Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Last Day!!! More on Routines

Today is the last official day of the July Blogging Challenge - WE MADE IT!!! :)
Thank you to all of the bloggers who joined in with me this month.  Having the group accountability really made a HUGE difference!  My hope is that after blogging this month that I will have more of a "blogging habit" than before and therefore, be able to blog more often.  I'll be announcing the details of the 2014-15 School Year Challenge in the next week or so.

Thinking Routines
Last week, prior to TMC14, @pamjwilson and I were visiting about Making Thinking Visible, so I did some googling.  I ran across the Visible Thinking Resource Guide, which I've been reading since I found it.  I've made it through the first part of the book, so I wanted to blog about some of the routines that I feel I could use in my AP Stat class.

  • Connect/Extend/Challenge - I'm not positive how often I would use this and it's not one of the "starred" routines by the authors, indicating that this wouldn't be one of their suggestions of a routine to try at first, but something about it really spoke to me.  I wonder about making a bulletin board or poster board into a 3 column chart with Connect/Extend/Challenge as the column headers and have kids use post-it notes to respond.  Or maybe use the larger group whiteboards for students to respond to the prompts?
  • Headlines - This strategy reminded me of the "6 word memoir" that I heard about on NPR several years ago.  I loved using "6 word memoir" with my AVID classes as a way to summarize a guest speaker because it was amazing to me what they could say in just 6 words.  For whatever reason, I never thought to use it in my AP class!  I know this is one that will be used often this year! :)
  • See-Think-Wonder - This reminds me a lot of Max Ray's "I notice.. I wonder..." and I can really see it being used with graphs or as an intro to inference when given a data set. 
  • Think-Pair-Share - I would bet that any teacher reading this blog already knows about Think-Pair-Share, but it definitely is a strategy that I do not use enough.  I guess part of that is due to my own feelings of inadequacy when asked to pair/share at a conference.  For an introvert, this can be quite intimidating, so I think I probably should try "Write-Pair-Share" instead.  One suggestion given in this book is calling on students to explain what their partner shared.  In the examples, the authors gave the students a problem, then asked them to 1) Think about this problem; 2) Try to explain your thinking (work the problem); 3) Share your thoughts with a partner.  I like this scaffold because it feels more like "checking your work" than anything else.  I wonder if this could be done with groups as well?  Partner up with someone from another group and share what each group did?
  • Think-Puzzle-Explore - This reminds me of a KWL but better. :)  I really like that it asks students "What do you THINK you know?" because sometimes previous knowledge isn't right and this structure provides a way to still include that information.  I also like "What puzzles you about this topic?" because I teach high school and was always afraid of using KWL because I always have at least one snarky kid that when asked "What do you want to know?" is going to give me an answer that I don't really want. :)  I think this might be a great exit ticket prompt before starting a unit or topic where students might have some previous knowledge just so I have a baseline/gauge of where they are prior to the lesson. 
  • What Makes You Say That? - This is a routine that really packs a lot of punch into not a lot of space.  For example, when given a graph, students are expected to describe the shape, center, and spread.  I think if I follow up with "What Makes You Say That?", the kids will get used to saying things like "The distribution of this variable is skewed right because there is a tail on the right side."  Hopefully that will translate into better written explanations as well! :)
  • Generate, Sort, Connect, Elaborate - This is related to a concept map and it is one of the routines I am most excited to try.  I think I will ask on an exit ticket for 5 words that come to mind for students for that chapter/unit.  The next day, I will have them on the board and on chart paper, have them sort and connect the words.  Then finally, they will do a written reflection and extend their concept map.  I think it will be a fascinating way to review for a quiz or test by seeing connections between topics.  If there's not time to generate a list of words, I wonder what connections kids may find in their vocabulary list for the unit. 
 I'm only 55 pages in and I'm already learning a lot!  Please share any ideas on thinking routines that you might have as well :)

Resources:
Visible Thinking Resource Guide
Visible Thinking Website

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Ramblings

July is almost over, which means the daily challenge is almost over.  I did not reach my goal of 31 posts in 31 days, but I did blog more than I ever have in a month's time, so I consider that a win.  A similar discussion happened on Twitter today and several of us decided to continue a weekly challenge throughout the school year.  If you would like to let your voice be heard, please add your comments to the Google Doc.  Right now, the thought I have is a Weekly Round-up, posted on either Saturday or Sunday that consists of either a 3-2-1 about your week or a #5Things post.  I'm definitely open to other thoughts, so please let me know in the Google Doc what you want to do.

