Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blog Not working well

The tabs at the top of the blog seem to be not working properly. I have tried to fix and/or replace. I am going to give it a day or so to see if it resolves itself. Mr. Morrissey

Amazing CCHS Soccer Goal

As a graduate of CCHS!, this really makes me smile. Go Patriots, I mean Bucs... Mr. Morrissey for today's article in the Globe.

Quarter 1 Interim Grades are Posted

See ASPEN for Quarter One progress grades.  If you son or daughter missed a quiz and has not made up, remember it will be ABS in ASPEN and be calculated as a zero for now.

Have a great weekend.

Mr. Morrissey

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pre-Calculus Assessment Reflection #1

Pre-Calculus Student and Parents, 

Here is my reflection on the first quiz on Lines and Quadratics.  

I had some students take the quiz late and couldn't post my reflections until now. 

My Best,
Mr. Morrissey

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do Now Rigor

I read last night that the College Board deemed only 43% of SAT test takers in 2012 "college ready."  The College Board recommended teachers increase the rigor in classes.  Check out this problem from the AMC 10/12 math test on equations of lines, slopes, intercepts, etc.

It was a phenomenal way to start class.  Most students needed ten minutes to dissect this problem and then we talked about it for another ten.

I had students explain why 4 of the 5 cases CAN work, and why one of the choices cannot work.  Try it yourself.

Level 4 will do this one in the next class or so.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Problem Solving Rigor

Take a look at what my Algebra II (5) students were solving today in class after watching my video on Linear Systems.  We began class by reviewing a fundamental linear systems problem that reviewed the core elements of the lesson.  We reviewed the questions that students wrote on the Google Form Video Summarizer, and we did this crazy looking five equations and five variables problem!  This was all done with me leading the class and we were reviewing the new material together.

Parents, any ideas on how to start?!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Why does the Elimination Method Work?

When solving Linear System such as:

Why does the elimination method work?  Three students posed this today in our Video Summarizer Google Spreadsheet, and I believe this is a wonderful example of technology allowing for all voices in class to be heard.

I'll post a follow up after tomorrow's class with the answer.  Great questions everyone.  Keep them coming!

Mr. Morrissey

p.s. I assume everyone can solve this and graph it.  Also, tell your parents about the invisible 1.

p.p.s.  This works since 2x+y actually equals 8.  So adding 2x+y to the LHS (left hand side) is the same as adding 8 to the RHS.  The equality still holds.  3x=18.  x=6.  -PMM 9/25/2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Linear Systems Group Assisgnments

Systems Group Work

This is our first group assignment.

Can you give me an example of each group name?

Mr. Morrissey

Moody's Math Challenge


Take a look at and you might just win thousands of dollars for doing math.  This year's problem is on High Speed Rail.

Good Luck.

Mr. Morrissey

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flipping the Classroom

September 21, 2012

Thank you to all who attended Back to School Night last night.

In my Algebra II classes one parent asked about "Flipping the Classroom," and in a handful of minutes it was difficult to communicate my vision for what this change will mean for students at Bedford High School.

With Flipping the Classroom, students watch videos I have created, and during class they work in teams on Problem Sets and other assignments meant to develop 21st Century Skills of communication, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking. My objective is to have the students engaged and learning the entire class period, and developing these 21st Century skills that they will need to be college and career ready.

For part of last year, without iPads, my Algebra II classes watched "Flipped" videos and worked in teams during class.  Feedback from parents and students was positive and supportive and this year the iPads will make what we are doing even more powerful.

I am aware that this represents a significant and fundamental change in how math is traditionally taught. It is a change that I couldn't be more excited and hopeful about.  During class I am constantly circulating the room checking in with each group, asking and answering questions, and getting to know and building relationships with students.

We begin classes with Do Nows (SAT problems that help prepare students for the SAT and MCAS);  we discuss homework as a group based on the questions students entered on the Video Summarizer Google Form after watching the videos; and we have frequent checks for understanding to assess, informally, if the students are understanding the material. These three components of class are done as a large group.  

This year I am doing Checks for Understanding using an online program called Socrative, which allows me to get data about how the entire class is doing.  I share this data, without names, to the students after each Check.  Ask your son or daughter about it.  Sharing the data is my favorite part of class, and I track the data for each student throughout the year using Google Spreadsheets.  Below are the results for one Check for Understanding we did on Algebra Fundamentals.  

Sample Check for Understanding Class Report.
Ask your son or daughter to visit our Moodle page which includes our Do Nows, Notes, Problem Sets, Checks for Understanding, and the beginnings of MCAS material.

After our first assessment students will be in their first groups, and the aforementioned 21st Century Skills will really begin in earnest.

We are building a database of math videos that will help all students, and the great part about them is students can pause and rewind and watch whenever they'd like. The videos are meant to be accessible to students in all levels of Algebra II, and it is during class where we dig deeper into the concepts.  

Check out the videos so far this year on our Department's You Tube Channel.
BHS Math You Tube Channel

If you'd like to talk more about Flipping the Classroom please email me at and we can set up a time to talk. 

It is going to be a wonderful year of learning and exploration.  

All the best, 

Patrick Morrissey

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Essential Questions

Below is a flavor of the kinds of questions our Do Nows have generated...

Can you answer them all?  Ask your son or daughter.  

