Thursday, 23 May 2013

Building a business and leadership in the class: Year middle school long project

Well this year I wanted to give my class the opportunity to start something that could possibly carry on.  This is my first year at the school and I teach a group of students who travel from various locations outside of the catchment of the area.  Coming from a different Middle School I was able to use some of the ideas that were successful their and try to incorporate them in my class.  One thing that was quite successful in my former school was when a teacher started up a leadership group who focused on creating different food themed events (ie. smokie BBQ, Turkey Sandwich).  The events became quite popular throughout the school.  After moving I asked him about using the idea in my new school and he encouraged me to try it.  He was working with students as an extracurriculur group.

I decided to take this idea but incorporate it into my Career Education class.  It started in November and has been going on all year but the results are something I am quite proud of even though the process was tough at times.  Here is how it went.

We started by discussing what the concept was.  Creating a business that will make money and be enjoyable for the whole school.    The question was : What is something we could ourselves and create ourselves that students will want to purchase and take part in.  We did our first brainstorming session for a first possible event:  The ideas were : cupcake sale, cookie sale, popsicles or freezies.  I was underwhelmed by the ideas my students were coming up with.  They were having a tough time coming up with something original that could get a school excited.    Since we were just starting , I took the leadership role and acted as a "boss" of the business.  I told them that we are trying to create something unique, something that they would want, trying to build up a name for ourselves but they always wanted to go back to what they knew; basically have a Bake Sale.  I told my class they had a week to come up with a simple idea that was unique.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Flip Book - Middle School Math Project

Ok so flip, turn, slide or reflection, rotation, translation can be one of those items that gets skipped when other items take a bit longer.   It is one of those things that seems to be put on the backburner.  Well I started doing this project part way through the year to make sure it wouldn't get missed.  We start just after integers and begin learning about the Cartesian Plane and coordinate systems.  This then lends itself to the transformations that can occur on the plane.  I have had a lot of success with the flip book by have students create motion with their transformations.  I have the students work on how to rotate and translate as well as reflect.  Rotations need to start with easy 90 degrees, 180 degrees or 270 degrees.  More advances students can start trying other degrees but they usually have some difficulty with it.

Here are the sheets in one file:  Flipbook project sheets on my TPT site if you dont want to just recreate from this page.

Have the students use very simple characters or elements of nature.  Stick men running or the sun setting are just fine to start especially in the rough copy version.  Simple movements end up looking better in a flipbook.  I have had boats moving into the sunset and people on trampolines as easy examples. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Alien Numbering System

In this era of education it is important to have work that is going to challenge all students.  I teach grades 6 and 7 and began going over the basics of numeration with properly understandign the base 10 system and how to read and write large and small numbers.  Many of the students in my class didn't need the practice and showed mastery of the material immediately.  By the way having students read decimal numbers properly sure helps later on.  Make them use the words tenths and hundredths all year long and your life will be easier when working with the relation of fractions and decimals later.

Anyway, I had my students mastery group begin to study other numbering systems and eventually create their own.  I received many thank you's at the end because these students were excited about learning this.  Easy correlation to computer programming which use different base systems.  I had them pretend they were inventing it for an alien group so that they would describe themselves fully.  I allowed them to present their material however they wanted and received a youtube video, a poster and a few text book style projects.  The students then began to appreciate the base 10 system and even months after the completion I still have students come to me as they are trying to learn more about different bases.