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AP Stats sampling vocab

19 August, 2014 (17:06) | Alg 2, APStats | By: Glenn

Want to watch an ap stats classes eyes glaze over? Start talking to them about stratified vs. cluster vs simple random sample vs judgement sampling.

sleeping learner photo via

Really. Pull the powerpoint from the book, throw it on the screen, and watch the light dim from their eyes.

I didn’t do that. …. This year. I didn’t do it last year either, but I was not totally successful in this endeavor. Last year I did some activities AND showed the powerpoint. Not this year at all.

Last week on Thursday and Friday I showed the powerpoint I created that had the theory, the background and the why we are learning the vocab, then they looked up the words themselves.

Today we did the Jelly Blubbers activity. Jelly Blubbers teacher handout and the Learner Notes and a  Stratified Blubber Colony stratified blubber page I don’t hand out.

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It drove the point home that judgment sampling is wrong because it creates bias, and that for certain things, stratified is terrific! We had a short discussion of why we need different ways to do the sampling, and what benefits are achieved by sampling.

This was the progression and order we did it in. The bias in the judgement sample is clear. They really liked the larger blubbers over the smaller ones.

All in all, it was a great day in AP Stats.

Algebra 2 was more … difficult.

There is a lot of vocab to go through, ie. Domain, Range, function notation, set notation and interval notation, etc etc etc.

We spent the entire period learning those. I really feel like it was not successful, HOWEVER, they were involved and active in the discussion about what the different ways of representing domain, range and the other ideas were. I think they learned useful things today, it just was not as an active day as I would want.

I will work on that tomorrow.

AP Stats vocab

18 August, 2014 (16:45) | APStats | By: Glenn

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These two pages are representative of the MASSIVE vocab we are wading through in my AP Stats class today. I snapped a couple of pics as I was walking the classroom answering questions. It was a successful day, I think. …. Maybe.

I finalized a diagram I had in my head and that I have drawn by hand several times over the last couple of years.

statscycle Stats is about taking the population, extracting a sample correctly, and constructing an appropriate, useful model.

That reminds me of a quote I read today:


Anyway, I took the learners through my short ppt on the theory behind the journey we are starting. After that, they had to start looking up the vocab in the textbook and start developing the definitions for the 8 types of sampling, the 4 types of bias, and the other vocab associated with sampling.

Next up, the sharing of the vocab they found (which will all be the same, they all figured out how to use the book quickly). I will do that quickly, answer questions, and immediately move to “On the River” exercise. More on that later.

My Learners:

I was really struck today by the different ways the classes jumped into this exercise. Period 2 was very helpful to each other. They started discussing the vocab right away and were very animated. By contrast, Period 3 was silent. I don’t mean they whispered. I mean they were absolutely silent. It really freaked me out. I just wandered around and it took about 20 minutes before they started asking questions. That was highly odd.

By contrast, my 5th period had a table that not only was really thinking, but they determined what stratified sampling was without consulting the book. They asked me if it was legitimate to sample via strata (although they did not use that vocab, it was exactly their question.)

The level of their thinking really impressed me. It was the first day of week 2, and they are naturally coming up with the ideas of  stats on their own. Pretty cool.

Alg 2 & recording my classroom

17 August, 2014 (20:52) | Alg 2, General | By: Glenn

Can I tell you how much I love my learners! A sophomore girl walked into my classroom this week with these shoes and and said, “Mr. Waddell! Look what I found this summer!”

2014-08-13 07.42.29 How awesome are Calculus Toms. If you know or have any influence at Toms, tell them to make them again! I am so bummed that they are not for sale anymore. This learner found them in a used clothing store and was completely excited that she found math shoes. I must be doing something positive in the classroom if my learners from last year are this excited about shoes.

As far as my classes at the end of the week, they went well. The first week of school was successful. My algebra 2 learners are crushing the rules and can solve any literal equation I through at them. This means that they CAN solve any equation they need to all year long. Tuesday, I connect those dots with them and then move into parent functions.

One thing I am very proud of is my syllabus this year. I completely redesigned it, and I incorporated Remind into it in an important way.

2014-15 Alg 2 syllabus    Syllabus-AP Statistics

These are pages 1 and 3 of my syllabi, with page 2 being the signup sheet that Remind prints out. I have almost every single learner signed up for Remind in my classes, and even some parents. I am really excited by that level of commitment. What makes me even happier is that I heard from one learner that every single teacher she has is using Remind.

At that point the teachers are being consistent and even in their approach to communication and usage of the tools for communication.

