Instagrams for Quadrilaterals #LetmeTellYouAboutMyShape

I was trying to come up with a fun project to practice properties of quadrilaterals when I stumbled upon Drawing on Math ‘s blog post about quadrilateral Instagrams. I use Instagram in the classroom all the time, and my students love using it! After learning all of the properties of quadrilaterals, I decided to give it a try.  I gave my students 45 minutes in class to work on it and the rest was homework. I used the guidelines from the original but then altered them slightly. IMG_7084

Instagram Poster Guidelines. 

  • Sign up for a shape
    • I put all of the shapes on the whiteboard and assigned three numbers to each shape. I told my students that they could sign up for their shape, but it was first come first serve. It was a MAD RUSH, but kind of exciting seeing how certain students were persistent on having a certain shape!
  • Make up a username and description (definition)
    • Students made this part extremely realistic. They created hometowns, added Snapchat usernames, and shout outs to their best friends and significant others! (all shapes of course! )
  • Take at least 5 self-portraits
    • 5 self-portraits was the original guideline when we started. However, we added #womencrushwednesday #mancrushmondays #shapecrushsaturday #tbt to the mix of pictures.
  • Write captions, hashtags, and descriptions from other shapes (describe all properties)
    • In this part of the project, students really got clever with their comments and captions.
    • When doing their #crushday post, students talked about the other shapes in the captions of their pictures.
    • A student with a parallelogram posted a picture of a square, rectangle and rhombus and talked about how proud he was of his “children”.
    • Comments from other shapes referenced the shapes similarities and differences

My students seemed to have a lot of fun with this project. They were able to be witty and creative while practicing the properties of quadrilaterals. I told my students that they could get as creative as they wanted. This gave a lot of creative freedom to my students who strive in creativity but did not limit the students who were not creative. Super fun way to end this section!! I started class the next day with a gallery walk so students could see their peers work! They loved it!

Check out some of their projects below!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



My Favorite: Instagram

We are now into Week 2 of the Blogging Initiative, “My Favorite”!  You should definitely check it out if you would like some blogging inspiration!  It is only four posts and it’s not too late to join in.

My favorite for the week is Instagram. Instagram is a social network that many of my students use every day. They use it to post pictures, connect and talk with their friends, and follow bands/celebrities.  The first thing that my students do when they wake up in the morning is check their Instagram. We live in a world where social networks are a part of our everyday lives. Instead of banning it in schools, why not use it to our advantage.

At the beginning of the year, I created a class Instagram. On the first day, I had any student with an Instagram account follow me at Ms.Finneyfrock . I used my Instagram weekly in my classes and in all different ways.


When students walk in the door on Mondays, my Instagram is up and ready on the SmartBoard with a mathematician as my latest photo and the hashtag #Mathcrushmonday. Students then get on their phones/computers and start lScreen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.59.33 AMooking up facts about the mathematician on my Instagram. Each student then has to comment a different fact on my picture. I am constantly refreshing my Instagram on the SmartBoard so students can see what is being posted. If students don’t have an Instagram account then they work with another student.

I love #mathcrushmonday because it is a fun and relaxed way to start Monday, and it exposes my students to more than just the curriculum.  5 minutes of class, once a week, allows us to learn about a bunch of mathematicians. Sometimes a real conversation sparks in class when they are researching different mathematicians. I have

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.57.03 AM4 classes, so I erase the comments from the class before, so all of my students have the same #mathcrushmonday. My schedule changes every day, so each class has had their comments left up at least once. It’s interesting to see how the facts students find vary by class.

Homework Help

Instagram also offers an awesome direct message feature. Students can send me direct messages to ask about homework, due dates, or pictures if thIMG_7045ey take them in class. I have been able to easily help students with their homework. If they get stuck on a problem, I have had students send me a picture of where they got stuck. I am then able to ask them questions  and help them through their assignments. Sending pictures through your phone is much IMG_7046easier than sending a picture through an email and MUCH faster. I also get notifications if a student messages me right away.  I really like direct messaging because it is similar to texting, but my students don’t have my cell phone number. If I don’t want to receive notification for the night or weekend I can just sign off the application.



