Monday, February 26, 2018

Productive Struggle

Alternate Title:  Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

A few weeks ago, a Twitter conversation with @JennSWhite and @Teachmathtorr started the wheels a'spinning...

I knew right triangle trig would be coming soon, so I quickly bookmarked Michele's Desmos Activity Builder (Go check it out here).  I *loved* the idea of exploring the trig ratios without mentioning sine, cosine, or tangent.  I loved the idea of tying into similar triangles and dilation.

But that was a few weeks ago and the whole conversation slipped my mind.

Until this weekend.

Right Triangle Trig was upon me... I started by looking at the MTBoS Search Engine, which is my go-to starting place for a new unit.  That led me to Tina C's blog and Lisa B's blog, both of which referenced a Geogebra applet similar to Michele's Desmos AB.

I'm not a huge Geogebra person but I liked the simplicity of the applet, so I decided to try it and do Desmos tomorrow.

Like Michele's Desmos AB, I decided to focus just on the opposite / hypotenuse ratio, letting them explore by creating different triangles and hopefully noticing that all of them had the same ratio (or very close.. rounding issues ya know...)

And things were going pretty okay...

Until they weren't :(

I had started them with exploring with angle A set to 35 degrees, then asked the following questions:

Holy moly - you would have thought I had asked them to perform major surgery! :(

It did not end well :(  Either they just used the applet and totally ignored the instructions to try to figure it out first OR they just made up some random number and ignored the applet OR they got mad because I wouldn't just tell them what to do to find the value.  (cue whiny voices... But Mrs. T!!! Do I multiply or divide????)

By the end of the first hour, I knew that tonight would be a blogging night... I needed to process what had happened.  I also needed to regroup and figure out how to fix it tomorrow.  Thankfully I have a long commute and it was a beautiful night for a walk, so I spent most of that time working through what had happened today.

Here's a summary of my conclusions...

Thought #1:  Students are not used to thinking like mathematicians - looking for patterns, making conjectures, then testing those conjectures. 

Thought #2:  As teachers, it can be super frustrating, especially when the whining starts.  This often results in throwing our hands up in the air and giving in to the "just tell me what to do" mentality

Thought #3:  I need to provide my students more chances to make sense of the mathematics.  Had I given them the equations of 3 / x = 0.573  and x / 6.5 = 0.573, they probably could have found x with minimal issue.  However, having to think about "Okay, this means that 3 divided by some number has to equal the ratio of 0.573" was quite the stretch for them.  

Thought #4:  I am a strong believer that students need to grapple with a concept, but for the sake of time and for the sake of my sanity, I don't do it often enough.  This has to change.

So tomorrow is a new day...

We are going to discuss the work from today, then go back to the Geogebra applet to try to "build" the trig table by looking at angles from 10 degrees to 80 degrees and the 3 ratios, then comparing those to an actual trig table.  Along the way, we will explore a few more problems and see if it goes any better.

Today, the struggle was real.  Both for my students and for myself.  I just hope it pays off in the end :)

Here are the files if you are interested.  Many thanks to Michele, Tina and Lisa for the inspiration behind these files!
H3.1 - More Side Ratios (Day 2)
H3.1 - Practice Problems - Dry Erase Sheet

Saturday, February 24, 2018

#MyFavFriday - Long Short Week

This is the post that almost wasn't.

This week was the longest short week in history, I think!  It was emotionally draining, filled with meetings, and had the most roller coaster weather.  Seriously - it was 70 degrees when I left my house on Tuesday morning and my car was iced over when I headed home on Tuesday evening!  Add in all of other crazies of teh week and I didn't think I had a lot to say today to celebrate the positives, but then @pamjwilson challenged us all to post #onegoodthing on social media to remember something that went well this week, which is the accountability push I needed.

My Favorite Strategy of the Week:
Monday was our last PD Day of the year.  One of the science teachers and I gave a presentation on "How do you know what they know?  Formative Assessment Strategies for the classroom."  We had planned to share 10 strategies total and quickly ran out of time!  Our goal was to share high-impact strategies and to make the session very hands-on, where the teachers would actually experience the strategies first hand, increasing the likelihood of them using the strategies in class.  The "warm-up" activity was for each group to create a "KWL" chart (minus the L) of what they already knew about FA and what they wanted to learn during our session.  It was such a fabulous way to use a KWL - I was able to see what they already knew about the topic as well as see if their personal learning goals aligned with our presentation goals.  KWL is a strategy I don't use much with students, but, for this context it worked perfectly!