Making Thinking Visible
Today was a rainy, chilly day, so I spent more time reading the Visible Thinking Resource Guide that I posted about last week.  I think this is going to be my major goal for this year.  It incorporates so much of what we have discussed through #EduRead on Exit Tickets and Writing, etc.  Tomorrow I plan to work on my Teacher Binder again, but this time I want to make sure it has a spot for me to keep track of strategies I use.  I want to keep myself accountable for Making Thinking Visible in my classroom.

#Twordle
Today, @JustinAion created a Twordle challenge, meaning he created a Wordle of his Twitter archive.  It's been fascinating to read the responses, so here's a Twordle of the 150 top words in my 38K tweets :)
I love that #sbarbook is pretty prominent, since that was one of our first Twitter bookclubs back in the summer of 2010.  I also see a lot of Twitter handles for people that I really enjoy talking with on Twitter, including quite a few that have been to TMC.

What does YOUR Twordle say about you? :)


July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - What makes TMC special?

Every year, after TMC has concluded, I find it fascinating to read the tweets and conversations about this 4 day math camp.  This year is no exception.  In fact, I am even more eager to read the tweets and blogs recapping this year's sessions as I was just a smidge distracted while everyone was here :)

But this year, there are a few things that really struck me...

Feeling inadequate...
In one of the most powerful posts I've read in a while, Morgan Kent really lays it all out there and it really is a raw, emotional post that spoke to me deeply.  I know what Morgan is saying.  When I first arrived at TMC12 in St. Louis, I remember being just star struck by those around me.  These were people that I had read their blogs and chatted with on twitter, and now they were standing in front of me and I was tongue-tied.  As an introvert, I really kept to myself that first year because I was truly afraid that once people got to know me, they wouldn't like me.  That fear of being inadequate kept me from forming deeper relationships with some of the most amazing math teachers I know.  Through my blog and twitter, people get a glimpse of my life, but only what I let them see.  I don't really post a lot of personal stuff on here about my family or my school because I like the anonymity.  My twitter ID doesn't have my name, location, or a photo of me for the same reason.  I like privacy and I like controlling what I allow others to see.  But, like Morgan said, I am a liar.  I don't allow people to see the lessons that bombed, the days where I'm a total jerk, or my deepest fears and highest hopes for my classroom and my life.  It's so easy to look around and read about the amazing things that others are doing and I forget that, like me, those other people are just allowing me to see what they want me to see. 

What makes TMC special?
One of the questions that has popped up on twitter, post-TMC14 is about what makes TMC so special.  For me, I think it comes down to a few things...
  • The people - these are people that WANT to be there... TMC originally started because a group of us were dissatisfied with the status quo of traditional PD.  Through twitter and blogs, we found a group of kindred spirits - people that were passionate about teaching and learning math.  People that didn't look at you crazy if you talked about the best way to teach (insert topic here) ALL NIGHT LONG.  People that developed a community that truly cared about each other, born out of a love of teaching math.  The PEOPLE are what makes TMC special
  • The conversations - I've been to a lot of math conferences over my 16 years of teaching, but I've never been to one where math is literally being discussed 24/7.  These conversations happened at breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight in the lounge, and every moment in between.  Once a person retires for the night, the conversation continues via twitter... this is unheard of for any conference I've ever been to.
  • The structure - TMC is a total grassroots conference.  TMC only exists because YOU want it to exist.  I have talked to so many people in my district over the past few weeks that are simply in awe of what we have and they cannot believe that this exists purely because teachers like you and me wanted it to exist. 
  • The passion - When I left TMC12, I flew directly to an AVID conference.  The teachers that I met up with from my school are pretty used to me being a total nerd, but I was so wired after TMC12 that they literally asked me if I was high.  Today, as I walked around campus delivering Thank You notes, I noticed that same "buzz" as people asked me how it went.  The passion that is present at TMC is tangible.  You'll notice on twitter/blogs that so many people mention how they felt overwhelmed and bombarded by the awesomeness that is TMC.  This electric atmosphere is unlike anything I've ever experienced.
Thank you
A simple Thank You feels like such a lousy way to express what I want to say to each of you.  Thank you for making TMC14 special and thank you for being you. 

