Posted in EdTech, Education, Professional Development, Sketchnote

EdCampLakeCounty 2017

I attended EdCampLakeCounty over the weekend.  EdCamp is a voluntary, free professional development opportunity, for teachers, by teachers.  I love how you have the choice to attend whatever suits your needs that day and if a conversation isn’t helpful to you that no one takes offense if you move somewhere else.  I’ve attended several of these in the past and always walk away with SOMETHING to use in my class along with a new energy for my classes.  This weekend’s experience had that same effect.   I am excited to share some of my favorite takeaways from the day.

Hyperdocs

I learned about hyperdocs through a Twitter post recently so when I saw this session get proposed I jumped all over it.  Hyperdocs are just Google docs, such as a doc or slides, that you can use to push out content to your students.  They allow you to change parts in real time if something isn’t working out and allow you to reuse lesson/unit plans from year to year.  One teacher commented that she uses them so much that students automatically know what to do when students come into her room each day however, she does not like that predictability.  I liked how it seemed like hyperdocs would allow students to self-direct their learning and that I as a teacher could be more like a guide-on-the-side.  There appears to be a nice Facebook community to support this idea along with an entire book, Twitter account, and website devoted to the resources.  Since I start next semester with trigonometry, I think I will wait to try to employ this strategy until the next unit in my classes.

My Favorite Four Letter Word: MATH

I guess this might be my EdCamp “thing” to do is propose this session.  I recommended this one and had a turn out of about 4 people.  With a group this small it is AWKWARD to leave the session, luckily I liked the conversation we had.  We talked about improving mindset and how Jo Boaler has some great talks and resources available for teachers. I’ve been super hyped about using Polygraph, so I showed the others how it worked and they seemed to like the platform.  When we got to talking about numbersense and how to build it we discussed using Clothesline math and Estimation180 to get at those skills.  Someone mentioned the idea of a student created Kahoots and I liked that idea, however, sometimes our students are over-Kahooted so I don’t know if I will utilize this idea very soon.  My biggest takeaway is that I want to use student mistakes better in class.  Similar to My Favorite No.  I think that second semester I want to incorporate a better strategy into my bellwork that includes a whole bellwork day of the week for “my favorite no”…maybe My-Favorite-No Mondays.

I’ve also got to work on getting more math people to these conferences – they are such a rich place to gain PD.

My Best Tip, Trick, or Hack

To be honest, I didn’t go to this session but I lurked during lunch and ended up with some great takeaways even though I wasn’t privy to the conversation.  I need to do some more research on Amazon’s contribution to the teacher community, Amazon Inspire.  It has the familiar Amazon search engine but is related to worksheets.  I did not get any hits from the #MTBoS community on this resource so I am skeptical that it is ALL good but some of it might be useful.  For lesson planning or rubric making it appears that Themespark.net might be a good option.  I liked how it was linked to the standards and already had descriptors in place.  If I ever make that jump to standards based grading/learning/reporting this might be a good resource for me.  My BIGGEST takeaway was the One Tab app for Chrome which takes all of your open tabs and collapses them into a single tab that you can name and reopen.  I think for future EdCamps that this extension could be super useful especially for my blogging after the event (like how I am using this today).

Flipped Learning

I am not new to this idea, however, this was a reminder that it is a great option for my class.  The teacher who was using the format was doing so with an AP Stats class so I am confident that this would be a great place to start if I wanted to flip an entire class since I would have the most control over that class.  I like the idea of having more one-on-one time with students and that they can control the pace a little more.  Coupled with some Hyperdocs we could do some amazing things here.  I am concerned about my students ability to connect to the internet at home but I think that I need to work on a Donors Choose Project that would fund hotspots to be checked out of my classroom for a year….hmmmm….wonder if that is even possible.

