Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Blog Posts of the Year (You need to read these!)

This will probably be my last post for 2012, so Happy New Year... I am teaching Stats and Discrete Math next semester so my posts will be a little different, I still have my Algebra II Support class so, I plan on posting things I do for them as well. Anyways, here are the best articles I read on the blogs this year in 2012

1. Best PD Ever, If you missed Twitter Math camp like me, Lisa Henry has a recap of everything they did  and news from it, start here you are sure to find an idea or two or three.

2. It's going so right, something MUST be wrong. She isn't posting as much as she use to but when she does, they are great. Are you teaching quadratics or want to spice it up for next year start here with Hedge.

3. Regression Instructions on Nspire and 84 I used Kate Nowak's Regression instructions for my kids in Stats Class, ended up being the easiest thing I taught them all year!

4. Calculator Shortcuts! - I didn't know this and I bet you don't either! Do you use a TI-84 in class? You want to know this!

5. Post It Note Answer Key This is how you stop your kids from asking is this the right answer but, where did I go wrong, a much more important question.

6. #Made4math: Exit slip update - Anyone who knows me knows I am huge on Formative assessments and Fouss came up with a way that helps the students feel at ease when doing them.

7. Bulletin Boards - Part 2 - How useful is your bulletin board? Learn from Shelli on how to make it more useful.

8. #made4math Monday! More Kagan, Triangle Center Foldable, Einthoven’s Triangle - Did I mention that Pam is just as big on formative assessments as I am?

9. Stolen Pedagogy -  As Megan says if you aren't using what you learn on these blogs to make yourself a better teacher then what is the purpose?

10. The Best Formative Assessment Tool Ever! - Or so some dumb teacher thinks :)

See you guys next year..

Friday, December 14, 2012

Math Teachers At Play #57

Welcome to the 57th Edition of Math Teachers at Play the Blog Carnival!

 The number 57 has often been used in entertainment. As in Agent 57 from the Hit TV Show Danger Mouse.. Bruce Springsteen once sung about 57 channels (and nothing ' on), and I can't forget one of my favorite movies Passenger 57 staring Wesley Snipes.

Below are this month's entries:

Mathematics Teaching

Jason Dyer tells us why this TED-Ed video on Log Functions isn't what it should be TED-Ed gone awry!

 If Long Division is a problem for your kids or students, Julie has the answer to making it easy in this post. Long Division Made Easy

Sue VanHattem is back to help fix some basic misconceptions about Anti-Dervatives and the Area under the Curve in Calculus. Calculus Anti-Derivatives and Area
 Pat Ballew is here to tell us about how to use prior knowledge to enhance and build new knowledge, using what we know about midpoints to help us with Centroids.  Average Points

 Christa Fairbrother picks up on the best way to engage students..CANDY M&M's and Math, but she even gives us a bonus on how a function box can help with addition, subtraction, multiplication..  Engagement using a function box

 Guillermo Bautista talks about the importance of getting your kids to understand the meaning correspondence in math.

Kimberly Moore uses her daughter's love for Paper Dolls to help explain the Concept of Division. 

Content Mathematics

 Colleen Young is back with Christmas Activities for you to use in the Classroom. Christmas Time

 Sue VanHattem brings to us Holiday Logic Puzzles that we all love! Holiday Logic Puzzles

Denise gives us a way to keep up with homeschooling during the holiday season using a Mathematical Advent Calendar

Great Advice and Insight

Can you create Mathematical Stars? Malke shows us how she got her daughter further into mathematical stars including the use of ornaments. Mathematical Star Ornaments

Terrance Banks gives all school teachers the best way to give a formative assessment that your students are sure to love and easy for you to use. Sticky Notes.

Colleen Young gives us Desmos an online graphing calculator is superb. FREE and very easy to use. Desmos Calculator

Cindy uses Number Rack to ask Kindergartners what makes five, learn how this app with help your students grow. Make Five with Number Rack

This concludes the 57th edition of the Math Teachers at Play. You may submit your entries for the 58th edition here

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Made 4 Monday: What I have done the past few weeks..