I take pictures of my students in class all the time! Whether they are working on a project, going through stations, working with a partner, or just taking notes! I will take a lot of “in the moment” photos, but students love to pose for the pictures. They know that if they are doing their work I will come and take a picture of them. They always want me to put it “on the gram”. I will also take videos of cool activities we do in class! I can also post these on my Instagram. I typically put my school as the location of the photo. This way the school can see everything I post and if anyone is looking at pictures taken at the school they can see our fun class activities! I also told parents about my Instagram. A lot of parents follow my account. By posting about activities we do in class, parents can see and be involved in what’s going on in my class.

Motivation and Reminders

I will use my Instagram to post reminders about due dates and motivate my students to get through the weScreen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.57.42 AMek. One night had students turning in projects via email and knew a lot of them were stressing about it. I took a picture of the few I already received and posted a Pic Stitch of their work with a caption that said “keScreen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.58.22 AMep up the great work! These are looking great so far!” I will also post funny memes on days that I can see students are struggling.

Personal Connection

I also use my Instagram to show my students that I am more than just a teacher. Over winter break, I posted a picture of the homemade ravioli my family made and in the caption wrote “I hope you all enjoying your time off!” I also used it to wish my students a Merry Christmas (in equation form of course 🙂 ) Instagram also makes you seem more approachable and relational to your students. I also post pictures from community meetings, sporting events, talent shows ext. to involve the entire community. By using Instagram you can seem more approachable and relational to your students.


I love using Instagram in and out of my classroom. Students already use this app daily, so why not integrate it into your classroom?! If you have any questions let me know!

Holy Polygraph, Batman!

Although I am an active user and creator of Desmos Activity builder, this week was my first time ever using  Desmos Polygraphs. Oh my Gosh, let me tell you… this activity was so much fun!!  Remarks that I received from my students were….

“Can we play this all class?”     “Let’s keep playing through break!”

“This is helping so much!” 

Polygraph takes after the board game  Guess Who?! When students sign into the polygraph they are partnered with another student in the class. One student is the picker and the other is the guesser. The picture chooses an object and the guesser has to ask yes/no questions to try and figure out the object. When one pair finishes a game then they become paired with another student. SO MUCH FUN.

This week I played Polygraph in both my geometry and algebra 1 class.


I first decided to try Polygraph after reading the Geometry Teacher Blog created by Andrew Shauver. His site has a TON of great resources for geometry. I was starting Polygons this week and I saw that he posted two links. One for  Desmos Polygraph Basic Quadrilaterals and the other for Desmos Polygraph Advanced Quadrilaterals .

I love Desmos, but I never used Polygraph. I wanted to try it out and understand it, so I actually signed in as two different people and played myself!! 😝 It was so much fun!

I introduced these polygraphs to my class after we discovered the different types of special quadrilaterals. I wanted them to practice their vocab by asking yes/no questions to figure out which quadrilateral their partner chose. My students loved it! They said it really helped them define the different types of quadrilaterals. It was a great way to learn special quadrilaterals instead of memorizing their differences.


Algebra 1

I used Polygraph to introduce scatter plots to my algebra 1 class. Before I explained scatter plots and correlations I had my students sign in and play each other. They were describing the scatter plots using vocab that I didn’t teach them yet!! It was funny because I had one student ask “What does this have to do with math?!!” I kept telling him to trust me and it would all fit together.  I let them play for about 15 minutes before pulling my class back together. I showed a positive correlation scatter plot and asked my students to describe what they saw. I then had a student come up to the board and draw a line through the data that they thought would best describe it. This is when my students made the connection with a postive correlation and positive slope. YAY slope. We then did the same thing with negative and no correlations. We also looked at strong, moderate and weak correlations.