One thing that I have done this week is record one of my classes. It wasn’t hard. I took my old cell phone (a Motorola Mini) and created a super high tech platform for holding it.

No, really. Super High Tech

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That is it. Just a paper cup, cut with a slit and room for a power cord if necessary. I recorded a class on 720px and got 50 minutes of video in a 4gig micro SD card. I will move it to the laptop, delete, and be ready for the next recording.

One thing I want to do is regularly record and observe my classroom. This will give me a way to observe my class as an observer would. What will I see? Not sure yet. But I will be using those videos as part of my reflections. I can not show the videos online, but I can describe and use them to change my teaching.

All in all, a great first week, some very positive response to the syllabus, to the lessons so far, and the development of the classes.


My “Rules” and Literal Eqs

14 August, 2014 (16:44) | Alg 2, APStats | By: Glenn

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My 3 rules for Algebra. Meg Craig made them pretty, I framed them, and went over them in Alg 2 Honors class last period.  Today we moved into Literal Equations. That is how I teach the rules and reinforce the rules, with literals.

Typically, these are one of the hardest things learners to grasp and wrap their head around. I am taking my physics book from college to the board and writing down formulas from it and from chemistry. Go.

And it was tough. Learners who can tell you that 25-25 is zero in a heartbeat will balk at v – v is zero. So there is a lot of coaching an patience as they work through the ideas of “The Rules” and the differences in how addition and multiplication act with respect to distribution.

It was difficult, fun, and frustrating but they are getting the concept of solving equations, all equations, no matter what they look like.  I will spend one more day, so that means 2 and a partial period on this. I think it is time well spent.


AP Statistics

The 6 W’s a H:

Who, What, When, Where, Why, by Whom and How. This is the introduction to thinking and reading scientifically. is my friend during these couple of days, and the biggest stumbling blocks were finding the variables (the What) and the population of interest (the Who). I have added a 6th W, “by Whom”. I have found that helps with the learners wanting to put the author’s name in the “Who” spot. If they have a place for them up front, they can’t be part of the “who”.

Yesterday’s assignment was to grab one article from ScienceDaily and detail the W’s and H.I don’t think one learner did it fully correctly, though. I know that every single learner I helped one on one did not (and that was most!).

To help, in class we did a couple of problems from the textbook, which are … okay. Nothing earth shattering; they are short, and the learners can use keywords to figure out the answers quickly. Then we did 1 article from ScienceDaily on the board. I projected it from the web and we went through it, finding all the information. That helped too.

Finally, I handed each group of 2 an article and had them discuss the W’s and H together. I circulated and answered questions. They then swapped articles and did it again.

At this point, they have read 4 to 5 different articles from ScienceDaily. That is 4 to 5 more than they have read in the past. Reading these articles is a different skill than reading the fiction that English teachers have them read, and I think this is useful to getting the learners to be in a Stats frame of mind. I hope so at least.

The assignment for next class is to redo last night’s homework. Cross it out, start over, and do it right.

Block Schedules and AP Stats

13 August, 2014 (12:48) | APStats, General | By: Glenn

My last post brought up the fact I am on a block schedule. It is a good schedule and I like the way I have created interaction with learners because of it.

Our schedule goes like this.

First class every day is P.A.S.S. – Panther Academic Student Support. It is 45 minutes of work time where each teacher is either teaching a “for grade” class or a “S/U” class. The “for grade” classes are just like any other class, but meet 5 times a week. The “S/U” classes are flexible and can be anything the teacher wants them to be. I have 26 of my AP Stats learners in my class. They are all motivated, great learners, so I help them be successful in all their classes.

The rest of our schedule is more normal (if you can call what I describe now as normal).

We have 72 minutes classes every day but Wednesday. On Wednesdays we are released 45 min early for PD time, so we have 60 minute classes.

In the morning, we rotate through a schedule of 1-2-3, but see only two of them per day. So Mon we see 1, 2, Tuesday we see 3 and 1 again. Wednesday (the short day) will see 2, 3, then Thursday will be 1, 2, Friday will be 3, 1, and Monday will be 2, 3, etc. It is a rolling 1,2,3 in the morning.

The afternoon is the same except for 4,5,6.

Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Monday Tuesday Wed
1, 2 3, 1 2, 3 1, 2 3, 1 2, 3 1, 2 3, 1
Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
4, 5 6, 4 5, 6 4, 5 6, 4 5, 6 4, 5 6, 4


What I like about this schedule is that I see my learners two times consecutively, and then a day off. So I see period 1 on Monday and Tuesday, then not on Wednesday. That allows me to stage the assignments so there is a short brief, and a longer more thoughtful assignment.