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Monday, July 28, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - The Monday that Wasn't

It's Monday... but it's not...
I know that today's post should be a Made4Math... and actually I had one planned for today, but two things conspired against me:
1)  It doesn't feel like Monday
2)  I left my flash drive at school

The first one is easy to explain:  I have a TMC Hangover.  Seriously.  I woke up this morning and went for my morning walk, then promptly came home and laid back down.  I knew we had to go grab Nik from the hotel and take him to the airport, so my first nap of the day was short lived.  After arriving back home, I fought to keep my eyes open for a bit, but eventually laid down for another, much-longer, nap.  This cycle has repeated itself over and over all day.

The second issue is due purely to forgetfulness.  After spending a few minutes yesterday picking up the school and dumping things in my classroom/cubical, I walked out without my flash drive, which is where I had this week's #Made4Math post stored.  I will be back at school tomorrow to sort the piles of stuff, so this week's post will be a bit late :)

I think I'm going to bed now... :)

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Failure

I failed the July Challenge.
But I have a good excuse :)

This week was *CRAZY*

On Monday and Tuesday, I ran around like a crazy person putting out fires in preparation for #TMC14.  On Wednesday, people starting arriving, which means I got to see people I hadn't seen since #TMC12.  Thursday through today was the actual conference, where 150+ people descended on my school to learn and do math together.  Everything was so smooth.. I still can't believe it!

I'm an Introvert...
This week was such a blast, but part of it was very difficult.  I had a great time, but I will be the first to admit that I was not prepared for the actual amount of physical work that goes into putting on a conference.  More difficult for me was that from the time I arrived at school each day until the time I left, I had to be "on".  For someone that is introverted, that's really hard.  For lunch most days, I hung out with the teachers from my own school simply because I knew I could be ME and not have to have my "hostess face" on.  Don't get me wrong, I had a great time and I am so happy that people enjoyed their time at TMC, but being "on" all the time is exhausting.  There are so many people that I wanted to hang out with, but wasn't able to because I needed quiet time.  Every day, my roomie and I would go back to our room just to unplug for an hour or so and recharge our batteries.  I can only speak for myself, but I easily found myself on overload this week from the sheer brilliance of the ideas being presented.  I know I missed out on so many conversations and presentations simply because of the overload.  I can't wait to read all of the blog posts that have been generated so that I can maybe recapture some of those moments.  My biggest regret of this week is not having the time to spend in personal conversation with all of you!

Intro to the MTBoS...
One of the conditions from my district for hosting TMC14 was that our teachers would be guaranteed a spot at the conference.  I started sending out information to the 7-12 math teachers pretty much as soon as I knew that TMC14 would be at my school.  I was even able to contact most of our new teachers to invite them to join in the fun.  I now know that I was woefully inadequate in my explanation of TMC and it's almost impossible to convey the power of Social Media to transform your teaching through a few emails.  We had about 12-15 current and former teachers from our district attend and one of the comments that several of them had was about how to get started in the MTBoS.  After a quick discussion, it was decided that I would do a PD session once school started on how to use Social Media in a professional capacity.  I'm really excited to share with my colleagues about how TMC started and how they can become an active part of the MTBoS.

