Sunday, August 24, 2008

I need your help!!!

I was oh so proud of my accomplishments this weekend... until at 6:30pm on Sunday I remembered that I'm scheduled to present at a Staff Development day on Friday! EEKKK! So now I need your help in brainstorming :)

When this year's AP Stat exam was released for teachers to see the questions, I noticed that there were 2 questions that had parts that were related to Algebra content. One of them had students creating a scatterplot and the other had students describing the slope of a regression line. Of course this was in May, so I asked the AP Calc teacher if she was interested in co-presenting a pre-AP math session for the math teachers at my school. Of course with the extreme busy-ness of the summer, I didn't think too much about the session...

Of course, now it's August and that session is just a few days away! So I need your help. The title of our session is "Adapting AP Materials to the Pre-AP classroom". I have about 25 minutes to fill and I am at a loss as to what to do.

So pretend (ha!) you are a pre-AP teacher (Algebra/Geoemtry/Pre-Calc).... :)

What would YOU like to get out of this workshop?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My class is *finally* done!!!

Holy moly - it took *forever*, but my room is finally done! I left school at 7:40pm and the first bell will ring Thursday morning at 7:45am! This is the longest it's ever taken me, but I did do a bunch of new decor, so I'll blame it on that! heheh

Here's the view of the front of my room. Notice all the new posters (woohoo! Thanks to the free poster site!) - you'll also see that I decided to matte them! The hanging thing on the left is where I place makeup work each day, sorted by hour. Behind my podium chair, I wish you could see the spaghetti tangle of cords - I did the best I could to bring order to an unorderly mess :)
Working our way counterclockwise, this is the "cabinet" side of the room. Class sets, turn in box, staplers, etc. The four small posters on the right side came from Walmart for $1 each (woot!)

Moving on around, I must give kudos to hubby for his 1/2/3 posters that he made me. These correspond to Costa's Levels of Questioning. The gray box below the 1 poster is for their POD folders (Problem of the Day). The corkboards are where I post grades.

This is the back right side of my room. Notice the bulletin board still to be hung on the wall :) Student bulletins will go there. Our back walls are both magnetic and writeable, so that's where my birthdays go. The file crates are where my aide files papers to be returned. Also, more free posters!!!

The other back corner. More posters :) Also on the back wall is an "In the News" banner that I got from Dollar Tree. Under it, my aide (who came in today to help me - is that not amazing!) put up articles and comics that I cut out of the newspaper that pertain to math or statistics. You can also see my lame attempt at a bulletin board - give me some slack here, it's been 10 years since I taught middle school! I want to do a Geometry Challenge of the week where I post a math problem (this one is from the NCTM calendar this month). Correct submissions will earn a bonus point on their test.

And finally back around to my desk area. Not much to report here - just lots of storage LOL

I am so glad that is done for another year - what a mess it was! :)
Now to bed - 5:45 will come too durned early for me!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Study Skills....

OMG - School starts *TOMORROW*....

I am sooo not ready! But ready or not, the kiddos will be here on Thursday... EEEKKK!

So, in my last minute style, I am working on the study skills information I want to give to my classes (Stat particulary).

As I've mentioned before, I don't think that many of my students have been taught how to take notes, etc, so I want to think it out here if you don't mind!

AP Statistics
First day of school!!!
Passing period - I am at the door welcoming them and handing out a student information form for them to fill out. A first-day seating chart is on the board with textbooks and syllabus on their desks. Bell rings. Students continue filling out info sheet. Then we get into "What is Statistics" to give them a taste of what data is all about. Their homework assignment is to read Chapters 1 and 2 (10 pages) and take notes on it for discussion tomorrow. If time allows (12-15 minutes), do AP question 2000-#1 (or give as homework???)

Students come in. A notecard is on each desk with a warmup question on the board (Why did you take this class maybe? or something about their mathematical history?). I'll go around the room to look at their notes from the assigned reading and take up the 2000-#1 if I give it as homework. We will then briefly discuss how to take notes from a textbook (see handout). After that, we are ready to jump into the lecture for Chapter 2, so start with a handout about notetaking, then they take notes while I lecture. Also discuss notes posted online.

Not sure yet where it fits in....
- Discussing policies from syllabus
- Assigning study groups - want this in place while discussing notes - want to use the "compare notes w/ your buddy" as a study strategy and working through examples in class.

*sigh* Can I go back to May and have a re-do???

Saturday, August 2, 2008

More Random Thoughts...

The vote is still tied on the matte dilemna :) I decided not to go laminate them until I have had more time to think about it. I plan to go to my classroom on Tuesday, so as long as they are laminated by then, we're good :)

Do you ever have something that you love and hate? For me, it's back-to-school...

Why I love it:
- New school supplies!!
- A clean slate
- A time to try new things

Why I hate it:
- I never feel ready
- I get very overwhelmed and stressed by what is left to do
- I like sleeping in :)

But, ready or not, Aug 11th will be here soon. I am not at all ready for it, so this next week will be pure hell I'm sure.

When on vacation with my parents, we went to the Half-Price book store (Love that place!!) and I found Fred Jones - Tools for Teaching for $10. I'm about halfway through and I am really enjoying it. But it has brought up a few issues that I've never done at the HS level, so I thought I'd ask you guys! To be perfectly honest, this blog has been way more theraputic than I ever imagined. I did not think I would write as frequently as I do, but I really appreciate the opportunity to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper, and of course I value the input that you guys give me!

Anyway, one of the ideas from Dr. Jones's book was to post your rules. Since I now know that Office Depot can print posters for me, I am thinking of doing this. Here are my rules that I put into my syllabus (with more explanation of course!)... should I print them to hang on the wall?

Classroom Expectations:
- You are expected to attend class and to be on time
- You are expected to actively participate in classroom discussion and activities
- You are expected to bring your materials to class everyday
- You are expected to assume responsibility for your own learning
- You are expected to respect everyone’s right to learn without distractions

The other thing he mentions is icebreakers. I have never done an icebreaker, opting instead to do a review activity. However, I do use a study buddy/partner system, so I am wondering about somehow merging these two. I have thought about doing some kind of compare/contrast Venn diagram, followed up with a partner problem worksheet - which is where partner A does the first column, partner B does the second column. The problems are different, but the answers are the same. (This would be for Geometry btw)

One of the other teachers at my school does "groups" in her AP Calc class. She has everyone stand up and separate by which half of town they live in. They find someone in their group to buddy up with. This ensures they have someone they can call/meet with that lives somewhat close. The pair then finds a pair from the other half of town and this group of 4 then becomes a team. This team then meets as a study group, review sessions, etc - each test, the teacher calculates the highest team average and they get a silly prize. I've thought about using this in the AP stat class, thinking the peer tutoring aspect might be a good one.

I would love to hear from you guys - let me know if I'm on the right track here or not.

Friday, August 1, 2008

To Matte or Not to Matte

In a few hours, I'm headed to the local teacher store to laminate some posters that I had made. I found them on a free print-a-poster website and enlarged them to 11x17 and had them printed for 98 cents at Office Depot.

Now I have to decide if I want to matte them with construction paper to "frame" them. That's where you come in :) Help me decide...

To Matte:

Or Not to Matte:

Is the question - leave your answer in the comments!! :) Thanks!