Saturday, December 24, 2016

All Good Stuff #DILT Post 6 to #WILT

Happy Christmas Eve!  It is 8 am, lots to do today because I am hosting tonight.  But, first, I have so many good things to share.  (Could turn this into a "Week in the Life of a Teacher Post #WILT - yep, wilting is about right, LOL)

I made some new scarves.  I got the idea from Beth @algebrasfriend to use Sharpie markers on silk scarves from then spray with rubbing alcohol.  So fun to think of how to mix the colors and draw the designs.  Also, so gratifying because I can make 5 in one day unlike my knitting scarves.

Here are some designs.

I gave one to my secret pal at school.  I call it Lilypads.

This is one of my favorite for my best friend.  I call it Flowers. Before and after the spray:

My other friend loves all black.  I had a hard time getting creative with it, wanted to add some color, but I think she will like it.  I call it Puddles.

All my kids were able to come home on Tuesday so we could go to dinner and see Star Wars.  Dinner is always a comedy show with my boys.  They make me laugh.  They will all be home for bits today.  Three out of the four have to work and Kyle has a job at the movie theater so he has to work 5-9, missing church and our party.  I am sad, but at least he doesn't have to work tomorrow on the Big Day.

I wrapped presents last Friday. Took me 6 hours.  I wouldn't say I love to wrap, but I do like the whole process of organizing all I bought, taking the prices off, putting the kids stuff into piles, finding the right box, and then wrapping them.  Oh, I have so much paper.  I will say I am not a great wrapper either, but it is done!

I wrote lots of letters of recommendations this year.  It is fun to start hearing.  I feel like I am getting in.  One student gave me these awesome Pi socks for writing hers and another came back with a thank you note and news that she was accepted to WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) with a $100K scholarship - Woah!

My notebook - it is at my home desk and is my To-Do list.  I like to put it all in this 5 subject notebook so I don't have a million sticky notes everywhere.  I have ONE more page left.  I was curious to see when it started....August 2007, crazy.  I could go back and find passwords and hotel reservations and summer plans, so much goodness in this thing!

We had five full days of school this week but we all survived.  The kids were good and we still did a lot of learning.  I started four days of exponentials and logs with my Algebra 2 kids and made them promise not to forget any of it over break, we shall see!  Yesterday, on the last day, we played board games.  I have a board game problem, I love them.  This is just some of what I have.  They are on top of a cool, free craft table I got from Facebook.  First time I have extended the sides, but it is awesome.  I love seeing which kids play together (or alone) on the games.  I like to see what they choose, hear which of them they have at home.  I feel like a games salesperson - "I think your group would like this game."  Othello, Connect Four, Five Second Challenge were popular.  Logo was too hard for most.  Happy Salmon is a new game a group of girls had a blast with.  Regular deck of cards worked well for Spoons, Spit, and Poker.  I didn't have chips, so they used my hexagon pieces.  The kids were instantly engaged and classes flew by.

I came home and had a second day of baking.  I do love to bake and dare I say I am pretty good at it.  Another thing, I love to organize and put thought into the best order to prepare so there is no empty oven in the process.  This took my almost four hours.  I had two doughs prepared the night before.  I also love to eat my own baking too.

So, the wrapping and baking are done.  I host the Eve, so we will go to church and then come back her to eat.  I have done all different things in the past.  They are usually simple things like calzones or lasagna or Chinese food because we have mass beforehand.  This year, I am doing all appetizers and cookies, skipping the entree.  We have two big meals tomorrow with a big brunch at my side of the family and then a big dinner at his side of the family.  I have 11 appetizers planned.  I guess I should get up and figure out recipes and start organizing that.

Some good things planned for break - I am going with friends to see a new musical on Sam Shah's recommendation "Dear Evan Hansen" for an overnight Wed, Thursday.  I want to listen to more of #DitchSummit (check it out, only open until Dec 31st).  I came up with an idea for an Alg2 midterm review I will work on .  And, I am going to write a proposal for Twitter Math Camp 2017!  (And, keep watching Gilmore Girls (on season 4))

Happy Vacation and Happy Holidays.  This was supposed to be a quick hit blog post that turned long.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Day in the Life Post 5: #DITL - A Typical Thursday

This is my 5th post in the Day of the Life of a Teacher Series.  My number is 8 and it is the 8th of December - a typical, busy, 30 degree Thursday.

5:30 am - wake up, check my email and news on my phone, shower, dress, make a salad.  Check my senior sons grades and see that a lot is missing, so I write him a note to see two teachers and check in with them on what he can still turn in.  Wake him at 6:15 with this fun, morning news, not.  We are having an informational meeting next Wednesday about our church youth group's summer mission trip to the Adirondacks in NY.  I sent the paperwork off to a friend for her to proof it.  Made some edits and I think it is ready to print.

6:30 am - leave for school, realizing I forgot to water the Christmas tree, so put it on my to-do list for this afternoon.  It is cold enough I have to scrap my car and drive my 1 mile commute to work.  As I come in, I check the copier to see if I forgot anything and I didn't.

6:45 am - blog above and below to lay out my day:
Here is the plan for the day, we will see if things go accordingly.
7:35 am 1st block is Algebra 1 - we are learning about rational exponents.  I taught the lesson yesterday.  It went well.
8:30 am 2nd block is Algebra 2 - we will be having a quiz tomorrow so we will go over a study guide of what will be on the quiz and do a review packet.  It is everything on radicals and rationals - simplify, operations with, graph, solve, and applications with.  It is a lot!
9:30 am - we would normally have Advisory on Thursday but we will be having an ALICE drill today.  This is if there were an intruder.  I don't really like practicing it but it is necessary.  My first year teaching, we had an intruder at the end of the school day on a Friday.  It was a scary situation.  All turned out okay, but schools should be a safe place and I hate that we have to prepare for this.
9:50 am - another Algebra 2 class - same quiz prep.
10:50 am - my Foundations of Algebra 1 class.  Yesterday I laid the hammer down and we had to resort to a class contract.  On the first day of school, I did my normal class expectations but the behavior in this class is so disruptive, it is not a good learning environment.  So, I drafted a contract.  I read every word to the students.  There is space for them and a parent to sign it.  I emailed it home to parents right after class and have heard from some parents.  I should say I have heard from the parents of the children who are not disruptive, mostly saying they are sorry it has come to this.  I shouldn't have to put in writing "no throwing of things" "no shredding of paper", but I had to.  I went to a 3 strikes and you get a detention.  We had one student get 2 strikes and 1 get one strike.  It will be a clean slate today.  I do have them for block period which is 1 hour before lunch and 20 minutes after lunch, so here's hoping it goes well.  I have a fun class prepared with Estimation 180, 3 Solve Me puzzles as a whole class,  a visual pattern, math minutes on solving equations, Sum It UP in groups.  After lunch, I have Noah's Ark.
Last period is prep.
After school will be busy.  I have to cover office detention, monitor a colleague's students who missed a test, have my own students making up a quiz, have math team, and extra help.

And, that will take me til 3.  Let's begin.  I have to go now because it is 7:02 and I have students for morning extra help.

12:55 pm - prep period.  Finally a breather after straight classes.  We did the ALICE drill and it really takes a lot out of you even when you know it was a drill.  We had some good conversation about different scenarios and really tried to think about all our possibilities if we were to leave the room or barricade the doors.  According to the scenario, the intruder wasn't close to us so my group chose to evacuate.

