Sunday, January 29, 2017

My #TMC17 Proposals Were Accepted!

The Scenario:  A quiet Saturday night around 9 pm.  I was nestled into my spot on the couch surrounded by 2 dogs and 2 cats.  Boys were in their rooms, sick husband was in bed.  I was reading the book Wonder, so I hadn't stopped to put my pajamas on which is rare.  I had the tv on PBS- old time country music in the background.  I was mostly reading my book, but occasionally took a break to check Facebook and Twitter. 

Twitter was making my heart heavy with all the posts about #muslimban and what was happening at our airports.  I was in disbelief, but starting to realize that unfortunately anything is possible.

I happened to check my school email and voila - an email from TMC that both of my #TMC17 proposals were accepted.  I was so elated.  I wanted to jump for joy but there was no one around to share this with in my quiet little house.  I didn't want to post to Twitter yet to sound braggy about it amidst all the bigger things we are dealing with.

I did see Anna Vance @TypeAMathLand liked the @TmathC post that the emails for acceptances were out.  So, I messaged her separately to see if she was accepted and both of hers were, too.  So exciting.  I had someone to quietly share my success with.  We both decided not to post to Twitter yet, but said our congratulations.

I am so excited and honored to be able to present at TMC17.  Last year was the first year I was able to go and it was the best PD around.  I wanted to jump in and try to present something.  I presented about review games in December to the ATOMIC group of teachers in Connecticut and it went really well, so that one is ready to go.  And, then I also wanted to share my success with #VNPS and #VRG from Alex Overwijk.  I heard him speak about it at Boston's NCTM a few years ago and then lots of talk about it at TMC last year that I decided to dive in.  This will be about my journey into this world of whiteboards.  I love it!  I also love that we are starting second semester tomorrow and knowing that I will be presenting about it, I still have a chance to put it to work in my classroom and continue to try new problems.

I couldn't fall asleep last night because my brain was abuzz with ideas. 

In six months, I will be presenting in Atlanta at #TMC17.  Thank you for choosing me.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

On being a beginnner...

On Monday, I took my first ever tap class.  I have always wanted to take tap dancing.  Each time I see tap in a movie, it reminds me I want to take tap.  I saw La La Land before Christmas.  I wasn't crazy about it, but I loved the tap, so I signed up.  It is an 8 week course, right in my town, so it is convenient.  I invited all my friends, just in case they have always wanted to learn how to tap.

It's so weird to be a brand new beginner again.  I love it.  It's just different.  It reminded me of this poster I have in my classroom:

There are 9 people and one teacher.  I am watching everything she does and asking lots of questions.  I was starting flat-footed and noticed she was not really ever on her heels, so I asked.  I had to pay close attention to everything, including the sounds.  She would say, "This combination should have 4 steps so four sounds."  I thought the class was for beginners but apparently it isn't.  I would say 4 of us are brand new and 5 have had at least one class before.  I felt a little bad for the ones who have had it before because I didn't want them to be bored, but I also didn't want us to go too fast.  We started with the basics - tap your right toe 16 times, then 8 times, then 4 times, then 2 times and 2 times again, then out to the side, then your left foot and repeat.  I am trying to get every step exactly correct so I can train my brain to do it the right way and not have to make corrections later on. 

She was telling us the weird names to each step too - oh, vocabulary.  I was trying to remember what the name was, what the steps were, and what they should sound like.  It was a lot to digest. 

I am able to laugh at myself when I mess up and I think that is good to keep away my frustration.

We did some steps across the room in pairs so we could hear better.  One student remarked it wasn't like in band and playing an instrument where you can fake it until you make it.  You can't fake it.

I was starting to get it going across the room and then she said we could add our arms.  I gave it a try but I wasn't ready.  I still needed to focus on my feet.

The next day, I pulled up some videos on youtube and watched basic steps and learned one longer combination.  I just kept playing it over and over and over.  I love that I can do this.  I want to keep practicing.  There was a video on youtube with the La La Land dance.  I tried it, nope, not possible after 1 tap lesson.

But, I am doing it, I am enjoying it.  I love learning and I am game for anything.