Recommitted...
So, I failed my personal challenge, but I will finish the month strong.  I challenge each of you to do the same!  (and I will assign myself a 2 day penalty as well for the days I missed) :)



July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - TMC Day 1

Ten minutes ago, I would have told you that today was the day that I would fail the July Blogging Challenge, but with encouragement from the twitter-sphere, I am posting a quick few thoughts on Day 1.
  • It was fascinating to read tweets about my school from an outsider's perspective.  I know I teach at an awesome place, but sometimes we take things for granted, so I appreciate the tweets reminding me of what I have.
  • I have the best hubby in the world.  He took off work this week, helped with airport runs, tech support, and general "gopher"... before heading home and dealing with the house responsibilities as well.
  • As far as I know, everything went very smoothly today.... or at least if it didn't, people pretended that it did :)
  • I got a piece of Canadian maple candy (yay!), but still waiting to try some Smarties :)
  • My only regret is that I haven't had a chance to sit down and visit with a lot of people... I want to sit and chat with so many of you, but I keep running out of time!  Please, please, please don't take offense if I dash off in the middle of a conversation!
:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - TMC14 Day 0

What a busy, busy day!  I could NOT sleep last night, finally falling asleep around 1am, then back up and running at 5am.  After the sun came up, I went for my morning walk, then back home to prepare for the day.  After typing up a few last minute details, hubby and I headed to the hotel to check on the social lounge and to drop off the shuttle information, then to the school to assemble the goody bags.  After a few trips to the airport to pick up lots of friends, new and old, I made it back to the hotel to find the social lounge in full swing.

Here are my highlights of the day...

  • My roommate is one of my forever best friends and I'm glad to spend this time with her.  
  • I have an awesome new notebook for tomorrow! :)  I love Staples binding!
  • After years and years of seeing it on the sign, I finally found the chapel in our airport :)
  • I now know our airport better than I ever expected to
  • Huge thanks to @merryfwilliams, @smithteach, and @KLBoles for being willing to be squashed in my backseat so I could run home, drop off hubby, and grab my suitcase.
  • Another shoutout to the above women for a truly delightful time as we laughed and giggled the whole trip.
  • The hotel served dinner... and beer... it smelled so yummy! (the dinner not the beer)
  • A tablecloth from Dollar Tree is 54"x108" and two of them "criss crossed" cover a 66" round table extremely well.
  • I'm hoping the airport security didn't think I was a human trafficker as I went to the airport WAY too many times, filled up the car with strangers then came back with an empty car ....
  • SO.MANY.HUGS.... it was so good to see friends from TMC12 and I'm sure I missed a few, but hugs hugs hugs to all!
Tomorrow starts registration and then to class we go.  I'm excited!! :)



July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Twas the Night Before TMC

‘Twas the night before TMC, when all through the campus
Not a thing was stirring, not even the tree branches;
The Presentation Hall chairs were all lined up with care,
In hopes that amazing math teachers soon would be there;
The attendees were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of “My Favorites” danced in their heads,
 
When on the 3rd floor there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away up the stairs I flew like a flash,
Threw open the doorway, and down the hallway I dashed
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a mangled mess of tables and chairs!
With my beautiful chairs in such disarray,
I knew in a moment it would be a long day.
 
The day started with checking classrooms off the list,
“108!, 109, now 110 too!  117 must join in the mix,
On to 208, 209 and 210 as well, make sure 217 and 218 don’t get missed!”
Cleaning and dusting and making things just right,
And thankful that no one was coming into town tonight.
 
So around the building, campus and town I flew,
With a car full of goodies - and transportation paperwork too.
Arriving with great rumbling and minimal fuss
The power and energy of the Trojan Pride bus.
My principal is amazing, the shuttle he provides,
To make TMC better, instead of walking outside.
 
The nametags were printed, all perfect and aligned,
Checked and proofread, multiple times.
Folded and torn along the perforated lines,
Hoping no mistake would I later find.
The button machine took some figuring out,
But the buttons for the staff are beautiful, without a doubt!
 