In my Algebra 1 class, I put up the same 2 simplify exponents questions as DO Nows as yesterday.  We did them yesterday and we did them today.  No one in my first class noticed.  In my second class, I asked, "Did you notice anything about these problems?"  Nope.  "Did they look familiar?"  Nope.  We did them yesterday as openers...looking back at notes, "Oh, yeah, we did."  Yikes, didn't stick.

In my Foundations of Algebra 1 class, my contract is pretty strict and the kids were having a tough time with it.  There is no food allowed in our classrooms at all, a school rule, but one boy decided to take a strike and eat a bar anyways.  That caused an uproar with another girl who tried to decide since she was sooooo hungry if eating something was worth the strike.  She tried to sneak it.  We caught her, gave her a strike, and she decided to leave the room for the entire class.  I had to write her up, however, class moved on and we were able to as I planned.

Now, prep period and I need to prep for this next class in Foundations.  In my accelerated classes, I can prep ahead because I know what we will and need to get done in class.  In Foundations, I never know how much we will get to, so I can only prep one day at a time.

1:46 - prep flew by.  I am leaving with a plan of looking at my Alg 1 quiz for next week.  I will adjust it tomorrow during my prep.  Now, I will get ready for a bunch of kids in my class.

5:07 - time to blog again, backing up to after school time

1:50 - my classroom fills.  I have 2 out of 5 detention people report to stay for an hour.  I have 4 out of 4 of a colleague's students come to take a quiz.  I have 2 of my own students who will be out tomorrow and miss the quiz and are going to take it early.  I have 2 kids for math team.  I have about 10 more for extra help.  It is a mix of Alg 1 and Alg 2 because their graded assignments are due tomorrow.  I also have Alg 2 kids for extra help to prepare for the quiz tomorrow.  Lots of math happening.  It's a good thing.

3:20 pm - finally leave school

3:30 pm - home

3:40 pm - go for a run.  I try to run whenever I can.  It gets trickier as the day gets shorter.  It was about 35 degrees and the sun would be setting soon, but I squeezed it in.  I almost got side tracked by some youth group emails, but I went for a run and made the emails wait, otherwise the sun would have set.  It was a good 3.5 mile run as I thought about my Foundations class today and thought about 2 different sets of projects I must find time to grade but decide today is not the day.  When I am done with my run, I stop and walk and add a few things to my tomorrow's to do list - like return two overdue library books and fill out some paperwork for my paycheck.

4:15 pm - home from run to my 15 year old son giving my 17 year old son a haircut.  He usually does a good job but this was getting goofy and he only left a tiny bit of hair at the front top of his head.  Then, they just decided to buzz the whole thing because he had to get to work.  He got a job at a movie theater (great gig) and has to work at 5:30 tonight.

4:25 pm - take my 2nd quick shower of the day, time for jammies - yep 4:30 is jammie time today!  remember I need to water the tree, water the tree

4:40 pm - sit down to computer to answer some youth group emails.  We have a Drop and Shop this Saturday, so we have our high schoolers volunteering to watch kids ages 3 and up from noon - 4.  We have so much fun planned - games, music, a puppet show, face painting, cookie decorating, and lots of crafts.  I had to check on the little kid sign up and the HS sign ups.  We have 18 little kids and 22 Hs kids, should be fun.

5:00 - decide to blog but realized I didn't bring home my school computer, so no pictures in this post, too hard on my old home computer, luckily blogger saves from what I started at school.

Going to respond to the blog questions:
1.)  What is a teacher decision I was proud of today and one I am not so proud of?
I made the decision not to give my Foundation of Algebra 1 class homework today.  They worked really well for the entire block period.  We don't have math tomorrow so this will give them no homework over the weekend which is a nice break.  Not so proud, can't think of one now.

2.)  Everyone's lives are full of ups and downs.  Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher.  What are looking forward to?  What has been a challenge for you lately?
We have a school holiday party tomorrow after school.  I am looking forward to this.  On Saturday, our youth group is hosting a Drop and Shop for little ones.  It is always nice to see my high school students out of the school setting.  And, next Wednesday, I have an informational meeting for next summer's mission trip, so I am excited to see how many people are interested in it, old and new.  We can take 55 kids.  What has been a challenge for me - just keeping up.  I made too much new.  I used to be able to be prepped a week ahead of time, but I am lucky if I am prepped for the next day.  I don't like it.

3.)   We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is.  As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students.  Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.  
I think we built some relationships as we thought about our ALICE intruder drill today and what we would do in case of an intruder.  Would we run? Would we barricade?  I shared my story from an intruder 12 years ago.  

Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year.  
What have you been doing to work toward your goal?  How do you feel you are doing?
I just answered this one in my most recent post so I am sticking with my vertical whiteboard goal.  In algebra 1, we are doing exponent rules and I found 4 great exponent problems on  We did them as board problems and it really had the kids seeing some patterns and got them thinking, thank you!

What else happened this month that you would like to share?
Well, I got to present at ATOMIC (math conference in CT) on Monday.  It was very exciting.  I woke up in MA to snow and had a slippery 1.5 hour commute.  But, I got to meet up with Jen Silverman @jensilvermath and a friend from Maine, Shawn Towle, and Courtney Muir.  I presented last year about MTBoS goodness to about 15 people.  This year I had a room of 67 people!  Very exciting.  I had some people who told me they heard me speak last year.  I had people stop by the MTBoS booth after and tell me they really liked it and they already set up stuff for tomorrow.  I used a powerpoint with class pictures to present 15 different review games and activities to make reviewing or practicing fun.  I also had a google slide that had more detailed info on what types of questions to choose, steps to doing it, a blog post link, a ppt link, and a worksheet link if available.  I made a cool bookmark with a QR code to the google slide and a link to it.  I had some pre-service teachers from UCONN there and put the plug in to get connected on Twitter because that is where all these ideas came from.  I spoke for about 30 minutes and then we played for 30 minutes.  I think I will write it up for a proposal for #TMC17.

Time to think about dinner.....or sit on the couch.  Be right back.
Nope, got side tracked on the computer and started to prepare my script to read at next week's mission meeting, had to look up some details and figure out costs.

6:15 pm made dinner for my husband, myself, and my youngest son.  I am still used to cooking for 6 so it is hard to cook for 3.  I made Peachy Pork Picante.  I cube pork chops and then mix it in half a bag of taco seasoning, brown it on top of the stove, then add 6 oz of peach preserves and 1/2 cup of salsa, mix and simmer.  I serve over white rice, easy and yummy.

6:50 pm sitting down to veg in front of the tv.

9:20 pm, falling asleep on the couch, so time for bed.  I watched the rest of Hairspray Live, an episode of Speechless and the season 2 finale, episode 21 of Gilmore Girls.  Hey, don't judge I did some work on knitting a blanket while watching.

Here's to Friday - 1 prep, 2 quiz periods and a school holiday party!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day in the Life Post 4 #DITL: What I do when I'm Angry...

