Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Field Trips, Electives, Math Competitions, PD, iLearn, and TED Ed

Wow, I can't believe that March is almost over!  Next week my kids will be taking their ELA state tests and then their math test the following week.  This week would normally be Spring Break, so it's kind of depressing that it's not, but it will be glorious when it happens in the end of April in a few weeks (even though I'll be scoring math state tests the whole break)!  Here is what's been happening in my math (& art) classroom these past few weeks...

Field Trips
Our field trips to the Math Museum with my 7th graders three weeks ago, and my 6th graders last week was OK.  I wish the museum had more (and wasn't so expensive), but I think the kids enjoyed it, and both days were nice enough to have lunch in the park across the street.  This past Monday, my advisory students and I volunteered at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen for their service learning project, which was a great experience.  They were super organized, and I think my kids got a lot out of it.  I would definitely volunteer there again.  The last trip of the year I have planned is a whole middle school trip to the Festival of Cultures, in May, which I am looking forward to because it is always a good time.

Math Club & Harry Potter Electives
Tomorrow is the last day of the Math Club elective.  We will be celebrate becoming a gold-level club, and do one more STEM activity - the Marshmallow Challenge!  Afterwords, they will also take a survey to reflect on the elective and give me feedback on how I can improve for next year.  Already at least one of my 6th graders said they she wants to come back, which makes me feel good.  Overall I enjoyed the elective, but I wish it had been shorter.  We have met once a week, for a double period since September.  Some of the other elective teachers feel the same way, so next year, we might do 12-week elective cycles, to give other kids the chance to participate.  Starting April 7th, the next elective cycle kicks off, and the Harry Potter Elective will start.  The kids have been submitting their preferences the past two days, and there is definitely some buzz about it, which I am excited about.  Plus, the four 6th grade students who came to me with the idea for a Harry Potter club, have planned out rules, activities, and even wrote lesson plans for it (oh yeah, and they wrote essays about why they should be in Harry Potter club - which they didn't even have to do!).  It's hard to not be so excited when they are so into it, so I am looking forward to being Headmaster Anna ;)

MoMathlon & Olympiad for Girls
This coming Monday I am taking a group of 7th graders to the 2016 MoMathlon, which will be fun (they even opened it up to bringing more than one team without having to pay another registration fee, which is sweet).  The team is looking forward to it, and their parents are happy they we are participating too, and who knows, maybe we'll even be able to bring home a trophy?  On April 15th, myself and our ICT teacher are also brining a group of girls to the Math Olympiad for Girls, and the girls who are participating are super excited.  

Professional Development
I've been looking into a lot of different PDs lately, and am excited to have some (hopefully) good ones coming up.  Next weekend I'll be attending EdCamp Brooklyn, and I signed up for the UFT Teacher Leadership Conference in June.  Last week, I also shared with my colleagues info about the NY Teacher Leadership Summit, hosted by Teaching Matters, and hopefully we will be submitting an application next week.  It would be great to work with them again.  I also submitted my Hunter application for the Summer Institute.  My biggest goal, however, is to get into the Math for America Master Teacher Fellowship.  I am taking the Math Content Praxis in a few weeks, and I am not going to lie, I am a little worried about it.  If I can do well, then I am fairly confident I can get in, but man, is that test is scary, but I will keep studying and give it my best shot.  

Standards-Based Grading & iLearn ePortfolios
I shared out my independent inquiry on standards-based grading with my colleagues this past week, and I am looking forward to trying out some things with our current grading platform, Jupiter.  I also want to test out using iLearn for our math ePortfolios.  All our students already use it for social studies, and I am looking forward to exploring it's use for math.

I just had to share out this excellent resource that I just started using with my students, TED Ed.  I've been using it with my 7th graders, and it is a great site for short video clips to get kids thinking, and they even have lessons you can customize.  I am telling you, next year I am just going to use TED Ed, Mathalicious,  nrich, and Illuminations with my 7th & 8th graders.

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