• Here are my Monday Math Moments!

    Here’s a fun math concept.


    There are 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms in your body.
    There are 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (70 sextillion) stars in the visible universe.
    There are 7,005,000,000,000,000,000 (7 quintillion 5 quadrillion) grains of sand on Earth.

    Gives you a little perspective, doesn’t it!?!??! Our bodies contain more atoms than there are stars in the sky!

    Without some knowledge of math, how can we begin to understand the world and our place in it?


    Love this from the Kagin Cooperative Learning resources:


    “I advise my students to listen carefully the moment they decide not to take any more math courses.  They might be able to hear the sound of closing doors.”  James Caballero


    Please help me congratulate Mr. Evan Tiras for winning a $45 Starbucks gift card in our “math across the curriculum” drawing.  Stay tuned for future opportunities to win!  And remember, our REAL role as educators is to help students make connections with the meaning of their learning.  Great job, everyone!  Now, the home stretch!

    Examples of how our SMHS teachers are supporting math learning across the curriculum: 
    "My students created 1 point perspective name poster using measurements with rulers and ratio.”

    Jeff Kunes

    “I taught my students to sing the Times table song in Chinese.”

    Juan Du

    “Currently our JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl team members practice math for their JLAB competitions in the Fall.” 

    Major Ruiz

    "We focus on real life type problems such calculating profits, mark-ups, mark-downs, graphing points using Microsoft Excel.  In doing covering these topics we also review calculating decimals to percentages and vice-versa.  Additionally, I have lessons that include a stock market simulation.  Students can review the investment portfolios in real-time.  In covering this unit, students learn about return on investment, calculating profits and/or losses, etc.  The above provides only a summary with limited detail regarding some of the math topics covered within the CTE 1 and Marketing classes.”  

    Jon Schwartz

    “My focus on math this year has been

    Dia de los Muertos – assigning math terms to calacas

    Currency in presentations – currency conversion = pesos/quetzals/euros, etc

    Once a week they have to figure out their grade with a random quiz.  I always pick odd total number of questions.

    Talk about things they want – put into perspective = cost/how much if…      

    Just last week talked about cost of an addiction (cigarettes in particular) and figured out a year’s cost.”

    (Just a sampling…..)

    Angela Palacios

    ​“To promote literacy and numeracy and to support mathematics instruction, my students participated in the National Hour of code.  They are currently completing coursework with codecademy and Khan Academy sponsored by Donors Choose.”

    Debbie Kunes

    I had my students do several things lately to get ready for our STN Trip to San Diego.

    -Figure out gas mileage for the trip. How often we should fill up and where for what price?

    -Figured out how much of our trip is for contests, training, sleeping, eating, and sightseeing.

    -figured out if it would be cheaper to rent our equipment there or bring our own with the cost of gas.

    We have also be working with analytics on Twitter a lot lately. Thanks!

    Mrs. Heather Jancoski

    ​When going over our chapter on Money, we worked out a budget, did price comparisons, and figured out what we could do with specific amounts of money/hr by looking at specific jobs and what they pay.

    Evan Tiras

    What are you doing to support math learning in your classroom? 


    This year we have been talking about our SMHS “focus on math”; I have been sending Monday Morning Math Moments with research-based ideas, suggestions, and insights to help you consider how you can support math learning in your classroom.


    Now it is your turn to share.  Please send me ideas and examples of what you do in your classroom to support math learning.  I will compile our school list and send the list out to everyone next Monday.  If you share, your name will be entered into a drawing which will take place at our next staff meeting on 3/11.  The winner will receive a very special prize!


    Today’s Monday Morning Math Moment comes from the Rick Wormeli Standards Best Grading workshop attended by most district math teachers and many administrators on Friday, 2/20.  This is his “Working Definition of Mastery”:


    Students have mastered content when they demonstrate a thorough understanding as evidenced by doing something substantive with the content beyond merely echoing it.  Anyone can repeat information; it’s the masterful student who can break content into its component pieces, explain it and alternative perspectives regarding it cogently to others, critique others’ performance or application of the content, and use it purposefully in new situations.”


    This insightful definition is applicable to all learning experiences and content.  


