources below.

Planning Guide – 2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Algebra

2018 Choose Your Own Adventure Planning Guide-Geometry

Slide Presentation – CYOA Planning Guide.png

Student Peer Review Document – 2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Algebra

2018 CYOA Scoring Guide-Geometry

Here is an example of a peer review. In my experience, you need to model this for your students. I have, in the past, peer-edited my own story with the class so they see what to look for.

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Please give credit to Matt Miller and me if you use this idea. It has been a fabulous learning experience in my classroom and I look forward to the next update!

 

 

Categories: Choose Your Own Adventure, Geometry, Google Forms, Solving Equations | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Fly Swatters, Parabolas, & MathSnaps

Key features of parabolas are important to understand the why behind quadratic graphs. It seems intuitive, and it is provided an image, but often the situation is represented as a graph with only words to guide students. My students can graph them but seem to struggle with where things are on the graph. We approached quadratics much differently this year, using only Desmos and graphing calculators to graph. We started with an idea from a colleague at another high school in my district. She uses fly swatters on day one to review key features of a parabola. This is not in the context of a situation but a good place to start. Student LOVED this activity.

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This is played relay style (picture was taken on pajama day for homecoming, hence the jammies) and students run up and smack the parabola on the key feature selected.

Fly Swatter Key Features

link to slidedeck

I also gave an exit ticket in Desmos activity builder to see where we still needed to remediate. I really liked this one because it was open-ended. They moved the parabola around to meet each requirement.

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I’ve included the link to the Desmos activity if you would like to use it as well.

Lastly, we worked with real situations. I gave them an Angry Birds picture and had them label, with their elbow partner, initial height, maximum height, time to max height, and time to the ground. It went pretty well and they got everything but initial height, which led to great discussions.

Our last activity was giving them a situation with an equation, they graphed it in Desmos and used their graph to make #mathsnaps. Bitmoji has updated so it wasn’t as easy to use since the beginning of the year (sad face). Students must now create an account on their app (iOS or Android) then link that to the Chrome extension. For students who didn’t have access to the app, I provided a link to clipart and emojis they could use. Here are a few of the math snaps I received this year.

This is without feedback so some of the information isn’t correct. We’ll be conferencing about it soon.

We learn from mistakes and some of mine will have some learning opportunities. YES!

Categories: #mathsnaps, Bitmoji, Desmos, Google Drawing, parabolas | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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