Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Why I Haven't Blogged in a While...

 I had grand plans for this year - 2020.  I started off the year by creating and taking part in the #MTBoS2020 blogging initiative asking people to blog on the 20th of each month.  I did pretty good up to May 20th.  I did a few posts in July and a couple in August as I was thinking about returning to school.  I have done nothing since.  I think there are 2 reasons why:

1.) I have a big mouth and I was afraid I would get in trouble. (Nothing has changed here, so I will just be careful with what I say. Yes, I will be censoring myself.)

2.) Time.  It takes so much time to get each hybrid lesson ready and I have 3 different preps.  I don't have any extra time to blog.  However, it is an important part of my teaching.  It is the reflection piece.  And, with so much different this year, I should be reflecting.  I have written a lot of blog posts in my head, but not typed anything.

Therefore, this will be my first post in the #MTBoSYuleBlog blogging challenge - 12 posts over December break.  I don't think I will get to 12 posts seeing as today is Tuesday and I go back in on Monday.  But, hopefully, I can share some posts.  

I am thinking about blogging about how I get through each day, Desmos (of course), Deltamath (life saver), how I am making my lessons, and flipping my classroom.

Just a little about our school because this year every school is so different.  Our school started late this year - mid September. We have been in hybrid all year with an exception of 2 days remote due to our first cases and then a week of remote after Thanksgiving - which coincided with my quarantine week.  Yes, I was contact traced to one of my students so I tested and quarantined.  Our students are in 2 cohorts - green and orange. They come to school every other day.  Normally we have a weird rotating schedule that I like on a normal year.  A day is periods 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  B day is periods 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, etc for seven days and seven period rotation.  We are still doing this and repeating days, so A day green, A day orange.  The kids are in hybrid one day with us and doing asynchronous work the next day at home.  I don't think this is the ideal schedule, but it, like much else, is beyond my control, so I just teach whoever walks through the door.

I have three preps.  I have college prep geometry, college prep Algebra 2, and Accelerated Algebra 2/Precalculus.  I taught CP Alg 2 years ago but I didn't even bother to pull out those binders.  It is nice to start fresh.  I have taught Acc Alg 2 since the beginning - 16 years, so I am glad I have that knowledge to build on - what do they need to know, what can I remove, how can I order it and chunk it, what mistakes will they make, what new notations do they need to know.  And, I have taught college prep geo before.  This is the class that I really need to see more often.  Geometry benefits from more practice because it is like learning a new language with all the drawings, namings, and notations, but we are making our way through.

I decided early this summer to flip my classroom.  I did it years ago when it was first a thing. I did it for 4 lessons in a row.  The students watched premade videos on systems of equations and then when they came into class, we worked on those bigger word problem type of problems.  This year, I am all in.  I am making my own videos for each of my three classes.  I will save the numbers for another post.  When the students are live in front of me, it is a math workshop.  They are doing an activity on Desmos that is usually about discovery and leads to discussion and then practicing with Deltamath and assessing on Deltamath.  I knew I wanted to streamline things this year, so that is what I have.  Our brand new learning management system - thrown at us this September (biting tongue here), making my own videos (took me all summer how to best to that), and using Desmos and Deltamath.  

The reasons I have made it teaching this far this year:

1.) The kids. They are awesome. They are doing the work and finding success.

2.) Desmos and Deltamath.  I couldn't do it without them.  So, thank you.

More later.