Monthly Archives: August 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust 4 Calculator “Museum”


I got distracted while in my classroom yesterday looking at my old calculators from college days.  I thought about them when Sara VenDerWerfshared shared about her calculator museum.

Ever so often I tell my students about my “good ol’ days.” I show them my

  • high school (and college) slide rule – IT WORKS

!Slide Rule

  • TI SR 10 (Slide Rule) w/charger but no longer chargeable – receipt for $36.88  (only used for during college chemistry 2nd semester)

SR 10 Box      TI SR10

  • TI-30 LED (9-volt battery) – IT WORKS! initial price of $19.88 (a 1 hour special late evening!) bought 2 years later – maybe used for 1 or 2  college classes (can’t remember for certain)

TI 30 box (2) TI 30



  • I also show them a 1937 book of tables for square roots, logs, and trig given by a parent of one of my former students – it’s really just an older low tech calculator.  IT WORKS!  (If there’s class time, I tell the story of Napier solving the chicken thief mystery – although there are doubts over the authenticity of that story)


And now I pass on my love for Desmos – so much so that a student wrote my name in tiny Desmos words (maybe about 50-100 “Desmos” per letter of my name) on my whiteboard during an informal lunch study hall.  I wish I had a picture of that!  This will have to do:


That student moved away before i got to hint at gifting me a pair of desmos socks!!!




#MTBoSBlaugust 3 2’x3′ Whiteboarding


After reading various blogs, I became interested in the slightly larger whiteboards of about 2’x3′ for group work.

Kelly O’Shea  @kellyoshea has lots of ideas with great details to help a novice.   Her whiteboard Mistake Game and Monk Whiteboarding are high on my list to use this year.

Bowman Dickson (@bowmanimal) presented “Group Whiteboarding in the Math Classroom”  Global Math Dept. video from Oct. 2014.  He also has several posts about his use in the classroom on his blog  – “My 3 Favorite Math Whiteboarding Modes” on (Guess and Check with Partner, Color Coding Problems, and Mistake Game)

Another blog post by @NatBanting on whiteboarding can be found here 

After reading and hearing about these boards, I got to see/use them in action while attending the MathEd Out Conference last Feb. with @PumphreysMath .

Last spring I still had some money from my teacher stipend when classes ended.  A colleague went with me to Home Depot.   I bought 2 of the 4’x8′ boards which they cut for free – so actually 12 smaller boards that are 24″x32.”  I decided to get Duck (duct) tape (4 colors to give one way to identify the groups) and some really cheap microfiber washable cloths in the car care department as erasers from Walmart.

Since I’m not planning on using them every day, I’m thinking I would have the option to set up initial questions on the boards before school to get the students off to a quicker start.

I’m sure there are more posts on whiteboarding or ideas that you have used but never wrote about.  Feel free to share.



#MTBoSBlaugust 2 Short Intro Activities


This summer I have tried to think of ways to improve on my starting/ending a class.  I have a mixture of beginning of the period activities such as Which One Doesn’t Belong, What’s Wrong with this Picture(Geometry), Visual Patterns, Graphing Stories, Homework “Quizzes”  over previous recent lesson either on paper or mini-whiteboard.  Almost always they were connected to the current  lesson/chapter.

I looked at various blogs for more ideas. I know I looked at others so this is an incomplete list.

So new additions:

I got hooked on the Set Game this summer – So I made a smartboard background to make it easier to display.  I use a SB Screen capture and edit the transparency and size to lay on top.  Quick and easy. I have about 60 with answers now so a nice stash for the year (and probably next if I do once a week)!  I like this protocol:  Michael Fenton – Reason and Wonder

Set1   Set2

Also I want to add Estimation 180, Would You Rather, Open Middle, SolveMe Mobiles, 7Puzzle, Don Steward’s MEDIAN,  the occasional ACT (or AP Calc) prep and more Visual Patterns.  I thought about a specific daily routine but I still like to keep some that are related to the topic of the day or review of recent topics.  Most of my class periods are 44 minutes and Thursday’s 35 minutes so time is precious and will depend on what that lesson and related activities are.  I also want to include some thoughts from a philosophical/Biblical approach to math –  some books I have that are listed by Josh Wilkerson and resources by Sean Bird and  James Nickel

I am working this week on setting up the first chapter of each of my 5 preps.  Some I’ll put in the smartboard file to display – others I will make half-sheet papers.  And then see how it goes when classes start in a couple of weeks.





Summer 2016 and #MTBoSBlaugust 1


The thought of daily blogging seems too overwhelming especially with back to school so close.   So I’ll have to admit up front, my plan is to blog a few times – I haven’t blogged since the last challenge during Christmas break!  I have 2 weeks until our first day of in-service with classes starting 3 days later.  I decided to calculate what fraction of my life is that compared to those first starting out to teach.  Two weeks is only 0.063% of my life now as compared to 0.168% of my life when I started 38 years ago.  So yes time does seem to be going faster!

This summer has been a time to slow down to read, rest, and reflect. Last year was a hard year – I actually took some sick days ( a rarity) due to pneumonia in the fall. Soon after that time, I realized that teaching the extra load of geometry was just too much.  What started out for one year when a teacher left to go back to school turned into four, but it was time to stop after this past year. The other full time secondary math teacher is picking up the geometry as she hands off an Algebra 1 class to the part time teacher that was hired 4 years ago. So now back to my Alg. 2; Honors Alg. 2; College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, and 2 study halls. The Honors Alg. 2 was causing fits in scheduling so there will actually be 2 sections.

I enjoyed reading the tweets and blogs about #TMC16; watching the periscoping by Julie‏@jreulbach and other videos (And while watching, I found out that my local library has the book, Radical Equations, by Robert P. Moses – it’s next on my reading pile); and playing various Desmos card sorts that folks were making during DesCon. So thank you to all the #TMC16 gang.

Some non-fiction books from summer reading courtesy of my local library:

Several faculty from my school watched a video series on Ephesians by Donna Gaines, “Stand,” and discussed both personal and school applications. And we got to have lunch together a couple of times. Ephesians is my “goto” Biblical book for spiritual replenishment.

Next blog post – more about the new school year.