Posted in Uncategorized

Things I’ve Been “Reading” #Hoopla #MTBoSblogsplosion

I’ve been into “reading” while driving for a while now.  About the same time that I stopped pumping in the car, I wanted to continue to own the 45 minute commute to and from work and decided that recorded books would be a great way to go.  Below is a running list of the titles and my thoughts since the beginning of 2017.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

I’ve dabbled in the waters of the self help section on occasion (The Power of Now  by Eckhart Tolle, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Good To Great by Jim Collins, How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman).  I like the positivity and good feelings I have when I “read” these types of books.  You Can Heal Your Life had that same effect on me.  It really made me evaluate the kinds of self talk and self criticism going on in my head.  I’m amazed at some of the effects from changing my “beliefs” and focusing on positive thoughts instead of negative ones.  Even when I have had negative situations occur, this new mind set has really aided me in getting through the situation without feeling despair.  I have applied the affirmations and they seem very similar to the idea of prayer in my Christian ideology.  I do not necessarily believe all of what was espoused (especially when it came to Hay’s ideas about curing cancer).  However, I fully support the ideas of positive thought patterns and that everyone is doing the best that they can at any given moment.  Although forgiving myself is a challenge, it is necessary.  I actually “read” this book twice in my car so I could absorb everything that Hay had to say.  I highly recommend this book.

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

I can’t remember the last time that I laughed out loud while “reading” a book, but I kept doing that during this book.  I love how brutally honest Sincero is and how applicable everything she had to say was.  I ended up making a vision board based on her recommendation.  It is the wallpaper for my computer.  This book helped me think about my students in a different way.  I am convinced that they are all capable – it is my job to help them realize that too.  There is a new vibe in my classroom and I absolutely love it.  This year was the first time that I taught 30-60-90 and 45-45-90 triangles and felt amazing afterwards.  Part of these revelations came from reading this book.  I found that I’ve been so busy blaming students or blaming myself for lack of understanding that I haven’t focused on what students DO understand and that blaming doesn’t need to occur.  I loved this book.  I HIGHLY recommend it.Copy of Inspirational3.jpg

Posted in Math, MTBoS, MTBoSblogsplosion

My Favorite Topic: rate of change

I can say with confidence that my favorite topic in math is rate of change and/or slope.  I love talking about slope because of the ease to find real world applications, the fun activities I deploy in class and the low floor and high ceiling when it comes to teaching this topic.  I’m not sure if it is a benefit or a drawback to our high school curriculum that the idea of slope turns up in all of our required courses (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II).  Additionally, I love what I get to do with slope in my Statistics class.  Here are some of my favorite activities related to slope.

Slope Simon Says

I cannot claim this activity as one I created.  It falls under the “beg, borrow, and steal” mantra I accepted as a student teacher.  Anyway, the activity works like this.

  • have students stand up
  • review the basic rules of Simon Says (it is Ms. Stone Says in my class, but I digress)
    • have to say Simon says or you are out
    • have to do the correct movement or you are out
    • flinch and you are out
  • show students what a positive slope looks like

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  • show students what a negative slope looks like

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  • show students what zero slope looks like

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  • show students what undefined slope looks like

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  • play the game

Students have ALWAYS requested to play this game more than once and it is so much fun to get out of our seats.


Slope Cheer

I teach my students the slope cheer to help them remember that the y’s go on top.  The words to the cheer are:

READY?  OK!  the change in y divided by the change in x is slope

When I say READY I have all of my students stand at attention and I will wait until the whole class in unison says OK!  Then we make a delta symbol with our arms for the word change in y, a karate chop for divided by, and another delta triangle for the change in x.  I am looking for one of the videos I took of my students doing this and will update my blog if I find one.


Function Carnival

Function Carnival is one of the activities prepared by  When you do these activities the students REALLY get an idea for the meaning of slope.  I love when they are doing cannon man and verbally without prompting ask questions like “how do I make him go slower” or while doing the bumper cars they figure out “how can I make the car stop but not disappear”.  It is amazing to me that I can truly be a guide on the side when I do these activities and REALLY get a good understanding for my students inquiry skills.


