Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 26 - Concept Maps

Repost from my 180Blog...  (See link in the top header)

Today was one of those days where you just want to jump and scream "Nailed It!"

In AVID, we worked on our first major project and the kids were so engaged and invested that it was magical.  I asked them to create a presentation (video, poster, song parody, skit, etc) for the Freshman class to introduce them to the big ideas of AVID.  The kids really took it and ran with it.  By the end of the block, they had very solid plans in place plus started planning some social activities and discussing fundraiser ideas for AVID.

In Stat, we started by playing Kahoot to check our homework, which was an absolute blast!  The students were so engaged and one kid was in the lead until the last question when he was bumped to 2nd place.  Such a sense of excitement and competition that came from doing the homework! :)  On block days, I try to do several mini activities to break up the time, so after Kahoot, we some short mini-lessons, including a reading assignment and a concept map to process the reading.  We did a Gallery Walk to read the other maps and add to them, then back to their normal seats to summarize their learning in their notebooks.  Many kids chose to replicate their concept maps in the notebook, which is why the student below has his/her phone out... it was easier to take a photo then to continue rotating the paper so all students could read the poster. :)  All in all, an awesome day! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 25 - One Good Thing

I finally found them...

Cotton Candy Grapes.

Yes, you read that right. :)

Green grapes that taste like Cotton Candy... oh my, so yummy!

It's been a rough start to school so far and I'm really struggling to find my groove.  Last week, one of our ag teachers posted about the grapes and I've been on a mission to find them ever since.  Multiple grocery trips later, I finally found them at the grocery store around the corner from me.  I won't buy them often since they are crazy expensive, but oh my goodness, they are yummy!

They almost made working a 12+ hour day worth it.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 23 - Sunday Summary

My Sunday 3-2-1 Summary

3 things I'm looking forward to this week:
  • This week will be the first week to really delve into the "Make It Stick" plans that I've made... I'm hoping it goes well!
  • In AVID, I'm assigning their first big project... to make videos for the younger students!
  • Dinner and a movie with great friends to end the week... if I can make it to Friday! :)

2 awesome things that happened this week:
  • High Five Friday!  I didn't get up the nerve to high five my students daily, even after multiple internal pep talks.  However, on Friday, I decided to make it a weekly celebration of getting through another week.  My students responded very positively, so I think it's something I can keep up each week!
  • Some former students came back to say Hi this week on their way off to college.  I always love seeing my former students and appreciate that they took a moment to pop in!  Yesterday was also the Class Reunion Tour for the Class of 2005, so I had an opportunity to see some former students there too.  It's always fun to see them "grown up" since in my head, they are frozen at age 18.  To see them at age 28 with spouses and children just messes with my mind. :)

1 thing I'm not looking forward to:
  • This is going to be a VERY busy week, with meetings every single day after school, then plans with friends on Friday.  I'm hoping that I can juggle everything successfully and get through the week without being too grumpy :)  I know I will eventually get back into the swing of things!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 22 - Week 1 is DONE! :)

I had all intentions of blogging last night, but I got home from school around 7:45 and by 8:30, I was asleep in bed!  That first week back of 12+ hour days is a killer after a relaxing summer.  Hopefully I will adjust soon!

One of my goals this year is to blog more often.  I've been posting a photo to my 180blog, but thought I would reflect on this year so far...

Happy first day of school!  It was a rough start with no internet until after 2pm, but we made it through!
AP Stat:  In AP Stat, we started by making our table tent name-tags, then for the lesson, I went with my go-to of Kristen Gilbert.  I have toyed with changing to a different first day activity, but Kristen pulls me in  every time.
AVID:  Today was a day of "Getting to Know You" as I'm new to this group of kiddos.  I have several of them in my AP class as well, but it was fun to get to know them on a more personal level.

Today was a much better day.. the internet worked! :)  One thing that I am doing differently this year (and really like) is going around from table to table to take attendance each hour with eye contact and a "Hello, (Student Name Here)".
AP Stat:  Our warmup was an AP problem from several years ago and the kids worked on it independently at first, then did a table-share out and revision.  I talked to them about my homework expectations (max 10-15 minutes), then we set up our notebooks.
AVID:  After finishing up the "Getting to Know You" questions, we watched an AVID Student Speaker Video and did a Learning Log.  Several of them seemed surprised at how quickly you could do a page of notes with a Learning Log! :)

