Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Hottest 1st Day ever

We had our 1st day of school today.  My room was probably 110 degrees.

I also sweat like a pig.  There is no stopping me once I stop sweating so I just give up.

It was so hot I became delirious along with the kids.

In one class while doing 4 fours, two groups wrote 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 20. I didn't notice.  My student teacher noticed.  I said the class, "Everyone look at your work, there are some mistakes."  They couldn't see their mistakes. 

With that being said, we did do a lot of stuff today once I looked back at the pictures I took.

In Algebra 2, we did the cup challenge and 31derful, plus one class did four 4s.

In Geometry, we explored a Visual Pattern analyzing it "As the step changes, ____also changes."  I did this last year at TMC17 and then did it on the first day of school.  I had the kids brainstorm individually, then discuss in their groups, then share as a class and investigate one of them.

If you notice, there are some random sticky notes.  Andre Sasser offered me the idea at TMC18 when doing a gallery walk, have kids walk on the sticky side and then stick it to the board so as the other kids walk around they aren't reading or influenced by the comments.  We did the gallery walk and wrote noticing and wondering with sticky notes and then presented our findings to the class.


As part of our 2 day teacher PD to begin the year, our school wrote a grant to bring the ADL (AntiDefamation League) in to do training with our students and our teachers.  We had a 3 hour training session for our teachers and our students will have leaders participate in their own training.  If you go to the website, there are a ton of resources!

I have not been in a session about this before.  I am mostly writing this as a method to share ideas, links, and resources with you and to also process my own thinking.

We started with this brief video the ADL made to celebrate 100 years. 
It is called Imagine: A World With Hate. 
Watch carefully.  What do you notice?
Pretty powerful.

We did some small exercises.  Here is one.  Quick, count the Fs in the following sentence.  Don't look below until you have counted. 

"Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of years."

counting, counting

Did you say 3, 4, 5, 6?  Hmmmmm.  The answer is six.  Go ahead, go back and look.  What did you miss?  Oh, those f's in the word "of".  Why?  Because the "f" in "of" sound like a v and not an f.  It shows us that we didn't notice the small words.  We need to become aware.

Now, something different, go ahead and fold your hands together. Yes, so your fingers are all entwined.  Which thumb is on top?  We did this in a room of about 100 teachers and it was about 50/50 with left or right on top.  Now, go ahead and switch your thumbs around.
How do you feel? Uncomfortable...but not wrong.  There is no right way to do it.  Just different.  But, we are comfortable with it, so we might think it is right, or the only way.

Another.  Again, we did this with a group of 100 teachers.  We were instructed to take a piece of paper in our hands and then close our eyes.  Now, fold the paper in half.  Fold the paper in half.  Rip off the bottom right corner.  Now, flip the paper over and rip off the new bottom right corner.  Open up your paper and hold it up in the air.  Open your eyes and look around.

What did you look for?  You probably looked for someone, anyone to have one that looked like yours.  We are looking to be correct.  We are looking for others that are like us.

Oh, and this final one.  He had us count out loud as a chorus as he showed one number at a time.
Say the answer as you add each number.  This probably won't work as well because you can see all the numbers.  Just read right to left and add.
1000 + 40 + 1000 + 30 + 1000 + 20 + 1000 + 10 = what does it equal

No peeking

Did you say 5000?  Are you sure?
Look again.
The answer is 4100. How do you feel?  Stupid, maybe shutting down because you were wrong?  You fell into a pattern and went with it, kind of like a stereotype.  Maybe because we all said it together, you were influenced by what others were saying and stopped thinking for yourself?

Just some activities to make you think. 

WGBH has a video called Peanut Butter and Jelly Racism about implicit bias.

MTV has short vignettes on microaggressions at  These vignettes are on Youtube.  Link

And, we finished with John Cena and a video about the Love Has No Labels Campaign.  You can find resources at Love Has No Labels

As I said this session made me think and then I wanted to share.  I hope you are able to take and use and share some of this information.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

My Vacation #selfcare #MTBoSBlog18

I am blogging this on August 18th as part of the #MTBoSBlog18 initiative.  Plus 8/18/18 is a cool date!

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks at a lake house in the middle of nowhere, Maine.

Keep in mind I have 4 sons, ages 17-26 and they all live at home along with our two dogs and two cats.  Our house is a busy one but thankfully they are all employed!

The first week of my vacation was basically by myself.  Yep, me, myself, and I.  I haven't ever been by myself.  From Saturday until Tuesday night, it was just me - no one to talk to, no responsibilities, eat only when my stomach tells me to.  I could listen to music, watch whatever sappy movie I wanted to (again, house with four boys, plus my husband).  I could fish for many, many hours and I did. I woke up each morning and either went for a run or did a workout and then went fishing. Then, I would read. Fish, read, nap, repeat.  I lost track of time and it was heavenly!!!!  I went to Bingo by myself on Monday night and they recognized me.  "Weren't you here before?"  Me: "Yep, two summers ago."  I didn't win anything.

On Tuesday night until Friday morning, my friend joined me.  We went to the musical, Grumpy Old Men, in Ogunquit, ME.  It was the first night of this first every production anywhere!  So cool and so funny.  Sally Struthers and Hal Linden were in it. 

On Wednesday night, we went to the Beach Boys at Hampton Beach.  It was their Then and Now tour and it was cool how they lined up a slideshow from the 50s and 60s of them playing the same songs they are now.  And, Mike Loves' son is a signer in the band too.  I was surprised by the young kids in the audience too.  It was kind of a reverse concert.  The old people up rocking and dancing and the young kids looking confused.

On Saturday, my family came up, my husband, my 4 kids, 2 dogs, my mother in law, and her dog.  And, so our family vacation part began.  It rained from Saturday until Wed so we had to get creative with what we did.  We still fished in between rain drops.  We got a friendly round of mini-golf in.  I got a hole in one, as did my husband, and one of my sons.  We went to Bingo again on Monday and I won.  I also caught the most fish.  You can see how my family gets annoyed with me and all my winning and catching. 


I am NOT a humble fishermen. 

Yes, I even fish with everything pink.

I fished for 15 days consecutively and I caught 28 fish.  Our family doesn't count the blue gills, pickerel, or crappy, just the bass, so I caught 21 bass.  Fished in the morning, fished at sunset.  Kept a journal of what I caught.  and, this is my biggest fish:


I read 7 books.  I'm lucky. I loved them all!

I had the neighborhood beach all to myself.

I watched sappy movies on Hallmark and Netflix.

We got ice cream.  Had lobster (of course, we are in Maine)


We did a puzzle.

I started knitting an indoor/outdoor pillow.

I painted a rock garden for my classroom (the only school work that got done).

I did not end up scrapbooking for my youngest son.  He will be a senior and I make a high school book for each of my boys.  I bought all the supplies and pictures and brought them up here, but then I was too busy fishing and reading and figured I have all school year to do that.

We hung my wind chimes.  They make me happy.

Floated on my big pink flamingo in the lake.

The boys went golfing (and didn't kill each other).

The seaweed in the lake is spiral in form.  This is a picture of it in the water.

We had a campfire and roasted marshmallows.

It has been a great vacation, really recharging.  It is the simple things.  It is more than just hours of fishing.  It is listening to the loon, seeing the great blue heron take off, spotting a bald eagle.  The cool, calm morning on the lake when no one is out there and it is just me.  I love it.

I think I am ready to get ready to head back to school.  It's been a great summer.