EdCamp for PD at Your School

I love the EdCamp experience so much and would LOVE to bring this concept to an institute day at my school.  The person who spoke about the concept said that the following happened after their institute EdCamp:

  • several committees were formed that day
  • several committees were able to act on the steps discussed such as student surveys and discipline
  • most teachers were invested in the process
  • 100% of the teachers participated at the beginning of the day

Now I just have to figure out the people at my school that I can talk to to make this a possibility.  I love the choice, the opportunity for everyone in the room to feel empowered, and the opportunity to grow.  Maybe if I apply it to a lesson in my own class I could ask an administrator to come in to see and hopefully they could see the potential as a school initiative.

Overall

Huge props to the organizers of the event.  Loved the breakfast and lunch offerings.  I loved the conversations I had with others during the event.  The facilities at Carmel High School were fabulous and the internet connection was flawless.  The student helpers were great!  (Side story: as we walked to our first session students pointed out the way and one student said “Go down this hallway and then…take…a right…aaaattt….Jesus?”…with all of those pauses – so cute and authentic – I loved it).  I highly recommend this EdCamp to others who want to give it a try.

Advertisements
Posted in EdTech, Education, Math, MTBoS, Professional Development, Sketchnote

NCTM Regional Conference in Chicago

Who loves being around math people?  Well I do and I had the great opportunity to be with a whole bunch of them (3,000+) at the Regional NCTM Conference.  I should mention that I was able to attend the opening presentation virtually.  Huge thank you to the people who posted live video and tweets that night so that I could put my kids to bed AND learn from the session.  The session really spoke to me so Thursday morning I attended a presentation on equity that was hosted by one of the speakers from the previous evening.

8am Hidden Figures by Dina Williams

I was unaware that when I chose this session based on the idea of equity in our classrooms that it would be led by one of the speakers from the previous evening but was pleasantly surprised when she began singing a song similar to one she did the previous evening.  During the piece she sang on Wednesday evening the quote that stuck out to me was “no need to wonder why, just write it down”.  I think that quote can come out of anyone’s mouth in utter desperation to “get through” things or “cover” topics (speaking of “cover” have you ever noticed that that word “cover” can mean to hide or conceal something, I realize that teachers don’t MEAN that when they say it but it is another meaning, but I digress).  I really liked Dina’s songs and it made me think of how powerful a force music can be.  I’ve been using “bumper music” in between classes lately and it has been a great addition.  Parts of her talk that really spoke to me included:

  • the use of pictures from our students’ world to teach the content of my class (she showed the image below, overlayed a grid and talked about having students estimate which was more and by how much)

I loved her use of math talks to get at some very important fraction skills.  First, she talked about using money.  IMG_7153

I remarked to someone near me that idea was all fine and good but what about thirds and Dina happened to be standing right there and she was excited about how that was the next portion of her talk.  It was awesome.  I do question on whether my students would know that 1/6 of an hour is 10 minutes but I believe it would be worth teaching if necessary

img_2785.jpg

I really liked this session and I hope to incorporate these number strings soon.  My biggest issue with these ideas is thoughtfully incorporating them.  I find that I get these great ideas and if I don’t use them the next week I lose them, however, this doesn’t always work well with whatever I am teaching in my curriculum.

Volunteering

Sendhil got me to volunteer for this event.  I didn’t know what to expect but it was a worthwhile experience.  First, I was privy to the wi-fi access from before the event even started.  Second, when I checked in for my assignment I was introduced to the layout of the hotel which was good because the only way you could get to one side of the hotel to the other was on the second floor.  Also, I became VERY familiar with the rooms on that side of the building which made my own experience of finding rooms much easier. During the lulls in the crowd I was also able to make lunch plans for my crew which was amazing because about five minutes after we were seated we saw a line forming outside that was down the street a bit. I LOVED getting to help people where they wanted to be and I even got to see some people that I haven’t seen IN AGES in the process.  It’s crazy when you see people you know from outside of the context of the conference you are attending….for instance, the picture below is of one of my former students who is now an administrator!  I barely recognized him but was so glad to see him.

img_4406.jpg

Coteaching with Tech by Allen and Eutsler

It was so amazing to see this team of teachers work together.  You could tell that they truly shared their responsibilities in the classroom and had the utmost respect for each other.  That kind of relationship is amazing to watch in action and gave me so much to think about my own co-teaching relationship.  They even named their classroom as a combo of their two last names.  Maybe we could be Janicone or Staniki.

