Monthly Archives: January 2016

My Favorites – Desmos and Geometry


my fav


Desmos.  Yep, maybe a common favorite for many these days.

  • I had used Desmos for class demos and even took my handful of Alg. 2 students to the library to play Central Park on the PCs there.  Then last January the school got a couple of carts of chromebooks.  The students got to explore graphing with Desmos – using sliders, restrictions, etc. – and a few of the activities.  They got to actually switch x and y to see the inverse relation.  In calculus we could see the implicit graphs.
  • And now this year, I have enjoyed using the activity builder to set up my own activities.  (I even used it for geometry to share some links and ask questions without using the graphing part of Desmos.)  I got to attend in October the ICTM conference with Eli Luberoff for the Saturday main session, workshop, and seminar.  One student in wrote my name on the whiteboard using LOTS of tiny “Desmos.”  Already several of my classes have given 2 thumbs up on the Marbleslides!

I’ll include a favorite geometry quick activity that I learned while teaching in southern Africa in the ’80’s. – NO tech needed!

  • Ask for a couple of volunteers to come and stand several feet apart.  Then ask for another volunteer to come and stand the same distance (equidistant) from each of the first 2.  Most will stand between the first 2.  Then ask for another volunteer to come and stand the same distance from each of the first 2.  If a student is quick to volunteer, often he/she hesitates thinking through where to stand.  I sometimes repeat my instruction.  When a place is chosen I ask the class if they agree.  Then I ask for more volunteers one at a time until the whole class is standing.  I ask the question what they just formed (perpendicular bisector).
  • 1 volunteer to stand as my starting point.  Then volunteers to stand “an arm’s length away from the original volunteer. (circle)
  • Equidistant to 2 intersecting walls  (angle bisector).

These are fairly simple, quick demos and get the kids moving.  I still remember some of students over the years that were my “points.”






A Day in the Life of a Math Teacher

EdayExploring the MathTwitterBlogosphere    #MTBoS Week 1

My day Wed. the 13th

5.50 am – alarm goes off  –  cold outside 6F (and rather cool inside) – breakfast, on-line to check email, devotional time – Tuesday – I attended my aunt’s funeral yesterday afternoon.  Pastor spoke on Psalm 23, a very familiar passage, and connected the phrases together of walking through the valley of the shadow of death .. . and I will dwell in the house of the Lord.  Different combining that caught my attention.  Grade a set of geometry quizzes.  Hubby warms up the van.

7.10 head off to school after catching the morning new headlines – 5-7 minutes commute (depending on the 3 stoplights).  Get stuff set up for morning classes.  Chat with a colleague and then attend a faculty prayer time at 7.45.

8.00 – in the hallway by my room near the juniors.  Chat with some – do a quick visual check for dresscode – fairly relaxed one (no uniforms) – During the rest of the passing periods, I try to get out out in the hallways to help with hall supervision

8.10-8.54 – AP Calculus/Calculus – Differentiating exponential functions

8.59-9.43 – Geometry – Proportions if Triangles – “Side-splitter” theorem and angle bisector theorem.  Also short quiz review for Thurs.  Quick dash to the restroom after this class.  A couple of students were absent so set up make-up time for quizzes at the end of class

9.48-10.32 Honors Algebra 2 – Properties of Logarithms – including a little history on Napier

10.37 – 11.20 Regular Algebra 2 – Fundamental Theorem of Algebra – we’ve been studying solving equations of cubic, quartic, and quintic polynomials, mostly by factoring – reviewed that yesterday to consolidate information – connected that with the help of desmos (chromebook cart checkout) with functions,  real and imaginary zeros.

11.20-11.50 Lunch study hall – informal – more chatting as they wait to go to 2nd lunch period.  Helped a couple of students with questions

11.55- 12.20 – lunch time while eating a slice of pizza … help a student struggling with Alg. 2 factoring – also shared some on-line resources

12.25 – 1.09 prep period – check mail, email, get list of ones in detention after school, a little photocopying, check through homework collected yesterday afternoon by the sub

1.14-1.57 Geometry – while checking homework and quiz review – also review the previous day’s lesson when absent so a bit longer than the morning group that I was present the day before.  Then on to the new lesson see above.

2.03-2.47 Honors Pre-Calc – Test review – (and a little reteaching from yesterday’s lesson on trig ratios)  Seem confident about the test.  First trig test of the year.

2.52 – 3.35 College Algebra  – Test review – Exponential and Log functions including a short session of  Desmos activity: Polygraph: Exponential & Logarithmic Functions by Amy Prior

3.40-4.10 Detention Hall Supervision – only one today for the 7-12th grade – and only 30 min. (potentially some can have 60 min.)  chatted briefly at the end with the student – although I do not have him in class, I gave had his 2 older brothers several years ago.

4.10-5 – did some preliminary prep for tomorrow including a little more photocopying.  Chatted with a couple of colleagues.

5-8  home -supper, time with hubby, 2 cats, relax read some blogs, etc.

8-10 prepped 2 Quizizz activities – one for geometry review on similar triangles and one for the honors alg. 2 on logs.  Just started using this – uploaded some pics for triangles from a review sheet that I normally have used.  I liked how easy it was to add some log questions from others – I had used Socrative but like the Quizizz having some math symbols and subscripts, superscripts.


Tomorrow – full day and Parent Teacher conferences from 5-8 – will have to do some prep for that tomorrow.