This is the fourth post in the Day in the Life of a Teacher #DITL series that I am taking part in.  I received an email earlier in the week to comment on this graph:
I was not feeling this valley for November.  I was actually feeling pretty good, like I could breathe again.  I just wrapped up coaching my tenth season of cross country with our team banquet on Monday night and freed up some of my time.  I love the team, the runners, everything about it, but it is a big time commitment and a lot of effort and it is nice when the season is over.  The boys even gave me this cool shirt:

Tuesday was great.  I had four rock star girls stay after school to work on an Algebra 2 assignment sheet with some tough questions on it.  I did not have the answer key done, so we were working together.  They are so creative and bright.  They enjoy it and persevere.  It is refreshing to work with them.

Then, this morning came.  I woke up and something happened school related, but I am going to be vague about it, sorry. 

Disclaimer: The rest of this post is said with sarcasm, tongue-and-check, and some seriousness, yet still vague.

We had a half day before Thanksgiving.  I had 3 classes out of 5 and in two we played Quizizz and in Algebra 2 we did a Who Do It? - A Radical Murder Mystery practicing with radical equations.  It was a great short day with the students.

Meanwhile, I was trying to deal with aforementioned problem.  It is nothing I will be able to fix now.  I will just have to make do and find a way to fix it in the future.  It just made me really, really angry.  So, this is about how I reacted.

I really wanted to come home and curl up on the couch with a book, but then I realized I have 17 people coming for Thanksgiving so I got productive.

I put a last coat of polyurethane on my new wooden pi lazy susan for in the middle of my kitchen table.  (It has 1200 digits on it and is about 18 inches in diameter)  I am going to have all my family members sign the back of it at Thanksgiving tomorrow as a memory of 2016.  It will be our first without Grampa, who passed away in September.

I got to cleaning like a mad woman!  I dusted like crazy, vacuumed, picked up stuff everywhere. 

Then, it was time to start the food.  I turned on some Christmas music to try to get out of my own head.

I took a butcher knife and worked at cutting the squash.  When it was done, I got my anger out by mashing it.

I took the chef's knife and chopped (really just cubed) the potatoes to soak in water and be made into mashed potatoes tomorrow.

I made a chocolate pie.  I cut apples and made a mile high chocolate pie that kind of looks like a turkey itself.  It is a dark picture because it is tucked away in the corner, hoping none of my animals finds it. 

I baked some chocolate chip cookies and had a warm one before I went for a run.  After 5 hours of cleaning and standing in the kitchen, I needed to get a run in before it was dark.  Just a short one, but I needed some fresh air and still to clear my head.

Home again and time to change - time to "wash that gray right out of my hair".  And, as I sit here with the dye on, I am blogging.  Another form of processing it.

And, I do feel better.  It does help that I got a second piece of mail in a week today.  It was a nice card from a community friend about my father in law and remembering him.  I love getting mail.  I love warm chocolate chip cookies.  I love having my family over tomorrow and eating and playing games.  And, I have moved on.

#DITL Reflection Questions and Answers:
1.)  What is a teacher decision you are proud of today?  What is one you are worried wasn't ideal?
I was happy I didn't give the kids quizzes this week.  I usually like to wrap things up before breaks but it fell nicely in that we could just play practice review games.  The kids were totally engaged and having fun for the 35 minute classes today.  A teacher decision that wasn't ideal - perhaps this post?

2.)  Everyone's lives are full of ups and downs.  Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher.  What are looking forward to?  What has been a challenge for you lately?
It is funny how entwined my feelings/emotions/moods are dictated by what happens at school.  Yesterday, feeling super, bam, today, not.  I will get passed it though.  I am looking forward to presenting in CT on Dec 5th and seeing Jen Silverman again.  I am presenting on ways to make review fun from low tech to tech.  I am also excited to share the news of next summer's mission trip with the parents and youth at a Dec 14th when we have an informational night.  (I do need to get ready for that.)
3) We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is.  As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students.  Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.  
I loved extra help with the girls mentioned above.  They are accelerated students.  The assignment sheet isn't due until Wednesday, Nov 30th and they are working hard on it. 
It's like a party with them, and doing math at the same time.

4) Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year.  
What have you been doing to work toward your goal?  How do you feel you are doing?
My goal is to have the kids up and working on #vnps (vertical non-permanent surfaces) and I love it!  I love finding new problems to make them think together at the boards. I love just standing in the middle and watching them work and listening to their discussions.  Their work is getting neater and more organized all the time.  I had a student teacher come to class first block on Monday.  She got to see the kids use desmos to look at the transformations of radical graphs in a teacher activity I created and she got to see the kids work together at the board on 4 more in depth, trickier graphing problems.  

5) What else happened this month that you would like to share?
It was my birthday month and my sister's so there was a lot of fun.  I went out with a high school friend on my birthday to dinner and to catch up.  Two days later, I went to dinner with another friend for my birthday.  Two days later it was my sister's 40th birthday and all my siblings and and nieces and nephews went out to lunch and bowling.  It was so fun.  Then, last week, I went with the first friend out again to see the movie The Edge of 17 which is all about high school awkwardness.  I highly recommend it.  And, tomorrow, all about hanging out with family.

Thanks for reading. And, now I am off to read a book.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day in the Life: Post 3: #DITL - My Birthday!

What do teacher's do on their birthdays?  Blog?

When asked which day to post my Day in the Life post, I picked the 8th day because if you made it here, you should know 8 is my lucky number but it is also my favorite number and it is also my birthday.  So, I get to document my birthday.  It also happens to be a Professional Development Day due to voting.

I like my birthday.  I talk about it.  I plan things.  I don't wait around hoping for people to tell me Happy Birthday.  I tell them.  I don't shout it from the rooftops, but if I want to be happy on my birthday, I plan it.

It started off by making sure I graded two sets of quizzes from yesterday, yesterday so I didn't have to grade on my birthday. :)

I decided not to set my alarm for my usual 5:40 am because we don't have to be in until 7:20 and with no kids, I could walk in the door at that time.  But, I am a morning person and my eyes pinged open at 5:40.  I did my usual phone routine and was so happy to see a Facebook post from my Dad.  My parents live in Florida, I am in Massachusetts. My Dad has a tradition of always picking a song and posting it for friends and families' birthdays.  It made my day.  He picked Tim McGraw's "My Little Girl".  If you don't know it, go, now!  iframe width="480" height="270" src="" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen="">
I have four awesome boys, but no girls, but I am always his little girl and I work to make him proud every day.  He always has a tradition of calling people at 6 am on their birthdays, so I took that call and then jumped in the shower. 

We don't have enough lunch time to go out and grab something, so I still made my salad, but I didn't have to make my 2 sons sandwiches because they are off.

My mother in law gave me my present last night.  She knit me a beautiful scarf.  It is a light pink.  I picked my outfit out around it so I could wear it today.

Here I am, ready to head out for the day at 6:30 for my 1 mile commute to school:

 I entered school through the front door to the front office to check my mailbox so I could pick up a quiz that one of my inside school suspension kids took yesterday (so I will grade 1 quiz today) and the vice principal stopped me to thank me for doing a little presentation yesterday about Adobe Spark and to say he liked it.  :)

  Into my room, to finally have a few quiet minutes to get it back in order.  Move the desks back from rows, clean the board, organize what I need to do for the day.

