Monday, August 31, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 31 - Done!

August is over!  I didn't quite make my 31 day goal, but I'm a heck of a lot closer than I was a month ago. :)  I had hoped to blog every day and it just didn't happen, but I blogged more days than not, so I declare Blaugust a success! :)

I really don't know what to blog about today, so I'm going to ramble a bit about how it's going this year :)

Things I'm liking so far this year:
  • I have the best collaborators!  The teacher that has taught across the hall from me the past few years is now teaching calculus, so we again have a new teacher teaching Stat.  However, it's a good thing because she's an experienced teacher that I've known for years!  She and I met many many years ago at an APSI and I was so excited when she joined our staff last year.  Now she's teaching Stat again and it's been so fun to collaborate with her and the other stat teacher.
  • I've really enjoyed my lessons so far!  I am still waiting on the year where I get to re-use the previous year's lessons! :)  Seriously though, I have a tendency to try to improve on everything every year and this year is no exception.  For many years, I've believed in active learning, but this year it seems like I've done that more than previous years.  The kiddos took a quiz today, so I'm hoping that their level of enjoyment comes through in the quiz scores.
  • Make It Stick!  This book has potential to be a huge game-changer in my classroom!  I'm using a lot more forced recall, frequent quizzing, reflection opportunities, and mini-quiz exit tickets than I've ever used.  I'm exhausted, but it definitely is worth it!
  • High Five Friday!  I am just not a daily person, but I've be doing a High Five Friday and my kids are responding so well!  I'm hoping this really builds a sense of community and caring in my classroom.

Things I need to improve:
  • I am horrible at learning names.  This seems to be harder and harder for me every year and I really don't know what else to do to force my brain to remember the names.  
  • Balance!  This is a yearly goal... lol!  I am always thinking about school, so this is a never-ending challenge and goal :)
  • Tackling my to-do list!  I have to figure out a way to get more things marked off my to-do list... ugh! :)

 Alrighty... The last post of the month is over!! :)  Happy Blaugust! :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 30 - Sunday Summary

Blaugust is almost over!  I didn't blog every day, but this is my 23rd post of the month, which I'm pretty proud of, considering I had 7 for the first 7 months of 2015! :)

Thanks to all of the people that joined in this month... I'll try to be a bit more organized next year for it! :)

My Sunday 3-2-1 Summary

3 things that went really well in my classes this past week:

  • We used Kahoot to check homework this week... what a fun app!!  My students begged to play again!
  • I've been using the mini-quizzes and reflection as described in Make It Stick.  My kids did great with their "Multiple Choice Monday" and their reflection activity on Friday
  • To learn about Bias, I had the kids read their textbook and do a Concept Map... they really got so much more out of it than they would have had I lectured over the same material.

2 things I'm looking forward to this week

  • My admin team has decided to start a Staff Spirit Committee to help with planning activities and staff morale.  I am excited to see the fun new activities that we can come up with!
  • Next weekend is a holiday, so we already get a long weekend but our school has off Friday for Professional development as well, so 4 day weekend!!! :)

1 great weekend!

  • This was one of the best weekends I've had in ages!  Dinner with friends on Friday night, then an afternoon/evening of shopping with another friend yesterday, then a day of fellowship at church with a pot-luck and singing.  I haven't sang publicly in 20 years, so I totally butchered my first song, but after that, I finally stopped shaking and did okay :)  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#MTBoSBlaugust - Day 27 - Table Folders

A few years ago, there was a Made4Math post on student table folders.  I really loved the idea, rushed out to buy folders, and then really didn't follow through with them.

Then, last year, I decided to use my folders for sub days and I really loved the simple organization, so I decided to make an effort to use them this year.  I spent a lot of time running around my classroom passing out papers and it was wearing me out.  Here's an example of my Table Folders from today:

Each day, I put that days handouts in the folder and return any papers from the previous day.  In the photo above, the left pocket holds a handout of notes and yesterday's exit ticket.  The right folder holds two problem sets (today was a block day), one problem set was for mid-block, the other problem set was for homework.  The cardstock at the top are their name tents until I learn names well. :)

So far, I really love the table folders, although it does put pressure on me to stay organized and on top of the paperwork. :)

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! :)