Thursday, August 21, 2014

T-2 weeks until School

We got out of school on June 25th.  Then, it was right to 4th of July.  On July 6th, I brought a group of 50 teens to Mississippi for a mission trip.  My summer began on July 13th.  I barely got out of school mode and it was time to think about getting back into it.  I really do need time to decompress before I can feel fresh and creative and ready to go. 

I was reading Twitter and math blogs, waiting for the inspiration to hit me and it did.  Thanks #MTBoS.  What great ideas.  It doesn't hurt that everyone goes back to school before us (kids come on Sept 4th).  On Twitter, everyone is already posting what they did for the 1st day of school activities.  Thanks for sharing.  I will be using them. 

I made 3 bulletin board, kind of sign things:
This first one is from @rachelrosales  I made a Hopkinton High School twist on it.  In 2010, we lost a senior student to cancer.  His name was Tommy Weaver and he was a friend of my oldest son.  He was a great kid and never lost his wonderful, positive attitude.  Even going through chemo, he applied to college and wrote his essay about B+ , stating, "B+ was not only his blood type but his outlook on live."  He left a big mark on Hopkinton as we wear B+ tshirts and have a scholarship in his name.  So, I bring you this in the middle of one of my walls.  I hope it sticks for at least the next two weeks.
Next up:  Last summer, I took my first (MOOC, look it up because I can't remember exactly what the letters stand for).  It was a class on mindset with Jo Baeler.  It was great. It really got us thinking about a fixed mindset (I can't do math.  I am no good at it.) compared to a growth mindset (I don't understand this yet but if I can stick with it and practice it, I might make sense of it).  Just changing your outlook and it won't lock you into a negative way.  I made this poster modeled by @mathequalslove (Sarah Hagan in OK).  I still need to tape on the title "Change Your Words, Change Your Mindset".  Here it is unfinished, but almost done:
I have seen the idea of all the Algebra 2 equations in many places, so I am not sure who started it.  I will give credit to @MissCalcul8 (Elissa Miller). 

Those posters took me three nights - one to print, one to cut (there are fancy scissor edges), and one to fake laminate (I used Saran's press and seal.  It was a pain to cut out of the box, but it works pretty good.

Today, I did a few more things to get ready.  It started this morning on trash day as the people across the street are moving and threw away these cute pink Ikea chairs.  I made a small, short table last summer, so these chairs will work perfectly.
Not math related, but we are having a community get together on Sunday with our mission trip kids, parents and community to watch a slideshow and share stories about our mission trip to Mississippi.  I made Snapfish books for my adult chaperones and wrapped them all pretty today.  My mother in law made the name cards on them. 
Next up, I got the mail and got the best pencil sharpener ever made.  @mathequalslove Sarah recommended it and I love it.  Of course, it is pink:  (it is from classroom friendly supplies - everyone needs one!)

Since I got my new pencil sharpener, it meant I could sharpen my pencils and attach my fake flowers to them.  I leave these on my desk for my students to borrow and guess what - they don't leave the room.  Kids are a little embarrassed to take them at first, but then they get used to it.  Six lasted me the whole year last year!  I made some new ones this year.  Here is my bouquet of flower pencils:  (like the vase?)
Two more things - both for the first day of school.  In all my classes, as they enter my room on the first day, they get an index card with an algebra problem to solve for X.  The number answered is taped to the desk and that is their seat.  I handwrite all the problems so the kids can just write on the index card.

And, the other thing is a new idea for Algebra 2 involving cups and yarn tools.  I made the yarn tools here.  The idea is from none other than @misscalcul8 Elissa again.  You can read about her trials here:  Cup Challenge

One more big accomplishment for the week was I think I started to figure out Canvas.  It is a new Learning Management System our school will be using this year.  I tried it out at the end of last year and couldn't figure it out, but now it is a bit more user friendly. 

I still have a ton to do, but am in a good place.  I am tired though and tomorrow is Friday.  I coach boys cross country and we started practices today.  That means I coach in the morning and then do a few things at a time in my room.  I am going to finish that darn title tomorrow and call it a week!

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