TI Rover/Programming 

I walked in late to this session but am soooo glad I made that move.  I loved doing a little programming with TI’s new product, the TI Innovator Rover.  We got a quick lesson on how to do the basic code commands in TI’s menu system and then were set loose to get the rover to move through a short course.  I have a little programming experience (three courses in college, writing SHORT TI programs on my calculator, and dabbling during the hour of code every year in my classroom).  I was able to capture a short video of my second to last trial run with the rover (I’m mad I didn’t get my last run as I got the rover to basically parallel park which was pretty sweet).  I was saddened when I was running my last run and I overheard someone questioning the application of this activity in a math classroom.  The TI person was caught a little off guard and I stepped in a little to talk about how I loved how this activity really spoke to the attendance to precision and measurement (I would make my students measure the course in order to do the programming) and discussion possibilities of area versus perimeter and I could keep going but you get the point.  I will admit that this changed my mind about TI.  I have been a little down on TI products with the advent of Desmos and Geogebra as those products are FREE and it is hard to argue with FREE.  However, this product made me reconsider their products.

Team ASAP

This session intrigued me as I know that my school would like to improve AP offerings, increase the number of students enrolled in AP, and get students to achieve scores of 3+ on the exam.  They mentioned that their school has both regular and honors taking the same curriculum which I LOVE that idea because think everyone deserves to be challenged and get high quality instruction.  I was intrigued by their Geometry in the summer program as I wanted to know if the topics dealt with in the summer were to the same rigor as a typical Geometry course.  It definitely gave me food for thought.

Standards Based Grading with Darshan Jain

I just loved this presenter from the beginning.  He was so welcoming and I felt like I wanted to learn right from the start.  He was very interested in the story of the people who attended his 8am on a Friday session.  He talked about the difference between assessing and evaluating a situation which is slightly nuance but an important idea.  I loved that he took time to discuss why teachers get into teaching because I believe that SBG/SBL really speaks to who you are as a teacher.  He talked about a process of asking some vital questions to structure the standards assessed:

  1. What do I value?
  2. How can you show this value?
  3. How well can you show this value?
  4. What helps to show this value well?

Check out my sketchnote on the session below.  I had other sketchnotes from the conference but spilled water on them :(.

img_5768.jpg

I loved some quotes from this session like the idea that 21st century illiteracy means someone who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.  This really spoke to me as I know plenty of people, myself included, who struggle to unlearn something even if it is not a correct understanding.  I loved that the idea of SBG/SBL does not mean that we forget everything that we as teachers have done to get to this point – hence the house quote of “don’t tear down the whole house, just rearrange the furniture”.

#MTBoS

I volunteered to work at the #MTBoS table during this morning for an hour.  I loved getting to meet some of my #MTBoS fangirl favorite people.  I always struggle with how to explain the community to people ESPECIALLY when they don’t have Twitter.  However, I usually say something like “well I was you once, where I thought Twitter was only for celebrity gossip and couldn’t possibly offer me anything”.  Working the table made me highly aware of all the great things that the #MTBoS has exposed me to, the fact that I love this community and that my teaching practice has improved because of it.

Side note to working the booth is that I got to play with Mannifold which I LOVED. Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 8.58.02 PM.png

I couldn’t put it down so I promptly ordered my own stackon Amazon for my playtable at school.

Math Games with Susan Chadaz

I felt like I learned some things through this session (even if they were not my personal intended goals of attending this session).  First, she incorporated sign language into talking about the common core math practice standards.  We learned one sign for each of the 8 standards.  Additionally, she showed us how to tie a string without letting go of the ends which was comical to see a whole ballroom of people attempt to do.  She showed us a couple of her games.  I don’t know if I will use them in my classes but others seemed interested.

