Celebrating Pi Day in Secondary Math

Taking an entire class period away just to celebrate Pi Day? That sounds crazy right? You don't have to take an entire class period if you honestly cannot make up that time but here are a few ways you can easily incorporate Pi Day celebrations into your routine that can be as simple as a warm-up or as an early finisher activity.
Here is how it went down in my classes this year:

I displayed this quote from Albert Einstein in my lightbox. Click here to get these for your lightbox!

1. A Read-Aloud
The first thing I did was get out this awesome book from my elementary teaching days. You may think it is silly to read a picture book to older students but you would be surprised at how attentive they are! I walk around my classroom and hold the book up high so all can see. I get really expressive when reading the book which seems to keep them engaged. It only takes a few minutes to read this book and you can have this as your warm-up for the day if you are crunched for time.

2. Discovery of Pi (How is it derived?)
My Aunt has been a math teacher forever! She even taught me in middle school! She handed down this giant box of wooden circles to me 10 years ago! Can you find the carving of 1985 with 2nd period in the picture? I have students work with a partner to derive pi using these circles and yarn. You simply give each group some yarn, a wooden block, and a pair of scissors. Students will wrap the yarn around the circumference of the circle. They will then see how many diameters of their circle they can cut from their circumference. The students will find that they can only get 3 full diameters and will have a small piece of yarn leftover. This represents the 3.14159...Each group will get the same thing no matter how big or small their circle. They will discover that the formula for pi is circumference divided by the diameter. You can use any circular object you can find in your room (Pringles lids, coffee lids, cup bottoms, cans, etc.) or have students bring in something round! I unwrap some yarn and roll it around my fingers so it is quicker for students to grab.

Watch this quick video of how to complete this activity!

3. Investigate Pi 
I created some quick anchor charts for each class period and drew a big pi symbol in the corners (a different color for each class). I displayed this awesome Pi Day Investigation FREEBIE from To The Square Inch on my board so I didn't have to make copies. Students were given time to use tablets, computers, or their phones to find answers to the questions. Each group had to choose 3-5 questions to answer from the list and then write their answers on the chart paper. I hung the charts in the hallway so other students could read about Pi Day! Click here to get this free activity!

4. Pi Day Coordinate Graphing
If there is time left I have students work on the Pi Day Coordinate Graphing Mystery Picture. These make great classroom or hallway decorations and give students the chance to work on their graphing skills. Click here to get this for your students!

See time lapse below of the Pi Day Mystery Picture!

Here are a few more ideas from my math teacher friends to get you going on celebrating pi day in your secondary math classroom! I hope you and your students have fun celebrating the most popular irrational number!!

Adorably Math-y Pi Earrings (perfect for pi day!)
Pi Earrings
(Pi day)  Creating a Chain of Pi
Chain of Pi
Pi Day Challenge - Math in the Upper Grades
Free Pi Challenge
Pi Day Activities Bundle
Pi Activities Bundle
Pi Day Activity - Task Cards
Pi Task Cards

State Coordinate Graphing Activities

Here is an alphabetical list of the current states that are complete! Click on your state name!
If you don't see your state please let me know and I'll do that one next! I would love to see your students' creations! Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook!

Click here for my Blog Post with some simple ideas to use these!


Want ALL the states in one BUNDLE? Click here!
  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
  11. Hawaii
  12. Idaho
  13. Illinois
  14. Indiana
  15. Iowa
  16. Kansas
  17. Kentucky
  18. Louisiana
  19. Maine
  20. Maryland
  21. Massachusetts
  22. Michigan
  23. Minnesota
  24. Mississippi
  25. Missouri
  26. Montana
  27. Nebraska
  28. Nevada
  29. New Hampshire
  30. New Jersey
  31. New Mexico
  32. New York
  33. North Carolina
  34. North Dakota
  35. Ohio
  36. Oklahoma
  37. Oregon
  38. Pennsylvania
  39. Rhode Island
  40. South Carolina
  41. South Dakota
  42. Tennessee
  43. Texas
  44. Utah
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia
  47. Washington
  48. West Virginia
  49. Wisconsin
  50. Wyoming
  51. United States FREEBIE

How I plan my seating arrangement for my secondary classroom

Seating arrangements........dreaded topic for some. There are tons of different ways to create a seating chart out there-especially for elementary classrooms. What does one do in the secondary classroom?
I am going to give you my quick rundown on how I do a seating arrangement for my secondary classroom from Day One!

I DON'T! Crazy right!? I do not put my students into a seating chart or an assigned seat from day one. I stand at my door and greet them with a smile! I have a roster printed out on a clipboard and I ask them what their name is and check it off. I tell them to go sit wherever they want! My students look at me like I am crazy! "Like any seat?" I say "Yep!". Here is how I do it.

1. Print out a roster. 
If you have an attendance program (we use Infinite Campus) that will allow you to print out pictures with the names do this as well. This is how I learn names really quickly. I also am sure to change any names if a student goes by their middle name or a shortened version of their name. "Deondre" might go by "Deon", or "Elizabeth" goes by "Liz". Make those changes on your roster.

2. Stand at your classroom door! 
I cannot stress this enough. Back in my first few years of teaching I made a bad habit of using class change as a moment to get caught up with emails, organize papers for the next class, etc. Don't do this! Stand at your door and welcome your students with a simple smile and a "Good Morning Hayley!" On the first day, I ask students to tell me their name before they walk in.

3. Check off names on your roster.
This gives me a chance to make sure that schedules are correct and students are in the right room before class change is over. I make a simple check mark beside their name if they are present. If you have a student who is not on your roster. Check their schedule and try to get them in the right place before class change is over!

