Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Field Trips, Formal Observations, STEM...

After Fridays, Wednesdays are probably my favorite day of the work week.  More than half the work week is over, and Mondays - Wednesdays are usually my most productive days, so Wednesdays are good.  Even though it's been hard to get out of bed the past few days (it's just so warm and cozy) work has been good.  Like last week, I am still amazed that we are almost half way done with the school year!  It is going by so fast!  And almost not a day goes by where I don't regret making the (scary) choice to try something new.  So here's what's been going on in the math (& art) middle school life the past week:

Field Trips
I scheduled my first whole-grade field trips of the year!  (My art trip in November was just one class).  My 6th graders and 7th graders are going to the Math Museum on two different days in March, which will hopefully break up the miserable school month of March a little bit.  I also scheduled our trip to the Festival of Cultures in May for the whole middle school.  Fun trips coming up!

Formal Observation/ Mathalicious
Tomorrow morning I will have my formal observation with my 7th graders.  We will be doing an inquiry investigation on linear equations using Domino's Pizza.  It hits some important 8th grade standards on equations and functions (yes, I am doing it with 7th graders!).  I am so happy with my Mathalicious subscription, I highly recommend it for any middle/high school math teacher!       

Math Club/ STEM: Building Straw Bridges
Tomorrow my Math Club will begin formally working on their Gold-level project for the National Math Club and they will also explore building straw bridges.  One of my 6th graders (who isn't even in Math Club) shared with me this game as a resource.  I am excited to see what they come up with!    
Ten Marks March Math Madness
A few years ago, my students used Ten Marks as an online resource.  It was especially engaging in March when they have a contest, March Math Madness.  I got an email from them about it this week, so I decided to check out an account.  I even had a student test it out, and I think I may use it again (at least for Math Madness) as a way to change things up.  Currently my kids use Khan Academy online, which is great, but it might be a nice change (and good motivation) to switch over for a bit.    

Interim Assessment #2
One of my classes took their second interim assessment this week.  The other two classes will take theirs in two weeks.  These are assessments that I make, using released state-test questions.  The next round will be in March and the final will be in May.  I am proud of myself for following though with this goal.  The data has been useful and I don't feel like I am over-testing them, especially since I create the tests, so I know they won't be a waste of time (like prior benchmarks given to us from the city have been).     

Parent Engagement
I finally sent out my first parent newsletter of the year this week!  I have been wanting to do it all year, but it just hasn't happened.  I like how it came out and I hope to send one out every Tuesday during our parent engagement time.  When my 6th graders start their geometry unit, Covering & Surrounding, we will also be inviting families in for the Coke Project (probably sometime next month), which should be fun.

Andy Warhol
In art this week, my students will be studying Andy Warhol work on this project.  

Working with Individual Students
I am so lucky to work at a school that is so flexible with their schedule.  Today I was able to skip lunch duty, still have my prep period, and use what would have been my prep to work with two individual students during their study hall period.  Nothing is better than being supported in working with kids one-on-one.  This is something I tried to bring to my old school, but wasn't able to make happen.  Right now this is on a week-by-week basis, but it is fantastic and I hope it continues!     

Advisory Service Project
My advisory is still working on their service project around homelessness.  I am so proud of them for taking on such a great cause.  They are really starting to own this service learning project.

G & T Extension Certification
I started looking into Gifted & Talented Extension Certification programs.  I am currently only have my secondary math certification.  The Summer Institute for Gifted Certification program at Hunter College looks promising.  My only fear is that it will be very elementary school focused (since G & T testing happens to little kids).  I know St. John's has a program too, which I believe is online (which would be nice) but I hear it's pricy.  Decisions, decisions.

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