Using Songs and Chants to Teach Math

We all know that using little songs helps to memorize.  I mean, can you forget the alphabet after learning the song?  I love using songs and chants to help my students remember different properties and theorems in math.  Check out these videos that show some of the songs and chants that I use with my students!

Using songs and chants can help middle and high school students learn properties and theorems in math. These videos for conditional statements, properties of congruence, absolute value equations, and graph transformations will be fun for students!






Beginning Factoring INB Pages

When I teach factoring, I spend quite a bit of time practicing factoring out the GCF.  I actually spend an entire class period.  If students can't easily recognize the GCF, then they will struggle with factoring polynomials for the entire unit.

First, I used this interactive notebook page to explain finding the GCF and have students practice.  It's very helpful for students to use two different colors to list the factors and circle the common factors.  My students tend to kind of get things mixed up if they don't.

Read more about color-coding student's notes.

This lesson helps my algebra students learn to factor polynomial and quadratic expressions.  The notes and activity make teaching this topic so much easier.

Next, I used this page to help students practice going between factored and distributed form.  I got the idea from Math=Love.  This was difficult for my students.  The most difficult part for them was deciding if the expression was factored or not.  Once we got going, they had a much easier time factoring the expressions.


This lesson takes longer than you would think!  I spend lots of time making sure students can list and find the GCF.

Solving Rational Equations INB Pages

I really like rational expressions.  Once you can factor, they're easy.  I didn't make a whole bunch of fancy foldables for my rational equations lesson, partly because I was end of the year teacher-tired and partly because I didn't think it was necessary.  Yes, sometimes I do just have students write in their notebooks!

These are the notes I used for my students.  I only did these four problems and then had them start on their homework.  They appreciated having extra time to work on homework.  Semi-interesting note: my students strongly preferred method 2.

Solving rational equations is one of my favorite units in algebra 2.  My high school students don't need a lot of help beyond these notes, because they've practiced factoring quite a bit.  I use these pages in my interactive notebooks.

Solving rational equations is one of my favorite units in algebra 2.  My high school students don't need a lot of help beyond these notes, because they've practiced factoring quite a bit.  I use these pages in my interactive notebooks.


8 Ideas for Teaching Order of Operations

Order of operations is an important concept for students to master before progressing in algebra.  However, students struggle with it and need LOTS of practice. We've all run across the social media posts with the order of operations and seen all of the incorrect answers!

Here are 11 ideas for your next order of operations lesson!

These order of operations tips give me lots of ideas for teaching middle school (algebra) students.  I like the activities and foldable notes for interactive notebooks.  The mobile is better than a poster too.  Please excuse my dear aunt sally will be more fun this year!

1 - Choose an acronym.  Not everyone agrees on the common PEMDAS acronym.  Some teachers think that PEMDAS reinforces the misunderstanding that multiplication must ALWAYS go before division.  If that acronym doesn't work for you, this blog post may help you find something you like better.

2 - Use a foldable for your class notes.  I love foldables and I've seen them keep students attention better than traditional notes.  These foldables would be great in your student's interactive notebook!  This foldable would be perfect for pre-algebra students and this one is great for algebra students.

These order of operations tips give me lots of ideas for teaching middle school (algebra) students.  I like the activities and foldable notes for interactive notebooks.  The mobile is better than a poster too.  Please excuse my dear aunt sally will be more fun this year!


These order of operations tips give me lots of ideas for teaching middle school (algebra) students.  I like the activities and foldable notes for interactive notebooks.  The mobile is better than a poster too.  Please excuse my dear aunt sally will be more fun this year!

3 - Have students practice with a cooperative activity.  Sum 'em activities are AWESOME at getting kids to work together.  I normally have them work in groups of four.  This sum 'em activity for the order of operations is perfect for students that are ready for a little challenge.  If you want to have students work in partners, this clock partner scavenger hunt is great!

4 - Let students work on a puzzle.  I love having students work on puzzles and card sorts at the beginning of class as a warmup.  Students can get settled in class as they are working on the puzzle.  This order of operations puzzle is perfect for students to work on in small groups.

