Friday, June 17, 2016

It's a wrap - this year and next year...

Last day of 2015-2016 school year.  It flew by but it was a good one.  Here's to my 12th year of teaching coming this fall.

One of the new things I did this year that I liked was my desk arrangement.  I had them in groups of four or five. I do new seating charts each month, so it also means new work groups each month.  I feel it built the idea of asking a student first before me.  I heard so many great discussions and debates.

I await fresh new ideas for the classroom on twitter to be posted.  What will it be?

What greatness will I learn at TMC16 to bring back to my classroom?

Things I would like to do/need to do for next year:
  • Update all my accelerated algebra 2 quizzes and tests (made quiz 1 and 2 last week!)
  • Update my accelerated algebra 2 assignment sheets (just made 10 out of 20 (10 questions each) this week! - now to actually do them all)
  • Add some fun gifs to my lessons
  • Teaching a new course called Foundations of Algebra (alg 1), so I need to work a lot on this
  • Build in more SAT/SAT Math 2 stuff to prep the kids for that
  • Make a new diagnostic benchmark for Algebra 1
I do enjoy making assessments, so I have already redone quiz 1 and 2 for Alg 2. They are ready to go.
Exams are done and graded.  My room is all packed up.  I am ready to be done.  Another year is in the books.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Tour

When people ask what me what I am doing this summer, I blessed to say I am traveling!  I am not doing anything exotic but I love everything I am doing!

It starts in 11 days when I travel with my church's youth group by charter bus to Hamlin, WV in Appalachia to do mission work.  We have 45 kids and 9 adults going to work at a Kid's Club and to work around people's homes.  I am so excited.  This will be my fifth mission trip and we are going with a great group of kids.  We have plans to swim at the Mud River, go to a community cookout, and learn how to clog.  I can't wait!

I will return late on Friday, July 1st and then will travel up to my grandmother's house near Burlington, VT for the 4th of July.  It is my 2nd favorite holiday after Christmas.  I have been in VT for every 4th of my life.  We have a large family and it is so much fun when we all get together.  My grandmother is 92 years old and still lives at home.  She has 10 kids, 33 grandkids, and I think we are at 16 great grandkids.  I am the 2nd oldest grandchild.  There is an ice cream social, a band concert, a road race (that my oldest son usually wins), and of course a parade with floats and tractors.  I love it!  One of my cousins is getting married, so we will throw in a bridal shower too.

Here is a picture of her home:

My third son is a golfer.  He has a qualifier tournament at Killington on the 3rd, so my husband and he will head to that.  If he does qualify, we will be off to Killington for a few days right from Burlington.  On the way home, as we travel through NH, we will pick up 2 new kittens who will finally be old enough for us to take home :)

On July 15th, I will finally get to attend my first Twitter Math Camp #tmc16.  I am so excited!  I designed my own tshirt:


I will fly to Minneapolis with my colleague, Kathy, and one of the keynote speakers, my friend, Tracy Zager, from Maine.  Kathy and I have been wanting to go since its inception.  We carved the time out this summer and on Feb 8th, we got the tickets.  It was like waiting online to buy the hottest concert tickets.  Tickets sold out within 6 hours and we were in!  We bought our plane tickets and we are ready to go.  We arrive on Friday and will attend the Desmos session.  Saturday through Tuesday will be filled with so many amazing seminars by MTBoS people from around the country.  Just trying to be present and absorb it all will be incredible.  We will also have a night at the Twins game, trivia night, game night, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, all math, all the time!  Watch out twitter, we will be trending!

When I get back from this, later that same week, I will attend a one day STEM conference at a local college.  I am interested to find out what this is all about.

At the end of July, my husband and two youngest sons will travel to NJ to watch a PGA tournament.  I will find a beach at the ocean somewhere to enjoy while they are gone.

And, then it will be August and we will have a two week family vacation in the middle of nowhere, Maine on a lake filled with relaxing, swimming, and fishing.  I can't wait, but I also don't want to wish all this goodness away.