Back to the mess of tables and chairs,
I started again, ‘I’ll fix this!”, I declared.
In just a few hours, the first attendees will arrive
Ready to go, I kicked into overdrive.
Into the closets, the tables all go,
Fifty chairs later, with sweat I was aglow.
Sonic ice was my friend as I took a break
One classroom still to be done, I thought with an ache.
 
Room 118, my room, has yet to be touched,
Into to nooks and crannies, random things I stuffed.
Piles of papers, on the cabinet they go,
Crissed and crossed, organization I forego.
 
The classrooms are all done, the Presentation Hall too
Just goody bags to assemble, the preparation is through.
Teachers arrive tomorrow, by plane and by car,
I’m ready to learn from these math superstars!
 
I look forward to tomorrow, with glee and delight,
Happy #TMC14 to all, and to all a good night!
 
 
July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Monday, July 21, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Made4Math - Plastic Drawers


Oh my goodness.. what a Monday it has been!! :)

In just 2 short days, I will see my TMC buddies which means today was a day of putting out last-minute fires.  Those that know me well know that I am a perfectionist so I really want this to go off without a hitch!  That also means that my to-do list didn't get quite as done as I expected! :)  However, there's always tomorrow... and I have a feeling it's going to be a GREAT (albeit busy) day!

Plastic Drawers
Last week I posted this photo showing off my new black/white magazine holders:


I was so proud of how things were looking... until I saw the 3 drawer system in this photo!  I used some bulletin board border as a Made4Math post a few years ago and I was pretty happy with it, until now.  It stuck out like a sore thumb!  Hmm... I can fix that!  Measured the height and width, made a quick rectangle in PPT, filled it with a fun pattern, and here's the result:


Doesn't that fit in much better now? :)  LOVE it!

Bonus Project
One of the things I did get off my to-do list today was the TMC Staff buttons.  One of my friends has a button maker, so I asked her if I could borrow it.  If you are attending TMC and you aren't sure who to ask for help, look for one of these:


It's hard to see, but there is a small TMC logo on top, then the Staff in large letters.  :)

What did YOU make this week?  Check out the Made4Math blog to see the creations of others!


July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Visible Thinking

Yesterday's post about my blank bulletin board has me thinking more and more about how do I make thinking visible in my classroom.  If someone were to come in my room during class, I want to think that they would see evidence of student learning, but what if you came in after school or between classes?  Rarely would you see physical evidence of our hard work and that bothers me a lot.  I know that in my 180 blog, I captured evidence of in-class thinking, but what more can I do to reach ALL students?

When thinking is visible in classrooms, students are in a position to be more metacognitive, to think about their thinking. When thinking is visible, it becomes clear that school is not about memorizing content but exploring ideas. Teachers benefit when they can see students' thinking because misconceptions, prior knowledge, reasoning ability, and degrees of understanding are more likely to be uncovered. Teachers can then address these challenges and extend students' thinking by starting from where they are.
I ran across the above quote today while doing a Google search on 'Visible Thinking.'  You can read the entire document here. 

I have a lot of routines and structures in my class.  Kids know what to do when they are absent, where papers are turned in, where extra handouts are located, etc.  I have a lot of management routines, but I don't have a lot of thinking routines in place.  From the document linked above:

What makes them routines, versus merely strategies, is that they get used over and over gain in the classroom so that they become part of the fabric of classroom' culture. The routines become the ways in which students go about the process of learning.

I need routines in place that I can use over and over again, that are quick and easy to teach and implement, and that enhance the lesson. 

One of the July Bloggers, Robyn of Making Math Visible has also been posting on this topic.  Read her posts:  Post 1Post 2Post 3

What 'Thinking Routines' do you use in your classroom? 

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Bulletin Boards

This is a short post because hubby and I are headed to school to work on setting things up for TMC! 

But... before I go, this tweet from @pamjwilson keeps floating in my head:

A few nights ago, Pam and I were visiting about her classroom.  I've never taught in a school where teachers were allowed to paint their classrooms, so Pam showed me her room with its buttery yellow wall color.  During that discussion, we moved to the wall/display space in her room, which lead to the above tweet.