Ok, I have been MIA the past 3 weeks. We have one full week left and finals start Friday, Half days next week Monday-Wednesday. Then Christmas Vacation! YES!

But here are some activities I have used in the class the past few weeks.

Our current Algebra II unit is Rational Exponents, so I have done a few activities for this unit.

1st, is a transformation matching activity for square and cube root graphs.

The students have to match the graph, equation, and the transformation description. Transformations are a huge part of our old Integrated curriculum here in Georgia.  (Currently being phased out with Common Core)

Rational Exponent Transformation Cards

2nd, is a Tarsia activity puzzle.. Students have to cut out the pieces and put them together in a puzzle that forms a Standard Parquet (It's 12 pieces). The questions are on simplifying rational exponents. I guess I will need to do a post on Tarsia for those who don't have it or have used it.

Here is the pdf file for you to print and have your students match up Rational Exponent Tarsia PDF
Those of you that have downloaded and use Tarsia here is the Tarsia file Tarsia File

And finally here is a different version of Tic Tac Toe review game that I love.

The Rules:
                1)  Choose any row or column and complete the problems on your own paper or on the back of this sheet.  Work independently!
                2)  Once you are convinced that your answers are perfect, record them in the squares, and take them to the teacher to play the game.
                3)  If you are correct, your square gets a circle.  If you are wrong, the square gets an X and you are blocked!
                4)  If you are blocked, you must start over with another row or column.
                5)  Keep playing until you “win”!

Here it is it covers the full unit! Tic Tac Toe Review


Monday, November 19, 2012

Made4Math: Homework Help - Smartboard...

Homework Help Smartboard.

If you have read my post the Homework/Classwork Dilemma You know exactly how I feel about Homework, however after talking with a colleague, I thought of a neat way to help my students with their homework.

I give around 2 problems per night, Level 1 and Level 2/3 type questions usually. If you have a smartboard, you need to be using this feature. I record myself at the end of each day, solving my homework problems, the file then says as a .wmv. I then upload it to youtube or vimeo and I post to my website. My students know that around 6pm, they can go on and check their answers or get help with the homework problems. I will be looking at expanding this to review lessons and review before the test. Here is a sample video..

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Fav Friday: Waterfall Trivia

My Fav Friday: Waterfall Trivia

It is not easy to always come up with a review activity for every unit. However, sometimes you just got to keep searching.. I came across Waterfall Trivia, which I STOLE, and shamelessly from none other than super-blogger Megan Golding.

How To: Waterfall Trivia

I used this review activity for my Algebra II students over Polynomial Functions, Rational Root Thr. and Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, etc....

The only change I made from Megan is 4 minutes per question because of the type of problems and for my kids, I have a custom pandora station of Corrine Bailey Rae, Adele, Sara Bareilles, Carly Rae Jespen.

Waterfall Trivia

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Fav Friday: Best Group Work Activity

My Favorite Friday: Placemats

Best Group Work Activity...

All you need is Butcher paper, Art Drawing Paper or the Large Post-ID Paper. I prefer the Butcher Paper because it's cheaper and you should be a full roll for the department if I have any department chair's reading this :). Without further ado here is the video...

Yes, I love this video thing now

Placemats from Terrance Banks on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Here is a rough video.  My 1st one on my iPhone as, I forgot my flip camera.

But here it is, this is the easiest best way to use a formative assessment with your students, IMO.

Thanks to Lisa Henry, for making me do this even though she doesn't know it yet, and Kristen Fouss, for giving me the courage to, though I don't show my face :), she doesn't know that either.

All You Need is Sticky Notes! Without further ado....

Formative Assesments Sticky Notes from Terrance Banks on Vimeo.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fav Friday: Favorite Place To B on Friday's at 7:30

Fav Fridays!!!

I don't have anything of great mathematical use for us today.

But I would like to talk about my favorite place to be on a Friday night at 7:30.

I was born and raised in the south and we care about two things down here in the Bible Belt. Church and FOOTBALL!