Tap, tap, tap!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MY Grandmother's Birthday

It's MLK weekend and I ask my students if they were going anywhere. A few said they were going to Vermont. I said, "So am I. I'm going to visit my grandmother."  One student said," YOUR grandmother?" I said, " Yes, MY grandmother." Again, "No, YOUR grandmother?" Me, "Yes, MY grandmother. She is still alive.  She is turning 94 years old." Student, "Oh, I don't have any grandparents alive."  I had to pick up a prescription for her.  She was born in 1923!
   I know I am blessed. We call her Mamie. She is my mom's mom. She had 10 kids, lost one baby early in life. She was a maternity nurse for 50 years! She is hard a rock and my hero! I may be off on my numbers here but it is too early for me to run through the cousins but on last count, I think she has 33 grandkids and 25 great grandkids so far.
  She lives in an awesome old farm house outside Burlington, VT and we grew up coming her for every 4th of July because it was my grandparents anniversary and every Christmas. Now we come up in January for her birthday and still for July 4th and if someone gets married. I am so happy my kids get to do what I got to do as kids. I had lots of cousins to run around with and now they do, too.
   Do you know what a "church key" is? It's how you still get into her house!  It looks like this:
   And, a dinner bell, yep, we would be off playing and we better come running when we heard the bell ring!  As I took the picture, I think "it sure looked much bigger growing up".

  My youngest Aunt and her son, my cousin live with Mamie and take care of her. So if you don't believe I have a a grandmother, how about this, my cousin is 14 years old. He raises chickens, turkeys, and cows here on the property. Right now he has 2 cows named Prime and Rib.

   Two weeks ago, Mamie had a stroke. Remember I told she is one tough cookie. She already came home last Saturday! She still lives at home with the help of my aunt. Again, we know we are blessed.
   I was sitting with her yesterday and decided since I really liked interviewing my student teacher, I would interview my grandmother. I had to talk slowly, loudly, and keep the answers so they could be short, but she did great:

Me: "Do you remember math class in high school."
Mamie: looking very confused
Me: "High school math class. It was only about 80 years ago."
Mamie: "Oh, OK."
Me: "Where did you go to high school?"
Mamie: "a Catholic school in Montpelier."
Me: "How many people were in your math class?"
Mamie: "About 20."
Me: "Did you have boys and girls in your class?"
Mamie: "Oh, yes."
Me: "Did you like math?"
Mamie: "Yes"
Me: "Did you use paper or chalk?"
Mamie: "Paper."
Me: jokingly, "Did you use calculators?"
Mamie with a chuckle: "Oh, no."
Me: "Did you use math in your line of work?"
Mamie: "A lot."

And that was enough. It really warmed my heart for two reasons:

1.) She didn't jump in right away and say the normal response of something like, "yuck, math!"
2.) She actually liked math, you go girl!!!

Shout out to Tracy Zager and her new math book "Becoming The Math Teacher You Wished You'd Had" because she opens the book with a discussion with her mom and math. I'm glad I got the chance to ask! Thanks Tracy!

Here's a picture of me, Mamie, and my mom.
Here are some of us at her 94th birthday celebration!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

An Interview with My Student Teacher

My student teacher, Lexi, has been in to observe me for 5 full school days.  It has been a busy time, back from December break, fighting in all the goodness I can to get ready for last quizzes before midterms and the term break.  I had her as a student in Geometry and a student in Advisory.  It has been fun to have her around and I am hoping she picked up some good tips and ideas.  I thought it would be fun to check in with some questions:

1.)  What are 2 things you noticed about my teaching?
Lexi: Mrs. Fairbanks was focused on how the student got the answers, not just what they got for an answer.  Mrs. F creates an environment where students can be confident and calls equally on students, allows them to ask questions until they understand and goes over the question by each step until the student really understands.

2.)  What are 2 things you noticed about my classroom?
Lexi:  I really liked the groups of desks because it promotes group work and peer tutoring.  She is very organized and even has records of previous years.  I love how the AppleTV can connect to the phone (when we played the Heads Up app.) 

3.)  What was the favorite thing you saw me do?
Lexi:  Incorporating high-tech activities like Skype, Heads Up, and Desmos.  My second favorite was the warm ups in Foundations of Algebra 1 (Estimation 180, Solve Me Puzzles, and Visual Patterns).  She allows students to get up and use reasoning to figure out their estimation.  The warm ups allow students to explain their thought process.  This allows the teacher to see how they think.