My Favorite Student Kindness of the Week:
I have the BEST students and truly love my job.  One of the reasons I love working with teenagers is that they are just so quirky and fun and I love watching them grow into adulthood.  During Forensics on Thursday, we had started our DNA unit and were talking about genetic traits when the topic of being a "taster" came up.  Apparently there is a genetic trait of being able to taste this certain chemical (PTC) and if you are a taster, it's extremely bitter.  My science co-teacher gave us all a little piece of paper to test if we were a taster.  Mine tasted just like paper, so I'm not a taster.  My co-teacher went on to ask the class about the taste of brussel sprouts and asparagus because those vegetables have PTC and will be very bitter to tasters.  I mentioned I had never had either one, so one student decided to make and bring me some brussel sprouts for lunch on Friday so I could try them!  It was just such a sweet gesture on her part and I really appreciated it - plus I got a yummy lunch out of it! :)

My Favorite Student Comments of the Week:
From a student I've had for two years:  "Mrs. T, you're always SO upbeat and happy!  How much coffee do you drink?"

From a student on Thursday after freezing rain on Wednesday and me lecturing them about driving home safely:  "Look, Mrs. T!  We all made it to class safely today because you told us to!"

My Favorite Student Note of the Week:
One of my Geometry students decided her Geometry quiz needed a bit of decoration and positive affirmation this week.  In case you can't read it, it says "Pretty Corner - where everything is beautiful and failure isn't an option!"  Then an arrow and "Words of Encouragement".  This student has had her struggles in math in the past, but she's done pretty well in Geometry.  She takes drawing breaks every so often on her quizzes / assignments, but this is the first one I've seen with words of encouragement.  I hope her own words make her smile the way they did for me.

My Favorite Whiteboard Use this Week:
In AP Stat this week, we have been learning the logic of hypothesis testing.  It can be very overwhelming at first because of all of the requirements and the technology usage.  At the last minute, I decided to print out calculator screens for the students to label and have on their tables as we went through some practice problems on the whiteboards.  I really love the increased whiteboard use in my classroom, but I need to find a super cheap source of pens... those suckers get expensive fast! :) 

So now I pass on Pam's challenge to you.... what is your #onegoodthing from this week?

Happy (late) Friday y'all!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The 10% Rule

What a wild and crazy week filled with PD, 80 degree temps, followed by freezing rain and frozen car doors - and it's only Wednesday!!! :)

On Monday, I had the honor and opportunity of being interviewed by my Associate Principal for his inaugural podcast on Teaching and Learning.  I have known my AP as a fellow teacher and then as an administrator for almost 20 years and I highly respect him as an educator and colleague.  During the interview, we talked about a lot of things, such as technology in the classroom, assessment strategies, and the things that have impacted my classroom over the years.

One of the questions he asked was regarding what advice I would give to teachers about how to go about making changes in their own classroom practice and this question has been knocking around in my head ever since.  

I think Steve Leinwand said it best in his Mathematics Teacher article on surviving in a sea of change:

What I love about this 10% idea is that it is manageable.  We have so many things that can overwhelm us on a monthly / weekly / daily / hourly basis, but if we focus on changing just one lesson every 2 weeks, think about how those little changes, those little shifts, will add up in the long run!

This 10% idea came back to the forefront as I planned my lessons this week.  I'm notorious for changing my lesson at the last minute, which is part of the reason why I have a commercial grade printer at my house!  I'm constantly looking for the best way to reach my students, which often results in me completely scrapping a lesson the night before I plan to teach it.  For the record, I don't recommend that you find your "10%" quite in this same manner, but that is how it seems to work in my world. :)

In AP Stat, we are starting 1 sample hypothesis tests and last Friday, we did the "Globe Lab" where we tossed around inflatable globes from Dollar Tree to test the hypothesis of 71% water on the globe's surface.  This is a great activity to expose students to the logic of hypothesis testing and how it ties in with the sampling distribution model for proportions.  After a 3 day weekend, it was time to formalize the process.  The only issue is that yesterday/today was a block day and no one needs to do 100 minutes of lecture, which means that Monday afternoon / evening, I was trying to figure out how to integrate some practice, movement, and brain breaks into the very lengthy lesson.

For all of our hypothesis tests, I teach a 6 step method (see foldable above) and my students are already familiar with how to write hypotheses and checking their conditions, but putting it all together and writing conclusions are definitely new to them.

