Posted in MTBoS30

Summer Vision Coming Into Focus #MTBoS30

While reading blogs earlier this month, I came across one that talked about having the BEST SUMMER EVER and I was intrigued.  I proceeded to try to do the items outlined in the article.

I wrote out my summer vision along with a home improvement to do list and a list of major events of the summer by week.  Many of the ideas listed in the post sounded great to me so you will see that there are plenty of repeats from their list.  I put these lists on the back of my front door to be a constant reminder of what my goals are so that I can work every day to achieve them.  Today marks the end of the first full week of summer (we had to be at school for check out procedures last Tuesday) and I have done a good job of keeping my summer vision in focus.  My son’s potty training was a late add but an important one.  It is having a huge impact on what we do and what we don’t do as a family these days so it will be a huge accomplishment if we, or rather I should say he, can get it done.

I now need to work on #5 from the post regarding making a To Do list for each week.  I LOVE To Do lists but tend to have an ongoing one that I rewrite every so often when most items have been completed.  If I do one list per week, I think I will be more productive.

I also need to find a balance between this idea with the various lists and one of my other favorite blog posts from The Hands Free Mama.  This post has stuck with me for a couple of reasons.  First, it was published a few weeks before my son was born.  I only WISH that I had discovered it then as I have a device addiction that I need to work on.  Second, it makes sense and I always have an appreciation for things that make sense.  I think that I can find balance between the two initiatives.  Maybe locking up my phone after the first thirty minutes of the day or limiting myself to Facebook only when my kids are sleeping or when I have access to a real laptop.  Definitely something to work on.

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Posted in Uncategorized

This #MTBoS30 Thing Was Worthwhile and HARD

I don’t know what got into me that I thought that I could do 30 posts in the month of May.  This has definitely been a challenge for me.  Some posts were easy and smooth like a hot knife through butter.  Others reminded me of the chore it was to basically “blog” while in grad school – then it was a blackboard assignment and we had to comment on two other comments each week – it was pretty awful.  However, there were some great learning opportunities for me by doing this activity.

1.) There are some really talented math teachers in the world and it is awesome that I can connect with them through the Twitter-verse and the Blog-O-Sphere.  I’m amazed that the degrees of separation between me and the math Gods is only like one or two degrees.  I like the thought that I am so close that maybe I could rub elbows with them someday and my students might get glimpses of what amazing teachers do.

2.) Blogging everyday is a challenge especially when you aren’t necessarily inspired.  I have a new appreciation for newspaper columnists who can write EVERYDAY and have amazing things to say.

3.)  When I don’t have something amazing to say, sometimes it is ok to just quote other amazingness.

4.)  I am questioning the purpose of my own blog.  This blog started out from a challenge I found online a couple of years ago.  Is the only reason I blog is for myself or when I feel challenged to do so?  I appreciate the people who have read my thoughts.  It has been nice to have this digital outlet to allow me the space to reflect on what I have learned.  However, what is really the point?  If it is just a journal for my musings I could just do that through a simple Word document housed on my computer.  Does this really need to be published on the World Wide Web?  Maybe so that I will feel more inclined to keep at it.

I don’t think that I will try to keep up with the blog a day pace, however, I would like for blogging to be part of the routine.  I think I need to pick a day a week to maintain it.  If I want to do more, then so be it.  However, I think that the challenge of a blog a week will be a good one for me.  It will help to get me reading other people’s stuff too which keeps me fresh and in the know.

Posted in MTBoS30

Finding the Work Life Balance #MTBoS30

My husband has been away since Thursday evening and I have taken care of my kids alone for the last couple of days.  Although I crave adult companionship, I also crave alone moments without any whining.  As I sit here alone with my thoughts though, I realize that during the school year I have done an OK job of finding the Work/Life balance.  One of the strategies that I have employed is having a “quitting time” like the rest of the world.  Although this “quitting time” is enforced pretty strictly by daycare, it doesn’t necessarily prevent me from bringing items home with me for grading or planning when I am not at school.  I have found that there is always something MORE to do and that leaving these items at school to be dealt with later is actually better for my work-life balance.  Additionally, I try to keep the home stuff at home (this is more challenging since I am a pumping mama and HAVE to pump during the school day but I try to do work at the same time).  By keeping home at home and work at work I feel like I am doing a “pretty good” job in both arenas.  I have found that when I am AWESOME in one part of life, I tend to be not so awesome in another.  So, for now, when my kids are this young (they will only be this young ONCE so I should enjoy it) I will be satisfied with “pretty good” and be grateful for all my life has to offer me right now.

