Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving My Blog

I am in the process of moving my blog to

Hopefully, I can transfer all my past posts to the new address soon.

Thank you,
Tori Cotton (formerly Kelsoe)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Interactive Notebook Survey

I didn't want to wait until the end of the year to give out a survey for our interactive notebooks.  After their quiz today, I gave them this to fill out.  Here's a screen shot...

Of the 33 surveys, here are a few things I found out...

- Question #1 - only 16 said they had 100% completed!  That's sad!

- Question #2 - a one, no twos, 16 threes, 12 fours and 4 fives

- Question #3 - 7 ones, 13 twos, 11threes, 2 fours and no fives

- Question #4 - a one, 2 twos, 5 threes, 13 fours and 12 fives

- Question #5 - no ones, 2 twos, 10 threes, 13 fours and 8 fives

- Question #6 - Triangle Vocab Puzzle, Law of Detachment/Law of Syllogism, Parallel Lines Flashcards, Triangle/Angle/Side Congruences, Equilateral and Isosceles Triangles, Conditional Statements, Classify Triangles Cut Out Activity, cute little folders for vocabulary, Triangles Congruences wkst (Math Teacher Mambo's Worksheet), Sum of Angles in a Triangle, Exterior Angle/Remote Interior Angles, calendars - I got to customize them to my personal liking).

- Question #7 - Most liked them all, but some said: Triangle Congruences, Proof Reasoning, Distance & Midpoint, Biconditionals IFF, Constructions, lots of vocab in first unit, Segment & Angle Addition, Parallel Lines Flashcards, Table of Contents (student says, "I get off track"), Exterior Angle/Remote Interior Angles.

- Question #8 - Most wouldn't change anything, but some said: the words would glow in the dark (that would be awesome!!), there would be more cutting and gluing, table of contents (not sure what they didn't like exactly), having to number the pages, start putting it in a binder instead of a notebook (spiral) because its not as sturdy and you can't add paper if you need to (we haven't needed to add paper, but I think they may have pulled some out for other assignments), add more notes writing down step by step what to do (good idea!), how much work we do in it like how thick the back is (vocab section), never to have flashcards in it again - I'm anti-flashcards (we only did them once! LOL), that it wasn't for a grade (I give them 2-3 days notice that I am grading it and take it as a quiz grade. This is from the student that admitted to only having done 25%, doesn't have a most or least favorite activity, but Q#4 was a 4 and Q#5 was a 3.).  And my favorite comment: Nothing. You're doing a good job.  It helps me practice and keep well-organized notes.  SUCCESS!!! 

I guess in every survey, you have a couple that Christmas tree it or leave blanks, but overall they have great feedback.  Glow in the dark words would be a super addition, but probably not real practical! Next year, I will continue to use 3-subject spirals, but will suggest the ones with plastic covers.  (I recommend that they keep it in their 3-ring binder, but many choose not to, causing it to get rather beat up.)  I don't want them to be able to add paper because it takes away from their ongoing organization, but they also need to learn not to pull paper out of it.  Grading will still take place as is.  Sometimes assigning a grade keeps kids working, because they know the assignment has value.  Some of mine will do it because I assign it, but those are a small portion.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Equilateral and Isosceles Triangles

Let me start by saying that I will be changing this lesson before I use it again!  I thought I could teach it off the cuff as I have in years past, but I found that I was teaching it differently and better the second time I taught it.**  My INB shows what I taught my first Geometry class of the day.  As I have written 5 blog posts today, I have learned that simply by typing an explanation helps me see things I would like to change, whether it's the name of the activity, directions, overall design, etc.

The good:
-each triangle is folded in half (altitude, twin triangles)
-the terms equilateral and equiangular are broken down (equi means equal, etc.)
-each triangle is glued only on the left side
-formula for side of the 30-60-90 triangle in the equilateral one.
-I questioned the 2nd class about the meaning of altitude and they said height, so I used the example of altitude of a plane being measured straight down (90 degree angle to ground).
-discussed angle bisectors and segment bisectors

The bad:
-triangles were too small
-should've use a, 2a and a radical 3, instead of a over 2, a and a radical 3 over 2
-I didn't explain altitude as well during 1st class
-didn't even use the word symmetry

**I believe that teaching is different for each class to some degree.  My teaching is better when I get feedback from my students and that happens more often in the 2nd Geometry class of the day! 

Triangles: Writing Congruence Statements

To explain the basics of triangle congruence, I created an activity (2-up) for the INB.  I continue to push my kids into reading and following directions without me explaining them or them asking a million questions.  I do remind them to "read and follow each step before moving on to the next one".

I had pre-cut colored paper into 8 pieces so their 2 triangles would fit into the top two-thirds of the page.  I like using the brad to show them that the triangles will not always have the same orientation.

I think the next time we use this activity I might have them cut out the table at the bottom of the worksheet and glue it into their INB instead of having them drawing a table like mine above.  If so, I will have to revamp the steps on the activity.

Triangle Congruences Lesson

I have been struggling to find a lesson plan for teaching SSS, SAS, ASA & AAS for about a week.  I have been teaching geometry about 12 of my 14 years and have yet to find a lesson that I truly love, that my students buy into easily.  Early in my career, I went straight by the (text) book.  As a teacher that likes to use manipulatives, I have used straws and chenille stems to have them "discover" which of the 6 abbreviations actually worked every time.  That lesson works with certain kids and I didn't feel that this year's students would like it.  It seems every year the students get more and more resistant to reading and following instructions step-by-step!

So, as a seasoned procrastinator, I designed today's lesson last night, printed it out, revamp, printed again, then photocopied before school this morning on my famous colored paper.  I don't want to get too excited, but they seemed to like it and did well identifying all 6 shortcuts (including SSA and AAA).

Here's how the class period rolled.  As the students walked in, I told them to pick up one of each sheet. After attendance, I briefly explained congruent triangles and how they could be congruent by SASASA, but that we only needed 3 letters.  I let them tell me the 6 combinations.  I drew pics of 2 triangles for each, showing the appropriate tick marks.  At this point, I told them to cut out the 10 squares and place them on the other half sheet in the correct column.  As they worked, I walked around checking answers and moving the incorrect ones for them to try again.  Some had a couple wrong, some didn't even have but a couple correct.  For those, I explained one or two and they were able to get the rest correct.  If I gave them the go-ahead, they glued the squares down, then glued/taped the activity into their INB.

This activity can be found at my TPT store.

After everyone was done, I explained that 2 of the shortcuts (SSA and AAA) were not guarantees that the triangles were congruent and that if something doesn't work every time, we don't use it in math. The next activity was a worksheet with 2 congruent triangles for each problem.  They had to identify the shortcut and the name of the triangle that was congruent to the first one.  The letters of the triangles were written at the bottom to complete a statement.  It is an awesome self-checking worksheet that I found at Math Teacher Mambo's blog and my kids really enjoyed it.