Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Day in the Life of a Teacher: #DITL Post 8 An Ordinary Wednesday

This post is the 8th in a series called A Day in the Life of a Teacher series.  I checked my last #DITL post and it was Post 7: A Snowy Sunday.  Today, it is Post 8: An-icy-Wednesday-wait-4-hours-and-it-will-be-almost-60-degrees-but-don't-get-too-comfortable-we-are-getting-a-foot-of-snow-tomorrow kind of day.  I thought I was leaving early for work but only 1 door in my car would open and I had so scrape about 1/2 inch off the car.

Got in and one of my students from first term came in for extra help.  Helped her and then she turned around and helped some friends.  Great to hear her explain it.

Today is Wednesday and I make it a point to leave right at the end of the school day.  I also try not to have anything in the evenings.  Sometimes it happens, but not tonight.  So, an afternoon wide open is what I need in the middle of the week. 

We are at A day in our 7 day cycle, so I have a prep period in my room first - this is heavenly.  Then, I have Accelerated Algebra I and we are reviewing for a quiz that will hopefully happen given tomorrow's snow.  Next up is Accelerated Algebra 2 and we are reviewing for a conics quiz hopefully tomorrow.  During lunch block I have lunch duty, followed by last period in Foundations Algebra 1.  We are working on graphing standard form of a line in there.  I am not sure what I am doing with that yet so I will work on that in prep.

We have one week left before February break, so I am trying to wrap up our units with review, quiz, review, test.  A snow day would throw a monkey wrench into the deal.  I do leave a buffer day just for this reason.  I don't like to test on the last day before vacation because often kids are absent and another reason is I can test on Thursday and get the grading done before I am on vacation.  If there is a snow day, this will have to happen. 

7:30-8:30 First prep - spoke with another Alg 1 teacher about our new Quads unit.  Updated my calendar for the unit.  Printed off my Alg 1 and 2 tests for next week.  Prepped my Foundations class and decided to do cup stacking in class today.  Sent a teacher on Twitter some Quad graphing stuff for her unit. 

Got a text from Son#1 that he is trying to change his flight.  He is turning 25 next week (Golden Birthday - 25 on the 25th!!!)  He supposed to fly to New Orleans for a long weekend tomorrow at 12:30.  Problem is, snow is moving in.

8:30 - 9:35 Acc Alg 1 - Review for quiz - We go over some graphing polynomial homework, get a study guide of what will be on the quiz - factoring, graphing, and applications of polynomials.  Then, I gave the students an option - they could practice with worksheets on factoring and graphing or choose from 5 online games posted on my canvas site.  I would say they are about 50/50 with worksheets vs computers.  While they were working, I created a reference sheet for my Foundations students to use next week on a quiz on graphing lines in slope-intercept and standard form.  It is so easy to just google images and use them!  I also looked at and their Jen Ratio lesson.  When I clicked to download it, it pulled up a lesson on pounding headaches.  I tweeted at them and it was fixed right away!  Gotta love Twitter!

9:40-10:40 Acc Alg 2 - Review for quiz on conics - kind of same as above.  I did do a formative assessment using Go Formative where I took a 3 question conics quiz I had on a worksheet and uploaded it to the site. From there I can add the multiple choice possibilities and then see live results.  I entered the wrong answer for #2, so we had to adjust for that.  Then, lots of worksheets to practice conics.  I allow them to work in groups and they settle in.

10:45 - 11:50 - Lunch duty - my least favorite duty, but at least I just walk around and get some steps in.  It is nice to see the students outside the classroom as well.  It also reminds me that we really do have a lot of great kids at this school.  There aren't any fights.  They are just normal teens eating, chatting, and laughing.  Outside the cafeteria, there are 3 tables set up for Make A Wish foundation, The Red Cross Club and a group selling  There is also a ping pong table set up.  We have some serious ping pong players at this school.  So much they bring their own paddle (is it a paddle?) 

Son#1 texted to say he was able to change his flight to today at 3:40.  Wow, lucky he was able to make it work.  This reminded me to text Son#2 because his 22nd birthday is tomorrow and he is at college.  We were going to drive to UMASS Dartmouth tomorrow to take him out for his birthday, but not with the snow.  Bummed I won't see him on his day.