4.)  You saw me take some risks with 3 new tech ideas - Heads Up on my phone to review math vocabulary, creating a new Card Sort on Desmos instead of direct teaching factoring when a is not 1, and a Mystery Skype session with my class who is obsessed with circles to meet the World Record Holder for drawing the best circles.  After you have been teaching for a while, do you think you will be willing to take risks?
Lexi: Heck yes!  I already plan on trying to use these things in my future classes.  It made me excited to find other websites and activities.  I also like that the students get so excited to use these things too.

5.)  I teach Accelerated Algebra 1, Accelerated Algebra 2, and small Foundations of Algebra I - what did you notice about my teaching at different levels?
Lexi: In all of them, you want to know how?  
In Algebra 2, you were faster at giving them information but still checked in and made sure they reviewed the information.
In Algebra 1, you would check in more often, and there were more questions.  Not because of unclear instruction, but because they wanted to know more.
In Foundations of Algebra 1, it's a tough class, but you were still able to give the information even though you were often disrupted because of student behavior.  In this class, you do have to do more worksheets and take little to no notes, which she is good at.  This class also required a lot of one-on-one and the way you teach it is very good for that because you are constantly walking around and checking in.  

6.)  You tell me you are unsure of what grade levels and math content you want to teach.  Can you speak about your thoughts on this?
Lexi:  I am indecisive because I really like all forms of math.  Also, I haven't had much exposure to the high school setting since I have been out of school.  I think I struggle with deciding because there are so many options - Algebra, Geometry, stats, calculus, and special ed.  After this experience, I think I'm leaning towards HS algebra because of the multistep problems and the enthusiasm most of the students display.

7.)  What would you like your own classroom to look like?
Lexi:  I want to do groups of desks because it promotes helping each other.  I want to incorporate both high and low tech activities.  I want a positive environment where the students feel comfortable and confident asking questions and sharing ideas.  I want to have different activities to get them active and out of their desks like vertical whiteboards.  I want to have real world examples of how they can use the math they are being taught.  I want to use a decent amount of group work to build teamwork skills because in almost every job you have to know how to work with others.

8.)  Name 2 things you learned from your observation time.
Lexi: Planning ahead: Be prepared and organized.  (An example if the technology for a powerpoint fails, just move on without it.)
Hold onto old lesson plans - learn from what worked and how much time it too.  This will allow me to look for new activities based off of how well things went in the past.  It will also allow me to focus on problem areas. 

9.)  Do you remember what #MTBoS stands for and will you be joining Twitter professionally?
Lexi: I am currently working on joining Twitter professionally.  I think it is a great platform for ideas.  I can share my experiences and it is also a way to find conferences.

10.)  Any final thoughts?
Lexi:  I really had a fun time seeing the different types of classes and seeing how you handled having the classes from level Foundations to Algebra 2.  It was good to see the differences from middle school where I was observing before.  I think it helped answer some questions I had.  And, I am definitely leaning towards high school now.  I also enjoyed being able to come back and see a teacher I had.  It was awesome being able to see the dedication and the effort she you put into each lesson.  Thank you!

Me:  Thank Lexi.  It was only 5 days, but it was great to teach you and share with you and learn from you.  I'd say, "You're hired!"

My Circle Class Thanks Alex O!!!

I have an Accelerated Algebra 1 class that for some reason is obsessed with drawing circles.  All year they have been trying to draw perfect circles all over my boards.  I think it was in October that I told them I know the World's Record Holder for drawing the perfect circle.  They were pretty impressed. 

Time passed and the circle drawing continued. 

I came up with the idea of doing a Mystery Skype after listening to the #DitchSummit when @mrdearybury1, @mrs_smoke, @gruffcorn13  these people explained the whole Skype world.  There are a lot of teachers and classes willing to mystery skype to try and figure out where in the world they are.  I decided it was time to bring this World Record Holder into our class room.

.....Introducing Alex Overwijk @AlexOverwijk   I met him at NCTM Boston and then we met up again this past summer at Twitter Math Camp.  Great guy, terrific story teller.

