Wednesday, September 21, 2016

First Post of the New School Year!

So here we are, about to finish our first full week of school.  Tomorrow is the first day of fall and we are officially in the swing of things.  This year I am teaching two 6th grade classes, two 7th grade classes, and one 8th grade Algebra 1 class.  That's five different groups of students every day.  The best analogy I can think of is juggling five balls in the air at once.  But I am doing OK.  I moved up with the current 7th & 8th graders, so only my 6th grade students are new.  My 6th grade classes are full at just about 30 each, 20 in each 7th grade class, and 25 in the 8th grade. Overall, the beginning of the year has gone pretty smoothly and I am excited for things to come.  

The First Two Days of School aka Week 1
I did my usual Hundred Chart Hunts with my 6th graders and tried out two new new first week of school math activities with my 7th & 8th graders: Broken Squares and Exploring Magic Squares.  I also included the Horse Algebra puzzle that was making it's way around the internet recently, and some Math Jokes for Mathy Folks (again with my 7th & 8th graders only since I already know them).   I also had all my 6th graders make Figure Me Out Posters, which I was able to put up for Back-to-School Night last week.  Magic Squares wasn't originally on my first week of school plan, but I'm glad I made the change, because my 7th & 8th graders loved it.

Curriculum & Weeks 2 & 3
As for the past two weeks, like I said, I am slowly getting my ducks in a row.  I am working through Prime Time with my 6th graders, Accentuate the Negative with my 7th graders, and Thinking with Mathematical Models with my 8th graders, all from CMP3.  I have been actively working on not using the textbooks during the launch (and keeping it less than five minutes), being selective with how I want my students interacting during the explore (writing out work or just discussing), and including writing during the summarize.  Like last year, this can be a challenge when periods are only 40 minutes long.  My summarize still needs work, but I am seeing glimmers of success with the launch and explore.  If I stay on pace, we'll be done with Prime Time next week, and Accentuate and Thinking early next month, which I am proud of.  

Even though I am teaching five classes, there is one 6th grade class that I am not teaching, because literally, it is not possible in my schedule.  So the science teacher is teaching them, and I am so grateful to have someone else teaching my content to collaborate with.  I am so lucky to get to talk to her about math, because she has some really great ideas.  For example, we had our classes make their own Product Game this week, and tomorrow my classes are exploring abundant, deficient, and perfect numbers, after her suggestion.

8th grade Algebra 1 has been going well too, and I have already decided that my 7th graders will do Thinking with Mathematical Models sometime this year too.  I wore this shirt when teaching my 8th graders today...


So, yeah, things have been busy, but good so far, and I think this year will be fun.  Oh, and we have thirty kids in Math Club this semester, including 6th, 7th, and 8th graders!  Looking forward to seeing what else this year brings...