Add to this I want to do a lot of reading including The Classroom Chef and Everything, Everything (this is summer reading for some of our kids, followed by me hosting a book club discussion in the fall).  I have a lot of other books on my list, I just can't remember them all now.  And, I want to fish and float in the pool, the lake, or the ocean!

Student Survey Results

I am often glad that we are usually a week behind most schools in the #mtbos because I get to use their ideas.  I did this for my end of the year student survey.

Some of the things I learned from the survey: 

  • I shouldn't use red marker to write the agenda on the board.  It is too hard to see from the back.  This is an easy fix.
  • Most popular "favorite activity" was the Breakout box.
  • Hardest thing to learn was logs.
  • They feel they really learned trig well this year.
  • They like the way I use review games.
  • They think I should spend less time going over homework.  This will be something I think about how I will approach.
  • The most popular one word answer to describe my class was "engaging".  I am good with that.
  • The advice they would give to next year's students is to do their homework, it really helps (see below)
  • This one makes me happy.  I like to be organized and I am glad the students notice.

  • Lots of discussion on homework on twitter lately.  I do assign homework nightly.  I believe they need the practice.  I think they agree:


I gave a Benchmark A at the beginning of the school year, Benchmark B in January and just gave Benchmark C.  I like to give it at the beginning of the final exam review period so we can dipstick where we stand.

Benchmark C in Accelerated Algebra 2 only had 9 questions on it, but it gave me an idea about the students' strengths and weaknesses.  We had two big units this term - conics and everything trig - right triangle trig, graphing trig, trig inverse, and trig identities. 

It is great to see 100% of the class get things correct:
-Writing a conic in standard form by completing the square - although they told me they didn't remember how to do it.  They just deduced it.
-Given a graph, write the equation for cosine.
-Find B from the graph of sine.
-Solving using Law of sines.

So, we knew our strengths.  And, there were no glaring weaknesses!  The rest of the questions got 89% right or 96% right. 

My Accelerated Algebra 2 class is a mix of sophomores and juniors, so the spring is really affected by both our state testing, MCAS, for English, Math, and Science, and by AP testing for the juniors.  It is a lot to work around.  We had Memorial Day followed by two days of the state testing in Biology, so I knew we had to wrap up our trig unit by then.  I am glad we did.  It gave us time to practice in class and review for the final exam.  We had a class to play breakout which was an all-year review.  While the sophomores were testing, my juniors got to play a CSI trig review around the room.  Then, we had a day when they took the benchmark, took the student survey, and we went over what was going to be on the final exam.  That left 3 days for actual review.  We did a powerpoint with questions in it as a class on whiteboards.  They would do the problem, hold it up and show me and we would discuss them.  We did a day of 6 quizlet live review games, so fun.  And, then a day of worksheets, just plug along. 

They are taking their final now.  I hope they are doing well.

Finals Week

No, not the 3-Act by Dan Meyer but that's a great one.

I woke up this morning with 5 blog posts in my head and it is school day 177.  Hopefully I can get it all out on "paper" and be done with it.

It is finally Finals Week.  I am not complaining.  We are getting out early.  We had two snow days and we are still done on June 17th, wahoo!  The cool June weather is helping too.  Kids aren't too off the wall and still focused.  We made it through the spring without any dripping, melting super hot days.

It is a busy week with lots of fun happenings.

Monday - yesterday, we had Exams 1 and 2 followed by a great lunch provided by the PTA.  Thank you to the HPTA, so yummy!

Tuesday - today, we have Exams 3 and 4 followed by Chocolate Wonder at 1 pm.  This is something the art department started a few years ago and we teachers really look forward to it.  We have some amazingly talented art students who create a lot of work from photography, to computer designed pictures, to ceramics, to scarfs, who knows...but they don't take it all home.  The art teachers set it all out for us to browse and take home.  Add to it chocolate - everything you can image - chocolate covered pretzels and strawberries, oreos, cake, brownies, cookies, candy bars.  It is a good afternoon.  And, we get to take home a nice piece of art.
 After school, I am off to donate blood.

