Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vocabulary Card Sort

I am always looking for ways to make boring vocabulary a little less boring. Here's what my intern and I did last week. It turned out better than I expected and so I figured I would share. This took two 45 minute periods.

1.) The students worked with me to fill out a basic vocabulary sheet. I already had the definitions typed in the boxes. The students had to fill in the words and the pictures. I had 28 words total otherwise I probably would have had the students write the definitions, as well.

2.) I then typed up squares with only the vocabulary words in them--one word per square. The students were arranged in pairs and cut out all the words. When they were finished they had 28 individual word cards on their desks.

3.) The students were asked to complete a card sort. They had to take all 28 vocabulary words and put them into categories. They created the categories. They were allowed to use the vocabulary sheets from day #1 to help. I gave them the following guidelines: (a) must have at least three categories (b) at least two words per category (c) must be academic categories

4.) The students worked diligently to arrange their cards. I walked around and questioned/challenged some of their choices. They were made to justify the choices they made. When they were satisfied with their categories they made titles from blank squares. They arranged them neatly on their desks. I came by and took a picture with my iPad.

5.) They had to choose one of the categories and write a paragraph using all the words within that category. (This was a good idea but I probably needed better instructions for the students because not all of them produced quality paragraphs.)

6.) They taped their categories together and hung them on the wall. I plugged the iPad into the projector and the partners presented their categories to the class.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Let's Talk Math

Last semester I left off with graphing lines. By the time the semester was over, *most* of my students “got it”. However, by the time January rolls around most of them forget everything they learned before Christmas. So today I wanted to do an activity that reminded them about first semester but guided them towards second semester.

Of course, they were shocked that I was the only teacher in the entire building that was actually making them do work today. Apparently most teachers decided to spend this day as a free day discussing holiday events….riiiiiiiight. Anyway, my plan consisted of: bell ringer, multiple representations match-up activity, and then graphing practice.

1.       What is the slope-intercept form?
2.       What letter represents slope?
3.       What letter represents the y-intercept?
4.       In your own words, explain how you would graph a line that is in slope-intercept form.

I was pleased with the results from the bellringer. Most of the students could at least answer the first three questions. Quite a few were able to come up with something for the fourth question. We talked about it and then moved on to the activity.

My room is arranged into 6 groups of 4 desks each. I cut out 6 word problems with matching equations, tables, and graphs. I attached each separate part to an index card. When I was finished I had 24 index cards with either a table, a graph, an equation, or a word problem. I had the cards all shuffled up and I gave each student an index card. (Some of the students were absent so I had a community pot with the extra cards.)

The word problems were designated a specific group and seat number (each group has seats #1-4).  The rest of the cards had to stand up and then walk around and find the group they belonged to. If they were correct, the word problem, equation, table, and graph would all represent the same information. 

After about 10 minutes the groups were happy with their choices. At that time I told seat #1 that they were the reporter for the group. I gave the teams 7 minutes to talk about their choices and come up with a thought out explanation for why each piece belonged to the group. At the end of 7 minutes, I had the reporters from each group stand up and take turns sharing out. 
I really loved the share out portion of the activity because I was able to see which groups really understood things like "In the table the y-intercept is represented by...and you find that in the graph by....and the equation shows that...and the word problem says..." It was great!

I'll definitely use this type of group/team work again. The reporting out at the end is what truly made this activity shine...and it got the students talking MATH on day #1!!