Posted in Blaugust, Education, MTBoS

Classroom is Coming Together

I’m so grateful that my husband watched the kids all morning so I could work in my classroom. 


I purposely clean my classroom as though I am going to move out.  First, for seven years I switched classrooms every year.  I eventually embraced the process as a good way to purge unnecessary items.  Second, one year I returned from summer to discover that my room had changed.  Having everything already packed at the end of the year when you have time is so much easier than packing when you are trying to plan for the new school year.  Finally, it is nice to have a clean slate to work from.  


Great MTBOS idea to post a vocabulary bulletin board by alphabet. Genius

Vertical number line. My sophomores still need it. 

A mathy Welcome sign I found on the MTBoS (link with appropriate shout outs coming soon). 


Found an old set of transparencies (for the young folk, there was a time before LCD projectors and SmartBoards). Before pitching them, I came up with a repurposing to make vertical non-permanent surfaces with them in my room. 

That’s it for classroom.  I started the process for planning my classes and attempted to access my online bootleg copy of my textbook (2010 Glencoe Geometry) that has been shut down :(.  I guess that just means I need to Ditch That Textbook ;-).  

Posted in Blaugust, Education, Sketchnote

Year 17, Day 1 – A New Hope


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:


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  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.
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Posted in Uncategorized

Where Does Your Allegiance Lie? #blaugust

I grew up in a household that would drive all the way to the state line to be able to watch Packers games as a kid.  Therefore I grew up cheering for the green and gold.  I knew that being a Packers fan in Chicago was tough but when I married into a season ticket holding Bears fan family I started questioning my allegiance.  I wonder how much of my attachment to my beloved Packers as due to my loyalty to my family as opposed o a true love for “my team”.  How do you form these allegiances and should it be for mere geographic reasons or should there be more? Can there be more with just a sport?

I have now been to at least five times as many Bears games(if not more) than Packers games. I talked about potentially switching sides to my mother in law and she encouraged me to stick with my own side (which I know that I will as long as my daddy is living).  

With relation to math teaching, how do our allegiances to things like FOIL, keep change change, or the alligator eats the bigger number become so entrenched when we know that it is not the best way to teach all kids?  On the other hand, how do we get so stuck in our other ways that we do not think it is ok to allow some of these other methods in. Just my musings. Carry on 

Posted in Blaugust

Grace #blaugust

This year is the first since I’ve had kids that I haven’t gone in to school before institute to set up my room.  We just really couldn’t afford the extra child care and I didn’t want to inconvenience my family.  I’m kind of stressed that I won’t have everything together in time for next week.  However, I’ve decided to grant myself the same grace my students expect from me.   I will teach 180 but I’m going to enjoy these last two days of summer with my kids and my husband and give them my all.  So with that said, good night and may God’s grace be with you. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Slow Down #blaugust

I’ve been planning and replanning the first week of school for the last two weeks.  I have read blog after blog with great ideas.  I decide on one initiative, then another then decide to just do it how I always have.  Then I watched this video called Slow Down and realized it spoke to me. This summer I purposefully did not work so I could be with my kids and lately I have been so wrapped up in my social media habits that I am missing out on some great stuff with them.  As for my “initiatives” I’m going to “try” SBG for the first unit in both my preps and see how it goes.  I’m going to “put it in the river” and trust that it will be ok.  This idea of “put it in the river” came from some teaching from a former student I watched that also spoke to my heart.  I feel good about both of these things and know I will be better for both of them.  

Posted in Uncategorized

Found #GeomChat Tonight! I love the #MTBoS

I am soooooo excited to have found the #GeomChat tonight on Twitter.  Totally happenstance as I happened to be on Twitter while it was happening and I saw some tweets from people I follow.  I know that this is a short blog post but I am totally in next week.  Also, to anyone who does not know how to follow a Twitter chat I totally suggest using an app like Tweetdeck.  It is so nice.

Posted in Education, MTBoS

Found This! Ideas That I Want to Revisit #blaugust

When I did a #MTBoS30 challenge a while ago, I would always keep one of these in my draft folder for when I was stuck and couldn’t think of a good blog topic.  So here ya go….

  • color coding buckets of supplies! Thanks @SamShah
  • Rich Math Tasks love this collection and I’m thinking that maybe a Google Doc like this would solve my problem of finding a way to house non-routine problems for later use
  • First Days of School Mobius Strip Activity looks like a blast – I really need to narrow down my list of first day activities and it is really growing…and school starts in a week and a half!!!
  • This looks like a data girl’s dream FLIPPITY
  • There is this awesome WELCOME sign I’d like to incorporate