Day 60: Patty Paper versus Rubber Bands

2013-11-13 13.38.11Our transformation unit continues. Students spent most of today’s class practicing transformations. At this point, students seem to be stronger at translating than they are with dilating. I’m not sure if it’s because of the tools (patty paper versus rubber bands) or because dilation seems like a bigger change to wrap one’s head around. Flipping was a problematic word, but once I demonstrated (by flipping over a sheet of paper), students caught on pretty quick.

The blue paper is from an activity that Curriculum Partner designed last night on a whim. It gave students a chance to practice more transformations and to talk about naming shapes. I tried it with various amounts of structure and direct instruction. One group imploded when two group members started arguing. I think it sidetracked me more than I would have liked, though I figured out (I think) that one group member felt the other wasn’t pulling their weight while the other group member felt left behind. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

Days 58 and 59: Gabriel’s Reflection, Mateo’s Transformations and the Patty Paper Men


Gabriel's Reflection

Friday: Gabriel’s Reflection

Mateo's transformations

Tuesday: Mateo’s transformations

It’s been a crazy-packed two days. Friday, we had short periods (40 minutes instead of 65). Plus an assembly. Plus observers. Plus finishing the Mobile Project (mostly).

Today, we had normal periods. But we balanced the mobiles (finished or not). And changed seats. And started a new unit on transformations. The day after a 3-day weekend. Where our soccer team won the city championships.

So, crazy-packed.

Given Friday’s craziness, class was average (which was tough considering all the potential of Thursday). One of the tree-truck students was absent. Students didn’t work with the urgency I would have hoped for. Other students did work for students who weren’t finished rather than helping them (we talked about this as much as I could, but I was spread pretty thin at that point).

Friday’s photo is Gabriel’s homework reflection. Gabriel came in with his homework. He hadn’t finished it in on time and was still working on it when I passed him in the hallway. We talked about the graph he was drawing and I told him I’d be around if he needed help. He came in five minutes later to turn in the homework.

“You didn’t finish your reflection,” I told him. (Because I’m a stickler for completion. And because students should think about what they’re doing.) I half-expected him to shrug and hand it back to me.

“OK,” he said, with a shrug (’cause adolescence). He came back five minutes later with it filled out, which I thought was cool.

Today’s photo is Mateo’s classwork. We used patty paper to transfer (translate) a parallelogram and a rubberband to stretch (dilate) a trapezoid. We’re not using the highest academic language, but I believe this compromise gives our students access to what we are doing. I never say “isometric transformation” or “dilate”, so I’m not sure if my students would remember it on the first day of a new unit.

As a side note, when I handed out the patty paper (a type of paper for hamburger patties, hence the name), one student said, “oh, I thought you were going to give us hamburgers.” Another student cut theirs into the following (though I can see their transferred shape on it, so no complaints, I guess).

Patty Paper Men

Patty Paper Men


Grades are due tomorrow at 3pm (don’t worry; it’s more of a progress report). The last two people out of the coffee shop tonight were me and a student from the school where I student taught last year.

Day 57: More Mobiles (Maybe)

Stages of the Mobile Project

Stages of the Mobile Project

More work on the Mobile Project today (recap: students choose an object, identify the shapes, and create a mobile object with an area of 200 cm squared. Sound easy? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too). Students started at all stages of the project today and I’m not sure if we’re closer or further together now. One class feels further behind, two feel like we’re making progress and one…I don’t know.

Today’s picture(s) show various stages of the project. The yellow picture is a drawing of a house that one student (who was absent for a bit and is frequently distracted) drew today. I’m pretty pumped for them.

The yellow person is the stage where the student uses a grid to show that their object (the person) is 200 centimeters squared. Right now the person is 60 centimeters squared. I think they can do it, even though we have extremely short periods tomorrow (40 minutes instead of 65 minutes). This student is also easily distracted and I’m psyched they got this far today.

The green and blue truck is actually a tree-truck created by a pair of pretty spunky students. They’re from yesterday’s Dark Horse Class, which has the most finished objects so far. These kids started out wanting to create cars (We’ll make cars! And motors! ¿Còmo se dice “llantas” en ingles?). After struggling valiantly all of yesterday, they came up to me holding the green rectangle and blue circle at the right five minutes into the period today.

“We made a tree!” they exclaimed.

“Too easy,” I said. “What happened to that carro chèvere you were making?”

So they enlisted their friends to create a truck (’cause Complex Instruction). This was in the midst of kids running around with glue guns, a giant box of foam, a pencil sharpening accident and a referral.

“We made a truck!” they exclaimed about 20 minutes later (their friends watched, too).

“Too big,”I said. “It has to be 200 centimeters.”

They’re now in the process of measuring it and cutting it down to size. They’re less than thrilled with me, but they’ll survive. This a case of me not being not as clear with expectations as I’d hoped and an amazing case of students persevering and revising work,

Day 56: The First Mobiles


First MobilesFast forward a bit: we’re now at the end of the area unit, working on the Mobile Project. Students draw themed objects, then find the area and cut them out of foam. Much harder than it looks. Today, we’re about mid-way through the project, meaning that the kiddos are at drastically different parts and beginning to struggle. I felt like I was all over the place trying to help everyone, without making effective use of group structure. I’m also wishing we (I) had dedicated more time to scaffolding and just to the lesson in general. (Did I also mention that we have 4 short weeks to finish the last unit of the semester? Starting Tuesday?)

I never know which of my classes will surprise me. It was a struggle throughout the day. Then, all of a sudden, my last class (the one that was furthest behind) pulled out of nowhere; five students finished their portion of the mobile. Kind of a nice reminder that the kiddos will always surprise you. There’s still some tweaking and reflecting to do, but I had to take a photo as evidence. I wish I had a photo that showed the math (calculations, drawings, etc), but for now, this’ll do.