Slope Interactive Notebook Page

Last time, I shared some cool videos for teaching slope.  Today, I’m following that up with a slope foldable that I found that I love!

I found this foldable on Teachers pay Teachers by Bovio Math Creations.  I chose to print it in black and white because I don’t have a color printer and I like writing in marker.  So, here is the interactive notebook page page that I created with the foldable.

Mrs. E Teaches Math:  Slope Interactive Notebook Page Idea

The foldable has flaps that say “Equation”, “Graph”, and “Table”.  I color-coded the information in marker.  I also wrote the slope formula in the upper right hand corner.  While I think that it’s most important for students to understand the concept of slope, I also think it is important for students to be able to recognize and use the slope formula.  

Mrs. E Teaches Math:  Slope Interactive Notebook Page Idea

When the foldable is open, there is a visual for the direction of each of the types of slope.  This would be a great opportunity during the lesson to show a short video.  I would probably show the slope dude video while the students were color-coding the types of slope.

Mrs. E Teaches Math:  Slope Interactive Notebook Page Idea

At the bottom of the page, I came up with two examples for students to work on at the end of class.  In the first example, students must find the slope given two points.  In the second example, I cut a small square of graph paper and drew a line.  Students could draw any type of line they wish.  Then, they find the slope of the line given the graph.

I hope this gives you some ideas for a lesson about slope!

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Good Videos for Teaching Slope

If you teach middle school or high school math, you need to check out these FREE videos.  They are the perfect beginning to an activity or lesson on slope for algebra!

I feel like some lessons just lend themselves to corny examples or short videos at the end of the lesson.  So, I thought I’d do some digging to find a few good videos for your next slope lesson.  After watching lots of videos on You Tube, I narrowed it down to four that you may want to show the next time you teach slope.  There are a few different types, so that you can choose what you need.

This video is by Colin Dodds, a teacher in Vancouver, Canada.  He basically teaches an entire slope lesson through this music video.  He has lots of other math videos, but I haven’t gotten around to watching them all yet.  My favorite part about this video is all of the math vocabulary that he uses receptively.  This video would be great for classes that struggle with vocabulary, because the song will get the correct words stuck in their heads.

Mr. Causey explains slope, y-intercepts, and how to graph a line in this video.  This video is one that I would use if I knew I was going to be out for a day, but still needed to teach or re-teach the lesson.  Kids could use the video to help them fill in notes or a foldable.

So, Slope Dude has been around for a little while.  Math Gives You Power made this video explaining slope dude.  Honestly, it’s boring, but funny at the same time.  Slope Dude will give your students a mental picture that will stick in their heads!

This is a music video that does a good job of explaining slope.  One thing I like is that there are examples of how slope is used toward the end of the video.  Honestly, this is the right mix of corny/cool for me.  I would probably show this one in class at the end of the lesson…and my students would groan :)

I hope something strikes your fancy!

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Algebraic Properties of Equality Interactive Notebook Page

Today is another interactive notebook page idea!  In Geometry, right before we start proofs, I teach a lesson with the Algebraic Properties of Equality and do some basic Algebra proofs.  

Algebraic Properties of Equality Interactive Notebook Page Idea

I like this foldable because all of the properties are in one place, with room for examples.

Algebraic Properties of Equality Interactive Notebook Page Idea

Algebraic Properties of Equality Interactive Notebook Page Idea

When I put it on the page, there was room for me to write helpful hints off to the side.  My students remember the first four properties from Algebra.  I like to tell the students that the Transitive Property “skips” something.  I also tell my students that the reflexive property is like looking at your reflection in the mirror - you see yourself.

Do you use something else for the Algebraic Properties of Equality?

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How (and Why) I Teach Optical Illusions

Before teaching geometry proofs, I like to have my students look at optical illusions. This lesson is fun and helps students understand some of the underlying reasons "why" in high school geometry.

Every year in Geometry, I spend a class period “playing” with optical illusions.  I usually spend one full 45-minute lesson on optical illusions (bellwork, homework questions, and everything as well).  I know that there usually isn’t a lot of time for fun because there is so much pressure around testing.

Why I Teach About Optical Illusions

I think that this lesson serves an important purpose in class and just in life in general.  The main objective that I’m trying to drive home with this lesson is that you can’t always trust your eyes.  I talk about how in math (and in life!), we can’t just take things at face value, they must be proven.  Also, we can’t just make up our own rules, they must be agreed upon rules/laws/theorems so that everyone can come to the same conclusion.  I use optical illusions as a fun way to drive this point home.

