Absolute Value Functions Characteristics

In our Absolute Value Functions unit, we spend quite a bit of time discussing the characteristics of functions. I think the characteristics discussion is more productive in this unit than in our Functions unit because we are examining one specific function in more depth. However, I wanted to find a way to give students the opportunity to practice, without just sitting in their seats. So I made this stations activity…

I printed these graphs and equations on colored 8.5 x 11 inch paper and put them around the walls of my classroom:

Then, I gave each student a packet with these blank link sheets:

Students were instructed to visit 6 of the 10 stations in any order they wished. I labeled the station link sheets as even or odd, so that students would have the appropriate place to sketch a graph or write the equation from a graph. Depending on the length of your period, you might have students solve 8 of the 10 stations, or all 10. I chose 6 because I wanted to have enough time at the end of class to give students an exit ticket. We also did a warm up problem and reviewed last night’s homework before starting (our periods are 48 minutes long).

I also solved all of the stations, and taped the solutions to a board like this:
Board1

I taped them upside down so the answers wouldn’t be visible, and directed students to come check their answers once they finished a station.
Board2

I set up a table next to the board of answers so that I could monitor the checking, but it wasn’t a problem at all. I thought students would be rushing over to look at them, but many never came over at all. I put Station #10 at my table and called specific students over to sit and work through that station with me. Some of these students had been absent the day before, and others I wanted to provide with some specific one-on-one help.

I use index cards to help students cover half the graph to identify where the function is increasing and decreasing. Overall, the activity went really well and some students asked if they could solve all 10 stations!

Day in the Life of Ms. Kohn Take 2

Last year I wrote about a day in my life for the #DITLife Challenge and I was psyched to read that this week’s Explore #MTBoS Week 7 Challenge was to do it again. So here goes…

5:11 am Real alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

5:15 am Hit snooze on phone alarm.

5:25 am Get out of bed and get ready. Drink orange juice and eat Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds (same breakfast every single day) while checking email/facebook/twitter.

6:16 am Drive to school.

6:24 am Arrive at school (8th car in parking lot). Stop by main office to pick up mail and write a morning announcement about the after school Student Council meeting. Put lunch in math department fridge.

6:32 am Arrive at my classroom. Smile because I stayed later than I usually do on Friday and set it up like this:
Classroom Set Up
Having my stations lab already set up for first period, and remembering that I had already updated the objectives/agenda for the day, made me so happy. It’s the little things :) I logged into my computer and chatted with a STEM team colleague about our weekends.

7:00 am Met with Principal regarding a class officer issue. Solution reached.

7:20 am Took homeroom attendance. Ran to 4 other homerooms to remind students going on a field trip tomorrow to bring in their permission slips and show up on time.

7:35 am Period A begins (Algebra 1). Today was a block day so we had class for 85 minutes, normally our periods are 48 minutes. We reviewed the homework assignment, a MCAS open response question, by having the students correct a partner’s paper. Then, we did this W-R-I-T-I-N-G Equations Stations Lab. It went really well, and many students finished it more quickly than I thought they would. So I directed them to Visual Patterns… Thanks, Fawn!

9:05 am Period C begins (Algebra 2). We started class with a mini quiz on Functions (domain, range, parent function transformations). Then, we took notes on the characteristics of absolute value functions and practiced with some links. Class went just OK. I don’t love starting with a quiz and then having students take notes, but I didn’t see a way around it today.

10:30 am Lunchtime. I eat with the math department, it’s a great time to catch up with everyone.

11:00 am Period E begins (STEM Common Planning Time). We review/choose dates for our Term 2 project and update our project guidelines document. We also plan tomorrow’s project work period and finalize details for an 8th grade visit to the high school.

11:50 am Back at my desk. I respond to a bunch of emails and make a few copies. I don’t think I used my prep time wisely today… I can’t really think of too much that I accomplished…

12:30 pm Period G begins (Algebra 1). Same lesson as Period A, but the lab takes longer and no one gets a chance to play with Visual Patterns.

1:55 pm School ends. Student Council meeting begins. We run through some normal agenda items and then write letters to soldiers (a school wide service project).

2:45 pm Back at my desk. Respond to a few more emails. Received 32 throughout the day and sent 15. Pack up stuff.

3:05 pm Drive to nearby school for Administrative Internship class. Today’s topic is “What to Expect When You Move Into Administration.” I don’t know when in my future I’ll move into administration, but I had an opportunity to be part of a licensure program this fall and took advantage of it. It was great to get the prospective from educators who had gone through the same process.

5:45 pm Leave class and drive to Burlington Coat Factory. I needed a new winter coat and I found just the perfect one! Black, knee-length, belted, and with a detachable hood.

6:30 pm Drive to gym for Zumba class. Zumba! Drive home.

8:30 pm Sit in favorite spot on couch. Prepare to watch the Patriots game. Write this blog post.

Summer To Do List

 

Our school year ended on Monday and everyone I bump into keeps asking me what I’m going to do all summer. A lot actually! I’ll definitely be enjoying some days at the beach, nights at the drive in, vacations to DisneyWorld, New Jersey, and Bermuda, but there will also be a lot of schoolwork happening…

Professional Development 

  • Data Coach Training – About 40 administrators and educators from my district elected to take part in this training sponsored by Research for Better Teaching (RBT) to learn how to “Unleash the Power of Collaborative Inquiry.” We will become data coaches and lead data teams this coming school year.
  • Twitter Math Camp ’13 - Woot woot!
  • Laying the Foundation Pre-Ap Training – I’ll be attending the Year 3 HS Math Training sponsored by the National Math and Science Initiative.
  • How to Learn Math – An online course from Stanford Math Ed Professor Jo Boaler

Books to Read

  • Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess
  • Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan William
  • Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager

Curriculum to Work On

  • STEM Stuff – My team is meeting for a few days to debrief the past year, set up new norms, and most importantly, decide what we liked about the projects we did and what we want to change. The majority of our time will be spent editing project guidelines/rubrics and making new ones.
  • Algebra 1 – I’m feeling pretty good about Algebra 1 since I’m teaching it for the 3rd year in a row; however, I’ve signed up for this morning session at TMC13 and know I’ll come back with lots of new ideas to work on! I’m also getting together with a group of teachers from my school in August to create common assessments for each of the eight Algebra 1 units we have.
  • Algebra 2 – I’m teaching two college prep sections next year, and haven’t taught it for two years. I need to spend some time organizing those materials to figure out what can be used again and what needs to be changed.

Other Stuff to Work On

  • Classroom Posters – I want to print some pretty, inspirational signs to add color and  pizzazz to my room. The only ones I’m keeping from this past year are: 1) Boston University Banner 2) Excellence Surfer Poster 3) Favorite Quote from Howard Thurman

    Surfer

    Passion

  • Daily Warm Ups – My students do a warm up at the beginning of every class, and I’ve been awful at keeping track of them over the past three years. Some are in word docs, some powerpoint, some I make up 30 seconds before class starts and scribble on the white board. I want to put them all in one place.
  • Blogging – I have a lot of posts on my “To Write” list, and this will be forever expanding as I attend the aforementioned PD sessions and read the aforementioned books.