2017-18 Goals

This year I will be teaching at a brand new school.

I have always had extreme BTS anxiety, but I'm betting I will be a wreck this whole month – anxiety of the unknown. My anxiety levels will sky-rocket, my husband will probably threaten to leave my passive-aggressive self. Even though I know everything will be amazing once school starts.

Chad and I left our previous positions for Northern Minnesota – 5+ hours from all of our close friends. While we will miss our friends and family, we love our new home so much so far! We both got jobs at the same small E-12 school (where our kids will also be going). I'm going from a school with a team of 8 math teachers to a school with a team of 2 math teachers 7-12. I've taught at a small school before and I survived. I never thought I'd go back to a small school with limited means of collaboration, but my network has GROWN – and thanks to modern technology, I won't feel that lack of collaboration again. AND Megan has promised to PLC with me on AP Stats/CIS Stats….

But this writing is supposed to be about my goals…

  1. Balance – Work more efficiently. (Not sure where to start with that…. Lists…? Any tips??)
  2. Reflection - I am teaching an 8th grade class this year – I haven't taught MS math for a very long time. I will need to reflect on things that are working (AND NOT) in the classroom.
  3. Research – There is a lot of work to be done in my new position. I want my work to be backed by research and best practices and most importantly focused on students.
  4. Involvement - I need to get involved in my new community as well as professional communities (while remaining balanced…)
  5. Make new friends – OMG I just realized I need to make new friends here not just my kiddos…. my shyness is stifling. Wish me luck.

My end of the year project

I’ve put a lot of work into my classroom this year. Credit should go to my awesome collaborating partners in my departments, as well as TMC last summer, and #mtbos.

I’m very proud of what’s been accomplished. I hope my students are too.

Check out my end of the year summary

Embracing the Chaos

I need to share some of the chaos that’s been going on in class.

Race-Car Ya-Ya Project. Thanks to Frank Noschese for the help on this one! The kids enjoyed the project. The results were fantastic. Many other ideas for experiments came up with the pullback cars.

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Parental Z-Scores – Kids got a kick out of this. Not sure that their parents did so much. They had to send a note much like the one shown below via text or photo or paper to their parents. Fun responses from parents 🙂


The Game of Pig – We had a pretty intense couple of days last week playing and coming up with strategies for the Game of Pig.


Fair & Not Fair Games – We’ve been analyzing games of chance. Today, we specifically looked at pulltabs. (A topic I have a lot of experience with. Good talk came out of this – tipping, entertainment value, booster clubs, fundraising, raffles.) My dear friend Megan gave us some problems today like the one below.



Paper-Wad Basketball – And of course, what kid doesn’t like to throw paper across the room? And what Stats Teacher doesn’t collect data about it? We did a little of this Paper-Wad BBall Activity and a little of that One-and-One Situation.


It’s total chaos. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Everything is NOT awesome

Friday I used an activity in my class that I had great success with in a previous class. The LEGO Correlation Activity. We play a version of The Price is Right. Students are in groups, each group gets to take a bid at a Lego Set. The goal of this activity is for the students to use the correlation between number of pieces and price to predict the price for the Lego set. This worked ok on a class-by-class basis.

It started out great 2nd & 3rd hours. A couple of students grabbed calculators and were calculating their guesses based on the number of pieces. It was magical to me.

But 4th and 5th hour were just NOT interested. I feel like they did not get anything of substance out of this lesson. I was very frustrated and ended up making both classes sit QUIET for the last 5+ minutes of class. It was necessary for my mental health. I didn’t even get a chance to go over this TOTES AWESOME Desmos Graph

Perhaps the activity dragged on too long… I think some groups felt like they couldn’t “catch up” to the other teams, so they gave up… Maybe they checked out because it was Pep-Fest day…

I gave them a 2 question closer/homework:

1. What method did your group use to bid on the Lego Set

2. What do you think the scatterplot of # of pieces vs. price will look like.

I’m totally up for suggestions on this…

Z-Score & Parent Ages


So I did this today in class. 🙂

We started with a little of this…


This was used as an introduction to z-scores for my 9th grade students & concepts students. I collected their parents’ ages previously. We used the TI-84 to calculate the mean and standard deviation.

I had the kids text the above letter or write the above letter to their parents. There were some interesting responses. Maybe I can add in a couple of screenshots 🙂

Good times. That’s all.

Another New Beginning

This week started a new trimester. This trimester I’m teaching Probability & Statistics. It’s exciting and nerve-racking for many reasons. I really enjoy teaching this class – it’s exhausting, but I love it. I am teaching 9th grade and the lower-level Prob/Stats course. My goals for this class are to (1) introduce students to a different kind of math, (2) engage them with activities as much as possible, (3) foster a collaborative learning environment, (4) give no (or minimal) homework  and (5) have fun and get to know these students that I will only have for one trimester.

This week we started day one with some tabletop (twitter thank you @jaz_math for sharing your idea), adding to my Happy Wall, and the game Would You Rather. Students chose a question to ask and collected data – the goal was to try to predict how the entire student population would respond to their chosen questions. (This idea stolen from @rockychat3.) These questions were awesome. Would you rather…

  • have Spiderman or Ironman on your Basketball team?
  • use duct-tape as toilet paper or superglue as toothpaste?
  • never have a zit or never have a headache?
  • have your wedding at Chuck E. Cheese or Subway?
Awesome, no?

Awesome, no?

I used this as a very informal introduction to samples, populations and sampling methods. Students presented their data to the class in a brief Google presentation.

To continue with our sampling learning target, we used the classic Jelly Blubber activity – modified for my class. And students did awesome work on a Tree Sampling Activity.

Today, plans are to formally discuss some of the vocabulary, do a little sampling card sort, and begin A Case of Muddying the Waters. PS – Card Sort activity was awesome to watch kids discuss different sampling methods.



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My Happy Wall