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Showing posts from October, 2020

Factoring Fun

Factoring can be fun.   These activities have students practice factoring in an interactive way.  The factoring maze would be a great first activity since all of the leading coefficients are 1.  The maze can be printed or done in Google Slides.  The factoring bingo would be an activity to sum up the material.  The bingo includes greatest common factors, leading coefficients that are prime, and leading coefficients that are greater than 1.  I like to play self paced bingo with my students but you can play live online or print for students.  Factoring Bingo Factoring Maze Leading Coefficient of 1  

Equatio for Nice Equations

  The Equatio Extension is a must have if you teach math.  You can find the extension in the Chrome Web Store. The extension has a 30 day trial and if you love it, which I do, you can fill out a teacher form and use it for free.  Equatio can be used on Google Slides, Google Docs, Google Forms, and more.  Equatio has many nice features, I like the ease of use the most.  Once you open the extension is appears at the bottom of your screen and you can type, write, or do a mix of both to insert equations into your work.  Unlike equations in Google Docs, it stays open until you close it so no longer clicking every time you want to insert a new equation. Hope you find it as helpful as I have.    

Create a Digital Walkabout with Google Slides

  Walkabouts are one of my favorite activities to do with students, since we are virtual I've learned how to make digital ones.  A literal equations walkabout is below, others can be found on the free activities page. To make your own, open google slides and select a background.  Next, pick what shape you want your answers to be, I typically use a rectangle, rounded rectangle, or circle.  After you select your shape, pick the color you want.  You will fill in all the shapes with the answers to the problems, you can either type right on the shape or I use the equatio extension to insert my equations(it's free). Once you have all of your answers, insert a new slide.  I copy one of the shapes from the answer board and put it on this slide.  Click inside the shape and put the words answer board or return to answer board.  You will link this shape back to the answer board by clicking the shape, click on link in the toolbar and then select the slide number of your answer board.  Afte

Mix of Mazes

    Mazes are one of my favorite activities to make and the students enjoy doing them.  All of these mazes contain a digital version and a printable version. Order of Operations Maze Parallel and Perpendicular Lines from Slope-Intercept Form Maze Parallel and Perpendicular Lines from Different Forms Maze Combine Like Terms Maze - one with just combining and one distribute and combine Learn how to make your own mazes below. 

Play Ball with Equations Baseball

  Baseball season may be coming to a close but you can still knock it out of the park with these activities. Students are presented with 2-3 equations to solve. Each tome they solve an equation they select the result, a ball, strike, or hit.  After all 3 answers are input they see the results of their math, either a hit or foul ball/out.  The game ends when they hit a home run.    Baseball One Step Equations Baseball Two Step Equations Baseball Distribute Equations Baseball Combine Like Terms and Variables on Both Sides Equations Baseball Mixed Equations Let’s Play Ball. 

Free Online Whiteboard, see ALL students work

It's been a struggle to see what each student is doing virtually in live time but was a game changer.   Start by clicking new class and then select the settings that you prefer.  I share the link with my students in the chat for them to click on instead of typing in the information.   To start click toggle my whiteboard and write your problem or insert your picture.  You can add a coordinate grid to your problem if you want.  Once you have the problem the way you want click push and select how you want it to go to students, I do push page.  This will appear on students screens.  Once the students have it you can watch their work in live time as they write on their whiteboards. The picture above is from my class working on writing equations of a line.  This was incredibly helpful to me because I could see where each student was in the process and their thought process.  Some students pulled up the graph paper and graphed the points to find the slope while others were

Increase Student Engagment

  Virtual teaching can be a challenge and keeping students engaged can require extra work. I’ve been mixing up activities, trying group work, and games but what I’ve found works best is the wheel.  I put the students names or group on the wheel. I spin it for questions or participation. After each spin it gives you the option to remove them. I do not remove them, if you do then they can tune out; by leaving them they always have to be prepared. As a side note, it provides a great lesson in probability. One day this week I used the wheel during a game and it landed on team 4, 4 consecutive times.


  Grants are one way to get money for your classroom. Often times, teacher shy away when they hear the word grant but that translates to a better chance for you and me. Over the last few years, I received thousands of dollars towards classroom projects and professional developments from grants. Virginia Professional Educators has a classroom grant and a professional development grant twice a year. The application is simple, open to non-members, and averages $300.  This is how I paid for a large amount of my Master’s degree. The fall grant deadline is quickly approaching so apply soon.  The National Education Association has a large section of grants available. They have several pages worth of grants. Take a look and see if any work for your situation. The Virginia Beach Education Association has innovative grants in the fall and spring. While the fall deadline has passed the spring application is open.  This grant has funded many classroom projects of mine totaling in about $3,500. 

