congruent and similar figures

Oh goodness...where has this weekend gone?!? Both girls have projects due this week...needless to say there are craft supplies all over the house. Hopefully they can finish tomorrow and get things cleaned up before we gear up for a new week.

My 7th grade math classes
 will be finishing our geometric properties unit this week. The lessons will include congruent and similar figures and transformations. So we will review these topics in our MATHercise routine the following week. I created this game from a recent Pinterest inspiration and added it to my store...

It's a good thing that a picture is worth a thousand words! Because I certainly cannot read a single word from this awesome blog! Thanks to Kate for posting pics of her counting game...

I also found a fun poem online this weekend. It will be a perfect journal prompt for my students to show understanding of transformations. I need to do a little sleuthing before sharing...I want to be sure I'm giving proper credit. ;)

Have a great week...and make it count!


algebraic manipulatives

I attended a workshop yesterday. The topic was algebraic manipulatives. I have spied and/or used most of these manipulatives in the past. But it was a nice refresher...plus the time away from the trenches really got me thinking. As the Common Core State Standards move algebraic concepts to younger students, it is going to be crucial that we provide concrete connections to these abstract concepts. And as we provide the concrete connections we still must transition the students to the algorithm as well. I'm curious if we're ready. Getting ready? Thinking about getting ready?

Here are some of the manipulatives we used and carried home...
(my personal favorite)
I have used AngLegs for triangle inequality, interior angle sum, converse of the Pythagorean Theorem, special angle relationships in parallel lines cut by a transversal, and to model the ambiguous case for the Law of Sines. These are always a huge hit with my students!

Algebra Tiles
(oldie but goodie)

I love using algebra tiles for factoring and completing the square. Now...I will use them for collecting like terms and solving equations. But I absolutely must determine a method for keeping up with these tiny pieces from student to student use. Any suggestions?!?

(not my fave)

I'm not sure I will ever use these. Actually, I gave my set to my teacher friend who attended the workshop with me! I struggled with the protractor piece...the oddly numbered circle piece that contaings the "golden circle." I just don't see the advantage to the GeoLegs over the safety compass and protractor tool that I use in geometry. However, we did construct an equilateral triangle, square, regular hexagon, and a regular octagon. Fun! We had a small debate about the standards that these constructions truly align with in CCSS...but let's not start that again. :)

So...do tell...what are your favorite manipulatives? Are you a fan of discovery activities or lab activities of sorts? What are you and/or your district/building doing to prepare for the transition to Common Core?

I hope your week was productive and your weekend proves to be relaxing...make it count!



geometric solids

Happy Monday to YOU! I hope your week is off to a fabulous start. :)

We worked on Venn diagrams today...specifically to compare and contrast different polygons. I still want to adapt Kate's super creative foldables to this lesson. Perhaps I can accomplish that in time for small group next week. We played Go Fish! in small group today. You should have been a fly on the wall...I love the math discussions that came from a simple card game!

And I'm super excited about tomorrow's lesson. We are building solids and then completing a viewing guide as a rotating station activity. Two years ago we built with marshmallows and straws. I know...call me crazy! No matter how hard we scrubbed, our desks were sticky for a week. LOL! Last year we used coffee stirrers and pipe cleaners...clean and sturdy! I'll try to grab a few photos tomorrow. ;)

Next week we will review the characteristics of geometric solids with this matching game...

My students traditionally struggle with problems like "name a pyramid with 5 faces" because they want to say pentagonal pyramid. We talk about subtracting the base from the total number of faces to determine the number of sides on the base itself...which determines the name (rectangular pyramid). Whew! I'm hoping this game helps connect the numerical process with the visual solid. I just loaded it to my TpT store. I'll keep you posted how it goes in the classroom.

Have a great week...make it count!



integer activity bundle and a freebie

It's only January, but I'm already thinking about our Benchmark exam in April. And then when we finish Benchmark on a Friday, my geometry students turn around and take their end-of-course exam on the following Tuesday. I spend the majority of my time focusing on the day-to-day lessons because I know that's what counts the most when it comes time for testing. However, I do have a routine for review as well...more on that later. ;)

Another reason I love my MATHercise tubs...I have an abundance of review centers at my disposal. So today I gathered my favorite integer activities...


If you are hunting for a variety of integer games, then hop over to my TpT store. The integer bundle above includes tips on teaching integer operation rules through storytelling and modeling as well as seven engaging activities to support the lesson. Enjoy!

I'm also working on a mind workout tiling activity. Wanna see a sample?!?

Is this something you can use in your math class?

Classify Coordinate Figures Mind Workout Tiling 

Is it part of your curriculum or is it something you could use as an extension to challenge students? I'm going to use this one in my MATHercise tubs this week...can't wait to see how it goes...my students give great feedback!