11:50 lunch then 20 minutes prep - I need to make a copy of my conics reference sheet for the hopeful quiz tomorrow but as the day goes on, I am really thinking we will not have school tomorrow.  I see Casey @cmmteach also wants the Quadratic graphing stuff on twitter, so I send it along.  Great to be connected and help out.  Our lunch period of math teachers was all abuzz with snow day wishes as it is sunny and beautiful.  I never want a snow day.  It always messes me but, I really do think we will have one tomorrow.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

12:45-1:50 - Foundations of Algebra 1 - Start by checking and reviewing the homework.  Then it is Estimation 180, 2 Solve Me Puzzles, and Visual Patterns (at the board).  Then, we will do cup stacking.  Any activity we can to make sense of graphing and writing equations of lines.  Update about class.  It didn't go well as usual.  This is a tough group of kids.  There are 9 kids, 2 were absent today.  They have really low math skills and trouble focusing, plus some refuse to do work, and live to come up with distractions.  I tried. I tried hard, but was quickly losing my patience.  We wrapped up the texting activity we did yesterday and then I was explaining the cup stacking.  I use the big styrofoam cups.  I explained "They mean seem like just simple cups to you, but they are mine.  I bought them.  I ask you not to ruin them in anyway.  Please don't write on them or poke them."  I can see one student looking at me funny.  This student says they won't be able to do this.  I told this student to not touch them and let the group members touch the cups.  There were only two groups working on big whiteboards.  I wanted them to make a table of values, a graph, write an equations, and make a prediction of the number of cups to the top of my head.  This same student backed away as I was giving the group the materials and was refusing to work.  This happens every day.  I asked my co-teacher to remove this student and he did.  It is unfortunate for everyone involved.  I was able to work with both groups and they did eventually figure it out.  One thing I learned from this is that I will NOT being doing Barbie Bungee.  This is too bad, but if I can't trust them with cups, there is no way I will be able to trust them with rubber bands and Barbie dolls.  Plus their attention span will not allow them to focus long enough to make the connections I would hope they would.  I was going to do that Monday.  I will come up with something else.  These are kids who could really benefit from manipulatives and hands on, but their behavior is getting in the way.

1:50 school is done and I am out of there, highly stressed.  My Son#3 is out golfing.  He is ice skating on a pond if the ice is save and if it isn't, he's on the golf course.  Son #4 is home, hanging out.  Today, the sun is shining and it is 53 degrees!  I only live 1 mile from school and am quickly in my running clothes - no need for a sweatshirt today.  I turn on my podcast.  At the recommendation of @viemath Marissa and @cmmteach Casey, I started listening to podcasts only when I run.  I listened to all of Serial Season 1 about Adman and Hae.  Now, I am following it up with Disclosure which takes the same case and breaks it down even more.  Wow, details, details, and lies and lies!  It is interesting and it takes me away from my school day.  This episode is talking about cell phone towers pinging in order to determine locations of people during a murder case.  When I get home from my run, I shower and start thinking about how I might use cell phone data in my upcoming trig lesson.  I will have to do some research.  I also start thinking about the possible snow day tomorrow.  What needs to get done - nothing!  Great a lazy day.  Truth be told, it is now 3:15 and since I just showered and I don't have to go out tonight, I put my jammies on.  I grabbed my computer and sent more Quad graphing stuff to Casey @cmmteach on twitter, got my knitting, my yogurt, and my water and plopped myself on the couch.  I am blogging now.  My next step, start researching cell phone pinging and finish watching This Is Us from last night.

Then, I caught up with Mercy Street as I knit my blanket.  I accidentally deleted last week's Mercy Street, thinking I watched it, but I didn't.  Trying to catch up on it.

A friend I work with called and we chatted about everything from 4:30-5:30 all the while I watched the streaming school closing, but not us, yet.

5:45, suppose I should get up and make dinner.  On Wednesday's at our house, it is pasta day.  Again, keeping Wednesdays light and easy.  Tonight it is ravioli with salad.  Nice and simple.

6:30 back to the couch to watch The Real O'Neals while my husband does the dishes :)

6:48  - School is cancelled!!!!  I guess more of the same tomorrow - knit, tvs, movies, maybe a puzzle, love me a snow day!

For tonight, more tv and knitting.

1) Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day.  Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming.  When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of?  What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?
   A teacher move I am proud of today was my sharing on Twitter.  Some teachers were looking for some quadratic stuff and another for anything on polynomials.  I sent them along.  One that wasn't ideal - everything about how I handle Foundations.  It was the end of the day.  I was tired.  My patience was running thin and the class was like a circus.

2) Every person’s life is full of highs and lows.  Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher.  What are you looking forward to?  What has been a challenge for you lately?
   I am looking forward to getting together with 3 couples from high school to do an Escape Room for the first time this weekend.  I love puzzles and winning, so we better figure it out!  A challenge lately is my Foundations class.  I am totally going by the students' progress.  But that means I need to plan the lessons day to day depending on how far we get in each lesson.  I don't like this style of planning.

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.
   One that stands out was during lunch duty.  A student that I do not even have in class came up to me during lunch duty and offered me a fun sized Kit Kat bar.  I love chocolate, so it made my day.

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 for this year is to help student be able to better explain and think through a problem using vertical non-permanent surfaces.  It is my first year doing it.  I do it all my classes.  I enjoy finding good problems for it and every time I do it, I love standing in the middle and taking it all in.  I just did it yesterday with conic word problems.  The students did great.  I am so happy my proposal for this was chosen for Twitter Math Camp.  My colleague and I will be presenting on our first year of going vertical.  I can't wait!!!

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