We made it!  Week 1 is in the books!  I declared today "High Five Friday!"
AP Stat:  After starting class with "High Five Friday!" (which my 6th hour totally loved!), we got down to business with starting a chapter, taking our first notes, and getting our first homework assignment.  The kids did a great job of working with their groups.  The exit ticket today was #myfavoriteFriday and there were some great responses, including one table in 6th hour where everyone said "High Five Friday!" was their favorite thing from the week.
AVID:  We did some work on Cornell Notes vs Learning Logs and when to use each one.  These kiddos are experienced at C-Notes, but trying to get them to *use* them effectively is more difficult.  Today I worked in my classroom most of the day and made bookmarks for this class with C-Note instructions on the front and Learning Log prompts on the back.  So much fun! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 20 - First Days

This daily blogging thing isn't too bad this month other than I'm exhausted at the end of the day!  I'm not stressing out about it though... I've tripled my post count for the year, so I'm going to count that as a success! :) 

Year 18 officially started yesterday as the kids came in the door.  I couldn't bring myself to do the high five (YET!), but I'm okay with that.  Maybe it will be a Friday special event now that my kids know me a bit better. :)  This year started out rough with no internet access in my room yesterday, but thankfully none of my lesson plans required the internet.  :)  My students seem like really awesome kiddos so far and I've enjoyed some of the fun quirkiness of the new group.  For example, here's a conversation from today:

Scene:  Beginning of 6th hour, while going around to take attendance and working on learning names...

Student:  Mrs. T, I have a question for you.

Me:  Okay, (Student name), what's up?

Student:  What was your favorite grade in school?
Me:  Grade?  Like Grade Level?
Student:  Yes
Me:  *thinking*  Probably 5th grade
Student:  Yeah, that was a good grade.  Why?
Me:  I had a great teacher and it's that age where you are old enough to be independent but young enough that you are still a kid.
Student:  Good answer!
Me:  So turn about... what would be your answer?
Student:  I don't know yet - I'm not done with this year!

I have a feeling that my kiddos this year will be a blast!  :) 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 18 - My Classroom

Kiddos come tomorrow, whether I'm ready or not!  This morning, I had *most* of my room ready (at least physically) for them to arrive.  

Starting from my desk area, here's the view toward the back of the room.  To the immediate left of this image is the wall of windows and to the immediate right is the classroom doorway to the hall.  Notice my new "Be" bulletin board!  I'm really excited about this addition! :)

Moving on around the room, here's the view toward the classroom door.  One change I really like this year are the desks that are turned at an angle for better viewing of the front of the room.  Ignore the big pile of stuff in the "nook" area.  That's all AVID stuff that is waiting on our new professional library area to be finished! :)

Continuing on to the front corner of the room, you can see my podium with the "Change Your Mindset" poster and yet another shot of the AVID/laptop mess in my "nook".  My poor student aide's desk is in that mess somewhere. :)  Also note the Exit Ticket pocket chart that I posted about yesterday!  You can see the corner of my desk with the snowflake tissue box. :)

Here's my desk area and the messy countertop and desk that haven't been dealt with yet.  I could use about another week before kids come!  Honestly, we had 4 days of "prep" time, but today was the first day that I was really able to be in my classroom.  

The window wall is one of my favorite features of my classroom.  I love the storage space and the countertop.  Below you can also see my "Classroom Friendly Supplies" pencil sharpener and the instructions above it on the wall.  :)

One of my favorite new additions to my classroom is my Normal Model Plushy from the wonderful Kay Endriss.  I can't wait until we get to that chapter and kids realize the fun that is hiding in the window sill with the ladybugs! :)  Thank you, Kay! 

Thanks for stopping by for the tour!  I hope you enjoyed it. :)  Now I'm off to bed before a long day of high fives and lots of stress! :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 17 - Made4Math Monday

It's been a long time since I've done a Made4Math post, but with school starting this week, it is time to get things done! :)

Project #1 - Organizing the MC Problems
On my "to-be-done-someday" list was to organize the released AP Multiple Choice questions so that it would be easier to use them in class.  I've tried random ideas throughout the years, but on Friday night, I randomly had the idea to use sheet protectors.  On Saturday morning, I made sheet protector "envelopes" for each chapter of my textbook, then started the long process of printing out the AP problems and organizing them.  I'm really excited to see if this helps me use more questions this year to help prepare my students for the AP exam.

Project #2 - Exit Prompts
(I don't know why this is sideways.. I'm so sorry!)
I purchased this pocket chart at Target earlier this summer in the Dollar Spot and had it on my "to-do" list for a while.  (Off topic, but I wasn't impressed with this year's Dollar Spot goodies as compared to previous years.  It made me very sad!)  Since kids come this week, it was time to narrow down my choices, so I asked the MTBoS for help!  Justin, Kathryn, and Emily came to my rescue and together we created the prompts above.  I will admit that the handwriting drives me crazy, so I will probably type it tomorrow and replace the strips. :)  My idea is to roll a die and that becomes the exit ticket on those "unplanned" days.  :)

One more day of planning and then kiddos arrive... Wish  me luck! :)