I am not that familiar with Skype, so I tried it at home and it worked on my home computer, but not my school computer at home.  I tried it on my school computer at school, still didn't work.  I finally brought it to our IT guy and he told me Skype was blocked, so he unblocked it for me.  I tried Skyping with my sister.  I could see her and she couldn't see me.  I had to call again using the video feed button.  Ahhhh, learning curves.

Alex and I set up a time of 8 am today (Thursday) to practice.  He tried to call me and it failed.  Then, he sent me a message and we were going to try again at 10:08.  We did.  I could see him, but he couldn't see me and now my camera was off.  I never turned it off, but it was off, so back to our IT guy.  He had to shut my computer down, some glitch.  Now, it was working.

All of this effort to putting this together, so I decided to build the anticipation.  Yesterday in class, I added to the agenda "Tomorrow: Mystery Surprise"  They are a very excitable class and they revved it up even more, trying to guess like crazy.  They were convinced it was a mystery reader like they had in elementary school.

Today came, lunch block class came and they came in so excited for it, but we weren't doing the mystery until we had an hour of class and then lunch, then they come back for 20 minutes after lunch.  The anticipation was building.  They were loud!  I told them to hurry back from lunch and crossed my fingers that the technology would work. 

They got back before me and Alex called.  My plan was for the kids to ask him 20 questions-style  yes or no questions to figure out who, what, and where.

They got me.  They knew it was the "circle guy" right away!  Someone started googling him, somebody starting drawing circles.

Alex was great.  He was so patient with a bunch of 9th grades huddling all around my computer for a change to see him and talk to him.  He asked them to go to his website Slam Dunk Math and read his blog post today.  It was coincidentally the 10th year anniversary of his success.  We took turns having the kids read his backstory.  Then, they asked some more questions.  He was going to draw one for us on his whiteboard and was all set but then his marker was dead.  He went into the hall and drew a huge one for us.  The kids asked if that was allowed.  It was a little hard to see on Skype so he sent a picture through Twitter.

One girl wanted to show her skills, so we turned the computer and showed Alex.  Then, they asked for tips.  Again, he was so patient and the kids were so excited. 

It was a lot of effort up front but I think it was worth it.  The kids were going to youtube to look him up.

I can't thank you enough - Thank you Alex!!!!!  You made our day!

I did take some video, but I need to look it over.  Stay tuned for updates soon.

Desmos Factor Sort

I went out to dinner on Friday night to see Hidden Figures with Sandra Ollerhead @sollerhead1, Heather Kohn @heather_kohn, and Brian Abend and @MrAbend and we were discussing factoring, because what else do we talk about on a Friday night at dinner?

Sandy said that she doesn't teach factoring.  She has the kids figure it using a card sort, so we asked her to share it on Twitter.  I am teaching it right now, so I grabbed it.  It is 5 different card sorts, scaffolded in difficulty, trying to allow the students to see a pattern.  It looked great, however, I could see it was going to require a lot of cutting.  I have 2 classes.  The kids would work in pairs, so for one sort, I would need 24 pieces of paper, cut all up and paperclipped together and then there are 5 of them, yikes, nope.

With my student teacher, we decided to make a card sort in Desmos.  You do have to go into a little wrench thing on the page and turn on the ability to make a card sort or a marbleslide.  From here, we created one lesson with 5 slides, 1 card sort per slide.  You can type in the math equation.  And, we made the answer key.  It didn't take too long to make it.

I tried it out in Period 1.  One thing I would suggest to @Desmos is to make the card sort change color to maybe green when it is sorted correctly.  Currently, I have to project my teacher dashboard to show the kids the red/green to see if they are correct or not.

Card sort 1 went well, 2 good, 3 good, 4 - all red, uh oh.  I took the blame.  I said maybe I made the answer key wrong.  I looked at their work and it was correct.  Same thing with sort 5, something was up.

Turns out I did have one quadratic in the mix that wasn't factorable, so we got rid of that one, but we figured out it was because within one sort, I had the same factor, like two (x+3)s.  I may have physically sorted one of them and the student sorted the other so it didn't see it as correct.

Luckily I had a prep before my next Alg 1 class, so we had time to edit.  It now works perfectly.