Fraction Activities

  Knowing how to work with fractions is a skill that spans across many grade levels. I’ve posted some fraction activities below.  Simplify Fractions Task Cards Simplify Mixed Numbers Task Cards Simplify Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers Maze - Digital and Printable Available Adding Fractions Walk Around - Digital and Printable Available Subtracting Fractions Walk Around - Digital and Printable Available Multiplying Fractions Walk Around - Digital and Printable Available Dividing Fractions Walk Around - Digital and Printable Available Fraction to Decimal Maze - Digital and Printable Available Fraction to Percent Maze - Digital and Printable Available

Bouncy Bands to Accommodate Students

  Students need to move and be active so how can you best accommodate with all the COVID restrictions? Bouncy bands may be the solution. At times, flexible seating isn’t an option so I looked for other ways to help my students who need to move.  I tried three different bouncy bands and this one is the winner . The bands slip on the students seats, they are quiet, and the students can have at it.  These have been so helpful to students who need to shake their legs or tap their feet. Plus, these are quiet and didn't cause distractions. I was hesitant at first because of the cost but they are well worth it.  Since they are so expensive I would suggest using DonorsChoose or a grant to get funding for them. I started with a few to help my students with disabilities and/or ADHD and found that almost all the students wanted them. I was able to get a large amount of flexible seating options by using DonorsChoose. If you have any questions comment below or reach out .

Slope Activities

    Slope can be a difficult topic for students but I’ve made some activities to help. On Point with Slope This activity has students find the slope given two points.  Share the activity in presentation mode with your students, here's how . When they find the slope correctly they are advanced to the next question. If they get the question incorrect they are redirected to a video to review and then back to the question. Hitting the Slopes This activity has students find the slope from graphs. This is an escape room style slope and progresses from points marked on the graph to graphs without points marked. Share the activity in presentation mode with your students,  here's how . Slope Station Students use their knowledge of slope to get to their destination along the way they run into obstacles, parallel tracks, and more.   This is an escape room style activity where students are asked different style slope questions.  They start with ordered pairs then advance to graphs with poi

Parent Contact Log Simplified with Google Forms

  Simplify your contact log by using a Google Form. I've included the one I use at the bottom. We are constantly contacting parents and keeping a log can become long and cumbersome.  Most administrators will ask for your list of contacts so I use a Google Form for easy tracking and sharing with administration. By using a Google Form, I can get all my entries in a spreadsheet.  If I am asked when I made contact with a specific parent, I can quickly find that in the spreadsheet by using control+f and typing in the name.  I also like the spreadsheet to see patterns in contacts.  Am I always contacting the same parent at the end of each nine weeks? Do I make frequent contacts on a specific day?  Here is the contact log that I use, you can use it as is or modify it for your classroom needs.   

Split Screen for Access to Multiple Tabs At Once

  Split screen saves the students and yourself from the hassle of toggling between tabs.  Split screen for Chromebooks: First, the students open the tabs that you want them to use.  Once they have them open they click on one tab and pull it off the others creating 2 separate windows.  On this window they click alt ] (next to P) and it will move it to the right side and 50% of the screen. Next, click on the other tab and do alt [ and it will move that tab to the left and take 50% of their screen. In between the two tabs there is a dark section, they can click and drag on this to make one side larger or smaller. Spilt Screen for Laptops: If you or your students are using a laptop, I suggest you get a window tiler extension.  The tiler does the same thing as above except it's a click and can do up to 4 screens.  To get the window tiler extension go to the Chrome Web Store, I use the one pictured above. Once it's added you can put it on your toolbar for quick and easy access.  When

Google Forms for Review Content

  When you can't add anymore into your pacing but need to review then try using Google Forms.  I've made a template below that you can copy. We as educators know the more we review, the more successful our students are.  For example, your curriculum may say to teach slope but you know students will first need a review on graphing points. This is where I would use a Google Form to review.   I set up my Google Form to ask them a basic question they should have the previous knowledge to answer.  If they answer it correctly they move to harder questions. If they answer incorrectly they move to a video on the topic.  The students are asked 3 questions before they are finished and all 3 are response validation questions.  A response validation question means the students must answer it correctly to move on. I like to give these as warm-ups or homework before teaching the topic.  If I am using it as a warm-up, I do it the same day I'm teaching the new content. I suggest using a ti

Free Inequalities Activities

  Teaching inequalities is supposed to be quick and easy since you just taught equations, but from experience, it’s not. I’ve found it's best to teach inequalities in steps (just like equations) so I’ve made activities to go through that process.  Here are the activities:       One Step Inequalities Maze   Two Step Inequalities Digital Walk Around Distribute Inequalities Bingo Variables on Both Sides Inequalities Walk Around Graphing Inequalities on a Number Line Drag and Drop Inequalities Escape Room Other free activities for various topics can be found here.