My Dilemma
In my classroom, I have a bulletin board that remained empty all year long.  You can see it below:


Here are my issues with this board...
  • I only have one available bulletin board, but last year I taught 3 preps, so I didn't want to do an emphasis on one prep and leave the others out.  This year, I only have 1 prep for the first semester, so it can be something statistically related.
  • I need something sustainable.  If I have to change it out weekly, it won't happen unless I have the entire year already mapped out where my aide can change it.  I have too many irons in the fire and know that I won't keep up with it.
  • To steal Pam's words, I want to "utilize it to impact learning". 
Please help me!  What do you have on your bulletin boards? I really don't want to go another year with a blank board!


July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Friday, July 18, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - #5Things

My original #5Things post was unintentionally derailed, so that may have to be next week's post.  I had all intentions of going to school today and cleaning my classroom and dealing with a few other things in preparation for TMC next week.  However, my neighbor and good friend has wanted to have a garage sale all summer and she decided that today would be the day.  I felt bad about letting her sit out there by herself, so I went down and helped with the sale today.  Tomorrow, hubby and I will head to school to make sure the facilities are ready for TMC... I'm so excited!

#5Things for the TMC Newbie
  1. Dress is casual and comfortable - Remember this is a "for teachers, by teachers" workshop and we know that you are on summer break!  I'll be in shorts/capris, t-shirts, and flip flops the entire time.  If you get chilly easily, you might want a cardigan/jacket, but if you forget one, no biggie.. there's a Kohl's across from the hotel! :)
  2. Worried about transportation?  Don't be!  Once we get you from the airport to the hotel, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance.  The high school is about 1/2 mile from the main hotel and if you are in the overflow hotel, they will be providing shuttles to the high school.
  3. But you guys all know each other!  Yeah, some of us do.  I mean @approx_normal and I have been friends for years.  Other people, I had never met in person until TMC12 and there's a huge number of you that I've never met at all!  If I can fit in, then anyone can!  I'm extremely introverted and hate to be in new situations, but seriously, it's okay.  And if you're still worried.. come find me!  I promise to be friendly :)
  4. Oklahoma summers - A typical Oklahoma summer is hot and humid, but this July so far hasn't been typical!  Yesterday, it was 65 degrees, today it was 78.  However, summer is supposed to return for next week, so expect daytime highs in the mid 90s and morning lows in the mid 70s.  I know a lot of people check their phones for the weather, but here's one of the local news stations (and my personal favorite for weather):  NewsOn6
  5. What should I bring?  The normal stuff that you would bring a conference!  Feel free to bring a laptop, you will have wifi access at the school and at the hotel.  Some people may also want a calculator.  I have a few extras in my classroom if you forgot it.  We have PLENTY of plug-ins in the classrooms.. literally, there are 8 sets in the floor and about 10 in the walls of each classroom!  If you forgot something, please let me know.. chances are that I have an extra that I can lend you!  (Or worse case scenario, I can send hubby to the store for you!)
I really hope this helps someone out there.  I know I am always worried that I will forget something, but thankfully I never travel anywhere that I can't get to a store if needed.  There's a Target, Staples, Best Buy, etc all within a few miles, so if you need it, we can get it for you! 

The other thing that I want to make sure to share is to not be afraid to socialize!  I am extremely introverted, so I understand how social situations can be anxiety-producing.  When I first went to TMC12, there was an element of feeling star-struck by all of the people that I had admired from afar via their blogs.  However, when I sat down to talk to them, they were just normal, everyday people like me!  Just like me, they tried their best every day to reach kids.. just like me, sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they failed... and just like me, their goal was to be a little bit better every day.

I'm so excited to meet all of you!  Safe travels and please let me know how I can help!

Do you have other questions or concerns?  Leave me a comment and I'll answer them! :)

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Binder Help


Today is a cold, rainy day.  As a result, I have a headache and I really just want to cuddle up with my Kindle.  Days like today are really rare in my area.  Usually, mid-July is around 100 dF, not the current 65 dF - that's even colder than our normal daily low!  BRRR :)

Today I have a dilemma... I need to revamp my binder but I'm not sure how to do it.  I have two ideas floating in my head and YOU get to help me choose!