Give  it a try if you like:  Desmos Factoring A is not 1 Card Sort

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Day in the Life #DITL Post 7: Snowy Sunday

Today is January 8th and I am taking part in #DITL: Day in the Life of a Teacher.  This is the 7th post in the series.  I am posting on the 8th of each month.  Today happens to be a Sunday.

Today actually starts with yesterday.  We were supposed to head into Boston, MA with my church's youth group, but snow was predicted.  I had to make the call to go in, postpone, or cancel.  I hate making weather related decisions, but when they start using the word "blizzard", I guess it is time to cancel/postpone.

We were to head into Fanueil Hall and park.  Walk to Boston Common to hand out Blessing Bags.  These are gallon ziplock bags with 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, 2 homemade chocolate chip cookies, a bag of chips, 2 of a combo of hat/socks/mittens, and a prayer.  It is a great culmination of efforts by our church community.  We had a hat/sock/mitten drive for our church community.  Then, our Middle School youth group got together on Friday, 38 kids!, and made 130 PBJ sandwiches.  I baked 150 cookies.  The MS youth group bagged everything up and we have 90 Blessing Bags to bring into Boston.  And, with a blizzard, they would really be needed however.  The drive wouldn't be safe and hopefully the homeless people would make their way to shelters. 

We were going to hand out the bags, walk back to a new ice skating rink at City Plaza and go skating, then get dinner at Quincy Market.  We were going to be gone from 12:30 - 7:30, so with postponing it, I "found" 7 hours!  I do love when that happens.  I watched Gilmore Girls, knit, and wrote up two versions of a logarithm quiz - a great snowed in Saturday. 

That leads me to today.  The Blessing Bags were stored in one of the rooms where CCD was to be held this morning, so I had to get up early to get them.  I woke at 7 am, got dressed for the gym, cleaned 8 inches of light snow off my car and headed to the church to grab so many great blessing bags.

Here are the Blessing bags in my car and one single bag:

8 am head to the gym for my boxing class.  The parking lot was almost empty and we only had 5 people in class.  That meant a lot of punches got in, my knuckles were hurting.  I told the instructor the class was quieter than our math team practices, LOL.

Home by 10 am.  If we went to service and skating yesterday, we were going to bring 10 adults and 20 kids.  I postponed it to today because I didn't want all the food and hard work to go to waste.  We will be bringing 6 adults and 7 youth and will skip the skating part.  We will be on a mission to deliver 90 Blessing Bags.  We will head out at 11.  I came home from the gym and sent them a reminder email and told them to dress warmly, stating that four layers of clothes is not too much and don't forget your toes.  That was the first thing that got cold when I was out this morning.
Send email.
Make eggs for breakfast.
Change the trash bag.
Say "Good Morning" to my sons who are just waking for the day.  My husband is at his mother's house cleaning her out.
Take out pork chops for dinner tonight.
My #3 and 4 sons have indoor golf league from 12-2, so I make sure they are all set for that.  Find out it is canceled due to snow.
Send an email to my colleague with the 2 versions of the log quizzes.
Sit down and blog for a few minutes.  Get my layers on and head into Boston.

3:30 pm blogging again
11:00 meet up with 6 adults and 7 kids at the church, head out at 11:30, get into Boston Common by 12:30.  There were a ton of people out on the common, mostly taking pictures of all the snow.  Lots of dogs running loose, little kids sledding down the hills.  It was so pretty and so alive. 
We started walking around and didn't see too many homeless people so we crossed the street and saw some by the Dunkin Donuts and their friends staying warm in the T(subway) station came out to meet us.  We walked around a few block and met several people to give our bags to.  They were very grateful.  We were getting cold, so we ducked into Sal's pizza and all grabbed a quick lunch and warmed up, then back at it.  We walked a few more blocks.  One person asked for toothpaste, so I will make notes to bring that next year.  We ended up at a shelter and lots of people greeted us and we were able to give away all we had.  Back to the car and back home.  A job well done.  The youth were great and it feels really good to help people.

