Archive for August, 2012

Ok, not technically a million dollars but freedom and money. And, in the desire of being completely upfront I definitely saw Barenaked Ladies in concert last week so this little ditty is clambering around in my head. (An emu? Does the school need an emu!)

Back to the point at hand. We received a grant and a call for ideas went out to staff. We are given an opportunity  to pioneer a truly original and educational experience for students in our school. Isn’t that every teacher’s dream? Hey – teacher there, we’ve got this new grant and you can pitch ANYTHING and we might consider it! What do you want to do?


Blank. Stares.


I feel like there are more reasons than simply a lack of creativity stopping me from replying to my boss’ request for club, summer program, etc. ideas. For one, I’d have to lead the group, I’ve never been in charge of a club, especially a new one. I am truly scared of proposing an idea and then not having a single clue on how to follow through.

So I believe my brain has decided to do me a solid and completely shut down on any good idea. I figured perhaps my twitter and blog buddies might want to share their freedom and money ideas if only to see them wobbly implemented by a (second year?) teacher who will definitely cry for help once a month.

So – if you had a million dollars (yea, right) what club, resources, program, would you implement at your school?

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Hello Again!

I really did not want to think about teaching this summer at all as evidenced by my complete hiatus from blogging and twitter. Don’t hate me, let me back in to your circle! I swear I’ll read and comment on all of your latest blog posts… OK I’m begging now.

To get right down to it – I’ve begun working again. Okay, to be really honest I’ve been working for the past thirty minutes of this entire summer and I already need your help. Shocker. Next year I am teaching all seniors (YAY!). Semester PreCalculus like last year and new for me Statistics. As I am writing my Stats syllabus I am thinking about the most effective course supplies for my students. I struggled with this last year too.

Previously, I asked them to bring binders divided into three sections: Warm ups, Notes, Classwork. They had to complete out of class work outside of the binder (i.e. homework on loose leaf to be turned in). There were several problems with this system.

1. I always forgot to hole punch notes or hand outs for them so they got stuffed in the pockets and didn’t get organized in the system I created

2. The binders didn’t really fit on the desks

3. No spot for returned graded work and tests

4. The kids hated it

The only benefit was that warm ups were important. I am not certain this would be lost completely if they just completely everything in one notebook, but I did like that warm-ups had their own section. It provided for some helpful classroom management at the beginning of class.

Thoughts? What do you use in your classroom? What have you used in the past? What do you wish you could use? Do you think I should provide some structured freedom since they are 12th graders?


***Edit 8/16/12

What happens when you stop participating in twitter and blogs for 2 months? You attempt to read them and catch up in one day. I couldn’t sleep last night. I want to do IT ALL. The good news: I still love being a teacher. The great news: I want to be a fantastic awesome math teacher like YOU! (specifically calling out these posts – Infinite Sums, @crstn85 , @jruelbach @mgolding).

I am going to attempt to do some variation of this interactive notebook. Due to school rules on homework, grading policies, and projects I will have to make some modifications for my first attempt. The good news is I have semester courses so if I royally screw this up first semester I get a total redo in January. What I am thinking:

  •  Spiral Notebooks for ALL notes.
  • Table of Contents at the beginning, students number pages of their notebooks. Titles and dates on top of each (RHS?) page.
  • Students glue or tape in handouts into RHS. Anything I do is RHS (right?). Students glue in activities and complete textbook problems etc. on LHS (right?)
  • Up for debate – warm ups on LHS, sectioned off and above work done for the day.
  • Returned, graded homework in separate folder.

Projects and more involved projects will need to be done outside of the notebook due to grading policies. The notebooks will stand as a more interactive way to take notes and be involved in direct instruction and guided practices. It will also be a place to store hand outs and glue in interactive activities such as matching, puzzles, dominoes, etc.

Next on my agenda: A review board like @mathymcmatherso has with 5 problem review cards for students to do in down time or to focus on certain objectives.


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