4. Tell students to sit where they want!
Why do I have students sit where they want? I explain after everyone is sitting down my reasoning. Now I know who they are friends with! I can see the groups that are naturally formed based on previous acquaintances. I tell them that I also like to sit with my teacher friends at staff meetings and events so I want them to be able to sit with their friends as well. Here is my main line I tell them: "It's fine to sit with your friends, until it's not fine...!"

If I have any problems with students talking when they are not supposed to or not paying attention because sitting beside their friends is something they cannot handle, then that student is moved to a new location. This has never caused a huge issue in my classroom. I have students tell me thank you for letting them sit where they want. You only have to make an example once if a student gets uncooperative. I use proximity control a lot when doing whole group instruction or guided practice. This eliminates most problems.

So, this is how I do it in my classroom!

How do you organize your students? Alphabetically? By ability? Let me know in the comments!

Free Redbox Code Free Printable Christmas Tag

Are you needing a quick gift for your neighbors, teachers, friends, and family? Did you wait until the last minute like I always do! Our family loves movies! I love the idea of a movie night because it brings the family together or is a great date night!

I give a Redbox code(or more!) to each of my child's teachers. It is an inexpensive way to show your appreciation and it makes a very quick and easy gift! Go to the Redbox website and purchase however many codes you need. I have them sent to my own personal email. Simply print the tags and write one code per tag. There are 6 tags per page to save paper and they fit very nicely into an envelope!

I write a quick thank you card or message and insert the Redbox code tag into the envelope. You can go one step further and attach it to a bag of popcorn and candy. Or make a movie night gift basket. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest. I don't want to get the wrong candy so I opt to give more codes than spending that money on candy!
There is a color version as well as a black and white. You could even have your child color the black and white version before giving!

Redbox Code Free Printable

Click the picture or here to download this FREE printable!

I hope you enjoy and have a blessed Christmas! :)

Mrs. Cain's Favorite Things

Our favorite math things! Did anyone else run home to watch Oprah at 4:00 after school? I can literally remember being so excited to see Oprah's "Favorite Things" Christmas episodes and dreaming about having all of those things. I think we all have favorite things that we use every single day in our classroom and/or at home as teachers. Here are a few of my favorite things!

1. Favorite Holiday Activity
Sugar Cookies! I grew up sitting around the table with all my cousins making a giant mess of sprinkles and eating way too much sugar. My mom would make the sugar cookies from scratch and we would have fun using all the cookie cutters to make the perfect cookie(and sneaking some raw dough). She would then let us use icing and sprinkles galore! I know for a fact there was finger licking involved so germs were definitely being spread! My uncle would eat them anyway! On a side note, I actually do not even like sugar cookies as I am more of a pecan chocolate chip/oatmeal raisin type girl. But, I love the experience! I think this is the most important part to remember-experiences.
I am a work smarter, not harder type of mom so here are my shortcuts:

1. Buy sugar cookie dough in the rolls. I love Pillsbury!
2. Buy a couple cookie cutters from the holiday section at Walmart(they are like 97 cents). Don't go overboard. You just need a few!
3. Buy ready-to-spread icing and divide into some bowls. Let your kids count how many drops of food coloring they have used and watch as the colors change with the addition of drops.This can become a great ratio and art min-lesson!
4. My mom had a great idea to put sprinkles into cupcake liners in a cupcake pan to *hopefully* eliminate dumping of sprinkles. I told my kids to use their fingers(after we washed our hands) to get sprinkles onto the cookies.
5. Enjoy the experience! I put down towels on the floor for easy cleanup and let the kids eat a cookie(or two!). My dog licked up any fallen and left behind sprinkles. Have fun with it!

Showing off our icing and sprinkle fingers! See our dog Stella in the background?
2. Favorite Math Activity
I love, I mean LOVE all my Christmas math Coordinate Graphing Mystery Pictures. It never fails that I have students that need a refresher with the coordinate plane. We have so many standards in eighth grade that use the coordinate plane that it really is tied with my curriculum. I use my mystery pictures as a decoration as well! These make fabulous sub plans, early finisher activities or extra credit for the end of the semester. Here are two of my favorites. Click the picture to get these for your students!
Christmas Math Coordinate Graphing Mystery Picture

Christmas Math Coordinate Graphing Mystery Picture

I also love my Math Movie Questions to accompany the movie Elf, Frozen, or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. These are all standards aligned! This is a great way to have your students doing math while rewarding them with a movie!

3. Favorite Teacher Tool
Y'all! I just recently started playing around with using Google Forms to help me give feedback to my students quicker and it has been amazing! Students can use their own devices to do this! Even if you are limited with technology and are not a 1:1 school(we are not!), you can use Google Forms to create a "quiz". You can even assign feedback for incorrect answers! If you assign point values to each question it will grade it for you! Go to the settings on your Google Form and click the tab titled Quizzes. Choose the settings you want and go back to your Form to assign the correct answers and point values. I have done this with plain worksheets so I can get immediate data in one class period. This helps me see quickly who needs remediation and who needs an enrichment activity!
*Be on the lookout for a blog post soon about more details on how to make any worksheet into a Google Form Quiz!
Another favorite teacher tool is the obvious-FLAIR PENS! I thought everyone knew about these special little gems but it is still widely not known how amazing these pens are. I use them to fill in my guided notes during class, grading papers, and pretty much everything else. See below to win some for your own classroom!

→GIVEAWAY details:
I am giving away a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card(will be sent through email) AND
a 12-pack of FLAIR PENS(will be sent through Amazon) to ONE awesome teacher!!
1. Simply like my Facebook Page
2. Comment on this Blog Post with one of your favorite things!

Now it's time to hop on over to Middle School Math Man's Blog to enter another giveaway! 
**Giveaway end Monday, December 18, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. EST!**