My big plans:
Work until 2
Vote at 2
Run after that then shower
Dinner with a high school friend at 6 pm

I have another great problem on an Algebra 2 assignment sheet that has me stumped.  I don't remember where I got it from.  I am going to print it out and ask some colleagues to try it:

10.)  B and D are midpoints of  segments ACand EC in triangleACE. Segment BD = 7.  The perimeter of triangle BDE is 20.  Find the perimeter of ABDE.

Head to the bathroom, run into my senior son's teacher who tells me he is failing the class because he isn't doing the work, make a note to call him later to get him working.

My colleague friend ran the Disney half marathon on Sunday, so she stopped in at 7:20, chatted until breakfast until 7:45 am.

Went to the cafeteria for an amazing hot breakfast as we looked at the board for our school's first #edcamp style PD day.

It is 8:30 and I am starting at "Best Practices for Supported Classes".  #HHSedcamp  I will tweet a little bit throughout.

Special ed teacher concerns - how can we support the teachers when we have so many different learning platforms - places for the kids to have to go to.
Maybe make a toolbox for teachers to go to and grab - a graphic organizer, exemplars.
Students could do a voice memo and send it instead of writing an explanation.
Lots of great conversation on how to help kids on IEPs. 

9:10 heading to the library for 10th grade PLCs- horizontal alignment.  Big concern - tests and quizzes falling on the same day from different classes.  Thinking about the amount of homework assigned when.

9:45 am break time, back to my room for a breather to decide what my next Alg 1 unit looks like and take a bathroom break.  Give my computer a few minutes of juice. Text son to do the above homework.  Decide where to go next.  I might go to Breakout.  I have done one before and love it and want to make another this year.  I wonder if it will be doing a breakout or just discussing it.  I might want to play.

10:00 am Yep, there is a breakout box. Time to play.  I am very competitive.  We better breakout.  Hoping this inspires me to create a new one for Alg 1 this year.  I made an elaborate one for Alg 2.  We only had 30 minutes and we broke out in 18 minutes!  Yeah us!  We did the Time Warp one about communication.  Found out the middle school just got a great and bought a bunch of boxes.  I already bought my own.  It is really fun.  Now to find time to make an algebra 1 one.

10:40 am Going to the one on Twitter.  Let's see if I can help get anyone started.  It is fun to sell something you really love!

11:15 am Lunch time.  It was a fun morning to go to what we wanted to go to and to get to chat with colleagues I don't normally get time to sit with.

12:00 pm Math Department meeting: Looking at the curriculum and determining what is missing or does it need to be moved? Changes don't look to bad.  I am already doing it all in accelerated anyways, phew.

1:15 pm back to planning Algebra 1 new unit on Systems. 

1:45 pm ALICE drill practice.  They came over the loud speaker to give us a scenario to think about how we would react.  Will have a drill with the students this year.

Overall, it was a nice PD day.  I feel like we are all on our separate hamster wheel, going round and round and today we got to stop, take a breath and just catch up.  We had some great conversations and made important connections.  

2:00 pm, leave the high school and drive right next door to the middle school to vote.  No lines, no waiting, walk right in and vote.  Easy, peasy.

2:15 pm, home to my two sons.  Check in with them to see what they did on their day off.  They worked at a friend's house putting stuff into a dumpster and got paid.  Pretty productive.  Now, Kyle is heading off to play some golf because it is just gorgeous out.

2:20 pm, head out for a run:
Temperature is a bit different from my scarf weather this morning.  It is short-sleeved running weather because it is sunny and 61 degrees.  I don't usually share my speed, but it was a great run and my shadow got super long:

3 pm - catch a bit of Ellen's monologue an jump in the shower.  Blog.
3:30 pm - time to read.  I started the book "The Storified Life of A.J. Fikry" on a friend's recommendation last night.  I was super tired, so I didn't last long.  But, now I am going to go sit outside and read!  What a treat! 

It was so gorgeous out for Nov 8th in MA.  What a wonderful luxury to just sit and read.  I read until 5:30.  Then, it was time to head to dinner with my friend.  She brought me a balloon and a card.  I had a yummy seafood risotto di mare and we had a melty chocolate dessert with ice cream.  I am so full.  Dinner was 6 - 8. is time to read.  This book is soooooo good.  I highly recommend it.  It is short but I am reading it so slow because I don't want it to end.

A heavenly day (and I managed to avoid all politics).


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Just what I needed this morning

I am feeling so overwhelmed this school year and it isn't a good feeling.  It is leading to other feelings I don't like.  I decided to google "prayer for peace" and this came up from  .  

I will be visiting them each morning now.

Pray this prayer today:
Father, I’ve lived without margin in my life for so long I can hardly remember what it’s like to not feel fatigue or pressure all the time. I think fatigue is the normal way I’m supposed to live and feel, but it’s not. I’m tired of being rushed and late and exhausted all the time. I’ve got too many irons in the fire, and I need your help to get out of the mess I’ve gotten myself into. Help me to recognize and accept my limitations. Help me to put some space in my schedule. I need breathing room and margin in my life. Jesus Christ, I know I can’t do it all, and I need your wisdom in deciding what matters most and what I should do. I don’t want to waste my life. Please give me the courage to say ‘no’ to the wrong things and ‘yes’ to the right things. Most of all, help me to trust you. Forgive me for thinking and acting as if everything depends on me. It doesn’t. It all depends on you! I want to have greater faith in you and less reliance on myself. I want less stress and more margin in my life. In your name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Adobe Spark from #masscue16

I attended my first #MassCUE16 conference this week at Gillette Stadium.  It was so cool to be at Gillette for a conference.  Our school even got to go on the field for a picture:

#MassCUE16 stands for "Massachusetts Computer Using Educators" so it was a tech conference, not just related to math.  I went for two days.  We had some great keynote speakers and amazing breakfasts and lunches.  Thank you #MassCUE16.  Nicely done!

One of the presentations I attended was called "Using Adobe Voice in Math" - Yes, Math in the title - so I went!  It was presented by Annie Mazur from Weston Schools.  Here is the description:

"In this workshop you will have the opportunity to explore the Adobe Voice app and learn how it can be used in a math class. Workshop attendees will be able to explore the app and create their own Adobe Voice presentations."

Annie teaches middle school math and showed us Adobe Spark as a free program to add voice to slides.  She showed us middle schoolers working through a geometry problem and explaining their steps.  Their voices are so darn cute!  She said when she first learned about the program, she wanted to do it a lot but quickly realized, it takes a lot of time to grade them.  Something to consider.

Then, we got to play Adobe Spark is super easy.  You pick a background theme, chose from a great variety of pictures, choose some catchy music, and type in your problem.  For each slide, you are only allowed to speak for 20 seconds.  There is no editing.  If you make a mistake, you simply re-record.  Then, you save it and share it.

I was missing two days of class in my Accelerated Algebra 2 class.  They just tested on the first unit and were moving into Quadratics.  I was hoping it was mostly a review but we were doing Maximizing Revenue questions which are always challenging even when I am actually in the classroom.  So, I went home from day 1 of MassCUE and made one.

 I found a good problem online.  It had to do with a bus, so I found a picture, chose a background and some music.  I typed the beginning of the slides, then I did the problem out step by step.  I did one step, took a picture, did another step, took another picture, etc.  Uploaded the pictures and finally added my voice.  Super easy.  I think it took me a half hour.  I like the result.  I put it up on my Canvas class site and sent them an announcement to watch it the next day in class.

