Scaffolded Math and Science

(formerly ZeroSum Ruler)

What is YOUR definition of “Interactive Notebook”? September 1, 2014

Filed under: foldable,interactive notebook — Shana Donohue @ 10:41 pm
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QuestionmarkWhat is YOUR definition of Interactive Notebook?  I have been thinking a lot about this lately.  In my current school and the one I worked in prior to this position, there were no textbooks.  Well, there was a textbook at my last school but it was so horrible no one used it!  Because of this, it forced me to create note sheets for the kids.  When I compare them to note sheets being called INB, I see a lot of similarities.

To me, interactive notebooks consist of foldables and flipables, almost what are used to make homeschooling lapbooks.  What I’d consider scaffolded student notes are being called “interactive notebooks”, so much so that I am questioning my definition.  What do you consider INB?


{Limited Time} Free Foldables (11 in total) for an Algebra INB!

Filed under: algebra — Shana Donohue @ 10:26 am
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coverOMG, what am I doing?  I guess the first long weekend of the brand new school year has got me feeling inspired!

It’s good to be back with my students – many I’ve had for 3 years in a row (minus a few months of maternity leave) for Geometry, Algebra 2 and now Consumer Math as seniors.  It’s good to be back.  I missed my students and had to keep reminding myself that as much as I wanted it not to be true, there is only one of me.  I can’t be in 2 places at once.

For a VERY limited time, you can get my Interactive Notebook foldables (11 in total!) for FREE!  What?  Yes, free!  After downloading and seeing all that you get (remind me again what I am doing here?), don’t forget to review!  Happy 2014-2015!


My God, school starts tomorrow! Here’s some Math yoga. August 24, 2014

Filed under: algebra — Shana Donohue @ 9:48 pm

acef4faa3f68025625465c19bf8b3b29I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around all the things I need to do before the sun comes up tomorrow morning.  To keep my mind off all that, I do what most Math teachers do on the Sunday before the start of the school year. What is that? Browse Pinterest of course.

I came about this great drawing of a silly stick person doing Math yoga again tonight.  It’s been kicking around Pinterest for a while but it reminded me to print out this great set of Math-Stick-Figures posters for my classroom.  We don’t get to all these functions in Algebra 2, but I like to talk about Math in a no-big-deal way to my Special Education students to take the mystery and anxiety out of it.  Plus, they’re good conversation starters (where I lead the conversation to “when you are in college…”).  I’m so sneaky.


Free Solving Equations Foldable! It’s awesome! August 23, 2014

Filed under: algebra — Shana Donohue @ 1:56 pm
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CaptureI’m obsessed with the Math=Love blog.  The teacher who writes it comes up with such creative ways to teach Algebra that make the sometimes tough subject accessible to all students.

A little while ago, I posted a link on my Facebook page to a Solving Equations foldable that looked AWESOME.  The foldable was featured on the Math=Love blog.  Because my mouse hand has an auto-post feature, I hadn’t checked the link before posting.  Now that school is almost here (eeep!), I tracked down the foldable.  Here is is in all its pdf glory.  (You can click the photo to go right to the printable pdf.)

It still looks awesome!


Free Algebra 2 Cheat Sheets

Filed under: algebra — Shana Donohue @ 1:42 pm

OMG, thSlide2e school year is almost starting. This year will be a completely new one for me as I’ll be dropping the little one off to daycare each morning. I’m so lucky to work in a school that has a daycare and I’ll no doubt be sneaking down once in a while to peek in.

Though this is pretty much consuming my thoughts about the first couple of school, I am also excited about getting back to teaching. To celebrate going back to school, here is a [free] set of Algebra 2 cheat sheets that have helped my students navigate through this tricky course. You can download them from TpT or through the “Freebies!” tab on my Facebook page.


No more playgrounds. What the hell are we doing? August 2, 2014

McGrath no playground 1What are we doing?


I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and attended all public schools.  My first school was McGrath Elementary, nestled behind Forrest Grove Middle School.  You may have seen students from McGrath in the movie Supersize me.  It was laughable, in a somewhat disturbing way, that they quickly recognized a photo of Ronald MacDonald but not George Washington or Jesus. Worcester may also sound familiar because Barack Obama gave a commencement speech at a Worcester high school at the end of this past school year.


McGrath was built a couple years before I was born, and when I attended there were 2 playgrounds: a lower one with a swing set, jungle gym, slide and monkey bars, and an upper one made almost entirely of wood.  The upper playground was always my favorite because it was a unique playground.  My favorite part were these wooden pillars of varying heights stacked next to each other that we used to run on.  Safe?  Maybe not.  Fun?  You bet.


When I visited my dad the other day, we took a walk to McGrath.  There wasn’t a thought in my mind that anything had changed, and in fact very little had.  The four basketball backboards were still without nets, though they were now without hoops as well.   The brown brick building looked exactly the same.  Rounding the corner to see what is not easily visible from the street revealed a major difference from what I remember. The lower playground, or where it once was, is completely overgrown.  It was a shock, though I quickly figured that since the equipment was older than me that it must have rotted at some point.  I still wanted to see the upper playground.McGrath no playground 2


The upper playground is not gone; it’s worse than gone.  Not only is it not a playground anymore, it would take some serious work to clear the area to put a playground back in there. The area is completely overgrown with sumac and other secondary and tertiary growth.  The wood pillars that I remember are still visible through the foliage.  It felt like a scene from Planet of the Apes after humans had been mostly wiped out or those photos that circulate on Facebook of World War 2 traffic jams and amusement parks near Chernobyl.  You can see what I mean in the photos.


The funniest thing about this whole thing is that President Obama was 3 miles away giving his commencement speech and Michelle Obama is all about kids getting physically fit.  Kids at my old elementary school don’t have a playground.


If this is happening where I went to school, I am willing to bet it’s the same story at your old school.  With all of the standardized tests we ask kids to take so that we can collect data on our schools, what are we giving back to the kids?  What are we doing?  A kid’s whole life is recess and it’s been taken away from kids at my old elementary school. What are we doing?  No really, what are we doing?


Freebie Alert! Point-slope formula foldable July 4, 2014

Filed under: algebra,foldable,interactive notebook — Shana Donohue @ 2:05 pm
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Point-Slope foldableThis foldable of the Point-Slope equation is a fun addition to an Algebra interactive notebook.  It explains each part of the equation and gives an example at the end.  It’s downloadable through the “Freebies!” tab on my Facebook page.


If you’re on Pinterest, here is a link to the pin.  While there, why not join my collaborative board Math Grades 7-12?  My vision for this Pinterest board is for it to be full of resources for middle and high school Math students.  I’d love your additions!


And finally, if you are looking for the complete set of linear equation Algebra foldables, here they are on Teachers Pay Teachers:

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