All the Best,


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Daily Class Participation Ease in ASPEN (SIS)

Did you know that X2 ASPEN (SIS) can allow you to have "recurring" grades such as class participation?  My students earn a daily 5 point grade and I can set up the assignments now and have less daily hassle later.  

Here is the class participation rubric I got from two fellowveteran teachers.  I made slight changes, but the idea is the same.  Thank you for sharing with me.

The active learner part, I think, is the most difficult, even for me.  At my graduate class we put into our Classroom Expectations that we would not be off task with our iPads, iPhones, etc.

Let's work on this together!


21st Century Assessments

Just read a Boston Globe article by Leon Neyfakh over my morning espresso about changing assessments to assess 21st century skills of problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.

"The skills they're trying to measure are much harder to detect and quantify than, say, whether someones know the quadratic formula..."

Check out the link below.

What to Test Instead? by Leon Neyfakh


p.s.  Maybe we need to rethink this?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bedford Day 2012

The morning began with the Danny Oates 5K road race (my 4th), and then the main event was the Class of 2014 Dunk Tank. Besides chaperoning the prom, it is the thing I most look forward to each school year! 

The equipment seemed like it was more suited for the 1950s, and it was loads of fun.  So great to see so many past, current, and future students today.  

Bedford Day is a shining example of what makes Bedford such a special place to live and work.  


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Algebra II (4) Students First Video

Click the tab above that says "Videos" or see below for our first video on slopes. Mr. Morrissey

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Danny Oates Road Race

Weather looks amazing for Danny Oates 5K road race and 2.5K walk.

Saturday Morning, September 15 beginning at JGMS in Bedford at 8:30 a.m. My fourth consecutive running.

See you at the starting line!


More information @

"I am big in..."

My goal is to get a view in China.   Since this is "Google" based, there might be a Firewall.  I know my family in China had to stop using Gmail, Picassa, and they never, I don't think, could use You Tube.  Alas, how can I get my Flipped Videos to them?


Today's Video

Equations of Lines Part 1 on You Tube

Monday, September 10, 2012

Check for Understanding Using Socrative

This year a new project I am undertaking is creating a Check for Understanding database of Algebra questions from texts, the SAT, the MCAS, and even @PMM888' brain.  Each problem set will be 3 questions, and be easy, medium, and hard level difficulty.  I have a corresponding quiz saved in Socrative, and I have students do this formative "Check" during class.  I have it counting toward their class work grade.  I stress that it isn't a quiz, but they must not help each other as I am trying to get data on each and every child in the class.

Below is a sample of the data that I get which I quickly upload to a Google Doc spreadsheet.  The names are in column C and are blocked out.

Notice that 11/29, or 38%, got question #3 incorrect.  That was a @pmm888 problem!  We'll review the findings tomorrow in class.

How do you use Socrative?  Any suggestions, besides buying an Apple TV, to deal with the iPad cable that often comes dislodged and makes the screen blank?

My Best,


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Linear Equations Part 2

Here is our first video of the year. Usually I plan to have most videos on You Tube. We shall see. Mr. Morrissey

Friday, September 7, 2012

Community Contract (Second Draft)

Today my classes reviewed their responses gathered using Socrative, and I had student suggest edits and additions.  Here is what we have...

Mr. Morrissey's Student Created Classroom Expectations

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Community Contract

In order to make a set of classroom expectations, I used Socrative to ask my students:

1.  How do you want to be treated in this class? 

2.  How will you treat others in this class? 

3.  How can we all create a safe and welcoming environment in which you can take risks?

4. As Mr. Turner asked in his survey, if I live up to your vision of an ideal teacher, at the end of the year, what will I have done for you?

From Questions 1-3 I boiled down the responses to:

We'll see what the students think via Socrative and make adjustments if necessary. 


p.s. I will need more time to reflect on #4.

iPad Stylus

Here is my super cool iPad stylus that everyone in the math department wants to borrow.  You can buy on Amazon for $25 and the cool thing about it is it has the feel of a whiteboard marker.  The palm of my hand is never hitting the iPad screen.

Link to Amazon...

Come by my room if you want to try out.

There are also thinner styluses being sold for $10 here at school.  See your mailbox.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Here are some of the scientific calculators I referenced today in class. The yellow one is WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) and it does a lot of simplification for you.

I'd get the blue one. TI-30x IIS

What do you think?


Monday, September 3, 2012

New to Twitter?

Halcyon Beach in Maine
September 3, 2012

Several teachers said to me they could never keep up with the sheer volume of Tweets in #edchat or just from the few people they follow.  I tried to reassure them that you pick and choose what seems interesting, and reading a few new articles a week on PLCs, Literacy Blocks, or the achivement gap is better than not doing it at all.  Start slow.  When you see something that is of interest just retweet is so your followers will have a chance to read the same thing.

Remember, @username in a Tweet is a way of including a specific person in your Tweet. Like sending them a public direct message.   #edchat or #bhsbucs is a way to allow people who share a common interest to sort similar messages.  If you search #yolo, you will get all the people in the world who wrote the phrase #yolo in their message.  If you search #mrmorrisseymath it will probably yield nothing.  

ReTweeting is an easy way to forward a message that you like onto your followers.

This is a basic introduction.  Check out for all you need to know about Twitter.

My advice:
Follow #edchat and a few people who are already using Twitter regularly.  You don't need to check in every day.