Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Praxis, UFT Conference, NY Teacher Leadership Summit, e-Portfolios, What's Been Going On In My Classroom...

Wow, I cannot believe that it's been more than a month since I posted on here!  How did May get away from me like that?  Well, the wonderful news is that it is June and lots of stuff has been going on, so here it goes...

Praxis
I passed the Math Content Knowledge Praxis Exam!  As part of my applying to Math for America, I had to take it, and I'm not going to lie, it was work.  I even recruited my old math tutor, and fellow MfA teacher, to tutor me.  I spent at least an hour (or more) every day I could to study and my hard work paid off.  I took it in April and did not get a passing score, so May was my last chance this year for MfA.  I felt much better during the May test - I paced myself better and I got to use my own calculator.  I wasn't able to get my score right after, so I had to wait two weeks to get it, and last Friday I got the wonderful news that I passed.  Now I wait until June 17th to see if I get an interview, and I am optimistic.  I have grown so much as a teacher this year, and think I have a decent shot of getting into MfA if I can get an interview... stay tuned!  Studying and taking the Praxis exam reminded me of something mathconfidence mentioned during the NYC Math Project Conference, two weeks ago about the importance of putting yourself into the mindset of a student.  Studying for this test was hard and took time and effort (and failing the first time), and it reminded me of what it feels like to be a student, and for that experience, I am grateful.

UFT Teacher Leadership Conference
Looking forward to attending the UFT Teacher Leadership Conference this weekend.

NY Teacher Leadership Summit
Our team got invited to the NY Teacher Leadership Summit later on this month! I am so excited to partner up with Teaching Matters again and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to bring our idea into our school next year.  Speaking of Teaching Matters, now that the Praxis is behind me, I can focus on earning micro-credentials again, which was on the back burner while I was studying, so I am looking forward to that.

iLearn & ePortfolios
I attended an awesome PL given by one of my colleagues last week on blended learning and I will be trying out e-portfolios through iLearn with my students before the end of the school year.  ePortfolios has been a goal of mine for a while, and I am excited to get my feet wet with it.  I am lucky that she does a great job with it and was willing to share her knowledge with me and help me bring it into my math classroom.  Speaking of PL, I am looking forward to this Algebra 1 PL at this awesome school right up the block from me next week, so I can hopefully get some great ideas for next year.

What's Been Going On In My Classroom
My 6th graders have been exploring social justice issues, specifically the Wealth of Nations and looking at the ages of US Presidents (which I have done with 7th graders in the past).  I have been incorporating articles into as much as I can, such as this one from CNN.   On Friday they will continue looking at Presidential data and work on this activity from Illuminations.  Right now, the plan for their final project will revolve around the essential question "What data can you collect that will help understand or improve our environment?" and them creating a survey and analyzing their data.

My 7th graders took the January Algebra 1 Regents yesterday and explored Tessellations today.  Instead of doing Filling & Wrapping with them (which I have done in the past) I decided to focus on parallel lines cut by a transversal and some of the problems from Thinking with Mathematical Models.   My goal for the end of the year is to also have them play around with Desmos Marbleslides, because it looks awesome.  Teaching 8th grade Algebra 1 next year will be a new challenge for me, but I am looking forward to it!  

One thing I am looking forward to doing with both grades during the last full week of school is the Week of Inspirational Math.  I wanted to do it last year, but just so drained by the end of the year, I hope I can make it happen this year because I think it could be awesome.  Another option would be Fractal Challenges, which would tie in nicely with the work my 7th graders have done with tessellations.  Decisions, decisions...

My Harry Potter elective has been fun doing transfiguration (charades with play-doh) and Harry Potter anagrams, and doing some neat Scholastic activities.  Only two more meetings before our end-of-year feast.

In Visual Art, last week my students studied Takashi Murakmi and designed their own skateboards decks and will begin their final piece of the year, their Keith Haring Social Justice Poster.  I gotta say, I was terrified to teach art at the beginning of the year, but it has been fun teaching (and learning about Pop Art) overall, especially since I was able to revise my curriculum twice (this is our third semester of art, each being 10 weeks long)

2016-2017 School Year
I have been adding to my Favorite Math Resources and as a result, have begun planning for next year.  Lots a good stuff to build on from this year!  This week last year, I was invited to demo a lesson at my current school, and man, what a difference a year makes!

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