Monday, August 22, 2011

Another year has begun...

And what a year it has already been! New building, new technology, new hallmates, new gradebook, the list goes on and on! Overall, it's been pretty good, but having never moved into a new building, I wasn't prepared for the little details that were commonplace before, like pencil sharpeners. :)

My schedule also changed in the days leading up to the official start of school. Last year, we had 90 AP Stat students in 4 sections. This year's senior class is the first class that took 8th grade Algebra 1 as an on-level class (rather than honors as before), so that left a lot of juniors that took Pre-Calc and wanted a 4th year of math. Enter AP Stat - our enrollment jumped to 215 in 7 sections at last count. (And for those AP Stat teachers out there that are half jealous and half "how the heck are you going to grade all that" - I don't know yet....) So needless to say, I now teach AP all day long (and one hour for my AVID seniors).

So today was day 3 with the kids and I really am enjoying them overall. Thursday and Friday we did some introductory material of "Stats in the news" and today was our first real day of material. Because of the success of the Gallery Walk that I did last year, I did something similar today. The first chapter of my textbook talks about how important it is to know the context of data - the W's if you will (Who/What/When/etc). After a brief introduction to the W's and a class example, off to the boards we went. One nice feature of my new classroom is LOTS of whiteboard space. I can fit 8 groups of students at the whiteboards, so I had taken some scenerios, printed them on cardstock, and posted them around the room (held to the board with magnets) with a #1, #2, etc above them. I numbered my students and sent them to the boards to the corresponding number. As a group, they read the problem, discussed and agreed upon the Ws and wrote it on the board. When they were done, they took the problem card down, flipped it over to reveal the answers and graded themselves. Then they erased their work, rotated to the next station and did it again. We continued until they all felt comfortable with identifying the W's.

All in all, I'm pleased with the first days of school and I'm excited to see what this year brings. For the past two years, AP has kind of been on the back burner because of Algebra 2, so I'm eager to get back into the planning of AP and really trying some new things.

Now if only that morning alarm wasn't quite so early.... *sigh*