Thanksgiving Ravioli, Geometric Transformations, Cyber Sale & $10 TPT Gift Card Giveaway

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.  Our family tradition is to make ravioli the night before with all of my extended family.  I’ve made ravioli since I can remember.  This year, my son rolled out his first batch of ravioli … and the tradition continues to the next generation.  On Friday, I went shopping with my mom and two sisters, another tradition.

A Thanksgiving family tradition - Making Ravioli
Making Ravioli – a Thanksgiving family tradition

Now it is Sunday night and I am looking over my lesson plans for the week.  We are currently studying transformations in geometry.  When introducing the transformations, I made reference to driving a car:

Rotations: Turning the steering wheel left or right

Reflections: Seeing the image in the rear-view mirror

Translations: The car moving down the road

I also had the students raise their hands in the air and we rotated, reflected and translated our hands.  My students told me that I had jazz hands for the translations.  Using hand movements helps my kinesthetic learners as well as my English Language Learners.

Use hands to model geometric transformations: Mathberry Lane
Mathberry Lane: Use hands to model geometric transformations

Cyber Monday is tomorrow! My Teachers Pay Teachers shop, Mathberry Lane is on SALE!

25% off with promo code: CYBER17

 November 27-28, 2017


Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a $10 TPT Gift card.

Visit my Mathberry Lane facebook page for a chance to enter.

Cyber Sale - November 27-28, 2017
$10 TPT Gift Card Giveaway

Boost Student Engagement with Whiteboards

Benefits of using whiteboards by Mathberry Lane
Using Whiteboards in Class to Boost Student Engagement by Mathberry Lane

Teacher Tip: Some students love to doodle.  So, get that out of the way in the beginning.  Ask students to draw their best doodle for you.  Sometimes I will select an item for them to draw.  One day I asked everyone to draw their best panda.  It was a lot of fun for my students as well as for me to see their artistic abilities that have been hidden from me.

Here are some ideas for how to get going with whiteboards in your classroom:

Elementary Math
Fluency Practice
Read-Draw-Write Problems
Modeling – Ten frames, Number Bonds, Arrays
Show your thinking

Middle School
Fluency Practice
Modeling a problem
Tape Diagrams
Order of Operations
Make a problem for your neighbor to solve

Graphing Lines
Identifying Slopes and y-intercepts
Making Tables
Solving Equations
Model the problem with a picture or words
Make your own problem – give to a neighbor to solve

Vocabulary and Notation Check
Sketching Transformations
Identifying Angle Pair Relationships
Solving for unknown angles
Practicing Trigonometry Ratios
Segment and line relationships with circles

Algebra 2
Sketching parent functions & identifying them from a graph
Writing Equations for a graph and identifying key features
Solving Equations
Powers of numbers

Using Popsicle® Sticks to Review Homework

It is easy to get into the habit of always calling on the same students who have raised their hands to volunteer an answer.  One way to make sure that you are including all of your students is to use Popsicle® sticks when selecting students to contribute to class.

Using Popsicle Sticks to select students
Using Popsicle Sticks to check homework



  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Your favorite sharpie or flare pen
  • Rubber bands

The task of writing all of your students names on Popsicle® sticks may seem a bit daunting.  (I know; I had 145 students one year!)  You can always give each student a stick and instruct them to write their names “legibly” on them.  Or, wait until your favorite show or sports team is on television and complete the task while kicking back a little.  I usually group the Popsicle® sticks by class and wrap a rubber band around them.

When it is time to go over homework, I usually select a couple of problems that I want to go over with the class.  I will have the students present their solutions on the board.  I use the Popsicle® sticks to select a student.  I never want to put a student completely on the spot, so I always let them choose a classmate to work with for this task.  The two students would then be responsible for writing the solution to the homework problem on the board and explaining it to the class.

Homework is a learning process, so sometimes the solution is not correct.  Wrong answers are wonderful to review!  It is important that students know that it is okay to make a mistake when they are learning new material.  Students create genuine error analysis problems when the solution is not correct.  As a class, we can work together to find a viable solution.  It is important to review classroom expectations and create class rules/norms so that everyone is respectful and understands that making mistakes are part of the learning process.

I hope to be watching the Red Sox this year as I make this year’s set of sticks! What will you be watching?


Unit 1 Introduction to Geometry 1:1 Device Curriculum Now Available!

Geometry Curriculum Blending Paperless with Paper & Pencil Lab Activities

Is your school going 1:1?

Are you ready for some paperless lessons for your students?

Want to try out Digital Lessons, but don’t have time to create them?

Maybe you aren’t ready to give up paper and pencil activities altogether yet.  If this sounds like you, then you may want to check out Unit 1 – Introduction to Geometry for my blended curriculum of paperless lessons combined with paper and pencil labs.


For a full preview of this resource click the link below:

Unit 1 Overview – Geometry Vocabulary Tools and Intro to Proofs


Here is a peek inside…

LESSON 1: Undefined Terms – Learning to Draw Digitally

Undefined Terms – Learning to Draw Digitally

LESSON 2: Geometry Vocabulary

Geometry Vocabulary

LESSON 3: Using Geometric Tools LAB

Using Geometric Tools LAB


LESSON 4: Angle Pair Relationships with an Introduction to Proofs!

Angle Pair Relationships with an Introduction to Proofs!

LESSON 5: Algebra and Angles

Algebra and Angles Digital Lesson


Note: Lessons compatible with Google Slides

Visit Mathberry Lane on TPT to purchase this unit!

Homework Teams

How I Run Homework Teams in Class

One of my favorite ways to check homework is to have students work in teams, while I do a quick check-in with each student.  Each student is assigned to a team of 3-4 students.  I spot check a couple of problems and ask students if they had difficulty with anything.  I write down the problems #’s on a post-it and tally how many students had a tough time with each problem mentioned.  This gives me  a good sense for what to go over with the class or re-teach.  If I see a great solution, I will ask that student to share the solution on the board with the class.


Now, sometimes, not everyone comes to class prepared with their homework completed.  If this is the case, then the expectation is that they need to be working on the assignment during team time.  If a student misses a couple of assignments, then I usually reach out to parents to see if they can help encourage students to complete their work for class.  If a student was absent, they use this time to catch up on notes.

This process does take a little more class time than collecting homework.  However, I find this method extremely beneficial during the  first few weeks of school.  It helps me learn students’ names and is a good way to get to know them.

Homework teams  is a nice way to start class, because it lets students catch up with each other socially while actively engaging in their own learning at the same time.

Rules for Teams:

  • Introduce yourself to your teammates
  • Stay on Task
  • Contribute to your team by
  • Asking questions
  • Explaining your solutions to your classmates
  • Listening when others are speaking
  • Be ready for check-in with teacher


Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash

How I Track Homework


I believe that homework should be used as a learning opportunity for students and not graded for accuracy. Homework provides students a chance to process and reflect upon what they learned that day in class. It helps students retain information and practice transferring it to a new scenario.


When I check homework, I look for:

  • Work shown
  • Calculations Pictures/graphs
  • Explanations/justifications
  • How much is completed
  • Spot check 2-3 designated problems
  • Correctness (to guide future instruction)

I track homework completeness as shown in the chart below.


How do you track homework?  Please share in the comments below.