I decided that we would take notes and practice the first three steps (name, hypotheses, conditions), then finish up the notes and practice making decisions and writing conclusions.  I adapted 4 textbook problems and printed them double sided, so that when folded in half, the problems would fit into 5x7 acrylic frames.  (See photo on left)  When we got to the part of taking the paper out of the frame, unfolding it, turning it over and refolding it for "the rest of the story", you would have thought I had totally blown their minds! :)  

Now back to the 10% rule....
I've taught hypothesis testing now for 18 years, with some years being way more successful than others.  From lecture to activities to practice problems to card sorts to error analysis - I've done it all.  But this one little change of adding in some processing time and brain breaks seems to have made a huge impact, based on the results from their daily reflection.  Hopefully that impact is still noticeable tomorrow :)

Here are the files if you are interested:
Hypothesis Test Foldable (print two sided - flip on short edge)
Hypothesis Test Practice Problems (print two sided - flip on long edge)
Practice Problems Recording Sheet (print two sided - flip on short edge)

(This should go without saying, but recently, several teachers, including me, have found some of our work put onto teacher websites for a profit.  The files I've shared above are for your personal use and not to be used for profit.  The 4 practice problems are adapted from textbook problems and are not my original work, but the foldable and recording sheet are mine.  Sorry to end this post on a downer note, but it needed to be said :) )

Friday, February 16, 2018

#MyFavFriday - Valentine's Week

The weeks keep zooming by... we're halfway through February, which means March (and spring break) is just around the corner.  We've had some gorgeous weather here and I'm so ready for spring to arrive so I can sit out on the patio and enjoy the warm breeze.

This week went by way too fast though, starting from a home emergency on Monday (no hot water... eek!) to Valentine's Day to now and I have so much more on my to-do list than I have time.  I'm supposed to give a presentation on Monday at our PD Day and while I have most of it planned out, I need to actually get it down on paper and practice it.

When I first envisioned this blog series, I didn't know how well it would go over or if I would even follow through with it, but I have to say that one of my favorite things about the #MyFavFriday posts is that it forces me to sit down and reflect on the week and to focus on the positives and the joy that happens each week.  It can be so easy in this profession to get dragged down by the unimportant junk and it's vital for us to remember our WHY.  With that said, on to this week's post...

My Favorite Lesson of the Week:
This week actually had some lessons that turned out fairly well, even though 2 of the days this week were taken up by tests/quizzes.  :)

In Forensic Science, we've been working on Blood Spatter and calculating angle of impact and point of origin.  I wanted them to see what it was like to string a crime scene on a small scale, so I gave them a scale drawing of a blood spatter pattern, some blood droplets, yarn, tape, and a protractor.  It was so much fun to watch them work together and to see how their calculations came to life!  As you can see in the photo, it created a bit of a tangle as they laid out their yarn to create their lines of convergence to find where the victim was standing, then from the blood droplets, they used the angle of impact to find out where the blood originated from.  Using some trig, we were able to confirm that the "stringing" and the "math" agreed! :)  I had never done this lesson in quite this way before, but I loved how it turned out!

My Favorite Discussion of the Week:
In Geometry, we've been working on Special Right Triangles.  I sadly didn't get any pictures of these lessons but so far, we've been investigating patterns using the properties of squares / equilateral triangles and the Pythagorean Theorem.  Today, while investigating the 30-60-90 triangle, the discussion turned to what "real mathematicians" do and I explained to my class that they were "real mathematicians" - that mathematics is truly the study of patterns and testing to see if those patterns hold and that they've always been mathematicians, just that the construct of formal school has a tendency to beat that joy of discovery out of them.  I really wish I could have captured the atmosphere in a bottle during that discussion.... :)

My Favorite use of VNPS:
On Monday, we were reviewing for a quiz in Geometry and a test in AP Stat, so last weekend I worked on creating some engaging review activities for my students.  As I said above, I ended up having to leave halfway through the day, but I was so proud of how well my Geometry kids did on their review.  My original plan was to give them 4 stations and having them up on the big whiteboards, but the group pictured asked instead if they could work on the floor.  Ummm.. sure!  I mean, an hour of talking and doing math AND you're comfy on the floor?  That's a total win, right??? :)

My Favorite Valentine Display (Plus an Addition):
I blogged earlier this week about the Valentine's Display board I did this year and today, a couple of my 5th hour boys were over reading the hearts and asked why I haven't posted any more this week.  I told them that the board was the equivalent to my Valentine's Card for them and Valentine's Day was on Wednesday, so Wednesday was the last heart I added.  They truly seemed sad that I had stopped adding hearts, so they decided to add their own hearts to the display.  :)