Here it is:

Maximizing Revenue

Alg 2 - Symbol Questions I Like

In Accelerated Algebra 2, I am making new graded assignment sheets.  In my old batch, I had one question with symbols that I really liked.  The students would struggle with it but they were very excited when they finally got it.  These "symbol" questions come up a lot in our math team competition so I think I found some of these there.

The kids are seeing more of them and are able to do them.  I am hoping they get one on our state test, the SAT, or the ACT because they will rock it.

Here are some of my favorites:

Alg 2 - Quadratics - a favorite question

Again, in Accelerated Algebra 2, I made new graded assignment sheets of 10 questions each, on any type of material.  In Accelerated Algebra 1, the students are introduced to the quadratic formula and imaginary numbers.  In Accelerated Algebra 2, we haven't reviewed this yet, so it was interesting to see what they remembered from Algebra 1 with this question.

This is another one of my favorite questions from a different assignment sheet.  Again, I apologize, I don't remember where I found it:

So much goodness - what is a root?  What is a quadratic equation?  What does "integral coefficients mean"?  And, then is that number one number or two numbers?

When I started doing this one myself, I started by thinking if this is complex root, there is another root that is subtracting the imaginary part and I can write these as factors and multiply.  It got messy.  I think I made a mistake and I was not successful, so I tried another method.

I decided to work through the quadratic formula backwards.  I saw a common denominator of 40 and worked from there.  It worked pretty well.  I could figure out "a" and "b" but c was still a fraction.  Some kids who worked through this wanted to hand it in with integer A, integer B, and fraction C.  Nope, what can they do?  They figured it out.  (I am not going to provide answers here.)  I was successful in this method though and really liked it - giving thought to how do you work with the "i" backwards, how do you work with number outside the square root backwards?

I also tried factoring backwards.  If I use "a" as one and try to factor forwards with the "what multiplies to "c" and adds to "b"?  Then, I could do that backwards.  I added them to get "b" and multiplied them to get "c".  I dealt with the fractions and voila!

Three great methods for this problem.  As I worked with students, I asked them some guiding questions to see what they remembered, decide what "root" they wanted to take (pun intended).

I like it!

Alg 2: Recursive functions - a favorite problem

This year in Accelerated Algebra 2, I decided to make new assignment sheets.  My assignment sheets are 10 questions long and assigned once every 7 day cycle.  They are collected and graded and can be on any material.  I do these to keep the math discussion going outside of the classroom and outside of what we are working on at the moment.  I got these new problems from SAT, ACT, and math team questions.  I don't remember where this particular problem came from, but it has been one of my favorites so far:

In class, we have not done recursive functions yet, but we have done function notation.  This really checks their understanding.  They think they start to figure it out and do f(2) but then they just use "2" for f(2).  They also want to try to find a shortcut to get to f(10).  I explain that they need to use the previous answer to get the next answer, so they cannot skip it.

Give it a try.  I like it.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Day In The Life: Post 2 #DITL Series: A Hurried Beginning: Oct 8

A Hurried Beginning to My School Year

This is the 2nd post in the Day in the Life of a Teacher Series

    I am taking a mini-family vacation to Maine to recoup and reconnect and to BREATHE.  The first thing I did when I got here was run down to the water and said "I can breathe!"

   It has been a hurried, chaotic, overwhelming beginning to my school year.  Just a combination of many things.  I feel like I am constantly working hard to do things on my to do list and making progress by prioritizing only to wake up the next day and having an even longer to do list.  I feel like a car constantly revving the engine and working hard, but this weekend is about putting it in neutral for a while as I recharge by the water and reconnect with my family.  Three of my four sons are here with us and my mother in law.  It is nice family time to eat dinners together, fish, throw the ball to the dogs in the water, play games.  I love it!

   We started our school year with being told we had to do 10 hours of mandated training on the computer by the end of September, so I sat with my computer over Labor Day weekend and did it.  Then, we were told they adjusted some of it to make it optional.  It still was 10 precious hours of my time.
   I had to write 17 letters of recommendation.  I do like writing them and bragging about the students.  I have most of them in Algebra 1 and 2 and some on Relay for Life, Cross Country, or Youth Group so there is a lot of good stuff to talk about, but again, takes time.  I wrote those all in September.
   I coach cross country boys.  There are 56 boys on the team.  We start a week before school which is good because there is so much paperwork to deal with - trying to collect all the boys' emails and their parent emails.  I need to make sure they have submitted their permission form and their up-to-date physical forms.  I ask them to email me their goals for the season.  I also have to design each practice as a differentiated school lesson because the runners come to me with a different base.  Some are capable of running 6 miles, so cannot run 1 mile, so I have three different plans each day.  We practice or race six days a week.  It is a second job and takes a lot of time.  The kids are great and make it all worth it though.
   Church Youth Group started up in September.  Three other moms and myself work hard to keep it alive.  We met with our group and came up with our school year calendar of events.  We had a parents' meeting that is not well attended to get other parents to help us plan and drive to events.  It is our church's 150th anniversary and we are getting for a big mass and celebration on Oct 23rd where our youth group will sing and serve.
    I am in my 12th year of teaching and decided some things needed some freshening up.  I teach three different classes - Accelerated Algebra 1 and 2 and Foundations of Algebra 1.  I decided my graded assignments needed to be updated.  These are 10 questions to be worked on outside of class and are due once a cycle.  Our cycle is 7 days.  I am getting the new questions from SAT, ACT, math team, and Exeter problems, but that means I need to do them first and decide if they are appropriate, type them, do an answer key.  It takes more time to grade them because I am not as familiar with the questions.  The questions are good and causing some great conversations for the kids.  I came up with a WYR: Would You Rather:
    **Would you rather be the student who does 10 challenging math problems in 7 days or
     **The teacher who has to read/decipher/find/analyze/grade 1100 math problems in 7 days?
     -->  I vote for being the student.
   I went to TMC16 (Twitter Math Camp) this summer and was inspired to try VNPS - Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces with VRG - Visible Random grouping - a fancy way of saying have the students in random groups working at the white boards.  It was a bit of work up front to buy and make the white boards and hang them in my room and I hold my breath every day that when I walk into my classroom, they will still be hanging.  It has been worth every bit.  It has changed the way I teach and I love it!  The problems the kids are working on are richer.  The conversations/discussions/debated are awesome.  Nothing like having a student physically step back and take a look at their group work.  I love it.  So, I am spending more time finding meaningful, meaty problems.
     I also decided I wanted to make new tests and quizzes for my Alg 2 class.  Again, find and write new questions, do edits, check for timing, do answer keys.
    All this happening, going on and BAM!  In mid-September, my father-in-law died.  It wasn't a surprise.  He was fighting all year.  He died of liver and kidney failure.  He was very sick and we were with him the day before he passed.  He lives 1 mile from us and was a very important person in our lives.  He was the most proud Grampa ever.  He went to every sport/ball game my kids had.  He just loved to brag about them all.  It was the first time my kids experienced someone close to them dying.  So, school life was put on hold as we planned the funeral and wake, shopped for clothes to wear, made a slide show, wrote a eulogy.  It was an exhausting week.  My students were great and understanding and gave me hugs.  My cross country captains came to the wake.  It was on our Back to School night so some of my teacher friends stopped in before they went back to school.
     Add to this I have one of my son's is a senior, so we are busy trying to get him to write his college essay, figure out where and if he might want to go to college, applying for financial aid and just trying not to miss any deadlines.
    Can you say crazy busy?
     That's why I needed a breather.
     Yesterday I tried paddle boarding.  It wasn't exactly fun given that the water in Maine is very cold and I didn't want to fall in, but I took the risk and did it!