Next I had students go back to Polygraph to play again. This time, they had to use the vocabulary we discussed to describe and eliminate each scatter plot. It was great to see how their use of vocabulary improved the move games they played.

If you haven’t played Polygraph yet I definitely recommend it. There are a ton in Desmos, but you can also create your own! Don’t be like me and wait so long to try it!!!

Scavenger Hunt Stations

I love using stations to review for a quiz or test. I have done many stations using folders and QR codes, but I found that my students like to work with the same people and tend to get the question from the station and go back to their usual seat. This time, I decided to change it up.

I created 7 stations and printed out two copies of each station. I laminated and then taped these stations all around the room. I also created a worksheet for my students that provided room for them to show their work for each. However, the worksheet did not provide any of the questions, so students had to stay at the stations to see and answer all of the questions.

Although there were only 7 sets of problems, I doubled them to create 14 stations. The maximum number of students I have in my classes is 20, so this ensured that there would be no more than 2 students at a particular station. I really liked this because it allowed my students to work with partners, but not in large groups. Students were also moving around the entire time! Some students did take pictures of the questions and went back to their seats… ugh… but most students stayed at their station. Because I had the stations taped to the walls (and one in the middle) I could see every student working. I could also see which students were struggling. It was also entertaining watching my students search for the stations they needed!

I used these stations to review for a quiz on special quadrilaterals and interior and exterior sums of polygons. Each station dealt with a different type of question that they would be assessed on. Overall, this was a pretty fun and successful review activity.

Here is the stations worksheet and stations that I used for this activity! Here is also my answer key.

Also, for station 1, I created a polygon and attached strings to one vertex and had students create the diagonals with the strings (you cant see what it is from my stations sheet) !



#MTBoS A Day in Finneyfrock’s Life!!

Thursday, January 14th

5:00 Alarm goes off

5:05: Check Instagram, snapchat, and facebook

5:15-5:30: Throw on sweats for yoga and pack my school bag

5:30: Off to Yoga

6:00- 7:00: Hot Yoga. Namaste 🙂

7:00-7:20: Getting kinda pretty

7:20: Off to School

7:35: School! Eat my breakfast and drink some coffee while I read through my daily Skimm and Charlotte Agenda emails.

8:05: Meet with my advisory and read the daily blog.

8:20-9:15: A-Block Geometry. Today in class we reviewed for a quiz tomorrow. I created Scavenger Hunt Stations  to practice identifying special quadrilaterals, and finding interior and exterior angles of polygons.  These are the station cards and worksheet that went along with the activity!

9:20-11:10: Planning! I have both of my plannings in the morning. During this time I finished planning for my algebra 1 class and printed quizzes for the next day. I also have a Delta Math assignment due tomorrow, so I had about 6 students coming in and out asking questions (they had drop) during the last 30 minutes of planning.

11:15-12:00: LUNCH!!! Woohooo! The math department shares an office, so we all ate lunch together 🙂

12:05-1:00: Geometry

1:05-2:00: Geometry

2:05-3:00: Algebra 1- We are currently working on scatter plots. Today I introduced coefficient correlations and we played Guess the Correlation all together! I also through together a few other examples not from that site. My students then worked through a Linear Regression Demos Activity about Gray Wolves. My students loved giving the math context. When they all finished, we discuss the activity. I then had them play an AWESOME scatter plot polygraph. Fun class!

3:00-3:30 – Helped students.

3:30-4:30- Teacher yoga! I usually don’t do yoga twice in one day, but I was just feeling it today.

4:30-5:15- Finished up some work to prepare for tomorrow.

5:45- Home for the night!

6:00 Made some perogies for dinner (healthy I know) and put on some Parenthood!

Now I am still watching Parenthood while writing this blog post, and I will probably be heading to sleep soon!

This is part of the Explore MTBoS Blogging Initiative. Please join in!)

It’s Time to Graph! Bringing Linear Equations to Life!

Back from Christmas break and I was ready to dive back into my algebra 1 class. The last time we were really together (before midterms, winter break, and winterm) was about a month ago! AH!

Before we left, we were working on linear equations. Today I decided that I wanted to review graphing linear equations from slope-intercept, point-slope, and standard form. Instead of having my students do a worksheet or Delta Math I decided to make the day a little more interesting. For my class of 11, I used tape to create 5 coordinate planes on the ground. Everyone had a partner and there was one group of three. I had my students numbers their axises while I passed out material for the rest of class. Each group also had one whiteboard and one marker.


I handed each group a hand full of tiny paper squares. I created my squares by cutting up a laminated piece of white paper. In the mix of squares, there were also a few blue squares. My students also received a piece of string.

After the materials were passed out, I posted an equation on the board in slope-intercept form. Together, we identified the y-intercept and placed the blue square on that point. Students then used  the slope to find the other points on that line. They marked their points with the white squares. Next, students placed their string through the points they created on their graphs. Placing the string through the points helped students see if they made a mistake while graphing.

For the rest of class, I would place one equation on the board at a time and students would graph their equation. We practice graphing in slope-intercept and then moved to standard and point-slope form. Students used their white boards to change their equations from standard to slope-intercept form. When we got to point-slope form I had students identify the slope and point on their white board before graphing.

I LOVED having students work on their own coordinate plane on the floor. I could walk around and see exactly where students were struggling and could help them right away. I had students mark their intercepts with the blue squares so they could visually see the intercepts. I liked using the squares to mark the different points on the line. If students made a mistake they could easily fix it. I think my students also liked being able to physically plot all of the points and place the string down to create the line. This was a pretty fun review after winter break and a great way for me to assess my students understandings.

Math Goes to the Movies!


At my school, the week back after winter break is known as “winterm”. Winterm is a time where teachers can explore their passions by creating and teaching any class they like. Some teachers plan trips for students to go on as well. There are two classes each day. The morning session is from eight til eleven and the afternoon session goes from noon to thurl.jpgree. Teachers also have the option of teaching an all day class. I decided to teach an afternoon class called Math goes to the Movies!

Let me start off by saying that 3 hours is a LONG class to plan for. That’s 15 hours worth of content!! Students don’t receive a grade for their winterm class either so besides intrinsic motivation to learn something new, students have no motivation to be engaged. This class also consisted of students will all different levels of math, so it wScreen Shot 2016-01-07 at 10.17.05 AMas tricky finding material that all students could do.

My original plan for the class was to have students work through Pixar in the Box on Khan Academy the entire time. Pixar in a box is really cool because it explores how animated movies are made using math. However, after the first day I realized how long (and kinda boring) three hours at a computer is!


Day two I decided to change it up a bit. I started class by showing clips from tv shows and movies that mentioned math. I showed a clip from the show The Office where Oscar is explaining what a surplus is to Michael. For my baseball fans, I showed a clip from Moneyball and briefly discussed the use of statistics in baseball. Next I showed a clip from Like Mike. This clip looked at different types of triangles in geometry. Lastly I put on the clip from the Wizard of Oz where the Scarecrow incorrectly states the Pythagorean theorem. After we watched the clip by students worked through a worksheet from Mathbits (scroll down the site page for the worksheet)  that deals with triangle inequalities, the Pythagorean theorem and indirect algebraic proof proving the scarecrows theorem to be false.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 9.48.42 AM.png

Next I had students choose any activity from Pixar in Box to work on with a partner. I found that letting them work with a partner added more discussion about the activity. The last activity of the class was to watch the TV-show Numb3rs.  If you haven’t seen Numb3rs I highly recommend it. It’s a show all about using math to investigate and solve crimes.

