Wednesday, January 6, 2016

First Post of 2016!

Happy New Year or as I like to call it, the almost half-way point of the school year!  There is nothing quite like making it to Winter Break!  As happy as I am with my job, nothing beats being on vacation for 11 days.  I didn't do as much work as I planned, but I have no regrets.  We've been back for three days now, and I must say, they have been quite smooth.  I'm definitely not as stressed as I was last year.  Looking back at my 2015 New Years resolutions, one of them was to "find a new (more fulfilling & balanced) job" and although I was scared to take the leap, I am so glad that ultimately I was brave enough to make a change to try something new.  Here's what's been going on in my classroom in these first few days of 2016...

Happy Teacher Challenge
Someone posted about this 30 Day Happy Teacher Challenge on one of the teacher Facebook groups that I belong to and I think it's a really cute idea, I am gonna try it!  I printed it out today and will hopefully start with day 1 tomorrow.    

Scratch Project
The Programming teacher at my school told me about a Scratch project the 6th graders are going to be starting next week, where they create a calculating machine.  So I shared with him the 6th, 7th, 8th grade, and Algebra 1 reference sheets from the state tests and they are going to use them!  I am so excited for this project.  I cannot wait to see what they come up with!
Math Club
After presenting the board games they designed, Shark Tank style, before the Winter Break, the Math Club will be working on a classroom redesign challenge this week and will begin looking into their gold-level project for The National Math Club.  I also would love to do another STEM project with them soon.  I was thinking maybe having them make a balloon car, but I still want to do some research.

My 7th graders in art will be studying Pop artist Romero Britto this week and creating a piece inspired by him.  I also found this awesome teacher art blog to follow with some really great ideas.

My 6th graders have been working through the Let's Be Rational unit, which focuses on operations with fractions, which I know some of them needed because the pre-assessment, but some of them are pushing back because they already know the algorithms for working with fractions.  Since this curriculum goes for conceptual knowledge, they have been doing a lot of modeling in class, which for some of them, seems unnecessary.  Today, my ICT class really wanted to discuss mathematical modeling, and I didn't want to disrupt the discussion, so I threw the lesson plan out, and we had a Socratic Seminar on mathematical modeling today instead.  They were begging not to leave when the bell rang.  It just goes to show you that sometimes the best lessons are not even planned!

My 7th graders are finally working on Moving Straight Ahead, which is all about linear relationships and I am loving it!  I am even getting to do some of the slope investigations that I used to leave out in past years.  This is always my favorite unit because I love algebra.  My next steps will be to find some good problems on Mathalicious or Illuminations or Illustrative.  I am having my formal observation with them next Thursday, so I want to make sure we do something good.  It's a great unit to be formally observed on because there is just so much you can do with linear relationships.    

Advisory Service Project
My advisory finally decided on a cause for their service project - homelessness.  I am so excited because not only did they choose it, but I think it gives us a lot of options for projects we can do.  We had been leaning towards homelessness since we read this article earlier this week and then Channel One had a segment on it today, which I think sealed the deal.  They began researching today and I cannot wait to see what they come up with!

Goals/Next Steps/Ideas for Next Time:
  • Incorporating more literacy into math class
  • The Package design project with my 6th graders and inviting their families in
  • Standards-based grading
  • Math portfolios
  • Field trip ideas - Math Museum

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