Circles Intro Desmos Polygraph

In my Honors Math II class I frequently am saying (both to my colleagues and my students) that we have so so so many topics to cover. It leads to a lot of boring days, in my opinion, of notes-practice-notes-practice-notes-practice blah blah blah. My learners don’t really complain – most have been in the honors track for a while and that’s kind of how it’s always gone for them. I do switch up how they practice and review and have done my fair share of discovery and VNPS activities, so I shouldn’t say it’s all the same. But we’re now on our last unit of the semester and it’s all about circles. The vocabulary that starts off this unit can be a bit overwhelming and we were starting this coming off two days of MAP testing and lost a day of the unit to a snow day, so I really wanted something engaging and meaningful that wouldn’t burn a lot of time. After asking the #MTBoS, I answered my own question with doing a Demos Polygraph activity. I edited one I had found from Burt Dixon to fit my introduction vocab a little better. Here it is:

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 3.44.33 PM

It went really well! The kids really enjoyed it and were fully into it the whole time. I happened to end up with my evaluator in my room during it and she was really impressed, too. After the class was getting to the point where most were winning in 2-4 questions, I had them all draw a circle so we could put some of the things they noticed into formal vocabulary. So not only did I plan an engaging lesson, but I also didn’t skip the close! The best part was that my learners and I can now reference the Polygraph activity as we’re learning more things about circles. 🙂

I also got some other ideas from the #MTBoS about other discovery tools for circles that I would definitely do if I had more time. Check out my post on Twitter to see them.

Et encore, j’adore Desmos.

Collection of Old Funny/Nice Photos from My Teaching Career

I have a file folder at my house of nice notes that I’ve received from students over the last five years that make me smile when I look at them. I also have photos I’ve taken that do the same that have been sitting on my school computer. My district has decided that they will be replacing all our Macs with Windows Surface laptops whenever they get a tech ticket about our incredibly slow Macs. So, even though I do frequent backups, I would like somewhere else where I can access these photos in the event that my computer loses its files. And I’ve realized this is fun to do. Here they are:

17-18 School Year

16-17 School Year

15-16 School Year


14-15 School Year


Beaucoup de sourirs – j’aime bien ces mémoires.

ICTM Thinking Mathematically From Minute One Presentation 10/19/18

So excited to share again at the ICTM Math Conference in Tinley Park, IL. The Google Slides presentation is below.



Non, je ne suis pas fatiguée de ce sujet. 🙂

Reflection on Quarter 1 2018

The first 9 weeks of the school year has come and gone, and so has week 1 of my two-week intersession break. I spent my first week off doing lots of personal things – finally unpacking from the honeymoon and wedding, lots of band (including percussion tech stuff for my husband’s band and playing in Alumni Band for University of Illinois’ Homecoming), and end-of-garden tasks. Now, in this second week I am able to focus on being ready for 2nd Quarter at school. But first, I’ll reflect on how 1st Quarter went:

I feel like this year is just going ok so far. It’s the first year that one of the classes I’m teaching is the same as last year, so that should have made things a bit easier. I also was really happy with how the beginning of the year last year went, so I did pretty much the same stuff this year. It was really nice to be able to see my past work from my blog post! Even with what I thought would have made this year start off easier, I feel like I still wasn’t quite ready for the year to start. I had to move to a new room this year but wasn’t really able to do the moving until I got back from my honeymoon, which was only a week before the school year started. Not trying to make excuses, but the timing of everything didn’t really help me get off on the right foot for the beginning of the school year.

Nevertheless, it was a good start, just like last year. I also learned how to use Airdrop to quickly show the class photos and use photos from class, Adobe Spark for collages, and the Photos app to blur faces. These have all made sharing things from class way easier.

