Ms. Sorci's Lesson: Using Intercepts to Graph a Line

Instructional Strategies: Cornell note-taking, modeling, white boards and graphing calculators

Ms. Sorci takes a very different approach to her lesson-- she makes use of Cornell note-taking to tackle Intercepts of Lines. She backs that up with modeling and visual techniques using white boards for graphing x- and y-intercepts along with graphing calculators. Let's mee the teacher.

Ms. Sorci's Biosketch
Sammi Sorci has been an elementary and middle school mathematics teacher for six years at Joseph Gambetta Middle School in Castroville, California. She taught sixth grade math and science for her first four years, and her last two years have been as an eighth grade Algebra teacher. She is currently working with the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Development) program to help bring their ideals to all of her students and help get them thinking about college.

Classroom Setting
Ms. Sorci's Algebra class of 28 Latino eighth grade students includes four students who are English Learners, eight who are now classified as Fluent English Proficient, and 16 who are Fluent English Speakers. She pairs up students so her proficient language students can help and tutor her non-proficient language students.

School Setting
Joseph Gambetta Middle School is located in the North Monterey County Unified School District in the small community of Castroville. Castroville is known for artichokes and strawberries. artichoke photoAgriculture is a big part of the community. Gambetta enrolls approximately 450 students of diverse ethnicity in grades 6th - 8th. Approximately 75-80% of the student population is Latino. The remaining 20-25% is White, Asian, Filipino, Arab, and African-American. Gambetta has a Bilingual Parent Group, nightly classes to teach English to the adult community, a very strong migrant program. They have a regular calendar year and several family nights like Family Math & Science Night and Family Arts Night.

Lesson Plan Summary
Ms. Sorci's lesson on intercepts of lines includes the use of Cornell note-taking (an AVID strategy of note-taking), modeling, and visual techniques by using white boards for graphing x- and y-intercepts and graphing calculators.

In the clip below, Ms. Sorci asks her class to determine the x-intercept of 2x + 3y = 6. Since this involves setting y equal to zero and then solving for x, students must recall or review solving linear equations.

Classroom Clip Reflection:

  • What types of questions is Ms. Sorci asking?
  • How is she calling on students? Is there a different way she could do this?
  • How is she supporting her students in finding the correct answer? In using academic language?
  • What are the implications for your own work with students?