I also do not see the same learners at the same time every day. At the end of the day, I see period 5, then period 4, then period 6, not the same period 6 every day. Seeing them at different times of the day allows me to see them when their energy levels are different (as well as mine) and at different attention levels.  That is very helpful in how I set up to teach them and give them what they need.

It also means that my planning goes in 3 day cycles. This makes it hard to do a 180 blog, but I will be doing my best at least to do a 120 blog.


AP Statistics

Today is my happiest day. I teach 3 AP Stats classes in a row. Because of the schedule above and my schedule (per 2, 3, 5 = AP Stats; per 4 = Alg 2; periods 1, 6 = prep and dept lead prep) on the “C” days [2,3,5,6] I get to have PASS, then AP Stats, AP Stats, AP Stats, Dept Prep.

There can not be a better schedule.

—-(time passes to afternoon)

Today we did the “W’s” and “H”. [My PPTX file w/ problems]

Whew. I always think this is one of the toughest lessons. The confusion about when numbers are categories and when numbers are quantities is confusing at first, and the notes are hard to do, and the reading is tough, and … and … Arg.

Plus, it was the short day, so we didn’t do the reading I wanted, just the notes. But that means tomorrow and Friday we can do lots of reading. Yay!

I added something to the book’s W’s and H, which is “By Whom”. I have found that adding the “By Whom” eliminates the learners trying to write “Gallup” for the “Who”.

The assignment was to go to, find ONE article from there and do the whole breakdown.

Tomorrow we are reading lots of articles, as well as some problems from the textbook.

All in all, a great day.

Day One of AP Stats and Honors Alg2

12 August, 2014 (15:58) | Alg 2, APStats | By: Glenn

My goal this year is to blog more. As in, blog almost everyday. The secret to writing better is to write more. Therefore, I am going to write more as practice for writing. It is something I need to do as a professional. Here is to the effort.


I don’t give out the syllabus on day one any more. I used to. It was the regular thing to do so. “Here are my rules. blah blah blah.”

I split it up over several days now, and I start that rigmarole on day 2 instead. Here is a recap of the first day for me this year.

Honestly, it was pretty similar to last year, but better.

AP Statistics:

I gave them this problem which is familiar if you use the Practice of Statistics. That is all they had.



I then asked 2 questions:

1. Is there evidence of hiring discrimination?  We had a discussion.

2. Is there CONVINCING evidence of hiring discrimination? We discussed.

I told them AP Stats was all about moving from question 1 (opinion) to question 2 (fact based examination) and one way to do that is to do a simulation.

Enter the beans. We used a baggie and 25 beans (10 white, 15 black) to simulate the situation. Working in pairs the learners did ten trials and put ten dots on the dot plot.

[aside: last year I hated what my learners did with dot plots. The dots were haphazardly drawn, some small, some large, some to the left, some to the right, there was just no good construction. I was in Target at the end of summer and saw packages of 702 - 1/2 inch big smiley face dots for a dollar. I bought  over 10,000 dots. First day of class we we made AWESOME dotplots!]

This is what they created (1 pic for each period of class):

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I made a histogram out of one because they asked what was the difference.  I then led them in a round of vocabulary that can be used on the graph. All in all, a very good day.

Tomorrow opens with this cartoon.

Dilbert - stats vs magical thinking


I hope it sets the tone that the class is about deep thought and working through details, facts and evidence, not opinion.  Now I just have to maintain the tone.


Algebra 2 Honors

Oh, now this class was … different. This class is not happy with me at all. I gave them the handout and said, “Go.”

Cell Phone Project.docx

The project asks them to decide what cell phone plan my wife and I should choose. They were handed chart paper, markers, and the project description.

I only answered a question that was about information in the paper. If they were confused about the content of the plan, I answered that. If they asked about something else, nope.

They were very hostile for a while. When they asked something I typically answered, “There are 4 people in the room who knows what the answer is, 1, 2, 3, and 4.” And I pointed at them when I said the numbers. They needed to start making decisions on their own.

It worked. They get 15 minutes at the start of today’s class to finish.


Some of the learners were not happy with the fact that I was assigning them a project without “one right answer.” It will take a while to break them of that opinion. That is okay, because I have a while with them. The work they did was good. Nothing earth shattering or super impressive, but then again, it is only the first day (and 15 minutes into the second day) of school!

