Standards Based Learning – Beginning the year

After much preparation, we began the year with SBL.  I created a detailed newsletter using Piktochart, then recorded a video as I discussed how SBL will work in my classroom so parents could hear instead of just read it.  We set up our gradebook with standards, flipped our classroom, designed projects to assist learning, gave choices in the learning process & created awesome data tracking (Alice Keeler to the rescue) for ourselves and for the students.  Then we gave our first assessment.  OUCH! Students freaked out, parents freaked out, teachers stressed out… “How can I raise my grade?”  “What can I do to get an A?”

SBL pic 1

We are trying to make parents and students understand that the scores aren’t permanent. We are teaching on mastery ALL SEMESTER LONG.  They will have many opportunities to work on skills they are struggling with. We have time to work 1:1 with students within the class day.  We are trying to convince them this is a good thing.  Our next assessment is this week.  I hope students and parents will see the scores replaced with higher marks as their students begin to master the content.

It’s been a rocky start, but I’m still very excited SBL.  I think the student and parent focus will change to learning and not just “doing” as they begin to see the value of this process. Until then, I have more emails to return…

inequalities, interactive notebooking


I feel like I always start a post, “I found this idea…” and it’s usually from one of two websites (mentioned frequently by me.)  I, however, feel like this is what makes the teaching profession great. WE SHARE! Well, this lesson is no different.  I found this idea 🙂 at Math=Love and adapted her idea to fit my notebook.  I created two foldables, one for graphing inequalities, one for graphing compound inequalities.  I used XBOX and Call of Duty in my foldable because we talk about gaming a lot!  I love to play video games and students love to talk about the video games they play.

2014-09-03 07.44.18Please disregard the extra “crap” behind the foldable.  This is one page that was definitely a work in progress.  Those are original ideas behind the foldables, not all the ideas are gems either.

We had examples for the students work on the next page and I walked around and helped and gave smiley faces.  It’s amazing what a smiley face will do for a student.

Screen Shot 1.4 iPad Notes

I’ve included the pdf version of all the files.  

iPad Notes

Graphing & Solving Inequalities

Compound Inequalities


interactive notebooking, Solving Equations

Literal Equations -sad face

This is one lesson that students absolutely HATE.  I feel like this year was better than most, and I’m hoping it was the interactive notebooking process that helped.  Having said that, students still struggled, and I mean a lot, with rearranging equations.  I created my own resources for this lesson (WHAT???) and was pretty excited about teaching it.  it wasn’t until I was walking around as students were working in groups until I realized that the lesson had the same result (for some groups) as in previous years.  When solving an equation for y, students were “magically” eliminating the x by incorrectly combining like terms.  We will just keep practicing…

The notebook looked good though 🙂 and I did have some success.  It wasn’t a total failure.

2014-09-03 07.24.40 2014-09-03 07.24.48


The “Why do we solve literal equations” part is something I always talk about but I think putting it in writing helps.  Since students think this process is awful, they should at least know why we do it.

Screen Shot 1.4 iPad notes

Here are the goods, if you want them.

iPad Notes PDF

Literal Equations Flip Chart Word

Remember – get your free fonts so the Word document looks good.  This one uses orange juice, one of my favorite ( is the bomb!)


interactive notebooking

New Year New Adventure

I’m excited to start this school year!  This summer I’ve been working on something that’s been sitting in my brain for a few years, interactive notebooking for Algebra 1.  With help from Math=Love and Everybody is a Genius I already have my first unit ready to go.  Both of these ladies have shared a lot of great ideas and files and hopefully I will have my own ideas and files to offer as the year goes on.  Biology at my school has been successfully using this process for quite some time, so I know the students will catch on quickly. I have used many parts of interactive notebooking in previous years; Foldables, color coding, and diagrams.  I think putting it together in this format will make it easier for students to stay organized, reference their notes more easily, and use their notebook as a resource.  I have included data charts and space for reflection for our priority standards, further connecting these standards to what the students are learning.  I know it will take some adjustments as the year goes on but I’m excited to begin this journey!