Parallel Lines and Desmos

I love when we get to discuss parallel lines and use Desmos for understanding.  I have students “guess” what would make the lines parallel and we discuss how do we know that we have gotten close enough.  Actually, I also love using Desmos to talk about what slope will make the line go horizontal and vertical.


Slopes Are Like People

Sometimes when I have students who are struggling to remember the direction of slopes we talk about how slopes are like people.  I’ll ask “who are my positive people in the room” and after the show of hands I will say something like “positive people walk up right because they are proud an happy, positive slopes go the same way, up and to the right“.  Then I will ask about who are my negative folks, and usually some people will embrace their negativity and I will remark “negative slopes are negative people.  Is there any way to get a negative person out of their negative mood?  NO!?  Well, one would say that negative people are just down right negative”.  Then I will ask for people who are not necessarily positive or negative.  After a show of hands, I will say “people who are not positive or negative are just CHILL” I’ll slowly extend my hands along the horizontal and say “zero slope is just CHILL” and I have my students show me just chill.  Finally, I will ask for people who really don’t feel like they are in any of these categories and say “people who don’t really fit are kinda out of this world.  Point to out of this world.  Where is it?”  Students point up and I say “just like the sky goes on to infinity and those people are out of this world, infinite slope or undefined slope is vertical”.


Posted in Education, MTBoS, MTBoSblogsplosion, Uncategorized

Crash and Burn, Lesson Learned #MTBoSblogsplosion

Every once in a while I have a humbling moment while teaching.  This time, I had not only the audience of 26 sophomores but my aspiring student teacher as well.  However, like a phoenix, I rose from the ashes.  It was enlightening actually.  I’ve been listening to the book on tape entitled You Can Heal Your Life and when I sat down behind my desk in defeat I heard the negative self talk in the back of my head.  I knew at that moment that my students probably have to deal with those voices much more often than I do.  I could have wallowed in my despair, but decided to salvage my lessons for the remainder of the day.  Some great things came from this experience.  As I recounted the experience to my other classes they all listened intently and were eager to learn.  I was able to really relate the experience to life and how we always have the opportunity to choose what we believe, it is truly the only thing we have real control over.  I got my students logged into Khan Academy and did some trouble shooting for students who were unable to log on.  All in all, I would say that the day was actually a good one and had learning, just not the original objectives.

It was good to see how far I have come.  Years ago, I would not have learned much from the experience and instead would’ve berated myself.  I’m proud of what happened in the end and continue to believe that everything happens for a reason, even the occasional crash and burn lesson.

Posted in Education, MTBoS, MTBoSblogsplosion, Uncategorized

January 2017 Institute

Last night I attended an online training.  The training was led by Justin Baeder.  I was impressed with the training because he was honest from the beginning that everything that he was about to mention was not necessarily new information and that participants should come into the experience with an open mind.  I was so glad he said this because 1.) he was right (disclaimer: I used to work in a Career Center and helped people with editing resumes and cover letters) and 2.) because I had an open mind it helped me realize the problems with my own cover letter, resume and letters of recommendation.  This experience gave me confidence to head into this new job search with a competitive mind set that I am the perfect candidate for the position and now I just have to show the interviewer.

I’ve included this reflection here as I approached today’s institute sessions with that same open mind and I really think that I have benefitted from that mind set today.

Schoology Session

I signed up for Schoology because I wanted to learn more about this system.  I like that everything is housed in a central location for students rather than piecing together a variety of websites (right now, I direct students to my personal classroom website, instruct them to use Remind, direct them to an online version of the textbook, and use a variety of web resources (such as Geogebra, Desmos, etc) that sometimes I put on the personal classroom website and others I just give them a stand alone shortened website for the day to use).  I’ve altered my first day back lessons to include Schoology sign ups, so it begins :).