I am really happy with the variety of methods chosen to display the results. That was wonderful. Almost everyone chose T-Mobile as the plan of choice, but it was pointed out that if new phones were required then AT&T or Verizon would be the better choice.

All in all, a great way to start the year. We had a discussion after the presentations of why I assigned it. Comments like “to get us to work together,” “to make us realize that there sometimes can be more than one right answer,” and my favorite was, “because you wanted to make us realize this class would be about us working, not you talking.”

Yea, I liked that one the best.

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Made4Math – A new school year/classroom

10 August, 2014 (17:04) | Success maybe | By: Glenn


This is my first “Made 4 Math Monday” post of the year, and it is probably one that I would be most proud of and is my biggest achievement. It is my Classroom, ready to rock and roll for learner tomorrow, Monday, 11 August 2014!

Here is what greets them as they walk in the door to my classroom. I will be standing outside high fiving them and handing them playing card with the number 1 – 8 on it. They will sit at the table (you can barely see the playing cards on each desk arrangement) with their number and then they will fill out a form that asks for their name and 3 things interesting about themselves.

2014-08-10 15.44.11 You can see the awesome curtains I made several years ago to hide the ugly contact paper a teacher before me put on the windows, my teacher area in the back of the room, and the desks all ready and waiting for eager learners.

Once they are situated, from left to right across the front of the room they will see this:

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I did a closeup of the “Wall of Awesome” because there are some pretty funny things on there. Well, they are funny to me. I know the story, and if any learner asks, I tell them the story behind the quote too. Yes, I kind of dig Star Wars, and if you notice, I have a large “YET” on my wall on the left of the board. My 3 rules of math are above my board, all tricked out and crafted out. Thank you Meg and Shelli for the inspiration to be all “crafty”. Thank you again Meg for taking my Rules and making posters out of them.

As we continue to the right of the entrance, the learners see:

2014-08-10 15.43.46 2014-08-10 15.43.55

I have my quote of the day and the date all ready to go. I have the YEARS agenda already written out. I have not put my calculators in the handy dandy $5.00 shoe caddy from Ross yet. And some teachers have not picked up their calculators as of yet.

And then I was looking at the board and I realized I did not want to do the “you are here” I did last year, so I channeled my inner craft geek again and made these:

2014-08-10 15.45.17 One for Stats, one for Algebra. They are shiny because the glue is not dry yet, but once they are dry they will be stuck to the board with the two blue magnets sitting there.

And finally, because of this post from Jared Derksen I made a Pronoun Swear Jar. I will ask for $.25 each time a pronoun is used in class discussion. I figure the money can go towards AP Exams or an AP party at the end of the year, but either way it will go back to the learners. Nothing major, but here are pics:

2014-08-10 16.16.27 2014-08-10 16.16.21

There is my classroom. I will post about the first day activities tomorrow. I will NOT be going over the syllabus, but I DO have activities all planned out. Learning activities. My learners will be working from day one. No downtime.

I hope your first day of class goes well too!

#TMC Reflection – MyFavs

4 August, 2014 (21:33) | General, Technology | By: Glenn

2014-07-25 12.48.04

My Favorites are some of the best part of the TwitterMathCamp experience, and this year was no different. I know one favorite I had was walking into this building and seeing that even a public high school could afford to build a dedicated Science & Math Center!

But inside the building, we were offering our own My Favorites. I had one my favorite that I offered, which is a cheap (free) way to record your class so you can observe yourself.

Take an old smartphone and remove all the apps. It is best to use a phone that has a SD card, but if you can clean enough space off of an internal memory phone that works too. Once you have at least 4 gig free, then you have enough space to record 45 minutes of video at 720p or 30 minutes at 1080p. Ideally you would want at least 8 gigs so there is extra space.

Once you have this phone ready, you can use whatever you have on hand to construct your own stand. Lego’s work great, a coffee cup, or even a paperclip. Learners will freak out at a tripod and video camera set up in the back of the room (I know, take it from personal experience) while they will not even think of the phone sitting on a shelf recording them.

Two other My Favorites that were offered by others that I really liked are Plickers and a very interesting and annoying problem that has incredible extensions.

Plickers are “Paper Clickers” and it is genius. Using a cell phone or tablet with camera and the paper funky symbols you can poll the class on a question and have the responses immediately tracked and recorded. You can show the class results in bar graphs, and later can use the results for data tracking and demonstrating what you are doing for your admin. Great discussion and engagement in class and  data tracking for later. It is a win-win.

Finally is this problem. IT is tricky, fun, amazing, and all around a well designed problem.


What proportion of the triangles is shaded?

