Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SLCs, CMP3, Schedules, Socratic Seminar (round 2), and I survived teaching Art!

I cannot believe that we are more than a quarter of the way done with the school year!  Last night was  Student-Led Conferences (aka Parent-Teacher Night), Thanksgiving Break is within site, and then the glorious Holiday Break!

SLCs and CMP3
Last night was our first round of Student-Led Conferences.  It was a long night, but they went well.  My advisees did great.  We are going to de-brief as a staff during our Professional Learning time after school on Monday.  There are definitely some changes we can make (in terms of scheduling the conferences, and having the students actually do a task with their parent rather than just presenting on their work).  I even got some really great complements from parents (my favorite was from a parent who said that they had gone to a private school open house with their son a few weeks ago and it turns out they were also using CMP3.  Not only was the teacher they spoke to impressed that we were also using this curriculum, but she was so impressed with how her son was able to talk about the math we have been doing (specifically the Locker Problem.)  She didn't have to stop in and tell me that, but the fact that she took the time out of her night to share that with me and thank me, was just another reminder why I (and all teachers do what we do.)  It also reminded me why I am so happy I am teaching with CMP3 again.  It is by far my favorite math curriculum (another student even said she loved how it wasn't just worksheets and practice, but actually fun).  Definitely no regrets there!  

New Schedules
We started new schedules this week, and at first I was not happy with it.  The reason for the new schedules was so that every class could have at least one double period a week (our periods are only 42 minutes long, which is just not enough time).  I guess I am getting used to them, but when my administration suggested changing the schedule, I would have preferred longer periods overall (like 60 minutes or so), not one day of 84 minutes and three days of 42 minutes.  I also don't like that it wasn't really a collaborative effort by all of us.  I'll give it some time.

Socratic Seminar, Round 2
I am going to be doing another Socratic Seminar next Wednesday!  After some very passionate discussions among my 6th graders about whether zero has an opposite or not, I decided that it would be awesome to do this as a Socratic Seminar!  Not only will this be what I used for my video inter-visitation in two weeks, but I asked my AP if it could be my next informal.  I am so excited!  I found these resources: Socratic Seminar Plan for Full Definition of Zero and Thoughtful Dialogs and Socratic Seminars, which I will be modifying.  I will even be doing it with my 7th graders, because it is such a rich mathematical idea.  I cannot wait! 

My first trimester as an art teacher is coming to an end. This week is our last session together and then the week after Thanksgiving, we will be going to a Music and Drama (the other two art electives) presentation and my visual art students will hang up their three major pieces from the past ten weeks.  For our last session together, we will be studying Keith Haring, and they will be creating a Haring-esq Social Issue poster.  I am looking forward to it.  I am also looking forward to modifying my "curriculum" for the next trimester of visual art, with my 7th graders. Being that this was my first time teaching art (and I had no clue what I was doing) I want to make my curriculum flow better and change some things.  Overall I am really proud with how I did.  It wasn't perfect, but I tried my best, learned a lot, and am optimistic about the future.  Last week was also my first time leading a field trip at my new school.  We went to see the Canstruction Exhibit in Manhattan.  It was tiring, but I think everyone had a good time.  I am glad I got to go back again this year.  

So next week at this time, we will officially be on Thanksgiving Break!  I still cannot believe how fast this year is going.  It seems like just yesterday I was going to an info session about job openings at this school.  I remember how nervous I felt submitting my resume, while at a Starbucks (probably on a Wednesday night) and getting a call back for a demo lesson.  I was so nervous then - was I doing the right thing? Was I being crazy for taking a risk?  But here I am, loving what I do (even though it is not always easy) and happy with the choices I have made that have led me down this path.  I am a math (and art) teacher <3 

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