Aug 062012

My district (Washoe County School District in Nevada) puts together blueprints for us each year. They change a little from year to year, but generally don’t have tremendous changes. This year, of course, being an exception because of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that we are required to roll out.

The page I linked to above is to the general Assessment page on my district’s site that contains the current blueprint. It has not been updated for the current year, but it will. Below are the current blueprints for:

I really didn’t like this format for Common Core. It was very book reliant, and focused too much on what our old (3 year old) books wanted us to teach instead of the new standards. I took those blueprints, and turned them into a scope and sequence document that looks like this:


Now we have the topic, the subtopics, the recommended days (based on a 55 min class, 5 days a week, which is NOT my schedule, but easier to communicate across schools w/ different schedules) and the standards listed.

If you want the PDF of the document for Algebra 1, Geometry, and Formal Geometry for my district for comparison purposes, here it is.  If you want to make your own, here is the publisher file for you as well.


Next, I have some consensograms for you. @Druinok posted a link from Pinterest about using paint chips from your local hardware store as consensograms. Which reminded me, I have many consensogram blanks on my website! For instance, I have this:

image (I actually have each one of these separately, but posted a pic of all 3 together to save space.) Or this one:

image (which is what I use) or :

image or even the really interestingimage

All of these are in PDF or Word format on my website: on the left hand side. They are listed as “Consensograms” because that is what we called them in the SLF (or Student Learning Facilitator) Program.

I use the 1- 5 card. I had 30 or so laminated up by our Student Company and cut out. Then I put a paperclip on the top, and the learners slide the paperclip to where they are at. When I ask for “How you doing?” or some such question, they slide the clip and show me.

If I make more, I will put on the back, A B C D E so I can also have them show me their answers to multiple choice questions that I use for AP Stats Warm-ups.

And those are my 2 #Made4Math contributions for today!

Jul 302012

I have 3 things I am sharing today. The first is one way to brighten up and hide some really ugly stuff in my classroom. 12 years ago, when the school was built, a teacher (who shall remain nameless and has since retired) covered the windows in my room with contact paper.

Have you ever seen 12 year old contact paper? Have you ever tried to get it off glass? It won’t come off. I tried many chemicals on it, and it won’t come off. It looks UGLY!

2012-07-30 14.05.54

So I made curtains. I used extendable, friction fit curtain rods from Wal-Mart, cheap fabric in 2 styles (just to change it up) and sewed some curtains. It was easy and fun, and definitely brightened my room up a bit.

2012-07-30 14.06.09

Okay, that is number 1, next I stole shamelessly from Sam Shah. I saw his post and thought to myself, “Hey, self, you have a package of unused business card blanks from when you were job hunting. They are 6 years old, and aren’t doing anything, you should do something like this!”

So, I did.  I made 3 business cards for myself. I stole the first one completely from Sam. The next two I tweaked.

image   image


These are printed on the business card blanks on my laser printer at school and look nice. Many of our AP teachers hand out some kind of intrinsic reward for doing wonderful things in class. This is how I will use the second card, while the third card is for a learner who might struggle, but never gives up and keeps fighting.

Finally, the third thing. I have these indestructible metal organizers in my room. I got them free from our district “Crayons to Computers” Warehouse, but they are UGLY.

2012-07-30 11.47.50  The two on the right are metal, 1950’s grey and brown. The left one is plastic and looks nicer. I hang them on the wall with Command Adhesive picture hanging strips.

2012-07-30 14.22.01So I took them down, brought them home, sanded them up and painted them a nice purple. Why purple, I like purple and it complements teal nicely. The labels on them were a bugger to get off, but goo gone, scraper and elbow grease worked in the end. Voila!

2012-07-30 15.22.56 Much nicer! I can’t wait to hang them back up now.

Next week I am going to try to do the bulletin board in my room. It has been the same thing for a year and a half, and was made by a different teacher. It is time to make it my own.

Jul 152012

I am hurriedly packing to leave for the MathCamp next week in St. Louis, but I also want to share what I will be doing along the way. I take a motorcycle trip every summer, and I do math on the trip (as if anyone needed to be told that about me).

After the trip, I put together a little video about me and the trip to introduce myself to my learners. I have made 2 so far. Last year the trip was so close to school, and I was hired into a new position (dept chair) that I never had a chance to make it. That means this year I will have 2 years worth of materials to put in there!

This is 2009’s video, the first one.

Intro Movie 2009 from Glenn Waddell on Vimeo.

And 2010’s video, the second one.

Intro Movie 2010 from Glenn Waddell on Vimeo.