The one I shared at the left says "I love how Mrs. T buys us our own tape, Cheerios, globes and [table] boxes."  This cracked me up (as well as most of the class) as he wrote it while thinking out loud and originally had "... globes and love" and one of the other students teased him about buying love.  I should mention here that his note refers to the supplies I provide for them and various lab activities, including today's "globe toss" lab to introduce hypothesis testing. :)  My kiddos can drive me crazy at times, but underneath it all, they are a good-natured group of kids and I'm blessed to play a small part in their lives!

My Favorite Surprise:
Any teacher can tell you that January and February are the hardest months of the school year.  It's typically a stretch with dreary gray days and no breaks, unless you have a snow day.  This year, one of our new assistant principals has really tried to foster a positive staff culture at our school and as a result, a Secret Val Pal exchange was born.  Those of us that chose to participate were asked to fill out a questionnaire, then the organizer paired us up anonymously and sent us our match.  Our school is quite large with approximately 200 teachers spread out over multiple buildings, so many of us did not know our Val Pal at all, which was the case with the person that had my name.  However, my Val Pal knocked it out of the ballpark with her final "reveal" gift!  One of our new art teachers had my name and she gifted me with this gorgeous piece of artwork that is absolutely PERFECT for me :)  Now I need to get it framed and find a place to hang it in my room :)

My Favorite Compliment of the Week:
My last favorite of the week is kind of a shallow one, but it still made my day. :)  On Wednesday morning, I was waiting on a meeting to start when one of our ELA teachers called my name.  She said that she just had to tell me something, even though it was superficial.  She went on to say that the previous week, when I had spoken at our faculty meeting, she had noticed that I looked really stylish and put together.  Then, the next day as she was digging through her closet saw that she had the same elements as my previous day's outfit, so she mimicked me and felt very fashionable and cute all day!  This conversation isn't the type of thing I would normally share in a public forum, but her comment reminded me how I am often hesitant to say something because it seems superficial yet that comment might have a much deeper impact to the other person.

What were your favorite moments from this week?  Feel free to share them in the comments or to tweet with hastag #MyFavFriday.  Happy Friday, y'all!! :)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope each of you had an amazing day filled with treats and lots of love.

This was probably my favorite Valentine's Day in years and it all comes back to mindset!

Back in January, I saw a link on Facebook to this picture / blog post / pin:
14 Fun Ideas for Valentine's Day with Kids | Healthy Ideas for Kids 
Source:  Pinterest

The idea was that each day, starting on February 1, you should put a heart on your child's door with a reason why you love them.  I loved this idea, but I don't have children of my own.

But I do have 130 students every day that walk through my doors and every one of them is a blessing to me.  So I decided to do this with my students instead!  I shared the idea on Facebook and several other #MTBoS friends joined in.... so much fun!! :)

Here's the completed board (and shout-out to hubby for the header!):

Here are the reasons I put up each day:

  1.  I love that you aren't afraid to try new things
  2.  I love our High Five Fridays!
  3.  I love how talented you are! (Music, Art, Drama, Academics, Attitude, and so much more)
  4.  I love that you help each other!
  5.  I love that you don't give up, even when things are challenging.
  6.  I love that you are willing to make mistakes and "be wrong" because that's when learning happens!
  7. I love that you are willing to take risks!
  8. I love that you are kind-hearted toward your classmates!
  9. I love to watch you grow and learn over the year, both in math and in confidence
  10. I love that you show respect for yourselves and each other!
  11. I love that you are comfortable enough to tell me when you aren't sure about math.
  12. I love that you can make me smile / laugh everyday!
  13. I love that you have a positive attitude, even when I ask you to step out of your comfort zone!
  14. I love that I get a chance to play a small role in your lives.
This was one of the best things I've ever done in my classroom because it really made me focus on the positive qualities and  remembering my why.  Mindset matters!  When you focus on the positives, when you remember to find the joy in what you do each day, the rest of the junk just kind of fades away.

I had so much fun doing this in my classroom that I ended up doing this for my husband as well!  Each day I snuck around the house to put a heart-shaped post-it note on his computer monitor with a reason why I loved him.

I'd definitely recommend trying this next year, or if you don't want to wait, then do it for March and Saint Patrick's Day.... "Why I'm LUCKY to be your teacher!" :)

Friday, February 9, 2018

#MyFavFriday - Virtual High Fives

Another week has zoomed by!