    The Society for Research in Child Development (12/20/2012) cited a German longitudinal study examining 6 years of data which found that while initial performance in math could be equated with IQ, persistence and motivation were the overall key factors in successful student math achievement.  The good news about this finding is that as educators, we can influence persistence through helping students develop good study skills and we can work on student motivation across the content areas.  These are two meaningful strategies that can be used by all classroom teachers to improve our students’ performance in math.  These findings are consistent with the work of Joan Boaler (2008) which was cited in first semester Monday morning math moments.

    Study Skills + Motivation = Success in Math


    Now, that is an equation we can all get excited about!

    Alan Turing was a man before his time.  This brilliant English code-breaker helped turn the tide of World War II, and was arguably one of the fathers of the entire field of computer science.  He is also the subject of the current movie, The Imagination Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  The movie is the inspiring story about how the brilliant application of math during World War II solved the German enigma machine.  Turing is credited with saving over 2 million lives – using math!

    One example of how math saves lives!!!!


    Do you know of a Senior who still needs to pass the math AIMS test?  Tutoring is available for these seniors Monday – Thursday during both lunches in the IMC.  This special program has been in place since November and many students are utilizing this special service.  If you have a senior who is concerned about the Math AIMS test which is at the end of February, please make sure that they know about this special offer which continues through the day of the test.

    Feeling confused and frustrated about the world?  Help a student do some math. Truly, with math, it is what it is!

     Monday Math Moment

    Happy New Year!

    We welcome our two new math teachers who are starting with us this week!  Ms. Danielle DeBord is in room 206 teaching Algebra 1-2; Dr. Meghan Wildermuth is in room 228 teaching Algebra 3-4. 

    Please make it a point to give them a 2015 South Mountain High School High Five and help them with any questions that they might have as they learn their way around.  Get ready for even more math focus this semester and keep finding ways to support math learning in your role as educator.  Have a great week! 


    Last week I attended the ADE’s English Language Learning conference “Empowering Literacy Through Language”.  The first keynote speaker was Jeff Charbonneau, 2013 Teacher of the Year.  Mr. Charbonneau challenged us to ask ourselves “What If?”


    As we bid farewell to 2014, and imagine the challenges and opportunities that await us in 2015, we can ponder this question as it pertains to our students and our vocation.  And as we rest over break, enjoying the good cheer the holiday season brings, we can re-energize and commit to answering the question “What If” with a resounding “Why Not”!


    Across the curriculum, I continue seeing examples of math in classroom instruction.  For example, Ms. Jancoski’s class recently used the analytics and graphics provided by Facebook to evaluate their audience – you wouldn’t believe all the tracking that is going on behind the scenes of Facebook!  Teachers are having students calculate grades and regularly use graphs in their lessons.  Remember, any time that you are engaging higher order thinking, organizational thought processes, and building upon foundational knowledge, you are supporting our students’ development of the skills they need to succeed in math.


    Over the next three weeks, consider mixing it up with best practices for student engagement.  Some ideas are provided in the link below:



    “What do I need to get on this test (assignment) to raise my grade?”


    Showing students how to calculate questions having to do with their grades is a great way to incorporate math into your classroom. The possibilities are endless! 


    We need everyone’s help in a couple of areas:


    1)      Please encourage Seniors who you know need to pass Math, Reading, and/or Writing AIMS to take advantage of all tutoring options available.  This is a free service to our students worth $50 per hour if they had to pay for it!  Of course, the value of a high school diploma is priceless.

    2)      Find creative ways to motivate and incentivize Seniors; regardless of your content area, get involved! 

    3)      We are searching for donors to provide delicious lunches and snacks to our seniors during this lunch time tutoring.  We will be bringing in lunch from the cafeteria, but we would like to provide alternatives.  Maybe if the food is good enough, the students will WANT to come to the tutoring for the FOOD!  J  Do you know anyone in business who would donate?  Can you bring brownies or bake cookies?  Candy?

    4)      Clarify that while our students will take the Math test this week, we cannot wait for results from this test to begin tutoring.  If we begin tutoring next week, students will have fewer than 20 hours’ worth of lunch time tutoring before the last chance to take the test (February) to graduate with their class.  If students do pass this week’s AIMS test (results will be known in December) they will be excused from the mandatory tutoring at that time.   

    5)      BELIEVE in our students. We KNOW that with help, every single one of our students will make the gains that they need to graduate on time.