Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer of the Traveling Math Teacher

Today (June 22nd, 2017) is my first day of summer vacation and it is perfect - 78 degrees and just gorgeous! 

I started today with catching up on all my errands including taking two sons for physicals plus the usual - get gas, go to the bank, and finally the library.  The library is my most favorite errand.  I didn't really hit the jackpot, but I got a few.  I have a huge list but my library didn't have many of them. 

I am blessed to be traveling a lot this summer.  I am a little concerned that it will be too much for me to rest, recharge, and rejuvenate, but I am hopeful to make the downtime really relaxing by reading a book or fishing.

On Sunday, I head to the Adirondacks with our church's youth group for a week of mission work.  We get home on Friday.

Then, I travel up to Burlington, VT for a cousin's wedding and our traditional 4th of July festivities at my grandmother's house.  It is my favorite holiday (after Christmas).

Next up, I was chosen as a Desmos fellow and will be traveling to San Francisco in mid-July to learn more about Desmos.  I am thrilled to have been chosen for this opportunity and so excited to see my friends from Twitter.  I have never been to San Fran and have been warned that it will be colder than I think.  I can't wait, but as with all my trips, I don't want to hurry them up and wish summer away.

At the end of July, I will be traveling to Atlanta (yes, that's right Atlanta in July) for my second Twitter Math Camp for a week!  I am going with my colleague and again so happy to be meeting up with great Twitter Math Teachers. 

Finally, we will take a family vacation to the Rehoboth Beach area in Delaware for golfing, fishing, swimming, and reading.

I am also taking a class to get credit for Twitter Math Camp and have received curriculum hours to work on Geometry which I haven't taught in a while.

I think I am gone for 28 days!  That's crazy, but I will find a balance work and play.  Bring on summer!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

#DITL Post 12: The InBetween Ending and Beginning

This is the 12th blog post in a series called #DITL - Day in the Life of a Teacher.  My day is #8 and it is June 8th.  We are #stillinschool.  We have classes until next Wednesday then start exams.  We are at the end of the school year.  It has been an easy spring to teach because the weather has been miserable.  Today is finally sunny and it is supposed to get warm.  You can tell summer is coming because there is a big carnival set up in our school front parking lot.  It starts today.  All the cool kids are going :)

I don't think of it as an end, wrap everything up, put it away and kick back and relax.  I wish I did.  I see it as the "in between".  Things are wrapping up for the year.  I am testing on our last unit today which means more grading to do. I have two projects just collected to grade.  The final exams need to be made, edited, copied, along with a few days of review (luckily I have all this done).  But, it is also a time to look forward.  I just looked at next year's school calendar.  I typed it all out with early release days, days off, special events.  This is my road map to planning my year.  I need to see it all.  I don't know what subjects or periods I am teaching next year.  Usually we do know by now, but we switched grading programs and have run into some problems.  I will roughly plan things.  I will open a new google doc and as I see cool things on blogs and Twitter over the summer, I will link to them. 

This morning I actually slept until the alarm.  I usually wake up at 5:30 am but set it for 5:40. I am tired.  I am ready to be done for now.  I have a busy day ahead of me.  It looks like this:

1st block: Quest (in between quiz and test, not a fun scavenger hunt thing) on Stats in Alg 1
Advisory: students voting for next year's positions
2nd block: prep
3rd block: Quest in Alg 1
4th block: Alg 2 Test on Trig Identities
5th block: prep

A pretty good day besides all the resulting grading.  We have a fall sports' meeting on Tuesday night and I coach cross country, so I need to get ready for that today - look at the schedule and make a plan.  Our girls' coach is moving so we have a new coach, so I get to show her the ropes to our season. 

After school will be extra help for one more class having their test tomorrow. 
A goodbye party for our Assistant to the Principal.
Hopefully squeeze in a run to keep up with #fitbos and train for a road race on June 17th.
3:15-5:15 - Last fishing club.
6:45 pm Judge Battle of the it Friday yet?