How to Create Maze Activities plus Free Examples

  A maze is a self check activity that students enjoy and teachers can use to quickly assess student understanding. See below on how to create your own or just use one of my free templates/activities.  Creating a maze requires about a 15 minute set up and then time to add your content.  The great part is once you set up a template you like, you can reuse it over and over again.  To create your own maze open a new Google Drawings (in your Google Drive).  Select the shape you want to hold your questions; I typically pick a square or circle.  After you select the shape, copy it (Control+C) and paste it (Control+V).  You repeat this process until you have a row.  Once you have a full row hold down your mouse and drag over the row and copy it.  You can then paste it and drag it into place.  You will repeat pasting until you get the number of rows you want.  To connect your questions, I use arrows or rectangles.  Pick yours and put it between two of your question shapes.  After you do that o

How I got my Master's Degree for Almost Free

 Most school systems pay you more if you have a master's degree. According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, "On average, a teacher with a master's degree earns $5,285 more than a teacher with only a bachelor's degree..." That's a lot of money, but so is the cost of a master's degree. Here's how I got mine for almost free. We get tons of emails about cohorts and joining cohorts so that is where I started.  The cohorts often offer a reduced price to educators with some stipulations.  The one I joined was a 3 year distance-based learning program at a reputable state university. Second, look into your district's tuition plan, many districts will pay a certain amount per semester for a course. I've found that district tuition reimbursements tend to be around $300, twice a year and require an A or a B for the final course grade.   One district was even willing to pay the full amount for my last 3 classes to ensure I finished the degree.  B

Making a Digital Escape Room with Google Slides

Creating a digital escape room tailored to classroom and subject is just a few clicks away with Google Slides. If you want to skip the trouble, try using one of my example digital escape rooms .  To start, open a slides presentation and set the layout to blank.  From here you can either create your own images or search the web for them.  If you are searching the web, make sure to search for transparent images so that your images can have writing or other images placed on top of them.   After selecting your room set-up you can start to insert your content.  I like to put in a whiteboard and write the equations on the white board using Equatio . Next, you will need to have a keypad which has the numbers on it or you can create your own .  If you are looking for a keypad with inequalities or an equal sign I suggest making your own or copying this one .   Now that you have the content and a keypad you will need to duplicate the slide based on the number of answer options.  You have to dupl

Google Voice Simplifies Student/Parent Contact

  I started using Google Voice in 2015 and it’s even more useful today in the teach-from-home era.  I know there are many apps out there like Remind or ClassDojo but I recommend Google Voice. It’s simple, free, and gives you a separate phone number to give to parents and students. It’s simple for parents as it functions like a regular phone number; there are no join codes for parents/students to sign up.  Also, when students transfer in or out they don't have to be added to the class or deleted.  This saves time and frustration of constantly updating it if you work with a transient population.   If you have Gmail (Google Email), a Google Voice number is free. Don't have Gmail? That's free, too. You can look for a number in your area code or you can get a random number.  You can search for available text strings as well. My number contains my last name. I have it send me an email to my primary account when I get a new text message.  Google Voice can be run all from your co

Plotting Pumpkins

  Fall is upon us and so is the need to review how to plot points. This skill is foundational but oft-forgotten. We started discussing slope in my classroom and ran into this problem.  When talking about plotting points we had to discuss an ordered pair and then how to graph.  Add intercepts to the mix and we found a big need for a review activity.    Plotting pumpkins is a quick activity that has students plot pumpkins on specific points and then read points from a graph.  It double checks their understanding by having a "ghost" scramble the pumpkins and them  to write the new ordered pairs. When done correctly, pumpkins should have been placed in all 4 quadrants, on the origin, and on the axes.  Plotting Ghost is similar to plotting the pumpkins but with ghost instead.  I hope this quick review is helpful in your classroom this fall.

Math Keypad for Escape Rooms

  Escape rooms are really popular especially as we are teaching virtually, however, I haven't been able to find a math keypad to use in mine, so I made one.  Creating the keypad for your escape room is simple to do in google draw.  By creating your own you can make it exactly how you want it from size, color, all the way to choices.  Start by opening a new google draw.  Once you open the google draw decide which shape you want the keys to be, I typically select a rectangle or a circle.  From there you can start inserting your numbers by clicking into the shape or symbols.  For inserting symbols, I like to use Equatio.  Equatio is a google extension which is free.  Once you finish making your keypad select it all and copy and paste it into your escape room.  By making it in google draw your background is transparent and will take on the background from the slide behind like the picture above has a blue background.  I've pre-made one for you here , once you make your copy, you c