Archive for August, 2012

The one topic in Geometry that brings students to their knees quicker than any other, is proofs…  I love to teach proofs because I love the logic in it.  I tell the students that they live in a proof world:  I get out of bed (because my alarm clock is ringing), I take a shower (because I smell), I eat breakfast (because I am hungry), I stop at a red light (because it is the law AND I want to live).  I am always looking for ideas on how to make  geometric proofs that easy for them to understand.
I think congruent triangle proofs lead themselves to the Flow Proof method easier than any of the others.  I tell the students it is a “visual” relationship.  If your prove box reason has three letters then three boxes should lead into that box.  The only draw back is when you use CPCTC (corresponding parts of congruent triangles are congruent)… I always get that handful of students who point out that there aren’t 5 boxes that lead into that, but I can’t make it too easy, huh?!?!
I like to use the SMARTboard when teaching these because it is easy to manipulate and move statements/reasons around.  Here is a .pdf of my quick review (the first couple slides are a quick review from the previous lesson – used as a bell ringer).  I let the student pass the marker around to the next student to write up a statement/reason.  I also give them copies of the slides so they can work ahead or along.

I am trying some new ideas with algebraic, segment and angle proofs this year.  I taught algebraic as two-column and had them work out the algebra problems as bell-ringers (showing ALL steps), then we went in and highlighted the completed steps (not their work).  I had them write their work into words to the right and then we talked about how that gives us the reasons.  We then did a couple algebraic proofs and from the exit slips I know they all have a greater understanding!

I am going to teach segment proofs this week and think I am going to use the “puzzle piece” idea.  I tried it last year, but I need to figure out a way I can check quick just by looking at their output instead of actually making them write out the entire proof (they weren’t able to get a lot done last year).

I would love to hear if anyone has suggestions on how to teach coordinate proofs…


Try, try, and try again…

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have already been in school for three weeks (thanks to the district decision to go to a “balanced” yearly schedule).  Not that I am counting, but a two week vacation will be here in 7 weeks!  I think every year, we as teachers, try a handful of ideas out on our students.  Some work and become part of our courses and others fail (some miserably!).  My question is why do some ideas work better than planned and others fall so flat?  I guess if I could answer that, I could make millions teaching others…

So, as this school year is getting into a flow here are two ideas (one I extended from last year) and one that I am trying to get the kinks worked out quickly.

Last year, second semester I started using what I like to call Math Buddies.  The first day I assign each student a Math Buddy (usually the student sitting right behind or in front of them).  We do a couple non-math activities to show how they can rely and use their math buddy to accomplish more than they could by themselves.  In class, when I ask a question, I give them “buddy time” (10-15 seconds) to work out their ideas before I call on a random student.  I think this year I am going to allow them to use their buddies on an occasional quiz.  I love it; because I do not have to worry about how my desks are set up (I share my classroom through the day with two other teachers)…it is an instant grouping that I can use without any previous set up.
My goal this semester: Create at least 1 daily need for their math buddy.

My second idea is to create a BYOD activity once every two weeks in my Algebra 2 honors course.  In our district there has not been fast push to put devices in our students hands.  So if we want an one-to-one interaction, you either have to request to be in a computer lab or have students bring a device that can access the wireless.  Tomorrow we are starting light and I created an online quiz for them to take to demonstrate that they can use their graphing calculators and then get into a chat discussion about what they know or still need help with.
My goal this semester: BYOD at least once every two weeks.

I hope I am better at these two ideas than most people are at their New Year’s Resolutions….

Hello world!

Posted: August 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hello universe… I hope someone is out there!  If not, this is going to be really weird.  I have never saw someone talking to themselves, and thought “oh wow, I wish I could do that.”  I guess the first thing is to stop being a stranger… Need I remind you “stranger-danger” is one of the most important things we learned in kindergarten?
My name is Emily Steinmetz.  I currently teach geometry and algebra 2 to high school freshman and sophomores at your “typical” suburban-style school in Indianapolis.  I grew in Indianapolis and after two stints in Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor, Michigan; I have created a life here in Indy (go Colts).  I took my first teaching job right out of college and unfortunately had a not so positive experience.  In fact, it was so negative, I left teaching after 3 years.  Yes, I was one of those statistics.  I tried out other careers but it seemed like no matter what I tried, someone was always making the comment, “have you ever thought about teaching?”.
That brings me to the present day… I have returned to the classroom.  I am currently only in a part time position still after 2 full school years (hopefully leaving more time for this adventure with you).  I am dying to be full-time, but love where I teach…so I will be patient and just encourage those around me that retirement can be more fun than dealing with teenagers every day (even though I don’t believe that).
I am not sure what I am going to write about, but I do read a lot of math blogs.  (you know the type always stalking others but too shy to comment)  I hope through this experience I can collaborate with others on a two-way street.  Many out there have already sparked so many great ideas, now I hope I can live up to standards you have set  before me.  I hope to spark ideas for you or maybe just start a conversation…