Binder #1
The first option is one inspired by my desk calendar that I purchased last winter in the Target Dollar Spot.  It is a weekly calendar with the dates at the left and "jot space" on the right.  I really love this calendar, so I replicated it for my teacher binder:
Each week will be a two page spread.  On the left pages are my weekly lesson plans.  On the right page is a weekly calendar with jot space.  Here will be my to-do lists, notes to myself, etc.

Binder #2
The second option was inspired by the traditional agendas that you find in the back to school aisle, with a full week on a two-page spread.
On this one, each row represents a day, with the day being split into three columns.  The left (and largest) column is for general agenda stuff, meetings, etc.  The right two columns are for lesson plans.  I like this layout in general, but it doesn't give me the "jot space" of Binder #1.  On the right page, I would probably add something to the header area, but not sure what.  I suppose I could combine the weekend days and put a jot space there...

Help me out..
Which one do you like?  Why?

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Productive Day

For the past few days, I've been in a funk.  I tried not to let it seep into my posts, but yesterday was really rough.  For me, summer is a tough time.  Don't get me wrong, I love sleeping in and being free to do what I need to do, but I crave structure.  I like knowing my daily schedule and when that structure is off, I am very off-kilter.  To make matters worse, July is the birth month of everyone special to me that I have lost - my dad, my sister, and my nephew.  Yesterday was my sister's birthday and it was all I could do to not bite off the heads of everyone around me.


BUT...
Today is a better day.  I woke up this morning and went for a walk, marveling at the 62 degree weather in mid-July and decided today would be a productive day.  In one short week, TMC14 will be landing on my door step, so I really need to get a lot done before then. 



Organization...
Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to slowly get my classroom organized and ready for a new year.  A huge part of that was getting my binders under control and things filed where they belong!


I was SO excited when I found the black/white magazine holders at Dollar Tree because it totally matches my classroom!  Now I have 8 randomly colored magazine holders... anyone need some? :)



Printing and Laminating...
The first day of school is less than a month away and my print server at home self-destructed this weekend, so I had to come to school to print things.  I really feel like screaming "Laminate.All.The.Things!!!" :) 


AP Formula Sheets, Quiz/Quiz/Trade, JellyBlubbers, Exit Ticket prompts, and the first day activity... all ready to go!  Oh yeah, and my new "Parking Lot" poster is down there too. :)



Pacing...
I even had a chance today to sit down and work on the 1st semester pacing calendar!  I'm ready to go through December.. :)



The Day is Young..
It's only 2pm, but I would like to get my Syllabus done and start working on my teacher binder for the 2014-15 school year... Then home to read a book and #Eduread :)




July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!



Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - First Day

I can't tell you how many times I have restarted this post because everything I was writing just made me sound like a grumpy old woman.  I even asked on twitter and text for ideas on what to post.  This daily blogging thing is one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I don't want to post just for the sake of posting... I want it to be something that I can look back on next year and think "Oh yeah!  That was a great idea!"

First Days of School
For several years, I have done the Kristen Gilbert story on the first day of school.  I first read about it in the book 'The Numbers about Numb3rs'.  Hedge posted about it on the TMC13 Wiki as well.  The kids really enjoyed the story and looking at the evidence, but I needed a change.  With 4 sections of AP Stat this year, I wanted to do something different in order to set the tone for the new year. 

During the APSI last week, I had an opportunity to browse the 5th edition of The Practice of Statistics and one of the first activities in that book is a simulation on hiring discrimination.  Since a similar issue was on this year's operational exam, I think that this simulation might be a great way to introduce the course to the students.  I don't have it completely fleshed out yet, but I did create a set of Male/Female cards to use:

I'm really excited to try this activity! Maybe I'll get the rest of it fleshed out tomorrow...

What are your favorite first day activities?

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge