Tag Archives: geometry

What’s Your Angle? SOLC 2019 Day 21

When was the last time you used a protractor?  Drawn a circle?  Measured an angle? We spent time earlier this week doing all of those things in my classroom.  There’s nothing like a new tool to pique students interest…and the protractor did just that.  Students were fascinated that protractors also have rulers on them, they couldn’t wait to experiment with them!

We used those protractors to draw a half circle on the fold and then open the full 360 degrees of circle.  Each student then had to measure an angle–one randomly assigned–and cut that angle out of the circle.  The cut out angle became the mouth of an “angle fish,” the piece removed became the caudal fin.  Some designing soon resulted in a whole school of individual angle fish!


Why bother with angles and protractors?  Simply for a cute crafts project?  You probably know me better than that.  My students are just beginning to pay attention to angles, to recognize those perfect square corners that measure 90 degree.  To understand that triangles exist that are not perfectly equilateral, with equal angles as well.  They are starting to understand that attributes can categorize without diminishing the diversity of possibilities within those categories.

I hope geometry lessons can teach ideas that transfer far beyond polygons, sides, and angles.  I want my students to recognize that each of us brings our experiences, genetics, family backgrounds, and opinions to who we are.  That they will learn to see diversity and difference as opportunities to enrich their own experiences, to add value to our world, to push beyond their own status quo.  That they will step outside the comfort zone of sameness, and consider the view from another perspective.

I’m pretty sure my students understand the categories of acute, right, and obtuse angles…the rest will continue to be a work in progress.  After all, I’m still working out my angles too.


More Found Poems: Day 18

As promised in yesterday’s entry, today’s post will include some of my students’ found poems. This was not an easy process–many students expressed frustration with not having all the words they wanted to use.  Many stuck to the topic of the Wonder they picked, a few branched out to a different topic.

Koa read Do You Like Grapefruit? and “found” this poem in it.


Grapefruits are

so sweet

so large

and kind of sour

the forbidden

fruit sinks

into your teeth

a citrusy snack

of wonder and joy


in big clusters



Grayson chose to learn about pandas and wrote this poem:

China Pandas

Cuddly bamboo lovers

black and white

adorable creatures

with love and peace

they climb giants

and spread happiness

in China.


And Avi, who has a passion for motorcycles, choose an article about motorcycles to “find” his motorcycle poem.

The Motorcycle




a motorcycle

full of force

maintaining stability

keeping upright

a motorcycle


I sent my students home today with an invitation to explore a math wonder and “find” a math poem in the process.  Here’s my poem, “found” in this article about triangles.


Sides, angles

square, rectangle, triangle


great minds

classify, name

a variety of triangles




and angles




combine and count

it’s geometry

the experts decided

Douillard 2018

And all that thinking about triangles and angles reminded me of the bridges I saw and crossed in Portland last week.  So here’s some geometry in action!

bridge angles

Take a look around for some mathematical inspiration for your poetry!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebrate

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

As teachers know, the week leading up to winter break is a busy one.  There’s so much more to teaching than reading and writing and math!  Kids heads are filled with the wonder and all the iconic imagery of the holidays, and we have to work hard to make learning relevant and engaging during this week.  And while there was plenty conspiring against us, there was a lot of great learning to celebrate.  Early in the week, kids put finishing touches on gifts they had made for their family and wrapped them up to take home.  I can’t give away what’s inside…there’s still a few days until Christmas!  There’s a lot of learning contained in these festive packages…from the creation to the presentation, each step is a learning opportunity that we, as adults, often take for granted!

packagesWe were also surprised this week with a package from author/illustrator Lizi Boyd.  After reading Flashlight earlier this school year, our students had created Flashlight-inspired art and wrote stories based on Lizi Boyd’s wordless picture book.  When my teaching partner emailed her to share how much we loved her work…and sent some of our student products to her, she responded enthusiastically and sent our students beautiful blank notebooks, inspiring bookmarks, and encouragement to write, draw, and imagine.  She also sent a copy of her new book, Inside Outside, that we cannot wait to read and work with.  And the wrapping was a celebration in itself!

book from lizi boydAnd today, the last day before the break, we did our best to keep students focused on learning. We had a spectacular science lesson on buoyancy with our science teacher…and after working on claim, evidence, and reasoning for a little over a week with relation to buoyancy, students did some outstanding science writing today!  (More on that in another post)  We also continued our study of geometry by asking students to create a holiday or winter scene made up of geometric shapes.  There were some pretty clever geometric scenes to celebrate!

Geometry winter scene

And in my life outside of school there were also indications of celebration.  At my meeting at the local science museum on Saturday, even the dinosaur fossil was getting in the holiday spirit and adding to the celebration by sporting a santa hat!

Dino with hat

And we’ve had rain!  Yes, it’s annoying when trying to drive on freeways with people who don’t know a thing about driving in the rain.  Roads flood, traffic crawls, students are cooped up inside all day, everything is soggy…and we are celebrating.  We desperately need each and every drop right now.  And honestly, the cloudy skies are such a novelty that I can’t resist taking shot after shot.  I fell in love with this seagull enjoying the unusually moist air shortly before sunset.

seagull on a pole

And although my husband brought a tree home on Sunday, it is still sitting bare in the living room waiting for celebratory decorations.  It’s a beautiful tree and I had some fun taking photos and playing with the focus of the foreground and background as I snapped a few photos of my cat, Phil through the branches.

Phil through the tree

What are you celebrating right now?  It might be Hanukkah or Christmas or rain…or even a two week break from your usual routine.  Snap a few shots and share celebrate through your images.

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!)

I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #celebrate for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

It’s time to celebrate!  What says celebration to you?  Can’t wait to see your version of celebrate as you share your world through your lens.