Monday, June 18, 2018

My Determined Student

Last Thursday just wasn't a good teaching day for me, but then Friday I had a student turn that around.  I tweeted this:

She did give me permission to talk about it, so here goes: Let's call her Sarah (not her real name).

Here is her humble response when I asked for permission:

On the day before school started, I received an email to meet with other teachers about an incoming freshman student, Sarah.  Sarah had invited all her teachers into a room and shared a powerpoint about herself with us so we can understand how she can best learn.  See, Sarah has Stargardt's Disease and is going blind.  But, this was no feel sorry for me meeting.  This girl was independent and determined.  In her powerpoint, she tried to explain what it is like to see from her perspective.  She told us what she needs.  She needs green paper so there is less glare.  She needs her font sized increased to about 50.  (She does have an aide that did this for us.). She taught herself braille last summer.  She has a machine that will take a word doc and convert it into braille.  (We didn't have to do this this year.). She has a sort of Elmo thing that can enlarge my powerpoint projected.  I sent her my powerpoints and worksheets ahead of time so they could be modified.  She has special glasses too.  As I said, she is very independent.  She never complained and was just a pleasure to work with.  We learned what worked for her together.  I had her in Accelerated Algebra 1.  When I was teaching a lesson and we were working on any problem, I always read it aloud for her to write.  I am pretty sure the entire class benefited from this as well.

As the year went on, she was struggling with graphing things.  I told her we could modify her work by writing the translation in words.  Her and her aide worked on creating a tactile graph for her.  I was so shocked.  This is how she handed in 4 graphs from her final exam.  That is what warmed my heart last Friday.  She doesn't let anything stop her.  She is amazing.

Here are her graphs.  The graph paper is in braille.  The aide puts the dots on the x and y axes and then Sarah adds the dots for the points of the graph and then she used Wiki sticks to form the graphs.  So creative!!!

I did reach out to Dan Meyer and Desmos early in the year about using Desmos with her but I didn't have the time to dig into it.  I hope to this summer.  There is a good chance I could have her for the next two years.

Looking Back and Looking Forward #MTBoSBlog18

This is my June 18th #MTBoSBlog18 post - posting on the 18th of each month.  We have one more final exam and 1.5 more days of school.  It has been a great end to school temperature-wise until it hit 95 today.

I would say year #13 was a good one for me.  It was pretty uneventful and no drama which I appreciate.  I had all Accelerated classes this year, so we moved fast.  I had a new prep - Acc Geometry.  I used materials from a colleague who has been teaching it but made it my own and I really loved it.  I had 3 classes of it.  Unfortunately, I only have 1 of it next year.  But, on the other hand, I will have 3 classes of Acc Algebra 2 which could mean I will have a lot of the same kids and I loved my geo kids this year. 

I will have a new prep next year.  It is college prep level Geometry.  I wanted just one year of not planning a new prep, but alas it wasn't meant to be, so I will create this one.

I will say I did use Sean Sweeney's Desmos Marbleslides challenge all year.  I had a few of the same kids do it each week.  We switch classes and students half way through the year and some students that didn't even have me second semester kept doing it! 

I kept up with my Birthday poster all year too.

We were not able to complete the 2018 challenge, but we made a good attempt.

I incorporated a lot of Desmos into my new Geometry class.

My proposals for RIMTA and NCTM Regionals in RI and CT were both accepted for Dec and Oct of next school year.  They are both on Desmos, so I am excited to share.

Last summer, I did a lot of traveling and a lot of school work.  I decided to slow it down a bit this summer.  We have a new lake house in Maine and my plan is to be there and kayak fish, read, roast marshmallows, swing in my grown up swings by the lake and just be.

It will be the first year in my life not going to my grandmother's in Vermont.  She is still alive and kicking at 95 and it is my favorite holiday because we have a huge family, but the 4th is on a stupid Wednesday and all my family has to work on the 3rd and the 5th.  Yes, all my family BUT me has to work.  I have four boys - ages 17-26. They all live at home and they all finally have jobs - and good jobs.  I am so excited!  So, we will go to my brother's for the 4th in a neighboring town and it will be all good.

I am getting ready to leave on our youth group's mission trip.  My friend and I are in charge of it and we went big this year.  We are taking 100 people to Houston to clean up after Hurricane Harvey.  All 100 of us will travel in bright orange shirts this Sunday on the same, non-stop JetBlue flight to Houston.  Then, we will split up into two sites and work for the week. 

One month from now, actually July 16th, I will be traveling to my 3rd TMC in Cleveland.  My colleague, Kathy, and I are presenting for the 3 morning slots on Discovering Geometry using Whiteboards and Verbal Cues.  So, we have been working on this at the end of the school year.  I am nervous but really excited to share all the geometry goodness and having fellow teachers doing the geometry at the boards and discussing it. We will experience it one day, analyze it the next, and create it on the final day.  My husband is joining us.  The company he works for has a plant out there and he has been there and has friends to visit.  We are renting a car and driving, him, me, and Kathy, and then we rented an airbnb.  It should be an adventure to say the least.

So, Houston, Maine, Cleveland, and back to Maine for most of August. That's my plan.

Here's to an awesome summer!