Hope you're enjoying the weekend! Our house was filled with friends and science fair today. And my hubby went on a cleaning spree as well...I may not be able to find a thing in the kitchen or the bathroom. LOL!

Happy Sunday to YOU...make it count!



weekend plans

I hope you had a fabulous week!
I...for one...am thrilled that it's Friday. :-)
We have a few things we could do this weekend, but we haven't committed to a single thing! And not a soul in the Tilmon house needs an alarm set for Saturday morning. Woohoo! It's the little things in life...

I've been browsing blogs this evening. Wow! I continue to be amazed by the awesome teacher blogs. Kudos to you for sharing! And I'm a little late to Farley's party over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade. But I really couldn't resist posting my "currently" for January...

I have a few errands to run tomorrow...groceries, supplies from Staples, and walking shoes from Rush Running. I have a few games and activities on my list to make this weekend. Plus it's time to finalize the next assessment for geometry. So what are you up to this weekend?!?

Hope you have a great one...make it count!


a day in my shoes

Hop over to link up for the "A Day in My Shoes" blog party!
Thanks to Katie for hosting such a fun party!

So here's a snapshot of a day in my life...
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

6:00 am
Alarm sounds. I sneak out of bed and wake the girls. Shower, hair, makeup, get dressed, etc. Meanwhile I check on the girls in between drying, spritzing, and straightening my hair. And somewhere towards the end of this process my hubby hops out of bed and is ready to drive out of the garage in 15 minutes. If it weren't for the amazing chunky necklaces that my girly girl self sports each day, I could be seriously jealous of my sweet hubby!

7:00 am
I'm very spoiled because my hubby takes our youngest girly to school each day. So they leave at 7:00 on the dot and I start gathering...my work bag, ipad, and SmartOnes frozen lunch. Our oldest daughter heads to school with me. We try to leave the house no later than 7:15 am.

7:30 am
Arrive at school. My teacher friend texted me that she is out sick today. I printed her lesson plans and sent them to the office.

7:45 am
My weekly duty is to monitor detention on Tuesday mornings. The students report to my room. Once I get everyone situated, I am able to write the objectives and agenda on the board.

8:25 am
Detention students are released, and I turn records in to the office. I have ten minutes before class begins. I greet my students at the door. And then during announceents I check in with those who sneak by me in the hall. ;)

8:35 am
School begins. I start each morning with the sweetest group of 7th graders (count: 21)! They spend 15-20 minutes on their MATHercise while I check attendance, conference with low quiz score kiddos, and pull students with missing assignments. Then we all switch gears to today's lesson. We created a mind map to summarize the Angle Relationships unit we've been working on for the past two weeks. Finally, the students begin working on their study guide for the test coming tomorrow. We worked one competency and then paused to check for accuracy and ask questions...repeat until the end of class.

10:02 am
The end of first hour with five minutes to switch classes. I have another great group of 7th graders (count: 24) coming for math. Same general plan...although our summary discussion runs quite differently. Monitor and adjust. :) A few minutes before the end of class, I get a phone call from my daughter's school nurse. My sweet girly has the stomach bug. I call my hubby, and he is  available to head home for the afternoon.

11:27 am
The end of first hour with five minutes to switch classes. I have planning period with lunch included in the mix. Today my 7th grade PLC is meeting during our prep. We meet to set common grading for the next unit we start later this week.

12:30 pm
I should be eating lunch...but a few emails need returned first...and I need to add a couple of discussion slides to my geometry PowerPoint...so I opt to eat my turkey sandwich and pringles at my desk while I work.

1:25 pm
Seminar. I have a group of 7th graders (count: 26) gathering in my room for RED (Read Every Day) time and study hall. Our study hall is unique in that it allows students to travel to other teachers for tutoring and/or assessments. I have several students travel to the Library and computer lab while others come to see me for help with their math review and one geoemtry student comes to make up a missed quiz from his absence.

2:10 pm
Seminar ends and students have five mintues to switch classes. I have an amazing group of 8th graders (count: 17) coming for preAP geometry. I check homework while my students work to find the area of a regular polygon with a known side length. Since four out of five teams are on track, we check their homework for accuracy and answer questions. Next we review characteristics of quadratic functions and lead the discussion to deriving an equation of a parabola in terms of the focus and directrix. We close with a Showdown activity to ensure they can put their new knowledge to work.

3:35 pm
School ends. My daughter helps me clean desktops. We have a birthday celebration in my room for one of our math teachers. Fun! I pack some lesson planning items, change clothes, and leave the birthday fun early.