I teach this lesson at different points in the school year, depending on what I feel like doing that year.  I do this lesson at one of three times in the year.
  1. The first day of school (as a fun intro to Geometry)
  2. Sometime in the first week or so of school (usually right before I introduce congruence)
  3. Right before we start proofs (and I emphasize the point about proving things with rules)

How I Teach Optical Illusions

First, I tell my students that we are going to have a different kind of day that doesn’t require them to take notes.  I let them sit on the floor, sit on their desks, or get comfortable (by this time, they are SUPER interested).  Then, I tell them that as long as they are being respectful, raising their hands, and participating, there will be no homework.  I usually don’t make kids raise their hands, but they tend to get a little excited by the end of the lesson and want to call out, so I make that a requirement for the day.

I have a powerpoint with all types of optical illusions that I show the students (click the link to download).  The first picture is below.  I show them his picture and ask them not to comment.  After a few beats of silence, I ask someone for their comment about the pictures.  We talk about seeing the vases vs. the faces.

Mrs. E Teaches Math:  Using Optical Illusions in the Geometry Classroom - lesson plan with file downloads

I continue through the powerpoint in this way.  I always ask for silence first, then a few comments, then let them discuss amongst themselves for a second or two until everyone sees the picture.  

The old vs. young woman is always a favorite.

Mrs. E Teaches Math:  Using Optical Illusions in the Geometry Classroom - lesson plan with file downloads

As the slides progress, they get more geometric.  At this slide, I make them prove to me that the lines are straight.  I’m annoying enough about it that an exasperated student will finally get up and find a straightedge (book, ruler, binder, etc) to prove it to me.

Mrs. E Teaches Math:  Using Optical Illusions in the Geometry Classroom - lesson plan with file downloads

This slide is where I talk about our eyes playing tricks on us.  Some students pick this up right away, and some take forever to figure it out.

Mrs. E Teaches Math:  Using Optical Illusions in the Geometry Classroom - lesson plan with file downloads

Once we finish going through the powerpoint together, I talk about the importance of proof and not making assumptions.  Then, I give this handout (click to download).  A few types of optical illusions are explained and there are a couple of good websites linked at the bottom.  Sometimes, I just project the handout and we discuss it that way.

At this point, there are a few things you could choose to do for classwork if you have extra time.  I never do, but I usually have one of these activities ready to go, just in case.  Students could...
  1. use their devices to search about M. C. Escher.  Maybe they could write a few sentences about how he used optical illusions in his work.
  2. find another optical illusion and write about how it tricks the eyes.
  3. work review problems.
  4. work on an optical illusions worksheet.

Midpoint and Distance Formulas Interactive Notebook Page

I realized that I haven’t shared my plans for the upcoming school year!  I left the school where I was teaching.  I moved farther away, and I just want to take a longer maternity leave than FMLA allows.  I plan to start subbing (maybe as long-term sub!) for the spring semester.  Then, I’ll go back full time the next school year.  We will just have to wait and see how it all works out!

Until then…  I was planning to dive headfirst into interactive notebooks for the upcoming school year.  So, I decided that I would post any and all ideas that I had on that front, so that I won’t forget.  I hear mommy brain makes you forgetful!  I also have lots of other teaching tips and activities that I want to post about so that I won’t forget!

I always teach the Distance and Midpoint formula at the beginning of the school year.  I teach coordinate geometry interspersed throughout the year, a little bit at a time.  This is the page that I would use for the Distance and Midpoint formula.

Midpoint and Distance Formula Interactive Notebook Idea

The foldable is one from my Teachers pay Teachers store.  It doesn’t quite fit horizontally on the page, so I turned it sideways.

Midpoint and Distance Formula Interactive Notebook Idea

This is the view of how the kids will look at it.  In marker, I wrote little reminders on the front.  I always give the formula, but I also teach it as “averaging the x values and averaging the y values”.  Most of my students choose to work the problems this way.  However, I like to also give the formula for the die-hard formula fans (I always have a few of those).  Then, I use “the face” to help them remember the distance formula.  You can read my post fully explaining how I teach the midpoint and distance formulas.