While I'm super glad that February is going much quicker than January, part of me wants to yell, "Slow Down!!"  I have so much more to teach and the days just continue to fly!  I am going to really miss this group of kids and it's hard to believe that we only have a few short months left together. 

On a different note, I am so glad I decided to start documenting these weekly moments.  It's so much fun to look back at previous weeks and really celebrate the favorite moments of the week.  Feel free to join in the fun yourself, just use the hashtag #MyFavFriday on Twitter or post your link in the comments. 

Now on to this week's favorites...

My Favorite Student Response:
Each Monday, my AP Stat kids do their Multiple Choice Monday, which consists of 5 MC questions from throughout the year.  I go through them on Monday evening, score them and write feedback.  Then, on Tuesday, the students do an analysis / reflection over the questions.  This week, one of the questions was a probability question over disjoint / independent events.  At this point, most of the questions on the MC Monday still from 1st semester concepts and the students started a new notebook this semester, so the only 1st semester reference they have is their "yellow sheet", which is the cheat sheet they created for their fall final.  This student's response just made me smile - especially the part of "this error has been fixed".  :)

My Favorite Lesson that Flopped:
In Geometry, one of my lessons this week was about similar right triangles and geometric mean.  I was so excited about this lesson because it is one that I definitely struggled with as a student.  I had this grand idea of making triangles, cutting them apart, color-coding them, then taping them together as an overlap to make a manipulative....

And we did all that and I thought it was going beautifully...

Until it wasn't.

Wow - this lesson was definitely one that worked better in my head than it did on paper.  After Tuesday's lesson, I took to the Twitters, asking the wonderful #MTBoS for advice before teaching this lesson again on Wednesday.  I received multiple responses, including an awesome idea from @DamionBeth about a table of Short Leg / Long Leg / Hypotenuse, which did help some kids, but overall, this lesson still was a beast to teach.  Definitely back to the grindstone for next year! :)

My Favorite Formative Assessment of the Week:
I hate grading.  Like, I *REALLY* hate grading.  I will procrastinate for longer than I should on grading because I'd rather devote my time to creating lessons and activities for tomorrow's lesson.  However, I have decided that it's not so much the grading I hate, it's the actual assigning of a grade that I hate.

Let me clarify... We just finished up Sampling Distributions in AP Stat and we have a cumulative test scheduled next week.  I really didn't want to give a quiz over Sampling Distributions because I didn't want the grading burden right before a big test.  However, I also didn't want the first time I had actually seen their individual work for this topic to be on the test.  We had spent time on block day doing the question stack you see above, but in that situation, they have an "answer bank" available to them and it was purely about practicing the proportions / means identification and formulas, not a complete problem.  So on my way to work on Thursday, I decided that I would give a "Quick Check" that day in class.  A "Quick Check" is like a mini-quiz, just one or two problems that allow me to give feedback without the pressure of an actual grade, which uses the strategy called "Comments Only Marking".  I love using this strategy because the kids actually focus on the comments and not on the grade.  I was able to write quality feedback on every kid's paper and return them today without stressing about grades or make-up work! :)

My Favorite Moment of Kindness this Week:
My kids know that Fridays are "High Five Fridays" and I stand at the door to greet each and every one of them with a High Five.  However, yesterday I started feeling a bit under the weather with a runny nose, so today on the Promethean, I had a "Virtual High Five" for my students because I didn't want to pass on my cold to anyone.  Apparently a virtual high five wasn't good enough for one of my Geometry classes, as two of my students decided to be my proxy and went around the room to give every student a high five since I couldn't.  I can't tell you how much this warmed my heart - those two students were determined that it just couldn't be a Friday in my class without a High Five! :) 

Until next time.... Happy Friday and Happy Weekend to you!  *High Five*

Monday, February 5, 2018

#Made4Math - Pythagorean Theorem

In Geometry, we have started our study of Right Triangles, so for the past week, I've been searching for activities for the Pythagorean Theorem, Geometric Mean, Right Triangle Trig, and more...

Of course, the one place I didn't look was in my OWN FILES!