Posted in Brainstorming, Education, Math, MTBoS30

Friday Five (3) #MTBoS30

1.)  bit.ly/MTBOSS  – mind blown – type in any topic and see who has blogged about it…I spent two hours checking out how people do their first day of school
2.)  This post had an example of how to use “logic” problems for bellwork.
3.)  I have done find the mistake worksheets before but never as a review for a test like this.  I’ll definitely have to try that next year.
4.)  for math talks, use Fraction Talks
5.) euclidthegame.com fun way to introduce constructions AND Geogebra – but I got mad with the level with a perpendicular segment.  Try it and see if you have the same problem.  
Posted in Education, MTBoS30

Algebra I Proficiency Exam #MTBoS30

Today I had the pleasure of meeting some of our future Rockets when I gave them an Algebra proficiency exam.  I signed up to give it because I wanted to make a little extra money.  I didn’t realize that it  would be as much of a hassle as it has become, but I digress.  During the test, I began to consider the situation and thought about the following questions:

  1. What are your non-negotiable Algebra I skills?
  2. How would you assess those skills?
  3. If students don’t have those skills, what would you do to remediate that situation?

Any one of those questions can lead down a philosophical rabbit hole of more and more questions.  I am pretty sure that I know what my district will do with the data collected today.  Sometimes I wonder if we were better off before big data.  It seems like we used to have more conversations about where students were and what we needed to do to get them to where they wanted to go.  I hate when I catch myself saying “there will be questions like this on the ACT”.  I would much rather catch myself saying “you need this skill so that you can do _____”.  How do we get back to giving students what they need rather than what we think they should have – or better yet – marry those two ideals together so that they are the same.

Posted in Education, MTBoS30

The LAST Day of School #MTBoS30

Today is the last day of school.  Yesterday was the last day with students.  My “stuff” has been packed for days as I know I will be in a new room next year.  This year has been a strange one for me, good, but strange. Here are some of the big things from this year.

Maternity leave that started almost a month early

My son was born two days after his due date so I expected something similar to happen with my daughter.  Since I had two preps this year that were new to me I was only staying about two days ahead of either one of my classes at any given time.  On the day I went into labor, I was actually having my formal observation.  During that observation, I had to ask my administrator to watch my class so I could go to the bathroom as I thought I had incontinence but was actually  my water breaking.   I even stayed through the next class period and administered the test to them.  When I requested a sub, I only asked for the next class period as I thought I would be back for my afternoon classes…boy was I wrong.  Luckily, my maternity leave sub was already in place so I had no worries and I had probably one of the easiest delivery experiences that one could expect.  The sub did quit about two weeks later but by that point I was ok with everything – something like that would’ve set me into a tail spin with my first pregnancy but this time, I was ok.

I did a pretty good job with co-teaching

I will humbly say that my experience with co-teaching for the first time was pretty good.  I got along with my co-teacher and we survived the year.  The passing rate for my classes was ok and I look forward to improving the next time around.

Chromebooks in my classroom took some getting used to

My tenure at Rich East has been long enough to include several technology innovations.  Some of those have been more well-received than others.  However, Chromebooks that actually work in my classroom have been incredibly beneficial and the idea of reliable technology took a little to get used to.  I have only tentatively used them since I know how much can come and go around here.  I feel like next year I can go all out and use them MUCH more regularly in class since they are so reliable.

My administrator got a new job

I wrote an entire post about this subject.  I’m sad to see him go and am a little fearful about who will replace him.  I can only pray that we will be ok.

Geometry – You Sexy Beast You – I Missed You

I’ve been out of the Geometry scene for several (since 2009-2010) years.  I completely forgot JUST how much I love the subject and cannot wait to teach it again next year.  It ALMOST makes up for the fact that I will not be teaching Statistics (I said ALMOST)

 

Summer will be here in a few short hours.  I’m looking forward to the last couple of days of May to reflect on my practice thus far and make good plans for next year.

Posted in MTBoS30

Thoughts After a Retirement Party #MTBoS30

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending a retirement party for one of the last employees left who was there on my first day at Rich East many moons ago.  Before going, I wondered who from our current iteration of Rich East would be there.  It never occurred to me that previously retired folks would be there (I know, I am a little slow sometimes).  It was a tremendous amount of fun seeing so many good people.  I am truly grateful to have had them in my life as I was a young teacher.  Whether it be the creative discipline of one of my predecessors (that included the occasional tossing of inanimate objects, like say chalk or desks) to the fabulous games of another to the incredible organization of the honoree of the night.  I have been so blessed on my journey to encounter great people who have taken good care of me.  I guess now it is my turn to help others.  I think where I have fallen short in this in the past is that I have “tried too hard” with people.  I think I need to be more like the folks from tonight who never had to “try” to pass things on, they just did.  I can definitely do that.  I want to be proud of my work and I want others to be as well.