Midpoint and Distance Formula Interactive Notebook IdeaMidpoint and Distance Formula Interactive Notebook Idea

Under each tab, students have the formal definition, why it’s important, and a practice problem.  I think it’s important to always give students the formula definitions for a few reasons.  
  1. They won’t freak out as they progress through their math classes and see them.
  2. They get used to precise, mathematical language.
  3. I can use the definitions to clarify misunderstandings.

Is there anything else you would include?

What You Should Know About Teaching While Pregnant

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If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m expecting a baby in September!  So, I spent my first and second trimesters teaching while I was pregnant.  Before I got pregnant, I was very naive and thought that if I wasn’t “big”, not much would be different.  Pft, yeah, I was dumb.  Now that I’m out for the summer, I thought I’d share some of the lessons that I learned the hard way.  

Teaching while pregnant is no joke!  These tips for handling your pregnancy while teaching kids will help you be more comfortable on your journey as a new mom.


  • Go to bed early and sleep as much as you can.  The hardest part is bring “on” all the time while you are EXHAUSTED.  There were a few Saturdays that I spent the entire day in bed recovering from the week.  During the first trimester, I took a nap, ate dinner, then went to bed for the night a few hours later.  Growing a human is exhausting; you need sleep!
  • Tell you partner teacher or next door neighbor early.  My “next door neighbor” teacher was the first person at work that I told.  I needed her help.  I had to run to the bathroom all the time and needed her to watch my class a few times.  She was much more understanding and was there in the blink of an eye.  I think it helped that she understood why I needed her help a little more often.
  • Keep food with you at all times.  I didn’t get very sick my first trimester, but I think it was because I was very proactive.  I highly recommend keeping a large stash of crackers, dried fruit, hard candy, and anything else you can stomach in you classroom.  Some people like those Preggie Pop Drops.  I loved the Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal.  It is also a good idea to keep a huge water bottle full of water.  Snacking continually through the day and drinking LOTS of water made me feel better.  
  • Get a stool.  Staying in one position all day bothered me.  I couldn’t stand all day, but I couldn’t sit all day either.  I rotated between sitting at my desk, walking around the room, and sitting at a stool while teaching.  When I started doing this, my back and hip pain reduced significantly.  Do what you gotta do.  This is the stool I bought.
  • Rely on more independent work.  There were days that I was exhausted and/or felt awful.  I would tweak my lesson plans to have my kids work independently for at least part of the class period.  I used lots of activities from Teachers pay Teachers and had them work on homework with their partners.  This was a lifesaver.
  • Tell your principal early.  I told my principal and department chair when I was 9 weeks.  I know that not everyone would be comfortable with that, but I think it worked out in my situation.  They were much more understanding if I needed to run to the bathroom a million times and they were awesome about doctor’s appointments.  I was also let off lunch duty.  I never expected that, but it was SO nice to have an extra few minutes to catch my breath.
  • Be super honest with your students when you aren’t feeling your best.  There were a few days that I arrived at school looking just awful.  I told the kids at the beginning of class, “See how awful I look today?  That’s how I feel.  I really don’t to take my grumpiness out on you, but you’ve gotta help me out today.  Let’s just all do what we need to do to get through this class period.”  While those weren’t the best days, I felt like it was important for the kids to understand where I was coming from.

My students had TONS of questions for me.  My policy was that I would answer anything that I felt comfortable with, as long as it didn’t interrupt class time.  I would rather have them hear more accurate information from me, rather than get bad information from who knows where.  I also had the approach of “Don’t have kids now, you’re not ready, I promise!”.  Here are some of the questions I did answer (some of them are personal):
Are you sick everyday?
Do you have any cravings?
Is it uncomfortable sleeping?
What does it feel like when the baby kicks?
Do you have stretch marks? (Which started a conversation about what stretch marks were and how you get them.)
Are you going to eat your placenta?  (That was a hilarious conversation about different cultures.)
Does it hurt if you poke your belly?
I did end up letting a few students touch my belly.  They came after school and asked first.  It surprised me, but I don’t really care if people touch my belly, as long as they ask first.  I also ended up having a very serious conversation with two girls after school that came to ask about conception.  Apparently one of them thought she was pregnant and felt safe enough to talk to me about it.  I wasn’t prepared for this type of conversation, but I did tell them that this was a BIG deal and she needed to talk to her parents.  She didn’t want to, but I told her that one extremely awkward conversation with your parents is much better than lots of things that could potentially happen.

Working while pregnant was certainly an adventure.  If you’ve taught while you were pregnant, do you have any tips you’d recommend?

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