Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November Updates

I can't believe that it's been almost a month since I have written on here.  In the graph of the typical emotional pattern teachers go through every school year, we are almost out of survival mode and heading into disillusionment (yay! not)  I actually can't complain too much.  I am feeling mostly pretty good about this school year so far.  Here are some things that have been going on in my classroom these past few weeks...

  • My 7th graders asked if we could continue our Stock Market Challenge on HowtheMarketWorks.  They have really gotten into it, and I am happy that I decided to go with this tool this year.  This week we will go on our first field trip to the Museum of American Finance, which I haven't been to before.  Since doing a stock market project with my 7th grade classes, I have always wanted to plan a trip somewhere too, so I'm glad these are going together.  I will let you know how it goes, the next time I post.
  • My current unit with my 7th graders is all on ratios, rates, percents, and proportions, and I've never fully been happy with how CMP3 works with percents in 7th grade,  so this year I have been supplementing the Illustrative Math curriculum 7th grade work with percents, and, as with all new resources, it's taken some time to flow well.  We have adjusted and gotten into a flow in my 7th grade class, and I think the resources have great potential, so we'll see.
  • I am really enjoying 8th grade Algebra 1 this year.  The lessons and projects have been going smoother (last year was my first year teaching Algebra 1) and I am really having fun with it.  Last week, as part of our exponential function unit, my students investigated decaying dice and today they started a project on paper folding to (theoretically) reach the moon (there is also a great TED Ed lesson on this).  I hope to wrap up this unit by having my students analyze the spread of the Zika Virus, as part of my social justice PLT a Math for America.
  • I've been using Examplars' Classic 3-Level Math Rubric a lot this year too,  which I am proud of.  I've never really been good with using rubrics in the past, but this one has been working out well.  My 8th graders are really familiar wth it at this point, and I hope to keep using it for projects this year.
  • Math Chat Fridays has been going well.  I am so proud of my 8th graders who have already signed up to present.  We have had four students present so far, with two more this week, and the next few weeks have been filling up.  I started Math Chat Fridays after collaborating with the former Living Environment teacher at my school (and fellow MfA Master Teacher) and they are modeled after our own MfA interviews.  Students sign up to do a 10 minute presentation on something that the have done outside research on connected to math. Students have presented on Dr. Who and Probability, non-Euclidean geometry, ties in Olympic swimming (using decimals), and Pascal's Triangle.  Tomorrow's presentations are on cryptography and proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem.  The awesome part is that this isn't mandatory, and students are doing this work on their own.  Any student who presents does get extra credit, so it's a pretty sweet deal, but it's really inspiring to see them talk about complex topics that they find interesting.  This is something I don't think I would have been able to do in middle school, so I am really proud of them.
  • I am almost consistently caught up with grading, which is so much better than I was last year, so yay me!
  • The NJHS Faculty Council and I are all done writing our Chapter bylaws.  This is the first year of our chapter and my first time in the role of advisor, but I am really pleased with the work we have done so far this year.  We will begin selecting members after the 2nd marking period end in January.  I am so grateful for the other teachers who have helped get the ball rolling on this project and I think we will have a great year with it. 
Unfortunately that's all I have time to write about now.  Hopefully I'll be able to catch up again soon!

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