Day 3 started out with exploring the New Starwars movie. We did a Desmos Activity that had students make box office predictions for Stars Wars VII: The Force Awakens, based on the first six days of release.IMG_6852

We also did a Race to the Death Star with a prize of candy for 1st 2nd and 3rd place. It’s pretty simple math, but it was a fun way to incorporate math into Starwars.

Next we did Dan Meyer‘s Activity involving the movie the Italian Job. This was a really fun activity dealing with the common misconception of the conversion of feet and inches (ex) that 3 ft and 4 inches is 3.4 feet). I highly recommend checking it out.

Students then worked on another Pixar in the Box and then we watched another episode on Numb3rs (they are really getting into it now!! 🙂 )

On Day 4 had students research a movie/tv-show that included a math topic with a partner. They had to research the following:

  • Why is the topic included in the show?
  • Thorough explanation of the math topic, going beyond the given information in the scene.
  • Any historical background on the topic.
  • What the topic is used for?

At the end of class, they had to give a brief presentation of their findings to the class. I originally got this idea from a pre-calculus project I stumbled upon.

Day 5: We watched A Beautiful Mind. What an awesome movie!  🙂





Let’s make a Kahoot! Algebra 1 Edition!

Playing Kahoot in class is always fun. My algebra 1 students especially love it! Instead of a traditional midterm, the school I teach at does a “midterm experience”.  I decided that for the experience I was going to have my students create and then play their own Kahoots!  This experience was broken up into two days. At the beginning of the first day, I told my students that by the end of their experience they would create a Kahoot focused on one of the concepts covered this semester. However, they are unaware of  which concept until day 2.

On day one, I had students create one-sheets that covered the topics covered year. All concepts  had to be included on my one sheet. A “one-sheet” is a brain dump of a certain concept. I typically use one-sheets to help students study and review for a test. Students had to make a “one-sheet” for each concept. They could use any resources to create their one-sheets. I collected their one-sheets at the end of class on the first day.

On day two, students were assigned a partner and a concept. Students could only use theirs and their partners one sheet to create their Kahoot. Each Kahoot had to cover all the material from that chapter and include 10 questions.

After they created their Kahoots, they shared them with me and we played them as a class! It was great because I could grade their Kahoots while we were playing! It was also fun to see each others work!

I liked this assessment because it had them review all of the material we’ve done this year, but then they were only assessed on a certain concept. It was also fun to create their own Kahoots! Some of my students added pictures and videos into their Kahoots to make it more fun. We can also look back and play the Kahoots when it comes time to review for the final!

Below is the direction sheet I handed out to my students.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 7.47.23 AM

Day 1:

  • At the end of this experience, you will have created a Kahoot focused on one of the concepts covered this semester. However, you will not know which concept until day 2.
  • On day one, you will be create one-sheets that cover the following topics. All concepts must be included. You may use any resources to create your one-sheets. One sheets will be collected at the end of day 1.
    • Tools of Algebra
  • Order of operations
  • Combing like terms
  • Negative Numbers
    • Exponents
  • Adding, subtracting powers
  • Dividing and multiplying powers
  • Power of zero
    • Solving Equations
  • Solving one-step equations
  • Solving two-step equations
  • Solving multistep equations
  • Solving Equations with Variables on Both sides
    • Functions
  • Relating Graphs to Events
  • Relations and Functions
  • Function rules, tables, graphs
  • Writing a function rule
    • Linear Equations
  • Slope and Rate of Change
  • Slope-intercept form
  • Standard form
  • Point-slope form and writing linear equations
  • Parallel and Perpendicular lines
    • Solving and Graphing Inequalities
  • Inequalities and Their Graphs
  • Solving one step inequalities
  • Solving Multi-step inequalities
  • Graphing linear inequalities

Day 2:

  • You will be assigned a partner and a topic
  • You and your partner will create a Kahoot on your topic.
    • You can only use your one sheets to create your Kahoot
    • Kahoot must include 10 questions