Monthly Archives: October 2013

Mission #2: Thoughts about Twitter

Overwhelming and confusing are two words that come to mind when I think of Twitter.

I got a Twitter account in August to be able to participate in a twitter book chat and I have since used it for #msmathchat.  I love being part of the twitter chats because I get to “talk” to other math teachers who are passionate about math.  Since I am the only 7th and 8th grade math teacher in my school, I miss the ability to collaborate with other teachers on lesson plans and activities.  Twitter chats and the math blogosphere has made a BIG difference in my classes!

Beyond the twitter chats, I find the whole Twitter thing to be time consuming and overwhelming.  I do not have an iphone so I have to use my computer.  I am already on my computer so much for school that I don’t feel I want to use up more time for Twitter. Also, I do not feel comfortable about introducing myself to strangers.  That is definitely not me!

However, I am not going to disregard it yet.  I will continue to participate in #momathchat and #msmathchat and see where it leads.

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Combining Like Terms

This week we began looking at combining like terms.  On the first day, as the students came into class, I handed each one of them a colored ticket.  Each ticket represented a different type of seat at a Giants game.  Blue tickets were for box seats that cost $400 each.  Green tickets were for lower level sideline seats that cost $200 each.  Yellow tickets were for upper level endzone seats that cost $100 each.  The question I posed was, “How can we figure out the the total amount of money spent on the tickets?”  Students right away realized that they had to add up all of the blue tickets and multiply that amount by $400, add up all of the green tickets and multiply that amount by $200, add up all of the yellow tickets and multiply that amount by $100, and then add up the three amounts.  I asked students why we couldn’t add up all the tickets first.  Again, right away they said that each of the colored tickets was worth a different value.

Next, I used Julie’s and Nora’s great idea as another visual to show combining like terms using adding and subtracting.  I used protractors, paperclips, and erasers, which were items easily accessible in my classroom.  Since protractors and paperclips both start with the letter “p”, the students decided to use the letter “c” to represent the paperclips.  As students placed items into the bag or removed items from the bag, I wrote the expression on the board as each student wrote the expression down on their small whiteboard.  When I asked what was in the bag, only a few students wanted to put all of the variables together as one term.  Not bad!  They loved the activity!

We finished by making a frayer model to define like terms and added this to our interactive notebook.

Frayer Model for Like Terms

My Introduction and a Big Thanks

After 12 years of teaching 7th grade math, pre-algebra, and algebra, I knew I needed to do things differently.  I felt stuck in a rut and didn’t know how to get out.  I teach at a small Christian middle school where I am the only 7th and 8th grade math teacher.  I love my school, but I wanted to be able to collaborate with other math teachers about new ideas.  I went on the Internet not knowing what I was looking for.  WOW is all I can say!   I began reading blogs, which led me to an online book chat, which led me to getting a twitter account, which led me to the MathTwitterBlogosphere challenge.  Within a short time, I feel transformed and inspired!  Thank you to everyone for sharing your great ideas.  I hope to be able to give back to the community that has helped me.