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!