Tag Archives: Mission Challenge

Mission #5: Twitter Chatter, Subject Matter

Challenge #5 invited us to join a twitter chat and blog about the experience.  For the past two months, I have attended #msmathchat on Mondays at 9 pm and have thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue between fellow middle school math teachers.  As I have said in past blogs, I work at a small private middle school where I am the only 7th and 8th grade math teacher.  I realized that I desperately needed to converse with other math teachers about topics that we all are passionate about.

Last week was crazy!  It was hard to keep up with the news feed, and when I finally did participate I had another 15 or more tweets to view.  Sometimes it is hard to follow a specific conversation because there are at least half a dozen different conversations going on at the same time.  And I sometimes miss a few posts, which makes it even more confusing.  I just installed Tweetdeck after seeing several posts on that.  I hope that will help get rid of some of the chaos.

Even so, I look forward to the chats each week.  Come join us and you won’t be disappointed!


Mission #4: Listen and Learn

In mission #4 we were asked to attend the Global Math Autumn Special webinar or watch a previous recorded webinar and blog about our experience.  I have attended several Global Math webinars before the Autumn Special webinar.  Additionally, I watched the Interactive Notebook Ideas by the Global Math Department.  They do take up an hour of precious time, but they are well worth it if they deal with a topic that I can use in my classroom.  Yes, you have to deal with technical difficulties with slides not working or sound that is not properly adjusted, but that is true life.  My students have to deal with my shortcomings and forgetfulness at times.  My lessons don’t always go smoothly.  There are always a few glitches that students must tolerate.  

I like being the student to see how another teacher approaches a topic and works through a lesson.  It’s not the same as reading a blog.  You get to experience it first-hand.  Since I’m still new to this, I have a bit of difficulty listening to the presenter and reading the comments that are scrolling on the side.  

I will continue to attend the Global Math Department webinars when the topic appeals to me and I encourage other teachers to do the same.  

Mission #3: Collaboration Nation

I know that this is a week late, but my obligations as a  wife and my obligations as a mom during soccer season always come first in my life.  With the said, I want to say that I LOVE the mission challenges!  This summer I became very discontent in how I was teaching.  I still loved my job, but I wanted to be better.  Thus began my search online to find something.  I didn’t really know what I was looking for but I stumbled on some great blogs, which gave me a start in the MTBoS.  I was hooked!  I lurked and I “stole” and even participated in a few twitter chats.  Then the mission challenges came.  It stretched me even more!  It was the push I needed.

Mission #3 gave a list of sites to explore and then asked us to pick one of the sites to blog about.  There were many good sites, but the one that spoke to me was Math Mistakes.  I often do this in my class, but it was great to see a site dedicated to this idea.  It made me realize that I need to be more intentional about this.  I really believe students learn by looking for mistakes because they already have to know how to do the problem to see what is wrong in the problem they are looking at.

I really like how this site it broken down into different grades and common core standards.  In fact, it helped my to find a few examples that I will use in my DO NOW this week because they deal with the topic that were are covering in class.

As I was grading my Algebra I tests, I noticed the following mistake being repeated on quite a few tests:


I am going to put this example up on the board on Monday for my Algebra students to discuss.  I’m hoping that they will see on their own that an answer of “1” is not Identity.  If you have any suggestions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

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.

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.