Wednesday - Period 5 and 6 exams followed by our school teacher cookout.  The teachers all sign up and bring food in.  We chip in $2 to buy the burgers, hot dogs, and drinks.  It is a great get together.

Thursday - Period 7 exam and then our freshmen and sophomores travel to Six Flags.  We have time to finish grading and pack up our rooms.

Friday - Make up exam time if anyone was sick, clean up our rooms.  Then, we have our annual teachers' golf outing.  We play 9 holes scramble style.  My whole family golfs, but I only golf once a year, this Friday.  I am not good, but I like driving the cart.  We have lunch with it, then go to a teacher's house after golf for a get together.  And, it is a nice wrap up to the school year.

Saturday - The Timlin 5K Road Race to raise money for ALS.  Why not round it all out with a road race?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Alg 1 Final Review with Quizlet Live

In my Algebra 1 class, we just play with Quizlet Live.  We played 6 different games twice.

We did:
Algebra I review (pretty quick)
Quadratics (easy)
Radical Equations (need paper, write and solve, hard)
Simplify rational equations (need paper, had to look at format to find equivalent forms, hard)
Data display (super fast, with vocab)
Mean, median, mode, range (use calculator)

I rearranged my desks into lines of 4 desks because the students use their computers all lined up so they can see everyone's possible answers because different answers are on different computers. 

The program makes up its own teams, so we did a lot of moving around today.  It was like musical chairs.  The kids were excited to get new groups, new team names, and entering their own names differently each time.

We played each game twice so they can learn from their mistakes.  It was definitely beneficial to do it twice.

The Data Display one was super quick.  It was like watching a horse race as the teams were neck and neck.  If a team gets it wrong, they drop back to zero though.

There were many "hoorays" for getting one question right or for winning the whole game. There were some groans on the rational expressions one.  I chose a good mix of vocab mix and solving.

All together, they were very engaged on this second to last day of class.  And, they got a lot of practice questions done in one period. 

Yeah for Quizlet Live!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A month in the life of a teacher in May #mtbos30

Thank you to #mtbos30, I blogged for the month of May.  Maybe not every day, but pretty close.  I am surprised I was able to keep it up.  Usually I am done, done, done, but it was nice to have something for me to focus positive energy on and sharing some good things that are still happening in school in May.  I like that I even reflected on two of the activities with a follow up blog post.  It looks like I missed 6 days, not bad.

It is June 1st.  We get out on June 17th, less than 3 weeks, we can do this!

If you want a shortcut synopsis to my posts, here you go:

May 1:  Okay, start tomorrow.
May 2:  Let's Do May
May 3:  Teacher Appreciation Video
May 4:  3-Act Leaky Faucet
May 5:  A Paper Crane Made My Day
May 6:  Stations for Rationals
May 7:  A Creative Saturday (post about creating a #breakout)
May 8:  Planning for the Spring
May 9:  no blog day
May 10:  Clothesline Desmos Art
May 11:  Providing Opportunities
May 12:  Find the Mistake
May 13:  MAD Mean Absolute Deviation
May 14:  Relay for Life
May 15:  no blog day
May 16:  Quizlet Live
May 17:  Collecting Data with Paper Airplanes
May 18:  School Year Winding Down
May 19:  Follow Up Paper Airplane Data
May 20:  To Be Continued..aka my favorite problem
May 21:  My Baby is 15
May 22: Day off
May 23:  Seniors in Youth Group
May 24:  A Follow Up to MAD May 13th Post
May 25:  A Bus Fun Folder
May 26: too busy
May 27:  The Final Countdown
May 28: beach day
May 29:  Every Wave
May 30:  #Breakout
May 31:  Breakout Responses
Bonus May 31 Post: The Actual Link for Breakout