Tech to Increase Conceptual Understanding with Annie Fetter

I was so excited to meet Annie when I was volunteering at the #MTBoS table.  I liked her applets for this session.  The triangle applet was fabulous as I hope to use it the next time that I introduce triangles in my Geometry class.  I loved how she modeled the Notice/Wonder routine for this activity.  Notice/Wonder has really been a game changer in my classroom this year and I hope that I can continue to do it justice in the future.

Chicago

I could probably go on an on with this post but I am going to just #hitsend or in my WordPress world hit Publish on this.  But before I do, I will mention that I am thankful for Chicago.

IMG_1480.JPGI love being so close to a metropolitan area that attracts great events like this one.  I love all of the food, culture, and unique opportunities that this city affords.

IMG_3415.JPG

I am grateful for the AWESOME weather during the last two days and just so proud that this is my home.

IMG_9044.JPG

Posted in Education, Math, Sketchnote

Blind Kahoot, Sketchnoting, and Better Lesson

I had a fabulous time over the weekend at EdCamp Chicago.  You can read more about my experience here.  I am feeling a little of the EdCamp is over blues so I figured the “cure” would be to apply some of what I learned to my classes and that totally energized me.

download.jpeg

Blind Kahoot

I wasn’t sure if this would work in my class but it TOTALLY did.  We played a Kahoot on classifying triangles BEFORE I introduced the terminology.  Mind you, these terms are middle school topics, so my students aren’t completely “blind” to the definitions.  However, as happens EVERY YEAR, students mix up the words “isosceles” and “scalene”.  They enjoyed playing the game a second time through on “ghost mode” where they competed against their original scores and times.  The ratings students gave the activity at the end merited doing it again AND this year students actually noticed that there are TWO ways to classify a triangle.  I loved how they verbalized this during the game when sometimes that nuance is lacking in my class.  It was so much fun teaching this lesson today as compared to years past.

Sketchnoting 101

File_000.jpeg

I am relatively new to sketchnoting myself.  I am getting better about using more icons and containers.  Today was the first time I tried to get my students to try it.  I provided the “notes” and they needed to provide the sketches to accompany them.  I was surprised that no one has complained about not being able to draw.  Below are some of the sketches my students worked on.  I will have to pass out color in the future.  The “proof” on whether this activity merits future use will be in students being able to identify these terms in the days to come.  File_002

File_003.jpeg

File_004.jpeg

 

 

Posted in Education, Math, MTBoS, Sketchnote

EdCamp Chicago Fall 2017 – AMAZING :)

EdCamp Chicago went down to the south suburbs so I HAD to represent 🙂 you can take the girl out of the Southside, but never the Southside out of the girl :).  Anyway, I learned soooo much today and am excited to get back and put it into action.  I was talking with @MrsBronke through Twitter about the fact that I LOVE EdCamps but I totally struggle with how to describe them to educators so they can feel the awesomeness and come as opposed to being scared by the “scary” parts (i.e. there is no agenda before the day, people can come and go at will, etc – which I admit are scary but after your first EdCamp you realize that these factors are ACTUALLY empowering and really force you to really be super present and invigorate you). Below are some of the lasting ideas that stuck with me from the sessions I attended (for the first time at an EdCamp I didn’t leave any session to attend another one – maybe just really good choices on my part, or maybe just my desire to make the most of where ever I was – regardless, I liked it so much).  Shout out to Danita and Mia who sat with me at the beginning, it was so fun to connect with Hammond, Indiana folks….maybe they will get on Twitter 🙂 I’ll be on the lookout.

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 7.53.29 PM.png

Scouts, Sunday School, 4H and More

This was a small group but we were a mighty force.  I loved how diverse the room was despite the fact that we only had 4 people in it :).  I was impressed with the connections we made when it came to how you communicate with the members of your extra-curricular, how do you hold them accountable,  how can we “gamify” attendance so it doesn’t need to be punitive, to how can we recognize members for their contributions on a regular basis so that they aren’t so fixated on end of year MVP awards.  I really liked how this session made me reconsider how I encourage my students in Mathletes and Snowball.  I’d like to maybe recognize “streaks” (one person mentioned Homework streaks in his classroom, maybe I can do that with attendance or for my Mathletes their practice skills or other attributes that I want to see more of in my activities).