      I caught a nice bass with lots of other little fish.

      The sun was beautiful yesterday.

      The sunset.

    And, then I woke up today and went for a run on these hills and it reminded of my year so far so I came up with a little prayer:

 May I always remember to notice my beautiful surroundings,
know the sun will continue to rise,
work hard on the uphills, and
breathe on the downhills. is time to fish!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Perpendicular Lines Alg 1 #VNPS

Just did another 20 minute board problem in Accelerated Algebra 1 after lunch.  They are getting so good and going straight into their board groups after lunch and instantly starting.  Today, I used an Open Middle problem I saw on Twitter.  They attacked it different ways, some drew the problem with boxes, some started listing numbers 0-9 and then the fractions, some drew the graph.  I love watching as they look around the room to see what other groups are doing.  I had one group get it pretty quickly and they just naturally went to help some other groups, not by telling them the answer, but by giving them clues or asking them leading questions - natural teacher moves.  Yeah VNPS again!

Perpendicular Lines Alg 1 #VNPS

Just did another 20 minute board problem in Accelerated Algebra 1 after lunch.  They are getting so good and going straight into their board groups after lunch and instantly starting.  Today, I used an Open Middle problem I saw on Twitter.  They attacked it different ways, some drew the problem with boxes, some started listing numbers 0-9 and then the fractions, some drew the graph.  I love watching as they look around the room to see what other groups are doing.  I had one group get it pretty quickly and they just naturally went to help some other groups, not by telling them the answer, but by giving them clues or asking them leading questions - natural teacher moves.  Yeah VNPS again!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Linear Programming Alg 2 #VNPS

Have I said I am in love with #VNPS - Vertical, non-permanent surfaces.  I am having fun coming up with challenging problems for the students to work on together.  But, even more excited about the conversations that are happening.  Just like the research shows, they are engaged right away and off to work.  They are working the entire time.  They are organizing their work because they know they all have to be able to interpret it.  They are labeling units!  They are drawing beautiful graphs.  They are standing back and looking at their work.  They are correcting each other politely.  They are learning other strategies from others.  I could go on and on.  I love it!

In my Accelerated Algebra 2 class, we had a lesson on Linear Programming today.  I also teach Accelerated Algebra 1 so I know they have had the material before but it was challenging.  I asked what they remembered from Algebra 1 and heard crickets chirp.  So, I decided to have them dive into a Dirt Bike Competition from Illuminations NCTM.  I did the entire packet last year.  Printed off about 10 pages of papers for each student.  I had them work in groups and it was sort of clunky as they tried to fumble through it.  This year, I consolidated it to a front and back of a piece of paper with directions to go step by step and keep everything on the board.

Here are my #VRG (visibly random groups - love for this) working hard.  And, their final problem, all organized.


They did so well with it.  It was a good review of standard form and graphing with intercepts.  They also had to remember how to graph a system on their calculator and find the point of intersection.  Oh, yeah, when we graph inequalities, we need to include shading.  It was coming back to them.  They wrote their objective function and found the vertices.  It was when they were plugging in these values that it sort of all came back to them "oh, yeah, now I remember this."

Next, they did a linear programming problem about baking cookies.  They did great with it.

Here is the condensed version.  I could go on and on about how awesome the VNPS but the students and I love it. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Day in the Life of a Teacher: Post 1 in DITLife Series: Sept 8

5:15 am Wake up with my blog post swirling in my head.  I have committed to posting to #DITLife on the 8th of each month (you know 8 is my favorite number because you found my blog).

Side note info:
Twitter handle: @hhsmath
This is my 12th year teaching math at Hopkinton High.  Today is 5th day of classes and my four time seeing the classes because we are on a rotating schedule of 5 classes a day with 7 periods and 7 day rotation Days A-G.  It is E day.
This is my 10th season coaching boys cross country (56 kids on the roster).
I live in Hopkinton, MA (start on the Boston Marathon) where my husband and I both grew up and graduated from and now I teach here and my kids go here.  Cam, 24, just moved out but still helps me coach XC. Mackenzie is a senior at UMASS Dartmouth for electrical engineering.  Kyle is a senior at HHS and Luke is a sophomore.  We usually drive together to school, but this week I am finally free because Kyle got a used car and a parking spot at school!

5:30 am Husband gets up and in the shower and I spend 15 minutes on my phone, checking 2, 2, and 2 - 2 emails (school and personal), 2 news stations, and 2 social media - facebook and twitter.  I always start with reading a daily inspirational religious email.

5:45 am My turn to shower.  Thank goodness for short hair.  I pick my clothes out the night before and chose a skirt because it is supposed to be 80 and humid today, 90 tomorrow, yuck!

6:00 am I join my husband in the kitchen to do our morning dance while he feeds the 2 kittens and 2 dogs and gets himself breakfast.  I made tuna fish and boiled eggs last night, so I peel some eggs that I will eat for breakfast at 10:50 am at that bell break.  I make myself a salad with side of tuna and pack lunch.  I also make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my son, Kyle, the senior.  Luke makes his own lunch.  I defrost some steak for dinner tonight.

6:15 am I do need to wake Luke up to shower this morning because Kyle has senior privileges and a study this morning so he doesn't need to be in until 8:30.  Luke will have to go with me.  Each morning we have to figure out where the golf clubs go as well.  They are both on the golf team but depending on who is playing JV and Varsity, they go in different directions.  Kyle has a match today.  Luke is off, so Kyle will keep his clubs in his car. Luke will have to walk the mile home because I have to stay for extra help and XC.

6:20 am Squeeze in this much blogging while I wait for Luke.  I am ready to go but we will leave at 6:45 am.

My schedule looks like a good one.  It is Advisory day today, so we have that for 20 minutes and each other class is shortened by about 5 minutes.

7:25-8:25 am Period 7 Prep
8:30-9:25 am Period 1 Accelerated Alg 1
9:30-9:50 am Advisory
9:55-10:45 am Period 2 Prep (in my room, score!)
10:50-12:45 pm Period 3 Accelerated Alg 1 and Lunch
12:50-1:50 pm Period 4 Accelerated Alg 2

6:35 am Hit Save, do a couple pieces of my jigsaw puzzle while I still wait for Luke.

7:00 am Arrive at school.  It's a mile commute but can take 5-10 minutes with traffic.  Get room ready - open windows, write new daily date and list of periods.  @kd5campbell, Kathy Campbell, called to tell me one of her velcro VNPS white boards fell off the wall.  It is so darn humid.  Each day I walk in and hope mine are still attached.  We decided to write a grant to get real whiteboards installed.  We have changed the way we teach and are loving it!  I share my classroom, so time to move all my stuff upstairs to the work room so I can prep.

