# Blog Archives

## Making Word Problems Come to Life

Ms. Ruggeri and her Integrated Algebra class transformed a word problem that many students may describe as “boring” or “difficult” into an exciting 30 second movie clip.  The problem on this video is a systems of equations problem that asks students to figure out the cost of one slice of pizza and one cookie.  After a couple students created the video, Ms. Ruggeri showed it to the entire class.  She plans to share the video in her other classes and with her colleagues.  After watching the movie, Ruggeri’s students were better understood what the problem was asking and they were more engaged in the problem solving process than they would have been if they just read it on paper.  Ms. Ruggeri plans to create more math videos with her classes using real world scenarios as a strategy to better engage in mathematics.

Using the ENGAGING Framework, this lesson demonstrates the use of Intelligence Interventions.  Students in Ms. Ruggeri’s class were engaged in an activity that was kinesthetic and visual/spacial.  They participated in creating an authentic video to help them solve complex math problems.

## Graphing Linear Equations Full Body Style

While some may have been tempted to show a movie before a break, Athena teachers continued instructing and engaging students in mathematics.  In Ms. Ruggeri’s Integrated Algebra class, students continued learning about graphing linear equations–Full Body Style.

After receiving a tweet from the Teaching Channel, I discovered an activity that fully engages students both physically and mentally (https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/graphing-linear-equations-full-body-style).  Students were divided into groups of 3 or 4.  One member was the y-intercept and the others were the slope.  Each group was given an equation to graph.  The y-intercept student started the graph, then the slope students continued the line.  When each student was in place, they connected their arms to ‘draw a line through the points’.  Click below to view photos or watch a part of this lesson.

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## Using Data to Inform Instruction

In the Greece Central School District, most secondary classrooms are required to give a midterm or benchmark as a common formative assessments (CFA).  A CFA is an instrument that is used to inform both the teacher and the student of the student’s progress (DuFour et al., 2010).  Using CFA data, teachers are able to determine which students need additional time and instruction and to identify the teaching strategies that proved to be effective.

Mr. Mock and Ms. Ruggeri used the Integrated Algebra midterm that they gave their students to inform their instruction and diagnose what topics they needed to review.  Selecting specific “most missed” questions, the co-teaching team used this opportunity to reteach certain topics.  Then, students were reassessed using the SMART response clicker software.  The SMART software provided a visual data model for students to see.  The use of this technology also kept the entire class engaged in their learning.  Great job students and teachers!

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## Athena is SMART

Many of our Athena math teachers have recently upgraded their classrooms with projectors and SMART boards.  Although sometimes tempting to use these tools as an “expensive overhead,” our teachers chose to engage students with a variety of techniques.

Mr. Ingerick had his students teach the class on identity and squaring functions in his Pre-Calculus course.  Each group of students discussed the topics at their desks, and presented them on the SMART board.

Mrs. Benz chose to use her projector by showing a pre-teach video clip from the Internet in her AP Calculus class.  Her students were engaged by watching a math expert from calculus-help.com.  Mrs. Benz explained that she likes this website because it offers a variety of informative and humorous videos on many aspects of Calculus.

Mr. Mock and Ms. Ruggeri hooked in their Integrated Algebra class with many interactive SMART board games and applications.  This team of teachers had multiple activities throughout their class.  At one point in the class, students came to the front of the room to work on a math basketball SMART board game that reinforced the ideas of solving equations.  At other moments in the class, an interactive graphing calculator was projected to assist students in mastering this important tool.  Both teachers were able to increase instructional engagement by utilizing technology and fun into their classroom.

Practical Strategy: Advocate for technology in your classroom and make a committment to use it often.  Even the smallest technology activity can help to keep your kids interested in the content that you are delivering.