Monday, April 13, 2015

Making Algebra Fun: What is a function Video?

Math is one of those things that some people either really love or really hate.  This is very unfortunate, because some of those people are also teachers. 

Thankfully, my wonderful colleague, Dayonna Patterson, a high school math teacher in Los Angeles, has made it a little bit easier for us teachers. She has created a video that goes over the question, "What is a function."

Let me tell you! This has made my life so my easier! Going from teaching first grade to teaching high school wasn't easy, but this video is one of those gems that I refer to when my students have problems with functions.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Educator's Review: Donors Choose

I have come across the greatest thing on this planet for teachers!  I had heard about the not for profit organization called Donors Choose, but I haven't tried it until now.  It's a website that allows teachers to choose materials they need for their students, and post it online so people can log-on and help teachers out by donating money for the materials.

It was such an easy process for me.  I signed up, created a new project, posted a few paragraphs about my students, and added a picture of some of my students.  For my first project I wanted to get a class set of To Kill a Mockingbird, so that's what I had in my project.  I found the books on Amazon for a decent amount, and the amount came out to about $270.

Within a week of posting the project, I received word that the project was funded!  Three days later, I received my package from Amazon!  It was delivered to my school, and I was so excited.

Received the package 3 days later!
I just wish Erin Gruwell from Freedom Writers had been around for this website.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How I Make Differentiation Easier

What is it?

We want all of our students to succeed, and if you believe that all students can learn, then you need to consider differentiating your class. This means that instruction should be planned for all students, above-plan students, on-plan students, and below-plan students.  This means that students are at all levels of understanding, and differentiation needs to be for all the students.

Common Misconceptions

 Differentiation is for only below-plan students. This is not true, because the students that are above-plan need differentiation to be challenged in class.

Differentiation is accommodations and modifications.  To differentiate you need to make a change in your practice by using the 9 principals of differentiation.  The 9 principals are the following: respectful tasks, flexibility grouping, content, process, product, readiness, interest, learning profiles, and ongoing assessments.

How to Make Differentiation Easier

1. Look at the grade above and below Common Core standard you are teaching.  On either side of it is the lower grade and higher grade standard that corresponds with it.  You can use all three standards to differentiate, so make sure you keep the standards handy! An Example is shown below to see how simple it is!

Click here for English Standards

Click here for Math Standards

2. Use the ELD 2012 Standards to differentiate for the English Language Learners (ELL).  Every ELL in America is CELDT tested to see what level of English they are at.  You then find that level as soon as you have the information, and compare it to the ELD 2012 Standards. All you need to do is find the grade level you are teaching in the link below, and print/bookmark that page.  If you print in color, it will make your life so much easier because the creators of the ELD 2012 standards made it so easy for the teachers to read the document. In addition, the creators have given every ELD standard the correlating Common Core standard, so anytime you need help differentiating for a student for a specific lesson, just look it up in the ELD standards, and teach away!

Link to ELD 2012 Standards.

3. Have choices for students during assessments.  Some students are only going to be able to list what they have learned, and some students are ready to provide a critique of what they have learned. All the students are at different levels, and assessments need to have choices. They greatest (and easiest) way to differentiate assessment is by having choice boards, dinner menus, rafts, tic-tac-toe, and many more. You can find all of this and a lot more resources in the following link:

Click here to access Choice Boards and other assessment differentiating tools.

Powerpoint on Raft Activities

choice board from
tic tac toe activity from
dinner menu from

4. Use the Bloom's Taxonomy Rose for figuring out what assessments to use for your assessment with choices. Print this document any time you are creating a differentiated assessment.

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