The rest of the quarter has felt a lot like same old same old. I feel like the students are learning and haven’t felt like there are complaints or anything, but I just feel like I am not doing enough. I was supposed to be less busy this year (since I’m not doing nearly as much as last year), but I’ve felt like I’m playing catch up all the time. For example, this is the first year I haven’t called every family on my roster to introduce myself. But I’ve been praised still for my Weekly Summaries, Parent Survey, and Unit Newsletters to communicate with families that get emails. I haven’t done enough activities – lots of notes and regular worksheet practice. But I’ve still done some.








Next quarter will be better. I’m ready to try some new things and get back into the swing of things, as well. I’m also ready to get back to blogging, now that I’m not as busy 🙂

Aux neuf prochaine semaines!

2017-2018 Teacher Report Card Results

EDIT: Here is the Teacher Report Card Survey that I used. It was modeled after Matt Vaudrey’s Teacher Report Card and others that I’ve seen over the years, and adapted from my previous ones.

Teacher Report Card Survey (Google Form – will prompt you to make a copy first):

Only 75 of my 105 students took my Teacher Report Card Survey. I’ll post a reflection later.

I think that Ms. Walczak:

  • Respects each student: 4.73
  • Tries to see the student’s point of view: 4.48
  • Does a good job of treating all students how they deserve to be treated: 4.6
  • Explains topics clearly: 3.87
  • Seems to enjoy teaching: 4.63
  • Shows interest in students’ lives: 4.31
  • Makes me feel important: 4.11
  • Keeps the class under control without being too tough: 3.91
  • Grades fairly: 4.48
  • Encourages me to be responsible: 4.39
  • Cares about her students: 4.6
  • Loves math: 4.88

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 10.11.09 PM

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 10.11.18 PM

What do you like BEST about class with Ms. Walczak: (some put multiple things in their answers so that’s why it won’t add up to 75)

  • She makes math easier/fun/how she teaches (13)
  • Reviews for tests/games (8)
  • Friendly/chill/caring environment (7)
  • Notes packets (6)
  • Getting to be in a group (6)
  • Fun activities (6)
  • Her energy/enthusiasm (5)
  • Warn Ups/ Mindset Moment videos on Mondays (5)
  • Not much homework (4)
  • Moving tables/changing groups each week (4)
  • Nothing/NA/She’s cringey (4)
  • Freedom but still kept under control (3)
  • Retakes (2)
  • Plickers (2)
  • Using chromebooks (2)
  • It’s organized
  • New math things
  • That it was first period
  • Prizes
  • High fives
  • Good pace
  • Whiteboards on desks
  • All the things

How can Ms. Walczak improve her teaching for next year?

  • Nothing/idk (21)
  • Explain/help more clearly (12)
  • Be more in control/strict (11)
  • More examples/notes (11)
  • More time for review and questions/slow down (5)
  • More things in the grade (2)
  • Don’t treat students like they’re 6
  • Keep giving out worksheets
  • Be louder
  • More activities
  • Don’t change her name
  • Less notes
  • More videos
  • Don’t allow phones
  • Stop being cringey
  • Speak slower
  • Better absent notes
  • More extra credit
  • Encourage more practice at home

You find out that your friend has Ms. Walczak next year. What do you tell him/her? (Note: dropping the class is not an option)

  • Pay attention/actually write down the notes/study/work hard (29)
  • It will be fun/good (12)
  • Be nice to/respect her (10)
  • She’s easy going/chill/nice (9)
  • Her class is enjoyable and easy once you get the hang of it (4)
  • Your sooo lucky/You’ll love her (4)
  • She’s the best/fav math teacher i ever had (4)
  • Sometimes things will be confusing u just gotta ask for help and she will help u/she will do anything to help you stay on top (4)
  • Good luck (3)
  • Nothing/idk (3)
  • She’s easy until you get on her bad side
  • You will take notes
  • Do not be afraid of her
  • She does daily warm-ups
  • She’s cringey
  • Make sure you ask questions
  • Do not ask for her social security number
  • Retake as much as you can
  • She will challenge you to your fullest ability
  • She kind of cheats at mathketball
  • Don’t get stuck on an escalator

What is something Ms. Walczak should keep doing next year?