5 - Have students complete an individual activity.  This free order of operations ladder activity is nice for students to work on individually or with a partner.  The squares match together like dominos, so students can check their work without constantly asking "Is this right?".

6 - Decorate your room with the order of operations.  I love a decorated classroom, even in high school!  This blog post has an awesome, free order of operations mobile that just may match your word wall.  If you want to have students help, in this activity students "text" the steps of a problem to a partner.  Then, you can hang the final product on the wall.

These order of operations tips give me lots of ideas for teaching middle school (algebra) students.  I like the activities and foldable notes for interactive notebooks.  The mobile is better than a poster too.  Please excuse my dear aunt sally will be more fun this year!

These order of operations tips give me lots of ideas for teaching middle school (algebra) students.  I like the activities and foldable notes for interactive notebooks.  The mobile is better than a poster too.  Please excuse my dear aunt sally will be more fun this year!

7 - Show students a video.  So, this video is SUPER corny, but I totally love it!  It's a rap that explains the order of operations in a clear, concise way.  Hopefully, it gets stuck in your student's heads!

8 - Have students practice in a fun way.  Remember those social media posts that people always mess up?  Well, you can have students practice on those social media posts!  I really like the number sentences that are pictures, like the ones in these emoji task cards.

These order of operations tips give me lots of ideas for teaching middle school (algebra) students.  I like the activities and foldable notes for interactive notebooks.  The mobile is better than a poster too.  Please excuse my dear aunt sally will be more fun this year!

Do you have something special that you like to do when you teach order of operations?

Angles and Arcs in Circles INB Pages

I never have time to post my INB pages during the school year!  Today, I want to share the pages that I made for the beginning of my circles unit.

This was the first lesson in my circles unit, so I needed to introduce some vocabulary first.  I gave my students a fill-in-the-blank page with diagrams so that we could discuss the vocabulary as we went.

This foldable for angles and arcs in circles is perfect for high school geometry students.  My students liked the class notes and we finished up the lesson with an activity.  I started the lesson with vocabulary and finished with an extra problem for honors students.

After that, we talked about arc measures, the Arc Addition Postulate, and congruent angles and arcs.  I compiled it all into one foldable.

This foldable for angles and arcs in circles is perfect for high school geometry students.  My students liked the class notes and we finished up the lesson with an activity.  I started the lesson with vocabulary and finished with an extra problem for honors students.

I included the explanations on the front of the foldable so that I would have room for examples inside.  Inside each flap, we did two examples together and I had them work two examples with their partners.  This foldable went pretty fast as we worked through it together in class.  Most of my students thought this lesson was pretty easy since I didn't include much algebra in it.

This foldable for angles and arcs in circles is perfect for high school geometry students.  My students liked the class notes and we finished up the lesson with an activity.  I started the lesson with vocabulary and finished with an extra problem for honors students.

After the foldable, I worked this spherical problem with my honors students.  They were shocked that I was "bringing back trig".  The fact that the radius of the sphere could be drawn to different points blew their minds at first.  I really liked this problem and included it on their test with different numbers.

This foldable for angles and arcs in circles is perfect for high school geometry students.  My students liked the class notes and we finished up the lesson with an activity.  I started the lesson with vocabulary and finished with an extra problem for honors students.

You can find this foldable here, in my Teachers pay Teachers store. 


Secondary Math Dollar Deals

The third annual #mathdollardeals is here!  Each Tuesday in July find secondary math resources for $1.

I hope you're not too focused on school and planning right now.  You need a break!  However, if you're around a computer this summer, be sure to check out this summer's dollar deals.

I've partnered with some great math TpT sellers to bring you the THIRD annual July Dollar Deals and we are so excited!  This July has five Tuesdays, so there will even be an extra day for you to save.  If there is a specific topic or activity you would like to see on sale, be sure to leave a comment so that we can make it happen!

There are 3 ways to find the $1 sale resources:

  1. This blog post each Tuesday in July
  2. This pinterest board
  3. Searching #mathdollardeals on Teachers pay Teachers
I will also be emailing my subscribers a reminder each Monday night, so that you won't miss out!








9 Fun Ways to Review Multiple Choice Questions

This post contains affiliate links.

Ugh, TEST PREP!  With state testing looming, students NEED practice with multiple choice questions.  Multiple choice questions are bor-ing, but practicing doesn't have to be!  These 9 ways to review multiple choice questions might just be the ticket to keep your students engaged in class.

These fun activities for practicing multiple choice questions will help prep your students for state testing.  Check out these strategies so to keep your students engaged and focused while preparing for their end of course tests and final exams!

1 - Page Protectors
If you want to have students to have a copy of the questions, make a class set.  Then, put the pages in page protectors.  You could have students "race" to see who can get the most correct answers in a certain amount of time.  I've used cheap sheet protectors in the past, and they have worked fine.  If cost is an issue, I prefer these (affpage protectors.  However, if you want something to last more than one school year, I highly recommend these awesome (affdry erase sleeves.

2 - Stations Mazes
Stations mazes are great because they get students up and moving around the room.  They also encourage students to check their work carefully since an incorrect answer will eventually send them back to a problem they have already solved.  Successfully completing a maze requires students to slow down and check their work.  Best of all, they require NO PREP and are READY TO PRINT!

3 - Pose-Pause-Pounce-Bounce
This actually reminds me of "popcorn reading" from when I was a student.  First, the teacher POSEs a question and PAUSEs for at least 5 or ten seconds.  The pause needs to be long enough for most students to come up with an answer.  Then, the teacher POUNCEs on (chooses) a student at random to answer the question.  Once the student has answered, they BOUNCE to another student to ask them "What do you think of my answer?"

4 - Kahoot!
If you're wanting to incorporate technology, Kahoot is a fun game for students.  It's great for students to practice speed.  It would also be fun for students to work in teams to find the fastest team!

5 - ABCD Cards
Give each student a set of four cards.  Each card has a different letter (A, B, C, and D).  Display the questions on the board and have students (or groups of students) hold up the card for the correct answer.  You could also change it up by doing this for true and false questions or always, sometimes, never questions in geometry.  If you would like your own set of ABCD cards, you can download a FREE set at the bottom of this post!

6 - ABCD Corners
This activity takes the ABCD cards a step further.  Each corner of the room can be labeled A, B, C, or D.  Then, a question is read and students move to the corner of the correct answer.  You can also randomly call on students to defend their answers from the different corners.

These fun activities for practicing multiple choice questions will help prep your high school students for state testing.  Check out these strategies so to keep your students engaged and focused while preparing for their end of course tests and final exams!

7 - Students Write the Questions
Have students to write test questions with multiple choice answers, in a format consistent with their state exams.  Challenge students to come up with good distractor answers.  Students will have the opportunity to evaluate the course topics, reflect on what they do and don't understand, and determine good test items.  As an extension, students could trade questions and answer each other's questions!  I like to buy the giant bags of Jolly Rancher candies and pass them out to students that are correct.  You can get a great deal on huge bags of (affJolly Ranchers on Amazon.

8 - Find the Errors and Fix Them
Grading multiple choice practice doesn't really involve much critical thinking on the student's part.  However, if you give a student a completed quiz that another "student" has taken and tell them "Six of these answers are wrong.  Find the mistakes and correct them." there is much more critical thinking needed for the student.  Make your students grade so that they will more deeply consider all the content!

9 - Plickers
Have you heard of Plickers?  The website provides you with a free set of cards you can print.  Each card has its own unique barcode.  You can ask students for responses to multiple choice questions during class and you can scan the room with your phone to determine how many students answered correctly, as well as other statistics.

These fun activities for practicing multiple choice questions will help prep your students for state testing.  Check out these strategies so to keep your students engaged and focused while preparing for their end of course tests and final exams!

I hope some of these tips will help you and your students make it through this test prep season!  I know review time can be a huge challenge!

Download your FREE Set of ABCD Cards!


Area Formulas Discovery Activity

Every year I try to do a better job of helping students understand the formulas for finding area.  Students always try to teach it as a matching game.  The shape looks like this, use this formula, plug in numbers.  I want them to UNDERSTAND where the formulas are coming from.

I’ve done investigations and discovery activities before, but I think sometimes simple can be powerful.  (Have you seen my post about the wordless Pythagorean Theorem proof?)  

You can do this discovery activity under a document camera and have students discuss as a class or you could make this into a worksheet and have them complete it with a partner or a group.  I like to do this as a whole class activity and show the pieces under the document camera.


First, cut a piece of paper into two rectangles.  Label the sides.

area of rectangle discovery activity

Have students determine the area of the whole rectangle.  To do this, they will need to add the bases of the two smaller rectangles.

Cut along one the diagonal of one of the rectangles.  Now, the rectangle can be manipulated to make new shapes.

area of parallelogram discovery activity

Move the pieces to make a parallelogram.  Find the area of the parallelogram.  Show students that it’s still the same area, but that you need the base and height of the original rectangle in order to find the area of the parallelogram.  How does this compare to the area of the rectangle?

area of parallelogram discovery activity

Move the pieces to make a trapezoid.  Show students that they need to write the area equation as the sum of the two smaller rectangles.  Then, show them how that relates to the formula of the area of a trapezoid.  The reason the 1/2 is in the formula is because the z appears twice in the base of the trapezoid.

area of trapezoid discovery activity


After that, you can cut the pieces further and manipulate more, if you wish.  I like to model all of this and do it with my students, because I have many that give up halfway through.  Also, I can point out little things along the way that they may not have noticed for themselves.

a discovery activity for the areas of rectangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids - helps students investigate and visualize the formulas

8 Interactive Notebook Tips to Save Your Sanity

This post contains affiliate links.

Whether you've been using interactive notebooks for a long time or you're a newbie, you will run into problems that will drive you nuts.  Right now, my biggest annoyance is students leaving their glue bottles open when they put them away.  Ugh.  If you know how to magically get teenaged boys to slow down enough to take care of craft supplies, I'm all ears!

Teachers, these interactive notebook tips will save your sanity and keep you happy!  These tips will help you train your students to take good notes, while keeping your life manageable.

To help you stay sane in your classroom, I'm sharing my top 8 tips for interactive notebooks.

1 - Save everything as a PDF.  Several times, I've re-opened a document that's been formatted for their notebooks only to find it messed up.  I've also had graphics disappear.  Can I tell you how maddening it is to have 15 intricately drawn geometry diagrams just disappear and be replaced with a giant red X?  Also, if you make something with a cute font at home, it likely won't show up on your school computer.  PDFs are a lifesaver.

2 - Easy is best.  When I use foldables, I love hamburger books and flap books.  My kids know what to do with those without me explaining.  I use other types of foldables too, but I recommend using one or two types all the time so that you don't have to give instructions every day.

3 - Give students a choice as often as possible.  This is just good classroom management advice.  However, it works well with their notebooks too.  Sometimes I let students choose the color of paper for their next foldable.  (Lots of people like BRIGHT paper in their notebooks.  My students find that distracting and hard to read their pencil writing, so I really like this pastel paper.)  Other times, I let them choose what kind of review activity we will do.  Students are more engaged when they have choices.  Give them choices you can live with.

4 - Model the "extras".  Kids won't "make it their own" and add extra information unless you model it.  Sometimes I quickly outline a white foldable with a highlighter before class.  Show them how to add extra information in their notes by letting them see you do it.  They will start to mimic what they see.

Teachers, these interactive notebook tips will save your sanity and keep you happy!  These tips will help you train your students to take good notes, while keeping your life manageable.

5 - If something isn't working, dump it.  A table of contents didn't really work for me.  I would forget to add to it and wouldn't refer to it myself.  So, I quit.  I've thought about trying tabs, but I don't really see the point.  My students can quickly flip to the pages from this unit and it's much easier for me to say "Remember that giant purple foldable?" than try to remember the page everything is on.  Also, sometimes kids don't remember what a topic is called.  What would they do then?