4:15 pm
I have physical therapy for my heel. Unfortunately, I've been battling plantar fasciitis for over a year. But physical therapy is working! My oldest daughter is with me and claims it appears that I'm paying big money for a foot massage. LOL!

5:30 pm
We grab take-out and head home for dinner and homework. My oldest daughter provided the entertainment at the dinner table by sharing several of her QuickWrites from first semester. She loves to write! After the girls finish baths and head to bed, I create a couple of items for a future MATHercise tub and watch a TV show with my hubby.

11:30 pm
Lights out!
Thanks for reading! Be sure to link up and read other snapshots...it's always fun to here about the lives of other teachers.

Enjoy the rest of your week...make it count!


be my valentine exchange

Be My Valentine

How fun is this?!? Caitlin and Sarah have a lot of Valentine's Day fun in store for this exchange. So hop on over and sign up today!

And here's what I have been working on today...

(click on the picture to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to purchase this game)

We will be starting a new unit later this week...geometric properties. The first competency involves plotting vertices of a polygon and classifying the polygon by type, convex/concave, and regular/irregular. This card game allows student to practice the classification task of the standard. The game is designed to be played as either Go Fish or Old Maid. Enjoy!

Have a great week...and make it count!



bigger than the storm

In May 2011 a tornado devastated Joplin, MO. The town is located 1.5 hours north of us. Our church youth group went on mission to help with disaster relief efforts. My sweet Taylor spent a few hot summer days sorting clothing, toiletries, and canned goods in giant outdoor tents filled with donations. The students sported grey t-shirts that said, "God is greater than the storm. Psalm 31.24" Time has passed, but many still face the devastation each day. And a special request has been made by a teacher from Joplin.

Erica, a Joplin kindergarten teacher, is looking for support for their teachers. She wrote this:

I teach in Joplin, which made worldwide news last May when our town was cut in half by an F5 tornado. Many of our elementary schools were destroyed or damaged, and as teachers, we have had a roller coaster year. I came from a meeting yesterday where many are struggling with the weight of all we are dealing with. My request is this: would you be willing to donate a created pack of your choosing to give away at a drawing at our upcoming district Kindergarten grade level meeting? The meeting is Monday and I am sorry for the short notice but I did not realize until the meeting how down everyone is feeling.
I emailed this integers activity for middle school math teachers to Erica:

Help spread the love! Hop over to Mrs. Wills Kindergarten to help the Joplin teachers!


different strokes for different folks

I am a visual learner.
Hands down. No contest.
My 7th grade math students this year...overall...not so much.
They tend to need kinesthetic links to their learning.

Meanwhile I try to strengthen their visual side.
Some of my attempts are major.
Other attempts seem quite minor in the grand scheme of things.

Here's a sample activty from my MATHercise this week. We were working on angle relationships. I created this Build a Snowman Game to review complements and supplements. My students said the placemat was very helpful...love the visual tool this adds!

(click on the picture to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to purchase this game)
We also worked on this writing prompt in our Journal Entry tub.
And this Stopwatch Skills was adapted from here.
And a Sudoku from here for our Mind Workout.

Next week we will start our assessment cycle. We should be ready to tie things together and show what we know! We will play the Roll an Angle Pair Game to review special angles formed by parallel lines cut by a transversal. I need to grade my competency quiz from today so I know who to place in small group on Tuesday.
(click on the picture to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to purchase this game)

They spied the angle dice on my desk today. Everyone wanted to know if that was the next game! :)

Tomorrow I will be traveling to the local university with 8 math teacher friends. We will be working on Common Core standards for 7th and 8th grade math. I'm excited to work with the engineering college as we partner for a successful implementation of our new curriculum next year! We are gathering early to carpool.
Better straighten the living room and head to bed.
Have a great weekend...make it count! 



my first blog award

I'm so excited to have received my very first blog award! A huge thanks to The Bubblegum Tree for sharing the honor. She totally made my day!

Now it's my turn to nominate five happy little blogs (200 followers or less) by posting a comment on their blog and sharing the links here.

Be sure to hop on over to these up-and-coming blogs...you are sure to love them too!

Life in Middle School

Teach Love

Secondary Solutions

A Chocoholic Teacher

The Superlatives Six

This was a super LONG short week.
And somehow the weekend seemed to fly too.
But I have been busy making some goodies.

My geometry students just finished their first EOC packet.
They will be taking an end-of-course test in April.
We are quite limited on class time.
So they will complete an independent practice set weekly outside of class.
Each packet includes one open-response item from each of five strands.
Rubrics will be used to provide feedback.
So how do you prepare students for testing?

My weekend has also been filled with creating games for my MATHercise routine.
I'll try to share more soon...

Have a great week...and make it count!