In my defense, the last time I taught Geometry was 2008 and out of a totally different textbook.  This was before I found the MTBoS, before I knew about Interactive Notebooks, etc.  To make it more difficult, I gave away all of my paper "master" copies a few years ago and my electronic files are labeled in the oh-so-helpful naming system such as "0708 L5.4 Activity".  At the time, I was pretty textbook driven, so that naming convention worked.... Now, now so much :)

So last week, I tweeted out to the MTBoS to see if anyone had a Pythagorean Theorem Question Stack.  If you don't know what a Question Stack is, it's kind of like an "around the room scavenger hunt" or "loop" activity, except it is at the student desks. 

I wanted to do some PT word problem practice and had resigned myself to having to make a set this weekend and laminate them for today.  But in a last ditch effort, I decided to look through my archives and low and behold, I found a set of cards in my own files!!

I do not claim ownership of these problems and honestly, I couldn't tell you where they even came from because I typed this back in 2007-08 school year! But, I thought it might come in handy for someone else :)

Click HERE to download the cards.  Print them 2 sided and cut apart! :)

Friday, February 2, 2018

#MyFavFriday - Hello February!

It's Friday - again!!

This week went SO fast for me, which is awesome because last week was definitely the opposite.  I didn't even blog last week because it took all of my energy just to make it through the week!

We also had to say good-bye to January and hello to February this week.  This was a change that I am a-ok with!  February is a crazy fast month, not only due to the reduced number of days, but we are gearing up for enrollment, professional development, and full-steam ahead to Spring Break! :)

So here's a look back at my favorites from this week!

My Favorite Lab:
In Forensic Science, we are deep into our blood spatter unit.  We have explored blood typing, dropping blood from various heights, and the mathematical relationship between the height and the diameter of the blood drops.

So this week, we tried something new - how does the blood spatter change based on the surface?  Each lab group had 11 surfaces, from carpet to wood to tile to various fabrics and were given a specific height to drop from.  I was so surprised at the output!  I can't wait to do this again next year and explore even more surfaces!

My Favorite Eavesdropping Moment:
We started a new unit in Geometry on Right Triangles.  Of course, I turned to the MTBoS Search Engine to help me out, which lead me to blog posts by @lisabej_manitou and @KLBoles based on an activity that was originally posted by Dan Meyer back when he taught Geometry.  The idea was to use squares to explore the Pythagorean Theorem and Pythagorean Inequalities.  This was truly one of the best hands-on learning activities I've done all year!

Sometimes, I happen to walk by at just the right time to hear a great conversation formed... The group shown at the left had just put together the 3, 4, 5 triangle and were in a discussion about what type of triangle was formed.  Two of the students immediately said, "I think it's acute!".  The third student quietly spoke up and said, "Are you sure it's not right?  I think it's a right triangle."  I don't always get a chance to hear such great discussion, where students are truly listening to each other and re-evaluating their own thoughts.  Students that often struggle with engagement were fully engaged and after forming their triangles, the patterns of =, <, and > quickly emerged.  Teacher Win!

My Favorite Student Request:
On block day this week, my Geometry class took a quiz over similarity during the first half of the hour.  One of my students came to me before class started with an unusual request - he wanted to use a whiteboard while working on his quiz.  Over the past few weeks, with the whiteboards always available on each table, I had noticed this young man reach for a whiteboard almost daily to do his work, so I was happy to grant his request and even happier to see him working along successfully on his assessment!  It's been fascinating to watch the transformation in my classes with access to the individual whiteboards every day!

My Favorite Exit Ticket Question of the Week:
I know I've blogged or tweeted about this one before, but today's reflection question was "I wish my teacher knew...."  I love, love, love this question!  I get a variety of responses, including some really serious ones that truly give me insight into what is going on in a student's life.  Here are some of today's favorite responses:
I wish my teacher knew...
- this is the first math class in years that I haven't dreaded going to. :)
- that I really appreciate how hard she works to make sure we understand.  Thank you!!
- how to take a day to not to do math and watch a movie or something.
- that I know the answer sometimes but it's so quiet in the room I don't like to speak.
- that I really like math even though I suck at it.
- that I have never liked math until this year.  You have made it fun!

My Favorite New Classroom Display:
Back in January, I saw a post on Facebook that was aimed at parents, with the idea to put a heart on your child's door each day of February with a reason why you loved them.  Since I'm not a parent, I decided to modify this to reasons why I love being your teacher! :)

I cut out hearts from construction paper, then wrote notes like:
- I love how you help each other.
- I love your positive attitude even when I ask you to step out of your comfort zone.
- I love how willing you are to try new things.
- I love that you are respectful to yourself and others.

January was a rough month, but February is off to a wonderful start!  What were your favorite things from this week?

Happy Friday, y'all! :)