7:25 pm Prep starts with me copying a Mad Lib style letter for my advisory kids to fill out.  We stay with our same 12 advisory students for all four years and mine are now seniors.  I have them complete a fill in the blank letter to themselves each fall and spring and then I will make them a little scrapbook/binder at graduation with all of them (shhh, don't tell them, it's a secret).
Prep and copy Alg 1 Day 5

8 am Call Kyle 10 times to make sure he is awake.  He finally texts me to say yes, he set his alarm.
8:10 am Add a second clothesline to mine to make a double clothesline for some number line work tomorrow in Foundations of Algebra 1.
Prep and copy Alg 2 Day 5
Look at student work for Foundation of Alg 1 - 9 kids.  I checked over their homework on adding integers.  They seem to have it except for 1 student.  Read over their pretest.  They do not seem to have it.  This was a mix of multiplying, adding fractions, combining like terms, simple solving, and putting numbers on a number line.  We will work on these in class tomorrow.

8:25 am Period 1 starts (really 2nd block of the day) Alg 1.  We are doing problem solving.  They completed Day 2 of their name tags - noticing and wondering something about the room or the class while I checked the homework and we then went over it.  Next up was our second 3-Act by Dan Meyer - Taco Cart - one of my favorites.  Teacher decision:  Up to the vertical boards or just 2x2 boards at desk like in the past? I went with the 2x2 boards at the desk because I didn't want them looking at other groups' guesses or work.  I asked them to individually write down their guess on who gets to the taco cart first - Dan or Ben.  Then, they got the necessary information and went right to work.  The Pythagorean Theorem and d=rt are both needed and they used them without my help.  Great conversations.  Next teacher decision: how to reveal the answer - do I show Act 3 and the answer, do I ask about their first guesses or their team answers - what order do I ask?  I ask them to raise their hand if they guessed Dan, Ben, and both arrive at the same time.  Then, I asked each team their final answers.  All 6 had Dan.  I still had my poker face.  Then, we watched the videos and cheered erupted!  Yes!  I asked one team to come up to the front with their board and explain their work.  Nice job.  We moved onto a tree problem.  Mr. Lu is planting trees around a rectangular garden.  How many does he plant?  They needed to ask me questions.  I told them the dimensions of the rectangle were 48 by 72 feet and they needed to be planted 12 feet apart plus there had to be 1 tree at each corner.  This time they worked in their notebooks individually.  Most drew a picture which was good.  I saw answers of 16, 20, and 24.  I asked them to raise their hands as to who had what answer.  It was an even mix.  Then I asked them to raise their hand if they were confident in their answer and what their answer was.  About 8 kids were confident but still all 3 answers were in the mix.  I asked a student who had the answer of 16 to explain.  He said 48/12 is 4 times 2 for those 2 sides.  72/12 is 6 times 2 for those two sides and was at 20 and said you had to subtract 4 for the overlapping trees in the corner.  One student was chomping at the bit to correct him, trying to explain you didn't need to account for the overlapping trees.  He wasn't convincing the original student so a girl came up to draw her picture.  She started with a rectangle and putting 4 dots in the corners to represent the trees.  Then she said 48/12 is 4 so I need to add two more dots there and 72/12 is 6 so I need to add 4 more dots there.  Another student was jumping out of his seat to say but that's only 36 feet.  We finally concluded the 16 answer students were finding "spaces" not trees. Ahhhh!  So, how did some get 24?  The kids said they added 4 more for the trees.  Great discussion!
Next up, I gave them three board problems to work on my new hanging whiteboards.  #VNPS with #VRG - I am committed to trying Vertical Non Permanent Surfaces with Visual Random Grouping (using = awesome for making groups).  This was the class's third time at the boards.  First time I allowed 3 markers and 3 kids.  Second time I did 3 kids and 1 marker (with marker doesn't talk) and this time I did 3 markers, 3 kids, and 3 problems.  This time I let them decide which one they wanted to work on.  It was interesting to see their choices.  I didn't know the answer to number 2.  They were interested.  We have some theories.  We think it might be connected to Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  (Going to research problem now to see if we were right).  3 Board problems here.
Hmm, did some research, still stumped.

9:30 am Advisory: Asked each student where they went this summer.  Handed out school papers.  Had them to Mad Lib Letter.

10 am: Prep in my room! Priceless!  I blogged the above two pieces.  Opened to get my next random groups for Period 3 when I get to do all of the above again.  Decide to eat my hard boiled eggs early because I am super hungry and NO one is in my room :)
Prep Day 5 Foundations of Alg 1 - Integer rule practice - took me 30 minutes.  I haven't taught this specific course but I taught one similar.  It is where I get to try out a lot of great #mtbos ideas with them, but it takes a while to organize and get ready.  Like planning a 5 year old's birthday party each day.

10:30am Blog: With three different preps, I used to plan all of Alg 1 for a week, then go on and do all of Alg 2 for a week and the third class for a week.  And, I like to stay a week ahead of time so I can find tune details as I need to.  However, I am not there yet.  I have taught Alg 1 and 2 before, so just continuing to make them better while trying to make this Foundations Alg 1 class.  So, I am choosing to prep Alg 1 Day 5, Alg 2 Day 5, FAlg 1 Day 5, then onto Alg 1 Day 6, etc.  It is a lot of switching but until I can get ahead with more time then this is how I have to prioritize.

10:35 am: Back to Alg 1 Day 6 - The Disney Project.  One of my favorite times of the year because the kids get to have fun planning a trip to Disney.  Who doesn't like that?  Group dynamics, money.  It is funny to watch how cheap they get.  I give them a budget of $8000 but they feel they have to eat at McDonald's every day.  Spend, spend, spend!  Oops, forgot club fair is tomorrow.  I made my Fishing Club sign up poster.  Must print math team sign up poster.  Found old ones and updated the year.  Phew!

10:45 am: first bathroom break before my next class comes in and quick email check.  Answer a student that I will be staying after school for extra help today.

10:50 am: Period 3 Acc Alg 1 - do all of the above over again.  I expect to see similar results with the tree problem - 16, 20, and 24.

12:00 pm Blog before I head to lunch.  Just when I was expecting the same responses in Alg 1, I had a ton more passion.  Sarah was convinced it was Ben who would get to the Taco Cart first.  She will be tweeting at Dan Meyer soon.  So much great discussion on the tree problem over the same 3 solutions.  And, then onto the board problems.  They did NOT like that I don't have the answer to the second one.  However, Sarah did thank me for giving her lots to think about!  Boom, mic drop, think I am done for the day!

12:35 pm Blog: back from lunch.  Normally we would start class back up at 12:25 on Advisory, but I have freshmen and they all have a class meeting today so I stayed for 10 extra minutes to chat with colleagues, wahoo!  Now time to hang piecewise function graphs and systems around the room for Alg 2.  I think we are having a fire drill at 1 pm.  Oh, and I am going to try my first Math Debate today from TMC this summer when I went to #talklesssmilemore session.
The Best Movie Ever is....My Claim Is.... My Warrant Is.....