Here is our group on Boston Common:

3:00 home and grab son #3, my senior to make him do some math.
3:30 and blogging this. 
Now it is time to get ready for my week ahead.  I will boil a dozen eggs because I bring 2 a day for part of my lunch.  I will make tuna so I can bring that this week.  (My mom always says I am too predictable.  I think I am just prepared.)  I need to figure out my meals for the week, take inventory of my food and write my grocery list because I will go shopping tomorrow.  Then, it will be time to make dinner before son #4 has CCD at 5.  They are having a parent meeting, so I will go to that brief meeting, come home eat dinner, and then join him for mass at 6:30 pm.  I usually go to 5 pm mass on Saturday but when he has CCD we go to mass on Sunday night.  It is a nice way to end the weekend and get ready for the week ahead.

6:30 pm mass - I do enjoy it.  I try to be present and still and this leads to clarity.  Then, a clear brain leads to math ideas popping in my head like loud popcorn, pop, pop, pop.  It becomes a to do list I must write as soon as I get in the car.  I try to focus on mass.
List: figure out skype on my school computer while I have study in my room tomorrow
Ask my student teacher to come up with 50 words for Algebra 1 Heads up game
Print out a factoring lesson from @sollerhead1 (we went to dinner on Friday night before Hidden Figures and she was mentioning this lesson.  She then shared it on Twitter.  I need to find it and print it and do it tomorrow)
Email a teacher friend about a mystery that might happen Thursday in class.  Can't mention it here yet, but will blog about it after it happens.
Grade 2 Alg 2 ebook problems that were handed in late.
Look at the alg 2 ebook and see if kids have uploaded their Adobe problems

7:30 pm and my day is done.  Time to read and go to bed.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Heads Up in Algebra 2

I have the Heads Up app by Ellen Degeneres on my phone.  I heard from someone on Twitter that you can make your own set of cards.  I think I paid $4.99 for the Heads Up ad and then it cost 99 cents to make my own deck.  I added 50 words from Algebra 2. 

I am very lucky in my class to have Apple TV and a thrown projector.  I could use airplay on my phone to make it huge on the board.  I brainstormed with my student teacher how to play it with the whole class.  I have my desks in 6 groups of 4-5 students.  We decided to just us that.  The group would decide who would stand up front and be the guesser and the other students in the group would try to describe the word.  The guesser would hold my phone on their forehead.  They have one minute to try to guess as many words as they can.

I was very excited to try it.  I emailed our vice principal and invited him to stop by and see something fun.  I invited our computer guy and asked him to come by too.

I put it on the agenda as ALLA: Surprise!  This was happening during block period.  That means we have 1 hour of class, then lunch, then back for 20 minutes of class.  This was when we were going to play.  A few students asked me right away what the surprise was.  I responded with the usual: "If I told you then it wouldn't be a surprise."  One student hates surprises but I made her wait.

We got to have all 6 teams go.  They did well.  Then there was time for 3 more teams to go again and try to beat their own time.  It was really fun.  Nice and easy and fun to hear them try to describe words like integer, rational, determinant. 

Here is a picture of one student.  I liked the idea of the big word behind them so all the kids could see it.  (It's a bad picture of a picture on my ipad because my students were using my phone.)
I recommend giving it a try.  It's worth the risk!

Student Teacher

My student teacher started with me this week and will be in next week as well.  She is just doing her 25 hours of observation.  It is so fun having her.  I will call her "A".  I had her as a student in Geometry and in advisory for 4 years so I really got to know her and am proud to introduce her to my students.  She is going to school to be a math teacher, special ed, God bless her.

I enjoy sharing my thoughts, plans, planning process, activities, and ideas with her.  The first class she saw was my Accelerated Algebra 2 class and she was amazed how much we did in the one hour.  It was our first day back from holiday break and I had a lot of activities to review logarithms.  Then, we went to my Foundations of Algebra 1 class and everything slowed all the way down as we were plotting points on a coordinate plane.  It is good that she sees this range.

I was so happy when a math teacher colleague who also had A said she was really happy to be with me because I am willing to take risks and she would learn a lot with me :)

It is also fun when "A" tells me what she remembers about my class.  She loved the scavenger hunt I had the kids do around town and asked if I did it anymore, but I don't teach Geometry anymore, so nope, don't use it still.  She told me she loved the stitch curving (using straight lines to draw in such a way that it looks like a curve ).  Again, no geo so no stitch curving.