  • Notes packets (11)
  • Warm Ups/Mindset Moment Videos (11)
  • Teaching (10)
  • Everything (9)
  • Plickers (8)
  • Review games/study guides (7)
  • Nothing/idk (3)
  • Math (2)
  • Weekly Summary (2)
  • Switching seats every week (2)
  • Sitting/working in groups (2)
  • Having fun (2)
  • Pushing students to do their best
  • Quizizz
  • Google Classroom reflections
  • Chromebooks
  • High fives
  • Being great
  • Desmos
  • Not giving a lot of homework
  • Not Just Dead White Dude Mathematicians
  • Letting us listen to music
  • Retakes

What is something Ms. Walczak should change for next year?

  • Nothing/idk (31)
  • Warm ups/warm up sheet (10)
  • Stop being so nice sometimes/be tougher (4)
  • More explaining/explain better (3)
  • Plickers/when we do Plickers (3)
  • Weekly summaries (3)
  • Groups/seating (3)
  • Less notes/assignments (3)
  • Offer extra credit (3)
  • More individual practice/homework (2)
  • Changing groups every week
  • Calling people’s names
  • Review
  • Letting us use our phones
  • Slow down
  • Reflections
  • More things (warm up sheets) for grades
  • Give notes on tests
  • The classroom
  • Not have the room be so cold

What is something Ms. Walczak should stop doing next year?

  • Nothing/idk (41)
  • Warm Up Sheet/Warm Ups (7)
  • Being too nice (5)
  • Changing seats every week (3)
  • Reflections (3)
  • Pulling names with the sticks (2)
  • Notes (2)
  • Plickers (2)
  • Assigned seats
  • Slope Dude
  • Set
  • Rick Rolling kids
  • Letting kids be on their phones
  • Giving answer keys
  • Going too quickly
  • Activities
  • All the quizzes
  • Not giving extra credit

What is something that’s memorable from this class?

  • Nothing/idk (13)
  • Review/review games (8)
  • My friends/the people in the class (6)
  • Set/Warm Ups/Mindset Moment videos (6)
  • Plickers (3)
  • Quizizz (3)
  • Changing seats every week (3)
  • Tin Man project (3)
  • Learning new ways to do math/math (3)
  • Mathketball (2)
  • Her room (2)
  • Quadratic formula/song (2)
  • Not having that much homework (2)
  • Activities (2)
  • Water bottle incident (2)
  • Donovan’s/Carter’s pencil (2)
  • Notes/practice (2)
  • Tests/quizzes (2)
  • Having freedom
  • Slope-intercept
  • Ms. Walczak being an amazing teacher
  • Weekly Summaries
  • Group work
  • Chromebooks
  • How happy she would be when we were working together and helping each other
  • Having fun
  • That she’s cringey
  • Getting Rick Rolled
  • Somebody making fart noises while taking a quiz
  • All of first semester
  • Everything
  • Slope Dude
  • Struggling
  • Getting a donut

What is one word you would use to describe this class?


Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 9.23.16 AM

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 9.23.24 AM

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 1.29.38 PM

What do you think the benefits to teh Daily Warm Ups were?

  • Got our brains working before jumping right into math (32)
  • Fun (7)
  • I don’t know (7)
  • Thinking about stuff you wouldn’t normally/outside the box (5)
  • Good challenge/brain squeeze (4)
  • Getting to know each other better/work together (3)
  • It doesn’t benefit us (3)
  • Brain skills (2)
  • Easy (2)
  • Break from the heavy math
  • Engaging at the beginning of class

What do you think the drawbacks to the Daily Warm Ups were?

  • Nothing/idk (29)
  • Took up class time (19)
  • Went too fast (3)
  • Too much of the same/boring (3)
  • Not everyone did them (3)
  • Weren’t graded (2)
  • All of it (2)
  • Extra writing and learning
  • Too much talking
  • Losing the paper

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 1.48.28 PM

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 1.49.12 PM

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 1.49.20 PM

Je suis heureuse avec mes resultats!

