Friday, November 21, 2014

The good, the bad and the ugly....

the good.......
  • We, my colleagues and I, are in the process of creating units for the standards.  We did a pretty decent job on the geometry standard which includes the Pythagorean theorem.  Our pre-test is the best written test that we have created this year. I am expecting great growth on the post test comparison. We learned how to "prove" the theorem conceptually using triangles and strips of graph paper.  It was a success and we made notes about improvements for next time.
  • We are writing the next unit for geometry on transformations, similarly, and congruency. I am actually getting excited because we are starting to "catch on" to what is needed when compiling rigorous lessons. My creativity is finally returning....yay! Because I WAS BORED! Poor kids!

The bad......
  • We have made many mistakes. Felt like pulling our hair out and feel overwhelmed often.  The stress level seems unbearable at times. 
  • There are many factor that have caused the stress
  1. New staff
  2. New administrator
  3. New procedures
  4. No curriculum
  5. Evaluation year
  6. SLO's
The ugly......
  • My counters are covered with piles of tests, pretests and post tests.
  • My room is filled with 27 + desks
  • My walls are ugly.........need to get the standards and practices up - like my dear friend Bri Kuentsler.  She has a "rockin" display of standards, practices, and bulletin boards in general. She is my hero in this area and I aspire to be more like her.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Good Morning!
    I thought that maybe I should update you on the common core saga here.  We are furiously working on units of study to complete them prior to teaching them.  It is ridiculous how much time this takes.
    We are on the Pythagorean Theorem currently.  We gave a pretest and wouldn't you know I had a student.....just one....that scored an 85% on the pretest...back to the creating board for this one.
The others have spent much time in proving and discovering the theorem.  Now we are practicing the procedure for a couple of days.  Tomorrow, we are giving them a sort of scavenger hunt, which will take them to the other "special" right triangles.
    Next week is all about application.  Looking for some pictures of construction of homes, where they are stringing the outline of the home.  Good use of theorem in "real life" setting.  Then after that its distance between two points using pythagoras' ideas.

   Recently watch a Tedx video of Jennie Magiera discussing innovation and creation within the classroom.  Very interesting!  Intrigued by her words..... 20% time.  Good idea....Maybe someday?

Back to the kid with the 85%.   I created a music video project for him.  Here are some of the ideas
I chose 4 music videos that I asked him to critque.   He must write up his critique as a compare/contrast paper stating what was engaging and what was disengaging.  Then he is to put his "research" into practice by creating his own music video.  He must write a song with lyrics that explain the Theorem and then put pictures and video to the words using iMovie.  I will post to youtube if it warrants it.

Well, better get going .... Happy educating!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Well, it's Labor Day! We have been in school 2 weeks. As I have said before, I have several students this year with social issues ( and I am not talking about talking too much in class - talking about deviant behaviors).  These students don't often meet with success academically, so this year I decided to try something different.  I have been "building up the character" of my students.  Last week I showed the video entitled Wright's Law to share empathy and compassion examples with them.  I have also written 8 notes to students and contacted 10 parents - all positive to build self esteem.  I believe success breeds success.

That being said I am attempting to make kids "keep" their grades rather than "earn" them.  In other words everyone begins with a 100%. Their job is to do their best to keep that average. I have 8 kids who I know did not do their work last year who have done everything so far this year. Still praying for each of them and myself as well. This is not going to be an easy year, but it will probably be rewarding.

We had a family reunion this weekend at my brother's farm...enjoy!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hello 2014-15! What happened to summer?!? Have you ever noticed that as we get older minutes are equal to 30 seconds instead of 60?

I started the year differently this year. I decided, based upon the students that I have, that I had better build community.  We listened to music, made a graffiti wall together and read Chrysanthemum .

This week we passed out the iPads. Technology in our building is an issue because we recently annexed with another district. In an effort to network the buildings to our district and "beef up" the infrastructure, our tech crew was not in our building but was working in the newly acquired building. Eventually, all will be fixed.

Common core is twisting us around. Unfortunately, we have been interrupted  often from teaching.  Looking for next week to be more "normal".   I did do a graphing story the way that Dan Meyer suggested.    I played just the action that the students were to graph. We talked about what we saw.  Then I told them the relationship we were looking at, i.e. Time vs height.  Another discussion ensued. Then (without prompts) I asked them to draw a picture of the graph.  Some actually did a decent job while others had "deer in headlight" looks on their faces.

At this point I showed them the "answer" ( graph embedded in the story).  The height actually hit zero in the answer, which was impossible according to the video.  My students actually argued and noticed the error.  Finding errors and explaining them is a common core math practice. Thank you Dan, for pushing me again!

Well not much else to say.  Hope to blog more often this year.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Teaching like it's 2999: "We Learn Better in this Way" - a White House Film Festival submission

Teaching like it's 2999: "We Learn Better in this Way" - a White House Film Festival submission

This is so cool! I wish I had known about the film festival so that I could have worked with students to create one.  Hope they have another next year so my students can enter!

Monday, September 30, 2013

New photo added to "Fly day"

Frustrated AGAIN!!!

Frustrated!  Again!  You think I would be getting used the feeling. LOL Well EduSlam is a new educational podcast and I was watching where a teacher.....sorry don't remember his name....used If then then that to "hook his  class to his blog".  Well, I have tried and cannot seem to make it work. I thought it would be cool for you to see the kids pictures of their flight day which will be October 8.  I still have time to get the "bugs" out but seriously.....every time I have an idea there is a problem!  Maybe I will figure it out and you will get to see their pictures!