All in with OUR/IM: Grade 8 tips of the week #2

Compiling the wisdom of OUR/IM 8th grade teachers from around the country to make these tip sheets for teacher in my district. These tips DO NOT replace a thorough reading of the AMAZING teacher notes provided by the authors at Illustrative Mathematics. Begin your lesson planning there. You can find those linked here.

The number one tip that applies to every lesson, every week all year is be clear what math you are trying to teach in that lesson.

From my post entitled Digging into Planning:

Having a clear grasp of what exactly you are trying to accomplish in the day will make sense of everything you are doing. It will also help your activity and lesson synthesis be clearer and to the point.”

Now to the details . . .

Lesson 1.5

Several teachers reported that students were happy to be doing instead of describing transformations in this lesson, and teachers were happy to be back to the more comfortable rectangular grid paper.

Tip one – One of the biggest huddles seems to be getting students to read and decide for themselves what they are supposed to do.  Take some time as a class to read and decode the directions for 5.2 before turning students loose.

Tip two – Don’t over teach. Look back at the learning goals:

  • Apply transformations on a coordinate grid.
  • Apply transformations on a line segment on a coordinate grid.

Kids do have a chance to notice patterns as they reflect over the x and y axis, which is a great opportunity for higher DOK thinking, but it is not the goal of the lesson.  If you do the translations so they can notice the pattern, you instruction is not aligned to your goal.  

Tip three – If  number 3 of your pre-assessment showed many students struggling with naming and using the coordinate grid, this lesson is an opportunity to address that before you get heavily into using the coordinate axes to explore slope and graph lines. Start that with the warm up. In 5.2, dwell on part c of question 1. In question 2, think together about where (13, 10) would be, and where (13, -20) and (13, 570) would be in relation to (13,10)

Tip four – Some students are confused about why activity 5.3 doesn’t use A’, B’ notation. Here is why: Since AB is going to be transformed several times, we would have lots of points with the same name.

This comes up again on the cool down, where students have difficulty with naming corresponding points using letters other than A’, B’, etc.  Before handing out the cool down, you could used the graph from the warm up to practice this by labeling the original triangle CAT and telling them the translation took triangle CAT to triangle DOG.

An extra after visiting classrooms: Did you notice that the warm up offers an alternative way to describe direction and distance in a translation? Read again. The test implies that either way is a complete  and precise method for defining a translation.


Lesson 1.6

This is your first day using MLR4: Info gap  (Math Language Routine 4)

Ideas for how to introduce from around the web:

  • Morgan Stipe shared a video to help train your students on how the info Gap Routine works.
  • Norma Gordon and Sheila Jaung shared an activity builder on Desmos that uses a 7th grade info gap activity to train 8th graders before their first 8th grade info gap in lesson 1.6.
  • Several teachers talked about doing the first card together as a class, having a student or pair of students come up and be the teacher’s partner. Once the class agrees there is enough information, they all solve it. For the second card, they worked with their partner.
  • Beth Pope Hill shared ”For 1.6, I laminated the info gap cards and gave the groups 2 different color dry erase markers so they could do the transformations on the card. I think that helped them move a little faster.”


Matt Parker reminds us that the Desmos Activity Transformation Golf is a great companion activity to provide extra practice at this point.


Lesson 1.7

The lesson synthesis brings out the question, ‘How can you look at two shapes and tell one is not the image of the other?” This is a question on the mid unit assessment, so take the time to bring this out.

In one classroom a teacher added this to their lesson summary (you could also have them take down as notes in the back of the book):

  • If one shape IS the image of another, then all corresponding sides and angles will be equal.
  • If two shapes DO NOT have all corresponding sides and angles equal, then one is not the image of the other.

Practice with a few shapes: “Could A be the image of B? Convince me.” Problem 1 and 3 in the practice exercises do this as well.


Lesson 1.8

Note the “Building towards” standard- understanding this is important for the final question of the end of unit assessment.  

Not much talk about this lesson on line yet, except this encouraging note from Kent Haines on twitter:

Screenshot (22)

And one more piece of encouragement from Chrysty Hunt Clarkson in the 8th grade OUR/IM facebook group :

Screenshot (23)

All in with OUR/IM: Grade 8 tips of the week #1

Compiling the wisdom of OUR/IM 8th grade teachers from around the country to make these tip sheets for teacher in my district. These tips DO NOT replace a thorough reading of the AMAZING teacher notes provided by the authors at Illustrative Mathematics. Begin your lesson planning there. You can find those linked here.

Lesson 1.1

Prompts for the which one doesn’t belong day 1 from the amazing @MrsNewell:

Screenshot (21)

Some people on this lesson played a you tube video of the Cha Cha Slide and either had their students dance or notice all the motion direction words. Here is one you might choose to use:
People suggested modifying the black line master for Triangle Square Dance to all be on one page, so it is harder to see which picture your partner is looking at. Here is a one page version you can use. Here is another one formatted in a single line.

Lesson 1.2

On this warm up discussion, have students highlight one set of corresponding sides to see the angle of rotation. You will want to have them turn back to this during lesson 1.3
Today is the day you give formal vocabulary. How will you ask student to participate in this? Ideas I saw shared:

  • Take notes in back of workbooks on note pages
  • Highlight words and phrases in the student lesson summary
  • Add informal language from 1.1 to lesson summary
  • Write definitions for the glossary words underneath the summary
  • Do a stand and talk, switching partners, to define the glossary words to each other
  • Add an entry to an interactive notebook
  • Find a real life example of at least 3 words in the list with your group and share with the class.