That is it, just find the shaded area. The solution has extensions all over the place and is a great problem to try and work through.

I hope you Enjoy!

#TMC Reflection – Alg2 Sessions

3 August, 2014 (20:42) | Alg 2, Lesson idea, Success maybe | By: Glenn

At TMC14 (Twitter Math Camp 2014) this year I did not attend many sessions, because I was the co-lead or lead in several blocks of time. It was great, and the comments I received were very complementary. I think the teachers telling me that were just being nice a little bit, but I hope they did receive some benefit from attending. With that said, the first thing I want to do in my TMC Recap posts is communicate some of what occurred in the sessions.

First up, Algebra 2. I co-led these sessions (there were 3 days of 2 hours each) with Jonathon Claydon (@rawrdimas) who blogs over at InfiniteSums. The 3 days were split into the following structure. Day 1 was about how to teach algebra 2 with some structure and form so that you can connect all the disparate topics of Alg 2. Day 2 was about a different way of cycling through the topics to allow for constant review and building of knowledge (pivot algebra), while day 3 as all about modeling.

Day 1 started off with the question, “How do you currently teach alg 2?” We had several answer. Graphing all the parent functions and creating a hook to hang the rest of the year that way (Family of Functions), or solving the equations and connecting the graphs later (equations first), going through the textbook units and color coding them, and then I introduced my (h, k) format. There was great interest in the (h, k) structure so we spent the rest of the time on that method.

What is that method, you ask? Well, on my board under the heading of Algebra 2, I have the following forms written down:


First off, what do you notice and wonder about all these forms? Yes, I do ask that and spend some class time on the noticings and wonderings about this list. I actually have a “You are Here” note that moves from one to the next to the next as we go through Alg 2 and I make a big deal about that move.

The really nice thing about organizing the class in this way is that clearly the learners are learning ONE set of math operations, not 12. The amazing similarity between all of these forms encourages the learners to actually look at the math and ask “what is the same, what is different” and STOP thinking “all of this is different each time.” It takes some work, but the learners figure out that my 3 rules (the ONLY 3 rules I allow them to use/ write/ or say in class) are how ALL of these functions are solved. [make sure you read the comments too]

Also, shown (but not handed out) during the session was how I consolidate all of the maths for all of the functions and what I expect for every single function listed. It looks like this:


All of the links for the handouts and materials are on the TwitterMathCamp Wiki site. If you want this handout or any other handouts from TMC, please feel free to download them.

My goal with this process is getting the learners to think of math as ONE body of knowledge and not a segmented series of things we memorize. We LEARN how to factor, how to graph, how to identify points on a graph, and we USE that same knowledge over and over again.

I have had some success with this last year and I am looking forward to doing it again and blogging about it as I go. Yes this means I am planning on blogging more. That is one goal I have for the year. It was created because of this article on the secret to writing. (hint, there isn’t one.)


Wordle–Twordle & interesting stuff

30 July, 2014 (20:30) | Personal, Technology | By: Glenn

Ok, I am doing this quick post instead of the longer, more thoughtful #TMC14 posts. Sorry, but this is too interesting to let drop.

@JustinAion had an idea to turn your twitter feed into a Wordle to see what it says about what you use Twitter for.

Great! So I did it, and I wondered right away if there would be a significant difference between Twitter and my blog.

So….  [click to embiggen]

Wordle TwitterTwitter

Wordle blogblog


Hmm, What do you notice?  Yea, there are some super, immediate differences. I use Twitter to talk with people. Twitter is about reaching out, sharing and discussing. But now exclude the people, and what do you notice? I see the RT in the lower right. I do share what other people have said, fairly frequently. I also see the “Learners” in the upper left corner. I talk about my learners fairly regularly too. “Think” “School” “Stats” are also fairly common. Makes sense, I am a math teacher.

My blog on the other hand is not about people, unless it is about my learners. My blog is about geogebra (honestly, that surprises me), AP, Tags (that is the sharing resources that I find through Diigo) and lots of learning words: consistently, effort, favorite, questions, mindset, etc.

Is there something truly interesting here? Not sure. But it does show me that I personally use Twitter very differently than I use my blog, and when anyone now asks me why I use Twitter or why I blog, I have an answer.

Twitter (for me) is for reaching out to people and communicating with others.

Blogging (for me) is for collecting thoughts and sharing out resources.

I think that is the most valuable part of the exercise. I learned something very useful for me to use in communicating with other teachers about the technology.

Ok, ok, TMC14 posts are being worked on. I promise.