All The Things: Made 4 Math

Holy hypotenuse, Batman! It’s been a while since I posted anything.


So, in one fell swoop…here are some of the things I’ve created for my classes over the past few weeks.

  1. Strengths Inventory–The math strengths side of this document came to me via my former colleague and still current friend, Nicole. I made the group-work strengths side as an add-on. I gave this to students to do during the first week of school and I plan on revisiting it at least one more time this trimester.
  2. Transformations Project–Adapted from a project done at High Tech High. I saw a presentation at Asilomar that got me all inspired to do this with my kids.
  3. Trig Warm-Up Problems–I put these problems up around my classroom for students to practice on; I stuck post-its with the answers on the back, so they could check their work. Then I gave each student an index card and had them record how many they were able to solve correctly without help, and with help.


For some reason scribid is turning my two page document for the strengths inventory into four pages. Grrr. Here is an editable version in Word.

Lines Mini-Book: Made For Math #5

In my Math 2 class, we recently finished our review of linear models. We spent about two weeks plus a few days on this unit, since it was review. I wanted students to have something to refer back to in the future. To summarize the important points we’d just gone over. So, I decided to have my students make mini-books.

Here’s the content of the book we made. Basic lines stuff. Zoom in for details.

Made For Math #4

Today certainly didn’t feel like a Monday, since I was working from home. It is the middle of the term, which means midterm comments are heading out. Which means I have to write said comments. I spent all day Thursday, and all day Friday in conferences with the freshmen and new transfer students to give them their midterm reports. But all of the other students get written narrative feedback. Theoretically this system is supposed to even out, with those teachers having more freshmen needed to write fewer comments and vice versa. Well, that didn’t work out quite so well in my case. 27 conferences and 29 comments. Bleck.

In any event, since I was busy writing comments all day today, I decided that it would also be the perfect time to use my new groupon to order personalized business cards a la Sam Shah. I mean, it’s not like I had anything better to do, right?

And thus, today’s

I loved Sam’s idea to make business cards for school. Little messages that you could hand to a kid. It took me a while to figure out what messages I wanted to say. Then I realized I could just use all the little things I was writing over and over in my comments to students. I keep telling students that I want to hear their voices more. Voila:

Or that I want them to take some risks:

And the generic “you done good”:

I also just stole some directly from Sam:


I also made some stickers, and sticky notes, and address labels, and regular business cards with, like, my name and email address and stuff on them. Here’s a few of my stickers:

It was lots of fun, and between the groupon and the current sale on the site, I only spent about 30 bucks.

Made For Math #3

Okay, this is really like #527 of the Made4Math series, I just don’t contribute every week. So there.

Technically this is not something I made for my class or my classroom. But @druinok and @cheesemonkeysf convinced me that my project would inevitably be subverted into school-use form. I believe their exact words were:

With such strong endorsement, how could I not share my latest sewing project with you?

The reason I was inspired to make this bag was that I have been doing a lot of fun activities either during my planning period (we’re on 80 min blocks) or after school that involve needing some form of athletic wear. Swimming, yoga, rock climbing. And I have been carrying my gear back and forth to school on a fairly regular basis. Some stuff I was able to keep in my office (swimsuit, etc.), some I already have dedicated a bag for (climbing harness & shoes), but other gear I was stuffing into a little paper shopping bag…which ripped. So, I needed a bag to carry my workout clothes in, and I didn’t want to use my backpack every day, and I especially didn’t want to use one of the 15-thousand free math conference bags that are sitting forlornly in our donate-to-Goodwill box. I also didn’t want to buy a new bag.

So, I decided to make one. Ta da!

I had a bunch of fabric in my sewing box, and this is what I came up with. Yes, those are Scottish Terriers in the print on the side panels. It’s just three pieces: the two side panels and a long piece that wraps around. I sewed on some wide ribbon for the straps. The best part–it’s reversible!

So now my workout clothes will have a place to travel to and from school (and the gym, I guess) in style.


And, lest you think I make nothing for my actual class, here is an assessment I created for our first unit on patterns and sequences:

Made For Math #2: My Classrooms

Here it goes–my second Made for Math contribution. Classroom Edition.

Last week I shared the posters that I made for the Decorating Challenge our deans encouraged us to participate in. This week, here they are in one of their places of honor up on the math classroom walls. There are two sets of Habits of Mind posters in each classroom. For the most part, I decorated two of the four math classrooms and another group of teachers decorated a third one. The final classroom didn’t get decorated, because it still needed to get its whiteboards installed. Hopefully that happens sometime before school starts tomorrow!

I also mentioned how we planned on putting irrational numbers up around the walls. Here are some pictures of those. The idea is that kids will be less likely to put their feet up on the walls as they work. I’m skeptical as to how effective these will be, but the color they add to the room is great. The blue strip goes all the way around the room. I ran out of green in the other room after covering three walls, but the remaining wall doesn’t have any whiteboards on it, so I decided that it was okay.

And then, some more math posters and xkcd comics to round things out. It may not be much, but it’s infinitely better than what was there before…absolutely nothing.

Made For Math

I am very excited to be submitting my first Made4Math post!

Between travelling for half of the summer, starting (over) at my new-old school, and knowing I wouldn’t have a classroom to call my own I haven’t had any projects to share.


This year, during our pre-orientation faculty week the deans threw down a challenge and competition to decorate the bare, white walls of our classrooms so that they would look somewhat, y’know, welcoming when students arrived. Each discipline team (department) was asked to decorate the classrooms that they use most often, so the math team is in charge of four rooms.

We have decided to theme the rooms based on irrational numbers. We’re putting up decimal expansions of numbers like φ and e around the base of the room (so students hopefully won’t put their feet up on the walls while they work on the whiteboards). The team also decided to post the Habits of Mind they came up with last June, and I decided to make them into fancy posters.

I had to bug @druinok for the link to the Font-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but then it was just a matter of making the posters in word. The hardest part was figuring out how to turn the .docx into a .pdf, since I’ve been using a mac all year long (so easy!). But I discovered that in the new windows, you can just select “save file as” and there is an option to save your document as a pdf. This is a wonderful factoid to have obtained. Normally, I would just dropbox my files, but I didn’t have the Font-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named on my school laptop, so I needed it as a pdf.

Anyways, here they are: