MTBoS Week 4: sharing a lesson


It feels good to be back at school! Here’s my 9th grade math lesson from day 2 (the first day of Coordinate Geometry), for the two 47-minute sections.

Day 1: 1-a Distance Formula
1) Name Graphs: Check off completion. [This assignment was to have students write their names on graph paper using only straight lines that begin and end at coordinate points on a grid.] Have 3 students draw a letter of their names on the board with points labeled.
2) Practice Quiet Coyote [my routine for getting attention–his ears are open but his mouth is shut]
3) Mini-Lesson: Distance Formula [taught using the 3 student examples]
– Look at how to solve for vertical and horizontal line distances.
– Look at diagonal distances to introduce the distance formula. Elicit the right triangle shape and Pythagorean Theorem.
4) Practice using Kuta worksheet (start with lines drawn on a grid, then ordered pairs). Introduce distance formula.
5) Formative Assessment: Plickers Exit Ticket (1 multiple problem with two ordered pairs) via Kuta multiple choice. Students turn their sheets and cards to the inbox.
6) HW: Haese & Harris Exercise 5A1 (answer key included)
7) Support for Math Enrichment: Extra WS practice. Give feedback on ET.

Section 1: Students were slow to take out paper for notes and turn in HW. We need to make this process more automatic. I noticed that many needed prompting to label the notes with the skill and the date, or even to use their binders (which seem to have grown into a pile in the back of my room over the semester I was out on maternity leave). Some students do have some excellent, organized notes from the past semester, so I might start having students volunteer to share their notes for my “absent work” binder to help absent kids catch up. I forgot to practice Quiet Coyote explicitly but the quieting was better today. For the practice, students really had enough time for the first four problems (mostly because they got stuck with simplifying radicals–the answer key had listed the square root of 8 as 2 square root of 2). I had to write more directions for the close of class on the board to clarify what I wanted for the exit ticket (for example, students didn’t realize they had to turn in their work as well as the Plickers cards). I need to label the Plickers cards with the student names for both sections and make sure they go into a separate bin.

Section 2: This lesson went smoother overall because of anticipating cueing of the HW checking process (in which I handed Plickers cards out to save time later), prepping them to segway from a picture to two ordered pairs, and completing the exit ticket. More students completed the ordered pairs questions, but we will still review. A principal intern came in to observe my class, and it was good to hear this feedback: “Thank you for allowing me to come observe your class today and welcome back!! I liked that you put the answers on the back of the sheet so that they could self check, it fostered more discussion than I would have thought. The students were so engaged. It was interesting to listen to a couple of conversations where the student answer didn’t match the back and so the next step was to ask a partner about what they had come to and why. Plus those Plicker cards were awesome – such a great way to use technology without the lag time. I had never seen that before but I will be sure to remember it for a high tech/low complication formative assessment measure.”


  • Jonathan Newman

    Yeah, Plickers are awesome! I’ve come to use them more and I think they’re best used during a lesson to check for understanding, but I’ve also used them as ticket outs and warm-ups. That’s great that your principal saw them!

    I’ve had some discussions with our school’s Geometry teacher (I teach Precalculus) over whether the distance formula even needs to be taught. That’s great that you connect it to the Pythagorean theorem, and I’m curious whether any students try to use the Pythagorean theorem (after sketching the points on a grid that they’ve made) instead of the distance formula? Some teachers would even go so far as to say “show students the distance formula, but don’t really teach it–just have students use the Pythagorean theorem”.

    I really like the straight-line names on graphs idea! Students can’t cheat off each other, but they can help each other once they understand how it works; and it adds a little bit of personalization to the math to motivate them. Great idea!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Sara Vaughn

    I like the ownership students can take because of having their own initials. Letters are perfect because of the abundance of vertical and horizontal lines, and hope you had a Victor or Xavier in your class! 🙂

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