What Started as Tough, Becomes Good

Today started rough. I couldn’t work on-line last night, so was unprepared this morning for my classes. I knew what I wanted to do, but didn’t have anything in order. I arrived at school at 6:00am feeling like I could probably pull it together. Between slow internet, copy machines not cooperating, and having difficulty getting my computer hooked up, I was finally ready to start class at 7:58. Class starts at 8:00. I hate not being ready until the last minute.

We started looking at symmetry on Monday, and today I started my Algebra classes with a you tube video. The kids loved it, and began talking about faces, symmetry, whether or not they felt it made someone beautiful, I couldn’t have been happier. This was my lead in to the Mathalicious activity Face Value. When the students saw the faces on the student sheet, they became very excited. It was difficult for me to explain what we were going to do they were so excited. We finally got through the instructions and they were on it! They were making predictions about whose face was going to be the most symmetrical and competing with each other to figure it out first. It was a great way to have the periods go after the rough morning.

In geometry we began our similarity unit. I started with the Mathalicious activity Viewmongous to review ratio and proportion and to give them a preview of similarity without really introducing the topic. We then moved on to the Yummy Math activity Happy Birthday Statue of Liberty where they began to work with ratio and proportion in the context of similarity. I still have not formally defined similarity to them.  Yesterday we looked at a perspective drawing and how it starts from a point and extends outward, a dilation so to speak. Today we started working with actual dilation. I gave them some problems to do, outlining the process of dilation and they worked together in groups to create these dilations. Part way through the classes, one or more students would look up and ask something like, “This is just like the ratio problems we have been working on. We’re stretching figures based on a ratio.” I was thrilled!

I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out, but I have been working with the Algebra classes on defining transformations with them through the process of learning them. It has been working so well, that I wanted to try it with the geometry students in the similarity unit. I’m so glad I did. They struggled a little, but once they worked their way through the first problem, they had it. I’m really glad I went with my instincts on this. I think they have a much better understanding. Then today, a tweet from Oliver Schinkten,”Do not be afraid to try a new, innovative, lesson. If it doesn’t work….reflect, adjust, retry. That is the modeling Ss need to see!” (Ok, something new I need to learn, how to take a screen shot), and an article, Bigger Gains for Students Who Don’t Have Help, encouraged me to give it a try. I’m glad I did. I’ve always believed in inquiry based learning, encouraging students to problem solve, etc. but I don’t think I’ve always been totally comfortable with not defining things purposefully somewhere along the way.

There’s always room for growth.

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