My Favorite Four Letter Word: Math

I suggested this session.  I’ve suggested it before at EdCamps and have LOVED it but never have I experienced so many math teachers in one room at an EdCamp!  It was fantastic.  Also, very surprising for me, we didn’t even utter a peep about Desmos or Geogebra (my personal favorite go-to math resources) and DESPITE that the conversation was soooooooo good.  We shared so many great things about why we love being math teachers and it was fantastic.  I’m excited about the possibility of using this clip in my class – the teacher who mentioned it talked about a Mindset Monday and I was totally intrigued.  I gave props to Sara Van Der Werf and her Name Tents with Comments activity that I used with my students this year and it was awesome to see other teachers who were interested in making the same connections with students.  I liked the idea of Blind Kahoots – similar to blind Quizlet Lives that I have been in love with lately – so I will have to try Kahoot in this way.

Someone talked about how our students tend to be missing some basic skills (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing to name a few).  I don’t believe that I have all of the solutions, but I do believe that it is my duty to help any student who walks in my door to be better for entering and engaging in my class.  I feel like my math talks, notice/wonder, estimation, clothesline math, selective use of Khan Academy are steps in the right direction.  A couple of times we circled back to this idea of mindset and I believe that some of these basic skill problems come back to mindset issues.  Which makes relationship building so important.  When you build the relationship, you can get students to do amazing things that they didn’t even believe were possible.

Then during the last five minutes someone brought up the topic of homework – such a great topic that needs soooo much more time than 5 minutes.  However, being with math teaching peers and openly questioning the role of homework and whether the homework we are giving actually achieves those goals strengthened my resolve to only assign homework with a specific goal in mind that I believe will ACTUALLY be achieved.  I feel a much bigger blog post on that topic coming soon.  For now though, I am happy about the place I am in with homework at this time and don’t plan on changing anytime soon.  I mean I actually have some of my students ASKING ME for homework, which is DEFINITELY a switch and I have tailored assignments for them based on their needs as a learner as opposed to my needs to justify a grade.  I have students actively asking me questions about problems they are getting wrong in Khan Academy (that they are doing of their own free will) and want to better their understanding.  I must be doing something right.  And I might not have it ALL right, but it is working for some and for that I am grateful.

LUNCH with the Marian and Math Peeps

Lunch was great conversation about all kinds of fun topics.  Whether it was about taking a last name, classroom activities, what you were doing later – all of it was so fun.  I wished that we could have boxed up that group of people so I could have lunch with them everyday :).  Sharing a meal does great things for connecting with others.  Also, it is amazing to me that even when surrounded by a whole bunch of Catholic School educators that we as educators have so much in common.

I’m mad at myself for not taking a real picture of the chairs that were similar to this in one teacher’s classroom:

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 8.20.06 PM.png

The desk part was bigger and swiveled to the other side for lefties.  They were so sweet.  I kinda want to start writing a Donors Choose project and get them for my students.

Additionally, I liked this image I saw today:

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 7.54.13 PM.png

Power of Positivity

I needed this 🙂 I always need this.  I have been working so hard on this in my classroom.  I HATE when my husband criticizes me HOWEVER he usually has a point when he does (though I will never give him the satisfaction of saying “you’re right”).  Anyway, he told me recently that I was being negative and it hurt my heart until I was real honest with myself and realized that he was right – he doesn’t read my blog so I am safe :).  Anyway, it has been a goal of mine to be more positive, which lead to a goal of being more grateful, which lead to a goal of being more present.  All of these things have worked well together and I can honestly say that I am in a much more positive place in my life now than when he made that comment to me :).  Whether it be standing at my door thanking my students for coming each day (which was a “fake it before you make it” thing for me at first but now I TRULY am grateful – like for real, and I recommend it to everyone) or handing out my new Bitmoji-fied Post-Its (blog coming this week – they really are my favorite thing right now) or taking the time to REALLY get to know students, this positivity thing has done wonders for my classroom management (I’ve only written 4 referrals this whole year and two of those I really had no choice but HAD to write them up) and wonders for my students’ work ethic.