Into school by 7 and a few kids were in for extra help.
1st block takes their quest - no problem.
Now advisory then a prep so that means 8:30-10 am (precious, valuable time) to listen to my Algebra 2 ebook problems.  I love this project!  I did it to review for the midterms and now for the final exams.  I create 55 different problems and give my students each a different problem.  They do it out on paper and have me check it.  Then, they use AdobeSpark (free voice recording program where they choose their own font, background, music, and add pictures - so easy to use).  Finally they upload this link to a google slide I shared with the classes and they have it as a way to review for the final exam.  I shared this idea with Wendy @wmukluk and she kicked it up a notch and add her kids add pictures and memes to their google slide.  So, I challenged my students to do the same - make it like an advertisement to try and entice the other students to want to listen to their problem.  I love listening to the kids speak through a problem.  It really gives everyone a voice.  They do a great job using all the correct vocabulary and terminology and they even make note of the tiny yet important details I keep reminding them of.  This term we learned about conics, right triangle trig, graphing trig, trig identities, and solving trig.  They sound so sophisticated in their videos.  I am impressed.  One student did add a video of her beautiful color coded work.  As I am listening, I jot down some notes for feedback.  I will email this to some of the students, not all.  I will let them know in class.  Some of them did not include a name, so it became of game of determining the author according to their voice or their handwriting and I was able to do it! Most of them were about 1 minute long and I got through all!
Here is one example screenshot of their slide and work:
Time to switch gears... Next up is 3rd block of the day, so Alg 1 taking a Quest.  I just sent 24 emails to my ebook students, now, I will sit and grade 1st block's assessment.  It is a lot of sitting today which is unusual.  Hope I can get my run in.
11:05 am check in.  I graded one test, now to start another.  My 4th block of the day is here testing.
11:55 am.  Graded second set.  Now onto lunch.  I have been working in fast forward.  I need a breather.
12:35 back to class, hand out study guides for the final exam - 3 more classes to prepare.
Prep for the rest of the day so I will grade this Alg 2 test.
1:26 pm done grading.  I am tired!  Graded 50 ebook projects and 73 tests!  I thought it was going to be a nice easy day but I was motivated to get this done so I don't have to take it home!  Normally I would grade at home while watching tv and then prep during prep or assessments, but I am prepped for the year, so I was able to grade. 
Time to breathe, read and respond to emails, and watch the carnival out front test its rides as they get ready to open tonight.(Taken later at night)

1:50 pm 2 kids for extra help
2-2:15 stop in at Goodbye party
2:15 pm drive home, change into running clothes and treat it as a speed workout to get done quickly.  I am not used to the 80 degree weather and it was a challenge to breathe

3:00 pm jump in the shower and change into fishing clothes (long pants to avoid ticks, have to have pockets for my phone, hat, sneakers)  Grab my worms and on my way.  (I live 1 mile from my HS and 2 miles from the fishing lake.  Very convenient.)

Only my two regulars showed up.  I will call them Robin Hood and Little John.  They are freshmen boys.  Robin  Hood knows everything about fishing and has no fears.  Little John is used to ocean fishing and is trying to learn about freshwater fishing.  We have learned a lot this spring - how to tie a hook, how to untie your fishing line when it gets in a massive nest, how to cast, how to set the hook and actually hook the fish.  We are still working on putting the worm on the hook. They don't want to touch it.  And, taking it off, nope, they don't want to touch the fish either.  Robin Hood does it all though, so it is good to have another helper.  It was two hours of heaven!  Makes my rushing around during the day worth it to be in my favorite place on a 75 degree day (a little cooler at the water).  We caught about 20 sunfish among us but no great fish picture worthy.  So, here's some other pictures:

Here's my favorite spot:

Here's my fishing stuff:

Home by 5:30 to change clothes again into Battle of the Band clothes - jeans and a sweatshirt and make dinner.  I was going to grill chicken but came up with an idea during fishing.  I decided to bake the chicken with pesto on top, then added some chunky chili, and balsamic vinaigrette. Baked it for a bit then added some mozzarella.  It turned out great if I say so myself.

Here's dinner:

6:30 pm back to school to get computer so I can blog (now) as I wait for the Battle of The Bands to start.  It is tough finding parking as the carnival and carnival goers have taken over the school parking lot.  And, there is an Elder Tea in the middle school next door, so their parking is full.  We have about 10 people in the audience, but these kids will have fun.  Let the show begin...

There were 5 bands. All so good, so talented.  Here is a picture of the winners - Escape!

Home around 8:15 pm, type this up, add some pictures and one more clothing change - my favorite - my jammies!  And, a Klondike bar!

Too tired to reflect on teacher things, so I will recap family milestones:

It was a busy month with my family and I am so proud of all of them:
My #4 made his Confirmation and got his driver's permit:
 My #2 graduated from UMASS Dartmouth with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

My #3 graduated from high school and will be going to Westfield State University in the fall. 

 My #1 is just plan busy with work, umpiring baseball, and getting his master's.  He lives in Western MA.

 Good night!