6 - Go with composition notebooks.  They are so much more durable.  HOWEVER, I have a friend that uses the large size 5-star notebooks with the plastic front, like these.  They work pretty well too.

7 - Don't check notebooks all the time!  Just the thought of checking notebooks makes my head spin.  If you insist on checking them, DO NOT TAKE THEM HOME.  Just say no!  I check them once per grading period.  They pass their notebook to a neighbor and the neighbor fills out a tiny sheet that grades them on all pages being glued in and foldables filled out.  Kids either get a 100 or a 50.  It's the easiest grade for them all quarter.  It takes me less than 3 minutes.  DO NOT TAKE THEM HOME TO GRADE.

8 - You must have a teacher copy.  I keep a teacher copy, but I don't make it ahead of time.  I actually make my notebook along with the students and I have one for each class period.  It helps me model what to do in their notebook and I fill in their notes under the document camera.  If a student is absent, they can borrow my notebook (in class!) to copy the notes.  It makes life so much easier to have a sample.

Teachers, these interactive notebook tips will save your sanity and keep you happy!  These tips will help you train your students to take good notes, while keeping your life manageable.

Do you have any tips that make using interactive notebooks easier?


10 Awesome Pinterest Boards for Math Interactive Notebooks

I love interactive notebooks with my high school students!  My students have never been more engaged and organized.

I love finding new Pinterest boards to follow!  Here are a few of my favorites for interactive notebooks in secondary math!

This is a list of a few of my FAVORITE Pinterest boards for secondary math interactive notebooks.  In no particular order…











I hope you discover a few new boards to follow!

Functions and Relations in Algebra 2 INB Pages

I always kind of like teaching about functions and relations in algebra.  This year in Algebra 2, I used some of the same ideas that I have used in Algebra 1, but beefed it up a bit.  It was a good review at the beginning of the school year.  Unfortunately, these lessons were interrupted by a hurricane and flooding, but my students retained all of the information!  I was shocked and pleased.  It's always nice to see interactive notebooks doing their jobs :)

First, we talked about the definitions of function and relation.  This was review for them, and most of them remembered once I read the definitions to them.  The reference card at the top of the page is part of this functions and relations card sort.  The different versions of a function was just a photocopy from a random textbook.

These interactive notebook pages for functions and relations were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!

Then, we expanded on the function definition to also talk about one-to-one and onto functions.  My students had a hard time remembering which was which.  They seemed to understand the concept, but had a hard time with the names.  Maybe because they both started with an O?  You can download this hamburger book here.

These interactive notebook pages for functions and relations were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!  FREE DOWNLOAD

These interactive notebook pages for functions and relations were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!  FREE DOWNLOAD

We were running out of time in class, but we had time for one last page.  We graphed a relation (it was just a line) and used our new vocabulary to write the information about the relation.  This took my students about 10 seconds.  Remember, they are honors students.  This page is part of the exclusive content in my Algebra Foldable Bundle.  The only way to access the page is through the bundle.

These interactive notebook pages for functions and relations were great for my algebra 2 students.  This graphing page helped them review the vocabulary and I let them work with a partner!

The next day, we completed this functions flip book.  This flipbook included the definition of a function, but also included function notation and graphs.  If you've seen my previous function notation lesson from YEARS AGO, this flipbook will look very familiar.  In fact, I don't know why it took me so long to make it!  Right now, this flipbook is part of the exclusive content in my Algebra Foldable Bundle.  The only way to access it is through the bundle, but I'm considering adding it to my TpT store in the future.

These interactive notebook pages for functions notation were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable (flipbook) notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!

These interactive notebook pages for functions notation were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable (flipbook) notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!

Then, the hurricane came...  I distinctly remember telling my students in class that I just thought it would be windy and rain and we *might* have a late start the next school day.  Yeah, well I WAS WRONG.  We ended up with a week off school and many people in our school community had flooded homes.  :(

When we finally came back from the hurricane, I didn't want to blow right into new content.  I wanted to ease back into things and have an easy day that would be review.

First, I reminded them about domain and range.  We completed this domain and range foldable that I had just used in Algebra 1.  (This picture is actually from my Algebra 1 notebook this year.)  Remember, I wanted it to be easy!  I had them work with a partner to fill it out, then we checked as a class.

These interactive notebook pages for domain and range of functions and relations were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!

After that, I gave them a functions and relations card sort.  I played music and let them talk while they cut and sorted.  It was a good review and let them relax a bit.  If you'd like to see more tips about helping students learn to identify functions, you can check out this post.

These interactive notebook pages for functions and relations were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!

Then, toward the end of class, we reviewed function notation.  I just had them copy problems and try working them with a different partner than they had worked with at the beginning of class.  Then, we went over it as a class.  They struggled a lot with #4 and #5, so we spent extra time there. 

These interactive notebook pages for functions notation were great for my algebra 2 students.  There were foldable (flipbook) notes and activities to keep them engaged and learning the whole time!

I hadn't intended on spending so much time on this topic in Algebra 2, but I do like how it turned out.  I gave them a strong foundation and have been able to build on it through the school year.

Angle Addition Postulate INB Pages

I am in LOVE with this flipbook that I made for the Protractor Postulate and Angle Addition Postulate in Geometry.  It is so full of definitions and examples, but doesn't feel overwhelming for students.

This foldable for the angle addition postulate in geometry is so helpful for my student's notes!  It fits perfectly in their interactive notebooks and it keeps them engaged the whole period.  This is better than a geometry worksheet!

The Protractor Postulate flap has a few options for students to either fill-in-the blank or write everything out.  Since I have honors students, I had them write out the theorem.  You can find the flipbook here.

This foldable for the angle addition postulate in geometry is so helpful for my student's notes!  It fits perfectly in their interactive notebooks and it keeps them engaged the whole period.  This is better than a geometry worksheet!

The other flaps also have students write the definitions of acute, right, obtuse, and straight angles.  The Angle Addition Postulate has examples for students to practice using the theorem.

After that, I had went through this sheet with my students.  It is part of the exclusive content in my foldable bundle.  I left it pretty blank, by design.  I wanted to talk to my students all about how to mark diagrams correctly and how to translate different statements.  I think this page is SO valuable for helping students with proofs later.

This foldable for the angle addition postulate in geometry is so helpful for my student's notes!  It fits perfectly in their interactive notebooks and it keeps them engaged the whole period.  This is better than a geometry worksheet!

(You probably noticed the HUGE gap in dates on these pages.  I did them as part of the same lesson, but Hurricane Harvey broke it up very awkwardly.)

Modeling Similar Right Triangles: A Paper Cutting Activity

This investigation is a great demonstration to help students visualize similar right triangles!

To begin, start with a regular sheet of paper.  Then, draw a diagonal across the page from one corner to another.  This creates two congruent right triangles.  Then, fold the paper to find the altitude to the hypotenuse of one of the triangles.  Remember, the altitude is perpendicular.

Modeling Similar Right Triangles - Paper Cutting Activity

Along the fold, outline the triangles and draw the altitude.

Modeling Similar Right Triangles - Paper Cutting Activity

Now, have students point out the congruent angles.  It might be helpful if you label the points with letters.  Remind students of the triangle congruence theorems.  Since all of the angles are congruent, can you prove the triangles are congruent?

Cut the triangles apart.  Arrange them so that they are facing the same direction.  When this is done, it is easy to see that the triangles are similar.

Modeling Similar Right Triangles - Paper Cutting Activity

Stack the triangles so that the three congruent acute angles match up.  This also helps show that the triangles are similar.

Modeling Similar Right Triangles - Paper Cutting Activity

After I do this demonstration, I like to use my Similar Right Triangles foldable.  When students have trouble, I remind them of the demonstration and have them draw the triangles separately.  This demonstration could even be "souped up" and used as the actual lesson.
a discovery activity to help high school geometry students visualize similar right triangles

This is an investigation to help students with similar right triangles. This can be done as a demonstration or a student activity.