The Angel Project idea really spoke to me as I had actually mentioned this idea to my administrative team – and it got me thinking that maybe I could do this for just my students in my classes as in I would put my own dots next to my own students who I had made a personal connection with this year already and really make it a goal for me moving forward to make connections with the ones I have not made that connection with yet.

With my son I want to implement the idea of asking him “How were you kind today?”.  Such an awesome question and one that will show my son what I really value out of him in addition to asking him what he learned today.  Maybe I should ask my students the same question.

Sketchnoting

So sad that I had to dip out of this one early as I am new to Sketchnoting but I totally believe in the power of it.  I shared my story about how I got started (long story short, an administrator admonished me during a faculty meeting for what was in her eyes “off task behavior” and so I started sketchnoting so I couldn’t get in trouble for taking notes 🙂 .  Anyway, I loved hearing how one teacher was using this technique with her special ed students and it made me think that maybe I should be deliberate about giving my students the opportunity to try sketchnoting in my classes. Below is my sketchnote about sketchnoting. One thing that I didn’t get to note is that when you sketchnote you have a built in picture for blog posts and everyone knows that pictures get more views than just text alone.Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 7.53.43 PM.png

I think to take my sketchnoting to the next level I need to incorporate more icons.  Also, although my dog doesn’t have a name, I believe I already have a learning mascot, or maybe he is my creativity creature…whatever, it was nice to think about him in a new light.

Posted in Blaugust, Education, Sketchnote

Late Start Thoughts #blaugust #Teach180

Today was our first late start day.  Our district opted to start doing these again.  We used to do these MANY years ago but they would only be once a month.  This year, we will do these weekly.  I hope that this time around we will get better attendance on these late start days since it is weekly.  Given the near perfect attendance in my classes thus far, I’d say this concern is not really warranted :).

I did some sketchnotes during our morning session.  I can attest that they do help keep me focused and in the moment which is one of my goals for this school year and really in life. My tablemates took notice of what I was doing and made comments that were positive.  Really they just help me to stay on task and help me to reflect later on the important parts of the meeting or activity.FullSizeRender.jpg

Some of these items only make sense to me.

  • We were reminded of one of my favorite Rich East entities this morning when the brother of Bill Yarborough came to talk to us about financial freedom.  Anyone who has met him has probably been called champ but you felt like the number one champ in his book whenever you talked with him.  Building relationships has been key to my success this school year and I need to channel his enthusiasm into my lessons.
  • We have a pretty worthwhile (yet lofty goal) of 29% percentile rank improvement goal in math over the next several years.  I like the fact that we are planning on how to achieve this goal instead of diving right in.  However, as always with any % I would like to have a clear “numerator” and “denominator” so I know where the benchmark lies.  Sometimes people will use percents and will not really understand what those two numbers are which makes it difficult to measure success.
  • I am proud of how far I have come when it comes to using de-escalation techniques with students.  There were definitely some points in my career that I interacted with students in a way that I am not proud of.  I think that these experiences taught me so much about how to effectively deal with situations and when I see a student getting more upset, I have strategies that I employ that help de-escalate things (active listening, employing the assistance of another adult, etc).  I would like more strategies to employ in the future.
  • I am always looking for ways to improve.  You can make improvements year to year or day to day or minute to minute.  I’m happy with my progress when it comes to engagement and I hope to continue on this path during the remainder of this year.
Posted in Blaugust, Professional Development, Sketchnote

Institute Day 2 #blaugust

My school went outside of the box today with the Professional Development, literally out of the box that is our school and held sessions on the football field, courtyard and practice field.  IMG_7344.JPG

It was nice to be out in the sun.  I wish that the technology would’ve worked for them but I give my administrative team a ton of credit for the effort to make it happen.  Even with the tech fails, they still seemed united and excited about the upcoming school year which was awesome. Selfie below is me, no filter, but it was hot so not much of a smile either.IMG_7343.JPG

Here is my sketchnote from this afternoon’s session that was mostly about business.  I am on cycle for getting evaluated this year so you can probably tell that my ear was open to that part of the discussion. ALSO should note that the “Late Arrival Sherrie Birts” is a note to self that if I see that on a schedule, I need to send those students to the auditorium (not that Sherrie Birts is a late arrival).