Review of 2017-2018 School Year – What I’ve Done

I ended my fifth year of school last Friday, but have been working this week with the other freshman teachers and math department chair to design an Algebra I curriculum (moving away from Integrated). So it feels like summer but then doesn’t. We’ve been doing some good work and it’s nice to just be able to chill and plan.

This year was difficult but rewarding. I felt like there was never a chance to relax and breathe. First, I taught all new classes – Integrated Math I and Honors Integrated Math II. There were technically topics from both those classes that I had taught before, so it wasn’t all completely new. I taught the same classes as two great teachers that collaborated with me and we did some really cool things with our classes. I was also part of our Freshman Academy, which meant our students mostly all had the same core teachers and we had extra weekly team and monthly Academy meetings to attend. I presented at the NCTM Regional Conference in Chicago and also at the Western ICTM Math Conference, and also participated in training with the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC). I tried to start a math club/team but it didn’t really last past February. I joined the Environmental Action Committee (EAC), which is our environmental club at school so that I can take it over for next year. I’m also going to be moving classrooms for next year so I’ve started that process. I’ll talk more about all that later.

Personally, I was also pretty busy. I finished my master’s degree in Teacher Leadership from American College of Education in May. I’ve also been planning my wedding all year (done with that in July). That meant lots of weekends making the 3-hour drive to where the wedding is on pretty much any weekend that wasn’t filled with band. I’ve been continuing to be a Percussion Technician for my fiance’s band program and have been very involved in his band this year. I also started to tutor one of his students in Calculus and helped a few more of his students at random moments throughout the year. I did well for a little bit with working out and #FitBoS, and then fell off again – but I’m getting back at it now! I took my first bereavement days and coped with other health problems in my family, but am thankful that everyone is doing great now! I took a vacation to visit my brother in Washington D.C. I also learned to cook some more things after getting an Instant Pot for the holidays! Who has some good IP recipes to share? I also started a fruit/vegetable garden for the second time and have learned to take care of some plants. This school year has definitely led to a lot of adult-y growth.

It’s weird to think about all the things I did. Over the school year, my mind always seems to be about what the students have done.

C’est vraiment beaucoup! (Et tu me manques, grand-père.)

Favorite Reflection Question Ever

I do not give regular daily homework in my classes, but instead, give what I call a Reflection after every assessment. I give them a week to do it, and it’s always a 5-6 question assignment where they write their responses in a Google Doc and submit it through Google Classroom. The first 2-3 questions are related to the content that was just assessed. Usually, ones that take more thinking and are higher order, or sometimes I make a 3-Act in it, but it’s always something that makes them do more than the rote problems I have to give in the assessments. The last 2-3 questions are more of the typical reflection-type questions that are about the student.

I asked a question on my last Reflection that I think might be my favorite ever. “What is the most important thing you have learned in math class so far this year (could be a math skill or a study/organizational skill; could have been taught by me or learned in some other way)?” Here’s a highlight of some of the responses:

I did get plenty that listed math skills, but these examples just made my heart swell. Special thanks to Sara VanDerWerf @saravdwerf and her suggestion about the Scale of Persistence ( The beagle and people stuck on the escalator obviously made an impact.

Ma classe a affecté mes étudiants avec plus des maths simplement.

WIU Thinking Mathematically From Minute One Presentation 4/13/18

I miss blogging a lot. I am looking forward to being done with my Masters in 4.5 weeks and done with wedding planning in 2.5 months so that I have some free time back. I have a lot of drafts and pictures to share – hope I can remember what they’re all about when I am ready to blog!

I am giving a presentation at Western Illinois University for the Western Illinois University Mathematics Teachers Conference about Warm Ups. I thought I might get bored of presenting about warm ups, but every time I do it I am just so excited to share!

The Google Slides presentation is below. There have been a few updates that I’ve made to my warm ups. I plan to share them on my blog soon!



Un jour, je vais publier les brouillons qui m’attendent et ma temps libre.