(5:00PM- Time to blog below)

12:50 Alg2 class starts and I am going to try my first math debate.  I am a little nervous.  What if they don't want to do it?  Take a risk and see what happens.  I also knew the fire drill was coming at 1 pm and the debate was just my opener, I still needed to get to piecewise functions.  So, I checked the homework and went over it, then I introduced the idea of debate and discussion in math class and being able to explain and justify your reasoning.  I asked if they have taken part in Socrative seminar and many had, great!  I put the three things on the board, had them brainstorm in their notes:
The best movie is...
The most important topic in math is...
The best way to graph a line is....
I told them the plan was to have everyone share their movie, then I would have a few share the last two.  They started brainstorming and the fire alarm went off.  Up and out we went and I told them to keep thinking.  It was about 10 minutes lost to class, but we got right back into it and ready to go with the debate.  I had the powerpoint slide and my classroom poster with My Claim is...My Warrant is...  I asked them to stand when they spoke, state their names and their best movie.  I had to remind a few kids of the exact structure of the words, but it was so fun!  It was great to hear their movies and their reasoning - The Godfather, Inside Out, The Blind Side, Elf, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, just to name a few..  For math topics they thought prealgebra and basic add, subtract, multiply, and divide were important and for the line, a lot of people liked intercepts.  I loved it.  I will use it again.
Next, I showed a slide y= x^2, y=2^x-1, and y=abs value of x-5.  Previously we did one day of all the parent function graphs.  Yesterday we did transformations of the graphs and today is piecewise, so we are putting it all together.  They graphed those three on 3 different coordinate planes and then I showed them a slide with the same 3 functions but now limits on the domain and had them graph it all one on graph.  We stumbled bumbled through it but it was a good productive struggle.  Then, they were up for a Walkaround on Piecewise functions.  I had 10 pieces of paper hanging around the room.  There was a piecewise graph on the top half and piecewise function equations on the bottom half (they do not match).  They are to graph on a recording sheet the equations, then walk around and find the matching graph and then do those equations.  It was great.  We ran out of time.  10 more minutes (lost to the firedrill) would have been perfect.

1:50 Last bell of the day rings and they are off.  3 stay for extra help on an Assignment Sheet that is a long term assignment coming due on Tuesday that will be handed in and graded.  I went to change into clothes for cross country practice and came back and helped them for a bit.

2:25 drive to the middle school field next door for XC practice.  I have 56 boys on the team and it was about 1000% humidity.  It was gross.  Thursdays are Yoga Thursday for us as I lead about 50 boys through yoga to stretch them after our races on Wednesdays.  They do pretty good with it.  I love when we all get into a good tree pose at the same time.  But, star stretch is everyone's favorite when you just lie spread out on the ground for about 5 minutes at the end.  I congratulated them on a big first win yesterday and warned them about our upcoming race on Tuesday.  I saw that team's results from yesterday and they look good.  It will be a battle for sure.  It will be on our home course, so that is an advantage.  Even in coaching XC, I differentiate.  I have runners who come to me having run all summer, some who have run these past 2 weeks with team and some that are just still joining today.  I always have different runs and the beginners know they can walk/run what they can.  I like to give 2 or 3 options of running out on the roads but having us all start in the same direction.  That way we can feel like a team and maybe at the point where we split, someone might feel strong enough to go the longer distance.  I run with the team too.  I figure I may as well get a workout in.  I am doing a road race this Saturday.  While on the run today, I saw a woman drinking a shake in her car. I do not drink coffee or tea, only water, but it was so, so hot today, I decided I wanted a treat.  Practice ended at 4:15, I drove the mile home, got some money and drove the mile to Cumberland Farms and got a Mango smoothie!  So good.

4:45 pm take another quick shower because I have a meeting tonight and I was super sweaty.  Did I tell you how hot out it is?  And, it is going to be 10 degrees hotter tomorrow!  Picked out a sundress to wear tomorrow at school.  Take a quick look at emails and facebook on my phone.  No time for Twitter yet, sorry.

5:00 pm sat down to blog again

Now 5:20 pm going to make steak, peppers, onion, and gravy over white rice for dinner, with green beans.  Dinner was ready at 6 pm.  It was only my husband and Luke since Kyle was still at golf.  We chatted for a bit about upcoming weekend plans.

6:45 pm Head to Church meeting at 7 pm.  I, along with 3 other volunteer moms, help run our Catholic High School Youth Group.  We are just have the adult meeting tonight to talk about our calendar of events of the year.  On this Sunday, we will host a coffee hour after mass and have a reunion from our Mission Trip to West Virginia from the summer.  I made each student (45 kids) a dvd slideshow of the event.  We will share our stories with the church community.  I can't wait.  So, at the meeting we will discuss events we have done in the past and maybe come up with some new ones.  We will have our YLT - youth leadership team meeting with the youth on Sept 18th so we need to get ready for that.  We will ask the youth what kind of events they want too.  We often do a Fall Fest, Christmas in the City (A Christmas party for homeless families in Boston), Ice skating in Boston, a Mystery Night Out, a big fundraiser dinner, and then just fun Sunday night hangouts and games.  It is like prepping for another class.

9:10 pm Home from church meeting and blogging.  Meeting went well.  These are great women and it was so good to catch up with them.  We all have seniors so it was fun to see where we are in the college process.  Our meeting went until 8:30 pm and then we decided to get a treat (twice in one day, wow!).  We went for Frozen Yogurt because they were having a fundraiser for Saturday's Road Race.  We chatted some more and now it is time for bed.  I will pull together my running clothes for tomorrow.  Did I mention 90 degrees tomorrow?

It's been a long day.  Here's a Frozen Yogurt for making it through my day with me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

T'was the Night Before....

School!  School starts tomorrow.  It is early for us on August 31st, but I am glad we are going before Labor Day and getting out relatively early in June. 

I think I am ready.  It was an amazing summer.  I had a lot of #mtbos and tweet ideas floating in my head all summer.  I was in my classroom for 7 days getting it ready.  Not 7 full days.  I coach XC, so there is that, plus we have had two days of meetings.

Yesterday we had a phenomenal speaker on LGBQT training.  It was two hours, but she was a great teacher.  She met us where we were through respectful and funny lessons and vocab.  We heard stories from two parents.  It was so educational.  I really learned a lot.

My classroom is ready.  Full of ideas from #mtbos and Twitter Math Camp.  The biggest change is my white boards for VNPS.  I have my plans for the first day ready to go.  (We only have school 2 days this week, so phew!)

Today was about those last minute details.  I wrote my calendar on one part of my whiteboard by my desk that the kids can't reach to write on. 

I have my copies made for the first two days.

I entered my students into to do my random groups.  Cool website!

I put the markers and erasers at each whiteboard work area.

I invited my students to my Canvas site (LMS).

I entered my students into the textbook for passwords and usernames.

I have my index cards with one math problem on them.  As they come into class, they do the problem and find the answer for x and that number is their seat.  New this year, on the back of the index card, I will have them write their names, birthdays or half birthdays and then hang on a poster.  I tape the number answers to the desks, so all taped.

I had 2 extra student desks and a long computer desk that are finally gone, yeah!

I have to tape my plastic flowers onto loaner pencils in the morning because I left my duct tape at school. 

I looked at Don Steward's and Peter Liledahl's websites for some VNPS  problems.  Good stuff!

I added my 1 Second Everyday to my powerpoint.  It is a $5 app and I took a picture each day of my summer to share with my students. 

In my own family, I still have two in high school.  One will be a senior and one will be a sophomore.  They both made the golf team today.  Yeah!