The other day in my geometry honors class, I had to teach special right triangles. I knew that I just needed time for them to practice and didn’t have time to create some type of interesting way for them to practice. I grabbed a couple of worksheets to bring with to class. I decided at the last minute to make copies of the answer keys. As students worked on the practice problems, I placed my answer key copies up around the room. To my surprise, my students were working really well and only asked me a question when they critically needed it. My last block of the day would probably have kept going if I didn’t stop them to move onto something else.
One thing that made this more effective than I thought was also having two worksheets. One was simple practice with the special right triangles and the other was tougher with application problems. It was nice that students could use this and differentiate a little. Allowing them some movement didn’t hurt either. I think that I just need to give my students time to work and ask questions and I don’t always need something flashy and exciting to help them learn. I was feeling kind of bad about this and now I feel, even though I could still always update the worksheets for next year, that it was pretty solid and the students seemed pretty strong on the homework that I assigned. I needed to write this to remind myself of these things.
I would like to say that I wouldn’t really give myself a passing grade on this challenge…I got caught up in other things but it was good while I was doing it. I will say though, that this got me back into blogging and into the twitterverse and for that, I am glad I did this. I feel like I will be blogging more regularly now and it will only help me on my conquest to never stop getting better. Shout out to @druinok for getting me involved and all her encouragement! Without it, I don’t think I could have done it! Another shout out to all the people involved, their blog posts were awesome and seeing them post made me want to keep doing it.
This crazy MTBOS that we will live in is pretty awesome…
I have been so horrible these last few days about blogging. This last week of summer school with the push of getting everything done has been a little overwhelming. I have just had a lot on my plate with other things going in life as well and I just can’t seem to find the time/energy to blog. When summer school ends on Friday, my life will be so much better and I can blog more!
Note to myself to blog about these things so I don’t forget:
– Funny things students did in summer school
– Traps students seem to fall in when taking multiple choice tests and a trick that seemed to help
– Pythagorean Theorem Treasure Hunt
– How I will stay more organized at home this year
– Students at the board for practice
And I am sure I could blog about a whole bunch of other stuff I have worked on to get ready for the next school year. I promise you guys, I will post some stuff soon enough (and also get caught up on reading all of your blogs!). Look for some stuff to appear next week (or maybe something this week if I get some time to just sit down and write…I have like 3 posts that I have started but never finished!)
I was able to see which kids I have in my classes next year. Since I was an aide in all sorts of different classes last year, I will be have a bunch of kids that I have been with before in my lower level Algebra 2 classes. This was true this year and it was great so I am really excited to have another bunch of them again this year. Here is what I will be teaching this upcoming school year:
Regular Geometry (Mostly freshmen) – 2 sections
Honors Geometry (All freshmen) – 1 section
Lower Level Algebra 2 – 2 sections
This is the exact schedule I wanted since I taught regular geometry 2 years ago and honors geometry this last year while having the lower level algebra 2 for 2 years in a row. Since we are going to block schedule, I feel more comfortable with having classes that I have at least been through once before.
What are you teaching in the upcoming year (if you know). I would love to find out what you are teaching and maybe we can chat throughout the year!
For my post today, I am going to post about 5 things that I use pretty frequently in my classroom and I love having them around.
1. Post – It Notes: I use these all the time to jot things down during class as well as an easy way to do a quick formative assessment check. My desk for school and my classroom are down the hall from each other so this helps! If I don’t write it down…it doesn’t happen.
2. Hanging File Folders: I bought these things a couple of years ago that has six folders attached that can hang on a wall accordion style. This allows me to put extra copies for students as well as those who were absent. It is great to have these so I don’t have to go back to my desk if I need another copy or something. I also train the students so I don’t get asked the question “Did we do anything important yesterday” since that one really bugs me.
3. Document Camera: This thing is so cool! I am so lucky that my school has these in our classroom. I get to show student work super easily. I love walking around the room and just grabbing a students paper so we can discuss what we like and what needs to be improved. I also use it to show how others may have solved a problem. I had a student that would go up there and show all of us like 4 different methods to solve the same problem…it was so cool!