So on Friday night's at 7:30 the greatest place on earth to be is at a HS Football Game and for me as a Coach is to be with my students coaching them, win or lose. It's the best scene ever!

Here are a few pics.

Also if you teach Alg II or PreCalc, Please sign up and join us on these 2 wikis.

Pre Cal Teachers and Alg 2 Teachers

Monday, September 24, 2012

Made 4 Math : Notebooks - Pair-Up

Our Algebra 2 Classes have been studying Matrices and last week my Math Support class needed help with Inverse Matrices. They wanted to work with a partner and I needed to keep them focused. SO.........................

I put problems in Envelopes, and I gave each group one.

They had to pull out the problem and solve.

Once they passed it on, they used the next card to check their answer on the back.
I gave the kids 4 minutes per problem and then we rotated. Allowed me to walk around the room and help certain groups and they stayed on task!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fav Friday: Matrices Pass Around.

Fav Friday: Matrices Pass Around

There are almost no Matrices activities for the classroom, I don't know why, but if there are I can't find any and trust me I have been looking. I may be adding Matrices activities for a while in the hopes, that someone likes them, uses them, edit them, make them better, and pass them along.

Here is my first stab at it. It's a Matrix Pass-Around (Rally Coach). Put your students in groups of 4.

The 1st problem is scalar multiplication.
2nd problem is subtraction.
3rd problem is matrix multiplication
4th problem is Inverse matrices.

For my purposes I made my kids do problems 1 and 2 by hand and 3 and 4 they had the option to use technology (calculators :))

Matrices Pass Around

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Fav Friday - Graphing Cartoons


My Favorite Friday  - Graphing Cartoons.

I first got into blogging by finding a website named Dan Wekselgreene, named I have no idea on how I found him, but I did and it changed me as a math teacher and wanted to make me express my ideas as well.

One of Dan's best activities, IMO, was a comic strip lesson he taught on graphing lines since his students were still struggling with it. You can find the lesson here Language and Retention of Math Concepts

He had his students draw comic strips to express the different ways to draw lines, when slope is zero, b is zero, negative slope, etc.....

I look his idea and used it in Algebra II class. I used it in my Exponential Graph Unit. My students have to sketch exponential and log graphs and transform them and many of them struggle with the transformations, well here come in the comic strips to the rescue.

I had my students take them and graph 1 exponential growth, decay, shift up or down, and 1 shift left or right. Here are some examples

I plan on using this idea more and more to help my students with graphing and transformations since it is still a part of the Common Core Curriculum.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Math Posters

I so meant to do, Made 4 Math Monday, but it was Labor Day and I was busy watching my Yellow Jackets blow a football game :(.

I use to be the poster king, but when I transferred schools, I left posters to my collab teacher who was moving to a resource setting. So my wall was naked :(.

Didax Education produces some wonderful Math Graffiti Posters. They can be found here Posters
But the cost is outrageous! 75 dollars for 50 posters. So I went to store that is free, my students! Here are some of their creations that now hang in my room.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fav Friday: Math Basketball

Back with this week's selection for My Favorite Friday.

Many of you know my favorite review game is Thrashketball! It can be found on this blog for more info.

I got an email asking me do I always do the Thrashketball set up for this game. Placing the kids on teams, etc.. It can be time consuming. My answer is no.. There is a quick way to review Basketball Style and have fun..

Here is a link to that method, published by the imfamous Dan Meyer Basketball Review

The only modification is, I don't usually give out extra credit, but I try to keep candy handy :), for the winning team.

Here is a link to one that I most recently did in Algebra 2 on Condensing and Expanding Logs..

Answer Key
Smartboard File

Friday, August 17, 2012

My 1st Fav Friday POST!!!!!!!

The best 40 dollars a teacher can spend to help them in the classroom this year is.......

There is always talk on what are the best Station Activities, this book has them all!

You can also find the Algebra 1 or Geometry version.

Basically it is divided into 18 different problems called sets.. Each sets contain 4 different stations, some require additional materials, others graphs or notecards.

You can mix and match sets. The instructions and answer keys are already done.

We have been in school two weeks and I have already used the Algebra 1 book twice!
Linear Inequalities and Systems of Equations. This is a tremendous resource. I encourage you to go look at the sample sets.. Here

Get them for yourself, get your department to buy them (yea, I know budgets R TIGHT), go half with a colleague. JUST DO IT! You will thank me later!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Math Support Class: How To....

This year I will be teaching a Math Support class again. This time it is Math Support for Algebra 2, as I have previous done it before for Algebra 1. The purpose of Math Support of course is to help those kids who would otherwise struggle in Algebra 2, brush up on pre-requisite skills and get extra practice. 

The best way I plan to do this is by having everyday as a theme. For example, the first unit we teach in Integrated Algebra 2 is System Of Equations.

The way I am teaching the class it will be easier to understand if I work backwards.

Friday- Lab Day/Study for Quiz or Test Day
The students will go to the lab and work on the internet primarily at  if you have never been to this website, I encourage to you go now and sign up your school and your class. It is an interactive game based math site. That allows the students to play games and practice problems from easy to hard based of CCSS and you get to set what each student works on. The best part about this is that is FREE. (I plan on blogging on this site itself later) Those students who need extra help preparing for a quiz or test that day can come have group time with me. I have these kids 1st Period so it works out perfectly. Any child in this class who has me for a Regular Algebra 2 teacher and has not scored 7.5 or higher on SBG quizzes will get extra work.

Thursday – Quiz Day.
On Thursday they will partner up, partner’s will be selected at random, and take a 20-25 question multiple choice quiz (Level 1 questions make up the majority). What I will do is select one student’s from each pair to grade and circle the wrong answers, I will give them there quizzes back on Monday for 15 minutes for a chance to correct those answers.

Wednesday – Activity Day
On Wednesday, we will do sometime of practice day. Ala, Relay Races which can be found here, or Trashketball, etc… This is a way for the students to review the main topic of the week in a fun like matter.

Tuesday – Graphic Organizer - Note Day
Today the students will use their Interactive Notebook’s which I plan on using for this class, to take notes, do practice problems, complete a graphic organizer/foldable on the weeks main topic. So for the first unit, it will be all three ways to solve a System Of Equations.

Monday – Pre-Requisite Day
Students will start of class with an eight quiz (Do you remember quiz), on other topics that you need to know to be successful doing the week’s main topic. I will be able to do this using clickers. While I tally up the data, I will give the students their quizzes back from Friday and give them up to 15 minutes to make corrections and changes. After that we will review and discuss the answers to the do you remember quiz and they will complete a ticket out the door to leave class.

This is my process of Math Support class, if you have any questions or comments to help make it better, please feel free to let me know.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Writing in Math Class! - Higher-Level Thinking

In a field with many buzz words we are all familiar with one that sticks out, Bloom's Taxonomy and higher level thinking. One exercise that I picked up from a seminar that has proven to be a keeper is writing a letter to a friend who missed class. 

In this activity my students write to a peer who has missed class. They are to summarize what they missed, tell them 3 important things to remember, and finally do a sample problem. This forces the students to have a deep understanding of what is important to solve a concept, and it makes them articulate that understanding to a classmate. In other words it makes them become a teacher!

I didn't do this enough last year, but I have decided to take the ones I did 1st semester that are good and scan them into pdf's to share with my students who missed class or need extra help this year. I plan on doing this a lot more this year. This will help me answer the question, what did I miss yesterday and where can I get notes.

Here are a few for you to use and I promise to upload the template as well, as soon as I find it :).

System Of Equations

Circles and Tangent Lines


Equations Of Circles

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I asked the question to a few of my fellow math tweets last week about what was one thing. They wanted to START doing next year..CONTINUE doing next year…and STOP doing next year. As you can imagine the response was to long for Twitter, but it got me thinking about doing a post on my ideas and hopefully others will follow suit :).

School is approximately a month away for my school district. Summer where have you gone? I made the blog post a few weeks ago about my dilemma evolving around the homework/classwork grade which amounts for 10% of my students’ grade. 