The point of these is to show my learners how I see the world around, and how I actually use the math as I go. I find these problems as I travel and from what I see. I usually have 8 or 9 mapped out in my head and edit them down to 4 or 5 for the video. It makes much more sense that way, and it creates some great pictures I can use later in the year in my classes.

So, my Made4Math this week is not something I have made for this school year, but examples of what I will be doing over the next week and a half while I am on the motorcycle. Fun, a math geek’s way.

I would do more for this week’s #made4math, but it won’t happen. I need to get the laptop packed into onto the motorcycle. Tomorrow morning at 7am I board the blue beast and head for St. Louis! Next week’s probably won’t happen at all, unless I get time to post in advance something I make at mathcamp.

2012-04-15 09.41.43 (Just in case you wonder what the blue beast looks like.)

Jul 102012

I have to admit that I am late. I was busy all day yesterday for the #Made4Math day, and the next two weeks I will be traveling to and from MathCamp. So, either I add in late, or I wait for for 3 weeks to contribute anything.

With that in mind here is my rather pedestrian contribution. I must say, I am blown away with how creative and imaginative you math teachers are. I feel very inadequate next to some of your submissions.

What I Made 4 Math is a complete revamping of my website,

I originally created the website using Dreamweaver and learned HTML and CSS and hard coded the entire thing from scratch. It was a major undertaking, and quite honestly took me around 3 months to do finish all the different sections. BUT, it had some major drawbacks.

  1. The only way to edit any page on my site was to make a note to myself, and when I got home remember to boot up my laptop with Dreamweaver on it, and do the edits.
  2. Things change. HTML5 comes out along with CSS3, and now I have to learn a whole new set of standards for recoding my site.
  3. Hard coding the site is not friendly to different screen sizes. On a cell phone, my site looks very small, while on a computer screen of 1000 pixels wide, it looks great. Not future proof at all.
  4. And finally, see #1. Most of the edits I wanted to do to my site are immediate, important uploads that need to be done right now, not in 6 hours.

With that in mind, I have systematically partitioned my site into folders, deleted all the files within certain folders, and installed WordPress in those folders I want to “upgrade”.

Now that I am running WordPress, the next choice is one of theme. A good theme can make a world of difference to how much work you have to do in the creation of your site and addition of content. I have chosen to standardize on the theme called Yoko by ElmaStudio.

Some reasons I chose Yoko: it is free, it is very nice and clean without a lot of clutter, it allows for good customization and is well documented, and it is built in CSS3, so it resizes based on the screen size of the device looking at it.

Some other plugin I use in order to make my life easier, in no particular order.

  • Add From Server – I love this plugin because it allows me to upload files such as worksheets, notes, etc. using FTP, and then add those files automatically to the WordPress database. It has saved me many hours of uploading files one by one.
  • W3 Total Cache – Speeds up my site by creating cache files. I noticed a difference immediately upon installation.
  • TNG Embed Everything – I have only started scratching the surface of this plugin.
  • Akismet – Because I hate spam as much as you do.
  • Google Analytics – helps keep track of how many hits and other details about my site. I don’t do anything with the info, I am not going to commercialize my site, but I do like the information. For instance, on my Stats site, I have had visitors from India and Europe! How cool is that?

I have found this combination of software / theme / and plugins has greatly sped up and made my site more friendly for learners and myself.

Now, I can upload files and content to specific areas of my site from any device, including my phone using the WordPress App. This solved a couple of problems right there.

On to the next step of redoing the site. Technically, each directory is a site of its own. This is very important. You can get to the site by going to and selecting the AP Stats link, or you can get there by going to Either way works.

In the redoing of my AP Stats site, I first sat down with pencil and paper a made a drawing of what I wanted. I went through the hard coded site and looked at the content I had, and then asked myself what did I want to add. I ended up with this (after about 4 drafts):

2012-07-10 15.53.00  Each one of the menus is a separate page that I had to create. The pages are all built on a standard template, so I had to make sure I had the template that I wanted (which is part of the Theme).

I think this was the most important part of the process. Getting down the physical structure of the site first, so I knew what order the pages should go, as well as what content I wanted to add on each page.

All in all, it is 18 pages, but it is easier to manipulate and adjust things now that WordPress is handling the heavy lifting of page layout, database maintenance and search capabilities.

After this point, it was all uploading and editing. Yes, it is helpful to know HTML and CSS when doing this. All the experience I gained previously building my site was used, but now the site itself manages the layout. Yay.

The 2 sections of my site I have converted already are the AP Statistics and the Algebra 2 sections. Give them a look, tell me what you think.

You can’t hurt my feelings, so please be brutally honest!