Hoppe Ninja Math – Teacher Blog

Algebra Ideas

My Version of SBG

My SBG style has been evolving over the years, but this is my current method.

My list of concepts is pretty much the California State Standards.ALGEBRA_STANDARDS


  • Short, usually 3 questions because then I don’t have to give up a whole class period to do a test
  • One basic, one proficient, and one advanced question to match the state test.  The plan is that they can all do the basic, many can do the proficient, and some can do the advanced, but sometimes they can do the advanced, and not the others!
  • Grading scale is out of 4 points:  4 points (all correct, advanced, A), 3.5 points (1 wrong, proficient, B), 3 (2 wrong, basic, C), and 2 points (all wrong, but made an attempt).  I used a scale of 5, and I used a scale of 4, 3, 2, 1, but since I had to transfer to percents, I made the adjustment.

  • Given several times a week:  1st attempt might be a pretest, 2nd attempt shortly after we finish the topic, reteach, and 3rd attempt, more reteach and 4th attempt.  A few weeks later, we might take it again.  We continue to reassess all year.  My goal is that students learn the concept, and remember it all year.  I used to let them stop after they received a 4, but, I noticed students forgot the concepts they didn’t use regularly.  And if they really are advanced, then they should be scoring a 4 almost every time.
  • Can be retaken for a higher grade before or after school.  If they finally learn the concept, I want them to prove it.  I used to give them a maximum of a 3.5, but if they become advanced, I felt they should be able to achieve advanced.
  • Latest score overrides previous scores.  I tried recording all of the scores, but students and parents just couldn’t understand.
  • Weighted concepts:  I weight the standard tests according to the California State Test blueprints.  It says how many questions of each concept are on the test.  Six questions on the CST mean that concept assessment has a multiplier of 6.  I did that because the first year, when they were all worth the same amount, I did not like that A3: Solving Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities had the same value as 5: Solving Equations and Inequalities, when there was only one question on the whole CST test.
  • Standards Chart: Each student keeps a chart in their notebook where they record their assessment scores.  There are several boxes, so that they can record all of their scores.  I originally had line graphs, which were pretty, but with 25 objectives, it wasn’t reasonable.  The number in the parenthesis is the weight for the concept.ALGEBRA_STANDARDS

I feel my SBG is always evolving.  I started slow, after taking the class, and now have completely changed my assessments.  I hope to continue to grow with my SBG this year.


Seating Charts

I have tried many programs for seating charts, but I just can’t beat the hands-on approach.

Using test scores, I rank the students and split them up in two types (high – low) or 4 types (high, medium high, medium low, low).  I write their names on super small post-it notes, different colors for the different levels.  I also star students who have to sit in the front.  Then I can arrange them in mixed groups of 4.

This technique is based on the Kagan grouping strategies.  I used their grouping software for a couple of years, but this works so much better.

When I need to make a little change, I just switch the post-its.  And when it is time for a major change, I might change some of the names on the post-its (now that I know them better), and rearrange everyone.



Classroom Set-Up

I am a new teacher to this school and found 6 types of desks in my classroom.  Ugh!

Hexagon designs made by students several year ago to cover up all the blank walls.  My previous school had cement blocks for walls, so it was not very easy to hang decorations.

No Homework Binder idea from  I Speak Math

Door sign, corner laminated incorrectly, not used to this fancy laminator!

Posting grades.  I update the list each week.  They are by student id number so no one really knows anyone else’s grade.

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1st day of school…

…was great!

I was going to skip the syllabus, but EVERYONE was doing that the first day, so I gave in.  I figure if the students have other syllabus they need to have signed by their parents, I might as well throw mine in, too!  So my class brochure was quickly reviewed.  I also used Bowman’s analogy of SBG and Angry Birds.

Next we played 31derful from Sarah at Everyone Is a Genius.  The kids had a fun but frustrating time.

Finally, I passed out Dan Meyer’s Who I Am worksheet, and it was time to go!

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Made 4 Math Monday: Boring Info Sheet OUT, Fun Brochure IN

First.  Post.  Ever.

Well at least for my teacher blog.  HoppeNinjaMath.com is actually for my students.  I swear, they chose the website name!

I don’t have a lot of time to write, because I spend so much time reading all the other math teacher blogs.  Luckily it has become a lot easier lately, thanks to Dan Meyer.  I just took a 4-day course at Stanford that he taught, and one of the many things I learned about was Google Reader.  Yay!

Thank you Sarah at Awilda’s Daughter for the brochure idea.  I used Microsoft Publisher to make mine.

Thank you Sarah at Everybody is a Genius for the idea of using the standards in Wordle.  I spent hours playing around with the California State Algebra Standards in that program.

Thank you MissCalcul8 and @mathtastrophe for the Star Wars rubric idea.