I am trying out my new idea of an Algebra 2 ebook and collected the students' work with individual problems.  She helped me look through them to make sure they were correct before the kids record them in Adobe Spark.  I can't wait to hear all the kids explain the problems in their own rooms.

Some tips I have given "A":
1.)  Find a comfortable pair of shoes and buy them in brown and black.
2.)  Color code everything - plans and folders
3.)  Have some sort of shelving system for current worksheets, old worksheets, graded worksheets, etc.
4.)  Name everything appropriately and descriptively (?) and organize them into good folders so you can find them later.
5.)  Make notes to yourself on this years plans for next year - how did the lesson go - too short, too long, quiz too easy too hard?  I love finding these notes the next year.

She will be in again next week.

Gilmore Girls Math

I started watching the original Gilmore Girls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, like all day that day!  I was hooked right away and couldn't imagine why I never caught an episode the first time around.  Then, I realized I was in the middle of having my babies. 

I just can't get enough.  It is so good!  My teacher friend was going out on leave due to back surgery so I recommended it to her for her recovery binge watching.  We are competing to see who finishes first.  Easily, she is winning.  I also have 4 freshmen girls who just starting watch so it is fun to talk about it in class, but we are all at different places but we don't want to give anything away.

I have 4 boys so it is often hard to get TV time but I will watch it upstairs, downstairs, on my cell phone, on my ipod, while I cooking dinner, while I am baking.  And, I do try to do something while I am watching.  So, I am knitting a blanket for son #3.  I am calling it my Gilmore Girls blanket even though it is black, gray, and white and he is a boy.  It will remind me of the Gilmore Girls.

I am on Season 6 and I want to be done, but I don't want it to be over.  We are getting a lot of snow today and my trip into Boston was cancelled so I am hibernating.  I think I will type a few blog posts, knit, read, and Gilmore Girls it today.

I did get to think about how much time I have been "dedicating", not "wasting" to the Gilmore Girls.  I was first shocked to find out one season is 22 episodes!  Ah, the good old days.  I feel like one season for TV now is 7 episodes.

So, I did some math:  (not counting the most recent brand new Gilmore Girls)
7 seasons
22 episodes
45 minutes each

4 episodes = 3 hours
20 episodes = 15 hours
22 episodes = 1 season = 16.5 hours

2 seasons = 33 hours
6 seasons = 99 hours
7 seasons are 115.5 hours!!!!!

However, imagine how much time I have save in the commercial time if I watched it back in the day.

This is 15 minutes of ads per episode.
4 episodes = 1 hour of ads
20 episodes = 5 hours of ads
22 episodes = 1 season = 5.5 hours of ads

6 seasons = 22 hours of ads
7 seasons = 27.5 hours of ads SAVED!!!

Just like shopping at Kohls.  It's not about what I spent, it's about what I saved, LOL.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Alg2 Midterm Review ebook

We had a full day of school on Friday, Dec 23rd and I woke up at 4 am with an idea for an Algebra 2 midterm review.   When I went to MassCue this fall, I learned about Adobe Spark giving a voice to everyone in the math classroom and I came home and made one for a problem.  It was super easy and I thought I could incorporate it into a midterm review.  Our midterms are the last week in January.

I have two classes of Accelerated Algebra 2, with a total of 55 kids.  Originally I was thinking of coming up with 28 problems and then a different version for my other class on the same idea, but then I decided to go with 55 different problems.  I found 55 problems on the ideas we covered first term.  I wrote the problems out and did them.  I typed them all up into one document.  Then I separated each problem onto one page with the directions for the student and one problem per student per page.  I created a Google Slide that I will share with the class as a class ebook.  Each page will have one problem on it.  The idea is the student will do the problem at home and hand it in to me, showing every step.  I will check it over to make sure it is correct and hand it back.  Then, they will create an Adobe Spark voice explanation of the step-by-step process and upload their link to their slide, creating an ebook for both classes to read over, study from, practice with.

I will share the skeleton here if you want.  I am still debating if I will share the final project.  It won't have kids faces, just their voices.

Here are all 55 problems listed together.

Here are all 55 problems one per page for students.

And, here is the skeleton of the Algebra 2 ebook Midterm Review.