Fashion Construction

I’ve never created a whole project like this before.  I tried taking up crochet when I was home last year for maternity leave and I got kinda close to making a potholder 🙂 but not close enough to actually use.  I’m SERIOUSLY considering purchasing a sewing machine because I always have to ask my mom to help me when the dogs tear up my kids dog toys or when I need a button or a hem.  I believe that I could actually handle those tasks.



Manufacturing Program

From this awesome session I learned all about the application of math in the real world.  My previous Principal, Mark Kramer, spoke about how there are workplaces in Chicago that have jobs available but cannot fill them due to lack of training/experience.  6 out of 10 positions remain unfilled due to the talent shortage.  They currently have plans to give recent graduates of the manufacturing program abandoned homes in Park Forest, the student will only be responsible for paying the taxes on the property, the village gets a tax payer and someone living on a property that did not have someone there or even much of a possibility of someone living there in the near future.  Specific to math, the teachers said that students needed to know about the cartesian coordinate system is important along with geometry and trigonometry.

This presentation was so inspiring.  I loved the passion the students had for their work and I wanted to be able to instill some of that in my own class.  I loved the connection to the community.  It was GREAT!



Posted in MTBoS, MTBoSblogsplosion, Uncategorized

My One Word for 2017: Grateful #MTBoSblogsplosion #oneword2017 #MTBoS

I was unsure about doing the #oneword2017.  It’s a challenge to just pick one and there are so many areas that I want to focus on.  However, I selected grateful because I believe that it can translate into my “one word” for my outside of school life as well as my inside of school life.


I am grateful for my students who do choose to come to my class each day.  Unfortunately, I have some students who make other choices as to how they spend their time Monday through Friday rather than come to Geometry.  Although we do not want it to be a choice, in the end it really is one.  I need to be grateful that they made that good choice and reward that good choice by giving students a lesson that they can use.

I am grateful for my school.  I have always been afforded a great deal of room for creativity in my classroom, which is not the case elsewhere.  I need to push myself to take advantage of that opportunity on a more regular basis.  I need to challenge myself to find creative ways to get students more involved and be grateful for the supportive atmosphere present in my school.

I am grateful for the technology in my school.  When I think about what is available in my classroom on a daily basis, I am in awe.  I have a set of Chromebooks chilling in the back of my room to use as I please any day I please!  I have a new flat panel SmartBoard that I am grateful that I have been able to become more able at using.  I have technology knowhow oozing from my brain.  Although I can be thirsty for more, I am incredibly grateful for everything that I have.  I’ve come a long way from the overhead projector and some vis-a-vis markers, baby!

I’m grateful that I have a job.  Plenty of people would love to be in my position with full benefits and a nice salary.  Not to mention holidays off and summers off.  I need to come at this job with a sense of gratefulness.

I want to commit to writing about this idea of “grateful” in the coming year to keep it on the top of my mind.



Posted in Education, Math, MTBoS, Uncategorized

Join in on the #MTBoSblogsplosion #MTBoS

A couple of days ago I was in search of accountability partners for blogging this semester.  I find that when I am deliberate about my reflections (BKA blogging) that I do a much better job of ACTING on those reflections.  I was excited to see other teachers who were interested in starting to blog more too using the hashtag #MTBoSblogsplosion.

My plan is to blog every other week and on the off writing weeks devote at least an hour of my time to reading and possibly responding to other people’s blogs.

Here are some prompts that I would like to work on this semester:

1.) discuss student work through taking a picture of it (hiding the name of course)

2.) interview a student about my course to find out the good, the bad and the ugly (keep it honest here)

3.)  there are thirty prompts on this blog post that might work for me and use the hashtag #reflectiveteacher

4.)  during my MTBoS30 challenge I enjoyed sharing my Friday Five (blogs or teaching things that caught my interest) and I would like to return to that

5.)  Here is Edutopia’s Pinterest board on blogging

I will hopefully update this blog with additional prompts as I see them.  Thank you to the #MTBoS for providing me with an avenue to blog 🙂