So I think I have come up with a better solution hopefully. There are two things that I would like to START this year.

The first one at my wife’s suggestion in conjunction with @druinok, I will attempt to structure my student’s notes better using CORNELL NOTES. 

I think a huge problem that my students had 1st semester especially the lower achievers was note taking. Hopefully this will increase the ability of retaining info for those students who chose to use them.

The second thing on my start list is INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS, which is where the classwork, homework portion of the grade will come from, I hope!

These are great places to start if you want to know more about Interactive notebooks to start. I plan on taking up the notebook during every test and basically performing a notebook check. I need to come up with a way to remediate this I believe so stay tuned for comments on it.

I want to CONTINUE planning my lessons using the best Math Lesson Formula ever and I didn’t need my district to waste 200 dollars on training! 

If you just follow the steps prescribed by @k8nowak all your lessons will be great in no time! 

For me the STOP part is easy, I work best when under pressure, BUT I am going to attempt to start off good, staying ahead of the curve and finishing strong. Since I am teaching the same thing I taught last year I just need to tweak items instead of making whole sale changes, i.e., I make notes to problems I want of the test and quiz, but will write them 2 days before I want to give them and make copies first thing in the morning. I want to stay organized I start that way and then fall off. Let me know ur list either through comments, email or own twitter to @tbanks1906

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review game: Trashketball

I love this game! I thought by now, I would have uploaded at least one of these. But alas, I hadn't. Today however is different. I am teaching summer school so it gave me a chance to tweak and try new things. So here is an updated Trashketball game for Exponential and Logarithm Functions.

Directions and explanation go here:

To download my game go here:
Thrashketball - Expo and Logs

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Homework/Classwork Dilemma

I have read several blogs over the past year that refer to the one thing or grade that most teachers hate and don’t feel like we get enough out of. The homework/classwork grade and even though I use a modified SBG to grade my students, I am still responsible for using this category as 10% of their final average. 

AS always the question is usually begged, how do we get the low level students to do homework and how do we “accurately” grade it.  I feel that this category should be an easy grade for my students, however I do not feel that should get a 100 for doing remedial tasks.

So what are our options to accurately grade this topic?      
If you have been reading my blog you know that I am a big fan of relay races. Which is a cheap way to get kids to try a worksheet, without the task seeming daunting and it works great for classroom management.  I have graded these before, 25 points for each completed topic, I usually select four per section. This has been used as a classwork grade, but is it fair to grade these for current topics?

My wife and a co-worker are big fans of and, respectively. The pros to using these tools are that grading is easy, the quizzes can be done at home, and the students can be given multiple chances to get the answers correct.

The cons are, not every student has internet access (workarounds can be found but that defeats the purpose), and students can easily SHARE answers and in a lot of cases will.

When I first started teaching like many of my peers I did Notebook quizzes, not that I want to do that again, but they did lead me to this thought. What I have thought about recently, is making all homework multiple choice, except for a few journal/error analysis questions. Then on random days giving the students a homework quiz, where I have 6 versions and I ask for the multiple choice answer to 5 questions.

Therefore, Student 1 would have 2 minutes to write the answers to  1,3,5,6,7 and Student 2 might have questions 2,4,8,9,10. This only takes two minutes, back to the board warm-up, students don't have time to do the problems in class. So if they forget to “SHARE” answers beforehand it’s too late. A side effect to this would be if you are tardy to class, you lose out on the five question quiz and must turn in ALL homework when you arrive to class. So don't be tardy to the party.

So what are you doing in your class to motivate students to do homework and is it working?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Back.Again..And Another Relay Race..

I know, I know, I have been gone for a long time. But I am back I promise to update at least once a week for the next 8 weeks :). We are on summer vacation in Georgia, but I am teaching Second Semester Alg II in Summer School. So I will be working for 4 weeks.

Our Second Semester Alg II consists of Expo and Log Functions, Conics and Probability ( Binomial Distributions and Normal Distributions)

Since I am back here is a link to a relay race I used last year It deals with Polynomial Functions...

Until the next time...