Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 - 13 Goals

1)  Learn to use Twitter.  Presently I'm pretty clueless about how it works and haven't spent much time trying to figure it out.

2) Post on my blog at a minimum of once each month.  It doesn't matter if it is bird, craft, or education, just do it!

3) Use the three act math lessons from Dan Meyer.  I like them, I am just having trouble figuring out how to grab interest for everything I teach.

4) Create a GLAD Unit about the brain.  My students need to know how their brain works.

5) Create and maintain a CFG group at work.  Now that I'm official, I've got to get this off the ground.

6) Make time to be with friends and family.  Game night, book groups, family gatherings are all things I manage to be "too tired" for once the school year gets going.

7) Go birding once a month.  It's in writing now, let's see what happens.  I go so much in the summer and STOP when school starts.

8) Work out at least 20 minutes a day four times a week.  Hour long sessions at the gym don't count.  This isn't an averaging goal.  This is a "do it more than you are right now" goal!

9) No blogging, web-surfing, or online gaming after 10 PM.  Since I need more sleep than the average teacher, this has got to stop.  I get totally distracted by Facebook updates, Scrabble with someone in Pakistan, or the various blogs I would like to read more often and end up in bed later than I had planned.

10) Talk less in class.  Develop lessons where the students are talking and I'm walking around listening.  This means no repeating what students have just said.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Last minute thoughts...

Posters are up, projector is connected, paper is in place and I'm ready to hit the ground running with some simple algebra for my 6th graders on the first day.  I've always spent a few periods setting up guidelines and expectations, but I'm debating with myself about that this year.  I think it might be better to get to work and address facilitation issues as they arise.

I'm also debating on how I want the warm-ups to work.  I pulled out my AIMS books and copied a few What's Next pages and am thinking that this will be the Monday and Tuesday warm up. Or the Monday Warm Up/Homework.  If students talk to their parents, siblings, and friends about solving the problems, at least they are having a discussion about patterns that may rub off in the classroom.  It's all about learning.

I still need to talk to my colleagues about how they feel about intermittent math homework.  I want to avoid assigning homework on those days where I feel I didn't finish the lesson, or the students didn't understand the concept enough to work on it independently.  I can always assign mangahigh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Roaming into the Classroom

Well, summer is over and it's time to get back into the classroom and start practicing my craft once again.  I've reread a few books and read some new ones and now I'll get to see how I apply the ideas to this new batch of students who were mostly born in the year of the Twin Tower destruction. 

Some of the revisited books include:
Connecting Mathematical Ideas: Middle School Video Cases to Support Teaching and Learning
Jo Boaler, Stanford University, Cathlee Humphreys, Fremont High School

Young Mathematicians at Work: Constructing Fractions, Decimals, and Percents
Catherine Twomey Fosnot, City College of New York, Maarten Dolk, Freudenthal Institute, The Netherlands

Thinking Mathematically: Integrating Arithmetic & Algebra in Elementary School
Thomas Carpenter, University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Megan L Franke, University of California, Los Angeles, Linda Levi, Teachers Development Group

Going into the actual classroom today was a bit overwhelming!  I was ostensibly there to help find a book for a new teacher friend of mine.  I couldn't find the book, Marcy Cook's Math Starters and Stumpers.  I use some of the ideas to make posters and she wanted to do this in her classroom.  I put posters around the room and students can solve them when they are wondering what to do.  I have the students put answers on a sticky note and if no other student challenges an answer, the solver gets credited with the solution.  I ended up reordering the book, which I had originally tabbed quite nicely, and ordering the More Math Starters and Stumpers as well.   At $15.00 a pop, they are a great resource.  I hope they arrive soon.

So, if you are wondering what I got done today in the actual classroom, it wasn't much.  I searched a lot, rearranged books, put up one interactive poster for Krypto and contemplated what will go on all the walls.  I'm not sure I want to put my degrees, certificates, and awards up this year.  Should I?