Hope you use it if you can.

Update: Jan 7th: My first student submission and he said I could share it.  Love how professional it is and the chalk board look:  Polynomial

Goodbye 2016 Hello 2017

Happy New Year!  I have been enjoying reading new 2017 posts on Twitter from #MTBoS and figured I should wrap up 2016 with some stats and set up 2017 with some goals.

On my blog, I wrote 73 posts this year!  Wow, I didn't have a blogging goal, but now I have one for this year... beat 73.  It did help that I participated in #MTBoS30 in May and blogged almost all the days of that month.  It also helped that I went to my first #TMC16 and wrote 10 blog posts about that alone.  TMC lead me to more great classroom activities to try during the school year and therefore even more blogging.  I am participating in #DITL (day in the life of a teacher) each month on the 8th and writing blog posts for that, too.  What will lead me to new blogging ideas this year I wonder?

I looked back to see I wrote my first blog post on 3/11/13, my husband's birthday.  I have written 198 posts in total, so last year was busy!  I do love writing, blogging, reflecting, and having a journal of my work.

On Twitter, I have 3870 tweets, am following 599 people - who will be lucky number 600?  And, I have 759 followers.  Thank you all!  I appreciate it!

I started keeping a list on my phone of the books I have read this year.  I need to do a better job last year.  I can say I read at least 18 books.  Goal for this year: 20 books.  I am reading Victoria by Daisy Goodwin right now and highly, highly recommend it.  I am not usually a history fan but this is so good.  It will be coming out as a series on PBS real soon.  If you liked Downton Abbey, this is for you!

Professional: I attended my first Twitter Math Camp in Minneapolis this summer and loved it.  I blogged about it 10 times if you want to read more :)  I plan on attending #TMC17 in Atlanta this summer.  I even jumped in and wrote two proposals - one on review games and one on my experiences with Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces.  I attended MassCue for the first time this fall.  I took away some cool stuff from that to try, like Adobe Spark.  I presented at ATOMIC in CT for the second time.  Last year I had 15 people, this time I had 69 people.  I do like presenting and will hope to again in CT in December.  In November 2017, our New England conference will be in the town next to me and @TraceyZager will be the keynote, so I really want to attend, maybe present at that one.  I just took part in @Mattjmiller 's #DitchSummit where he organized 9 different speakers.  It just closed on Dec 31st.  I got to watch about 7 of them and picked up some nice pieces of information. It was a great model.  I really liked it.

Personal: I tried my hand at crocheting, but I think I will stick to knitting.  I am knitting my senior son a blanket which will take me most of this year.  I am knitting it while watching all 7 seasons of the Gilmore Girls.   Trying to keep up with some of my students but they are flying by me.   Still going to the movies each month with a girl friend from high school.  We do dinner and a movie.  Just saw LaLa Land, still processing it.  Not sure if I liked it, but am super looking forward to seeing Hidden Figures this Thursday on opening night.  I am reading a lot of books.  Just finished The Sun is Also a Star on @megcraig 's recommendation.  Reading Victoria now.  Ordered Tracy Zager's book.  And, I think Nightingale  will be next.

I have a busy spring with son #2 graduating from college with electrical engineering degree.  Son #3 graduating from high school.  He applied to 4 schools (2 in MA and 2 in FL).  He has heard from and been accepted to two  - Salem State, MA, and Keiser University in FL with a scholarship, so we shall see.  Son #4 turns 16, starts driving, and has his Confirmation all in May.  Son #1 has moved out and is working and going for his MBA, nothing new for him this Spring.

Exercise - I have joined #MTBoSfit and am on the spreadsheet to keep track of my exercise, mostly to get me through these winter months.  I am aiming for 170 hours in 2017.

#OneWord -  I have been seeing this on twitter recently and I am not sure what my one word for the year will be.  I am going on a run and will have to think about it.  I did see @mathalicious has a new lesson on the Jen Ratio about the number of positive things we are exposed to compared to the number of negative things we are exposed to and I need to read more on it because it is fascinating to me.  I try to be positive and I like this.

So...numbers for 2017:
>73 blog posts
>20 reading books
>170 exercise hours
3 conferences so far
and.... one word???