Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I survived the first full week of school, and I got a cold to prove it!

It wasn't a bad cold, more annoying than anything, but yes, the school year is *now* officially official.  A couple things to share about this past week:

* I painted with my art class for the first time last Friday.  It was messy, but I survived.  It was a two-week project, so we will be finishing it up this Friday (luckily only a couple of them need to actually finish painting).  They are coming out so good.  I really am so impressed.  Even more than the actual works, we had a great discussion before we started painting, using the elements of art.  This week they'll also be doing a formal pop art critique, so I am pretty excited with how are is going.  After this week, there are only six more sessions before we switch classes.  I am really enjoying teaching art.

* Speaking of electives, my Math Club this week will be exploring an engineering project on building towers, which I am super excited about!

* This week we finally got our grading system, Jupiter Ed, up and running, and I have at least two pieces of graded work in for all of my classes!  (yay me!)  I have never used this system before, but after a short PD on it from our literacy teacher (who is all about blended learning) and I am really impressed with it, specially with the potential for standards-based grading and parent communication aspect.   

* This week I had my first informal baseline observation.  My principal and AP came into my last period ICT class yesterday, and it went well.  My students were exploring when finding the common factors of numbers might be useful.  I was happy with how the lesson went, and the feedback I got today from my principal was positive and helpful.  Moving forward, I am going to work more on class discourse and discussions, which lead me to my next topic...

* I am trying my first socratic seminar ever this Friday!  I have always wanted to do a socratic seminar in math, especially since my social studies colleague last year was amazing at it, so after talking it over with my co-teacher today, and seeing how this Friday's lesson was kinda bland, we decided to try it this week.  The 6th graders have been doing them in their literature class, so they are familiar with the expectations, and I am excited about it.  My big concern (besides having never done one before) is that the questions my 6th graders will be discussing aren't really big, philosophical, open ended questions, but rather they will be exploring different approaches to finding the least common multiple and greatest common factors.  I am really excited to try something new that I have never tried before and always wanted to.  I will be sure to share the outcome next time.  

* Something that has been on my mind, especially this past week as we continue to move through the first unit on integers and rational numbers, is challenging my 7th graders.  Our first unit is on working with integers and rational numbers, which most of them already know how to do, being G&T.  They will do any work I assign in class, but the investigations we have been working on are all about understanding conceptually how integers work, and I am finding that, again most of them, already know this.  Today I even suggested playing the Stock Market Game, and about 10 of them said they had already done it in 5th grade.  So moving forward, finding challenging and meaningful math for them to explore will be a much bigger focus of mine, because CMP3 might be too easy for them.  
*Lastly, and this is a silly update, yesterday my boyfriend found this article on how much it would cost to build the Death Star, so of course the first person I thought of was my advisee who is obsessed with Star Wars, and I couldn't wait to share it with him this morning.  He was so excited, it might have been my favorite moment of the day.

So that's where I am.  Learning, trying new things, and nerd-ing it out, as usual.  I am pretty lucky to get to do what I do for a living <3

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