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

Overall, a productive day but I still have a number of things I need to attend to before I am ready for the first day of class on Wednesday.  I’m just going to get plenty of sleep tonight so I can be 100% for freshmen tomorrow and welcome them with the most Rocket Pride I can.  You only get one day to be your first day at Rich East High School and I want to be a part of theirs and be a blessing to everyone I encounter.

Posted in Blaugust, Education, Sketchnote

Year 17, Day 1 – A New Hope

IMG_7314.JPG

The face of someone that has been teaching since 2001.  I’ve had more than my fair share of Institute Days.  Normally, I zone out (I get points for being honest on here right?!).  Today, I decided to try sketchnoting and it was pretty awesome actually.  Having something to engage with while listening to 3 hours of speaking this morning (yes, you read that right, THREE HOURS of basically direct instruction from a PowerPoint) really made the time fly.  Here is my first sketchnote:

FullSizeRender.jpg

One of the things that I noticed when I read about sketchnoting online is that the words and symbols don’t have to mean much to anyone outside of you :).  However, I will pick out some of the highlights from this just for my own reflection.

RTHSEA to the left – I am a proud member of the Rich Township High School Education Association.  We worked ALL LAST YEAR without a contract.  We were able to settle our contract this summer and I am so happy about that situation.  It is definitely one of the blessings that I am counting.  Also, as I am counting my blessings I am actively CHOOSING to be a blessing to other people.

HOPE at the top right – In addition to our contract I am REALLY excited about the fact that for the first time in a couple of years we actually have a real superintendent.  I was skeptical of him at first, but after really listening to him (thank you sketchnotes) I really tuned into his ideas.  One of the major ones is listed below.  He left me feeling hopeful for this new year and that is not something that I have said in several years.  It was definitely a breath of fresh air.

The Boxing Glove still in that upper right corner – I loved that when our new superintendent, Dr. Johnnie Thomas, spoke about WHY WOULD HE COME HERE he talked about wanting to fight for OUR kids.  That really spoke to my mission.  He seemed so sincere and I really wanted to be on his team fighting for my community.

at the most top right – I set a goal for today that I plan to set for my students next week (inspired by a blog post from saravanderwerf.com).  At the end of the first day, I want students to get to know 5 other people’s names.  So today I achieved that same goal for myself.

Engage and Passion – Engagement and passion work so well together.  If you are passionate about something, you will engage.  The more you engage, the more it speaks to your passion.  I want to feel that same passion we all have as first year teachers.  I need to engage more and possibly outside of my comfort zone.

Denominators Matter to the far right – So many people threw around percents before lunchtime in two different sessions.  I wanted to scream, “What is the denominator?” because it TOTALLY makes a difference in the situation.  I hate when people quote percents and they can’t articulate the denominator.  It’s a much bigger deal than most people probably realize.

 

Below are some pictures of my blank classroom. Some key features that I want to point out are:

  • although my desks and chairs do not remotely match, my Chromebooks do…I’ll take matching Chromebooks any day.
  • I am not married to this seating arrangement but I will be fitting at least 30 students in this space, so suggestions are always welcome.  I like paired seating because it is easy to have pairs turn into fours for group tasks, but again I am open to suggestion.
  • yes, I am blessed to have that sweet flat panel SmartBoard and my very own classroom – I waited so long for both of those things so I am so grateful to have them right now in my teaching career
  • this is NOT a new classroom to me.  I actually used it last year.  I am so used to moving classrooms (for about 7 years straight I had to change classrooms and/or share with other teachers) that I always leave my room completely clear to actually make things easier on myself.  I like it because it helps me declutter my life and keep the walls fresh.
  • IMG_7316.JPG

IMG_7317.JPGIMG_7318.JPGIMG_7319.JPG