Lesson 1.3

We were hearing from lots of teachers that they had trouble with lesson 3. Monday, our district OUR/IM implementation team sat down and did the student lesson together. You definitely need tracing paper to make this lesson work. Even with the tracing paper, it was interesting to see how we approached it differently. We each initially thought our way was the easiest and most natural way to do it, which means kids in your class will probably be using alot of different ways. We strongly advise doing the second activity together in your plc time to help you know what to expect as students work the task. There were also ones for each of us where we said, ” Wait, how are you doing that?”, especially as we got to the isometric graph paper.
Having students stop, check answers, and share how they did it with a partner or group should help students increase efficiency. As students get to #5-8, you may need to put someone at the doc cam to show how they did something if you have a big group stuck. It is REALLY important that you brought out that the angles are all 60 degrees during the warm up. If no one notices that, you may have to notice it yourself. . . ” did anyone notice anything about the angles in these triangles? (silence) I noticed that they were each 60 degrees.” (point out 3 to make a straight angle or 6 to make 360 degrees).

Hints/scaffolds to offer when needed:

#1 and 2: Students can use the corner of the patty paper to help locate the shape squarely on the grid.

#3: drawing a cross at the point of rotation can help students visualize angle of rotation

#4: Method 1- line tracing paper along line of reflection. Trace and flip over the line.
Method 2- trace, fold paper along line of reflection to flip. This method slightly more affected by inaccuracies in tracing.

#5: Start by focusing on rotating segment AB 60 degrees. Refer back to angle you highlighted in warm up on lesson 2. (So many different ways to see this. Might be good to stop and share strategies.)

#6: Same hint as #5. . .focus on only one side. “ what if you just rotated side CD clockwise 60? Where would it’s image be?”

#7: same hint as #4. For me personally, my inaccuracy in tracing and folding made method 2 a fail here. After switching to method 1, we went back and looked at my valid method and why it didn’t work. I became acutely aware of my need to attend to precision. Might be worth a class pause and discuss on that point.

#8: everyone felt so happy to get to this one after struggling with adjusting to the isometric paper for awhile. This is where we felt “ ok, this grid isn’t that bad.” If you are running low on time and your class is frustrated, this might be a good spot to skip to as you close the activity.
Also great day to remind your students that struggling is part of learning. Here is a great read here that would make an awesome writing prompt for hw the either day 2 or day 3.
I personally chose it for the night of day 2 so they come in with good thoughts about struggle as they start this lesson.

FYI If you are using the technology apps built into the curriculum, lots of teachers had struggles with students not reading directions and every hand being up once they start. Adjust your intro to tech appropriately.

Added later after watching classrooms doing this lesson:

Students DO NOT intuitively know how to use the tracing paper. This is a lesson that should help them develop these skills. Telling them how is not enough. They need to see it. Don’t miss this tip in the teacher lesson plan:

“For students using print materials: Optionally, before students start working, demonstrate the mechanics of performing each type of transformation using tracing paper.”

The most successful classrooms had students telling teachers the transformations they used while teachers followed those directions using tracing paper on the board or under a document camera. Just orally sharing the steps without visually modeling with precision left a large majority of the class confused.

Lesson 1.4

You need to make your 5 practices anticipation sheet before this lesson(Download a copy here), and try to understand each of the methods listed in the teacher notes. I never would have thought of a couple, and would have had a hard time thinking on my feet if students shared one of the more unusual ones, so I was grateful the teachers notes had them all written out. The lesson notes for the teacher also do a great job emphasizing how to get the most out of students sharing their methods.. My favorite tip:

“Each time a reflection is mentioned, ask students where the line of reflection is located and when a rotation is mentioned, ask for the center of the rotation and the number of degrees.”
If you do this and then the lesson synthesis, they should be 100% ready for the cool down.

Added after observing classrooms working this lesson:

Students are struggling with vocabulary. Having the terms prominently on the board seemed to really help students internalize and incorporate them into their own working vocabulary. (Most word walls I observed were small or less prominent and so did not have the same effect).

In general, lessons 3 and 4 provide many great opportunities to notice that people see things in different ways and there is more than one right path to get to the solution
( or in this case, the image).
If you want to draw out this idea a bit, try a dot talk or two. See this Jo Boaler video of a dot talk in action. You can also use these resources by Steve Wyborney, here and here to help you prepare to lead one yourself.
This week, most sites did not get through all 4 of these because of other back to school community building activities, so hints will end there for this week.
If you have other tips for these 4 lessons or pictures of your classroom in action, please share in the comments.

Extra tips as more teachers get to these lessons:

No patty paper? Here are some things teachers have made work in a pinch:

  • cut up old transparencies from overhead projector days. Students will need an overhead pen.
  • clear plastic dessert plate (someone was getting creative there!)
  • wax paper
  • wax free food service paper from the school kitchen
  • Dry wax paper
  • parchment baking paper
  • tracing paper
  • tissue paper from their christmas wrap box
  • plain white printer paper ( not sure I would be able to see through this, but it worked in at least one classroom.)

Here and here are completed versions of the 5 practices sheet for 1.4. Chose whichever is easier for you. Use the time these save you to actually try each method so you are ready to lead the conversation.