Sunday, October 20, 2013

Frisch's Math Team

Frisch's Math Team (aka Math League aka Math Club) has had its first two meetings after school. The first meeting we had a team competition, always a student favorite. We split into two teams, working in separate rooms, each team working on eight challenging problems. The teams can work cooperatively, and can divide the eight problems among themselves any way they want to. At the end each team submits one final answer for each problem.

The team of juniors (plus Oriel) beat the team of seniors, sophs, and freshmen. At the second meeting we reviewed the problems from the previous meeting.

 We also looked at some old New Jersey Math League problems, because at the third meeting, we'll participate in the first NJML contest of the year. Our team participates in 6 NJML contests, one a month. In February, we'll participate in the American Math Contest. We've also participated in the biannual Yeshiva Math Bowl, and the trophy from last year's competition is sitting here at Frisch, after our team took first place honors.

As advisor, I'm especially excited this year because we have more freshman participants than usual. A good sign for the future. The students who have come back year after year get genuine pleasure from solving challenging, unconventional math problems. Special thanks to Senior Captains Abigail Katcoff, Jamie Lebovics, and Zachary Oster.

By David Greenfield
Math Teacher and Math Team Faculty Advisor

The day the iPads entered the room.....

Seamless transition...that is the phrase that comes to mind when I reflect on my 9th graders first math class with their iPads.  After receiving them just that morning and having a brief lesson on iPad, my freshmen were ready 5th period to rock and roll. Without me saying a word they all open the cases, propped them up, accept an invitation to DropBox and started working on the "Do Now".  Below is a picture of my Geometry class using their iPads to view some pages from their textbook.
The coolest part is that some students had already figured out how to import the pages into another app which allowed them then to draw on the pictures with different colors.  Great for my visual learners in the room.  I can't imagine a more smooth iPad launch and want to thank Rabbi Pittinsky and Chris Perez for all their collective effort to make this happen. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Frisch Math Explores the World of Twitter and Blogging

CC licensed image shared by Math Twitter Blogosphere
The Frisch math department has recently registered to be part of an 8 week program called "Exploring the mathtwitterblogosphere". These weekly " missions" are designed to introduce novices and expert bloggers to new people in the math blogging world. Each week members of the department will be prompted to explore or reflect on different ideas current in math education.  I will be posting on my personal blog  Other math teachers will be posting as well and we will be sharing links as they are posted. We are so excited to be a part of this professional development opportunity as we expand our personal learning networks together.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome to Algebra II by Rhona Flaumenhaft

Below is our first “Flipped Classroom” video introducing key vocabulary terms in Algebra II.

Problem Attic Assessment Using Smartphones

Hi Sabrina,

Thanks again for creating the Problem Attic trigonometry assessment for our Algebra II class. I appreciate you calling me into your classroom to see and experience the tail end of your piloting the electronic assessment. You had pointed out that it took some time to set all the students up and allow them access to the assessment. You also said that you suspected an error on Problem Attic's part, as nearly all of your students got #13 incorrect. I watched as one student struggled to get his answers to submit properly and grew frustrated at this glitch. Overall, though, I was impressed and excited to launch the activity with my students.

I was very prepared for my students when they arrived: the iPad cart was charging (thanks, Rabbi Pittinsky!), the "Do-Now" instructed students to take out their smartphone or iPad and find (or download) the QR code scanner, and a short checklist written on the board reminded them of what materials they would need for the assessment. I anticipated difficulty with getting the scanners set up, but most students were able to do it seamlessly. As soon as a student had initialized the scanner, he raised his hand and I gave him the quiz questions, pointed out the QR code, and they took off! I helped the two students whose phones or iPads were acting up, and within four minutes, nothing could be heard other than my voice encouraging the students to use scrap paper and write their work on the quiz.

Fifteen minutes into the quiz, I asked for a show of hands to see who had reached the last page of the 13-question quiz. Since only a handful of students had, I told them there would be around ten more minutes of the quiz. Around ten minutes later, students began to submit their answers. I accessed the incoming solutions on the Problem Attic website and, as each student finished, showed him/her the score and which questions they answered incorrectly.
Students made comments like "I really liked this" and "this is really cool" (so we ARE cool!). They seemed excited to learn that I hadn't done this in any other class but was instead choosing to try it with them. I think they genuinely enjoyed using their phones for something educational. The format of the solution submissions seemed palatable to them. Most importantly, though, they truly benefitted from the immediate response to their quiz. "Did you get mine? I just submitted it!" was the refrain among them as they finished the quiz and jumped up to head over to my desk. Mid-way through grading, I showed on the SmartBoard the score results that focused on each problem, and pointed out that 100% of the class got #1 correct, 100% got #2 correct, but only 91% of them got #3 correct. [Incidentally, the website's solution to #13 was incorrect, so I told those students who got it "wrong" that they in fact got it right. I flagged it as incorrect on the website after class.]

The assessment went so smoothly and was extremely effective. Thank you to Rabbi Pittinsky for his help in making it so and, once again, for you Sabrina for insisting the school get the score feature for this wonderful website!

Chag Sameach,