4. My Tablet PC: I taught at a school that had one so I went out and bought one for myself. Whenever I write something, the students can see it when I connect wirelessly to the projector in the room. I love walking around the room and writing some important ideas or an example for students to see and I never have my back to anyone. It is really easy to give my tablet to a student and have them write something as well. It has drastically changed the way I teach and I couldn’t imagine not having one.
5. My Colleagues: I have an awesome math department and it is so great to be able to ask anyone for an idea and you get back 10 different ways to do the same thing. I am lucky to have them around consistently making me a better teacher. If it wasn’t for such great people to work with and learn from, including all of you in the mtbos, I don’t think I would be half the teacher I am today. Thanks for continuing to inspire me and make me a better educator!
I have dropped off from blogging myself and I need to start it up again. Now that I have started my winter break, it feels so great to be able to catch up on everything and work on some other projects so my life can be balanced once again. I hope that anyone who reads this blog will come back in the next couple of weeks as I crank out some posts that I have started and saved but never finished. By posting this, it will make me live up to that promise and get back into the amazing world of blogging. I should also catch up on reading all those blogs and find some new ones!
Now that I have had almost a week out of school, it has given me some time to think about the year and what I am going to do next year to make things better. I also realized that I stopped blogging, stopped reading blogs as much (and I am sure I missed a lot of great content), and just got into a slump. There was a period of time where I was not sure where I would be working next year and it through me into this weird phase of everyday my possibilities for jobs and my prospects kept changing…in the end I am back at my same school and 4/5 teaching which makes me very happy. Not that it was a totally terrible thing that I stopped blogging and kind of got disconnected but I know that I need to get back into it. Whether or not people are reading or going to read this blog is not what I am going to use this for…I really want to use it to help me reflect on things and to figure things out in my head. Here are some goals I am setting for myself for next year and I am going to remember them since I am putting them down!
- Blog more: I am going to actually post things. I believe once a week is reasonable to either post a lesson that went really well, maybe one that didn’t go so well so I can learn to fix it for the future, or just something in general about school that is going on. This is a goal I know that I can accomplish.
- Find more blogs: I have my 7-8 on my google reader but I feel like there are many more out there I should take advantage of so I will go on the hunt! (I also need to find a google reader replacement and soon)
- Learn to takeover honors geometry: I am going to be moving into the role of taking over the honors geometry curriculum at my school and in 2 years be the only teacher on this course. I want to truly learn what I really like about this course and work with the other teacher to make sure that I don’t get lost in the midst of a new course. I am super excited to have this class and this opportunity to evolve this course into something great!
- Redefine Algebra II Trig: I am also teaching 3 sections of our lower level algebra II class. I taught it this year and just tried so many random things to engage my students. A lot of things definitely worked…a lot of things didn’t. I want to move away from the textbook and create my own instructional units. I really love this class and even though my students were quite challenging, I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. I really want to figure out what is good fo this curriculum and this group of kids and how I can keep them entertained while learning as well.
- Continue my skill assessments: I had kids telling me at the end of the year that they actually liked the skill assessments and they felt less pressure for the final. My students also did really well on their final exams comparatively so I am really proud of them and I want to continue this next year as well.
- Talk less and have the students do more: I felt that I sometimes would “lecture” a little bit too much in my regular geometry course. Even though I am not teaching that course next year, I want to try to focus on that in all my courses to see if this is true and how I can change it. All my students are going to be in pods of four next year so I am excited to use this to my advantage as I had to have students physically move the desks when I wanted them to collaborate. Note to self: This requires more classroom management so deal with it early on in the year so you don’t fall into that trap
- Use geogebra: With my school getting chromebooks next year I want to have them pull them out and use geogebra regularly to discover things instead of me just telling students to believe it or proof it for them as they all just stare me blank expressions.
- Continue to add to this list! – As I keep thinking about things over summer, I need to go back to this list and add to it so that way I will force myself to follow this at the start of next school year.
This is making me feel great for next year already and it is nice to have a space to debrief!