Monday, July 25, 2016

Highlighting mistakes

I have been thinking about the new year that is fast approaching. I am excited to be heading into a new year, but I will miss my summer vacation. I want to have conversations with my students and help them through their mistakes. I have recently discovered the benefits of making mistakes and have found how much I have learned from my own mistakes.

Far too often I hear from students that they just want the answer. They look up answers on photomath and think that is all that they need to pass the class. I do not want to concentrate on the answers but rather to concentrate on the process. It is one thing to get a correct answer but does having the correct answer mean that they have the understanding of the process. I think not. I want them to understand the relationship of numbers and patterns.

This year I will have all freshmen and will be teaching Algebra I. I have named my class Madtown Mathematics. Algebra Boot Camp. Madtown is for our city of Madera which is also the name of our robotics team: Madtown Robotics.

I like the idea of having an Algebra Boot Camp. I was thinking that more than likely, my incoming freshman will probably not have enough background knowledge as they need. It seems that is always the case. There are a few that come in with all the background knowledge that they need to be successful, but the majority do not. I don't know if it is a flaw in our system as it is or not, but I just know that I am going to give my own students as much as I can.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

First Day of School Jitters

The first day of school is right around the corner and I am getting all anxious to meet my new students. I am hoping to start the year off with my students since I was not able to do so last year. I am teaching only Algebra 1 this year for five periods. I don't know when my prep period is. Last year it was the last period of the day and that was nice because I could fall exhausted and be able to catch my breath before heading home.

Some of my plans this year:
I am looking forward to implementing more writing for my students. I am always hearing from them that this is Math and not English so they think that they can get out of writing. Well not gonna happen.
Another thing I want to do is not use pencils in class. Mistakes are excellent learning opportunities and if we are using pencils that can be erased, then we are missing out on a valuable learning tool (at no additional cost, and what teacher doesn't like free).

I need to sit down and think of some of the other things I need to do for this year. Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

My life is a circus

My life is a circus. It is a constant performance, and I am juggling various acts.
Johnny hasn’t had his breakfast, Willi needs help with homework, Caitlyn is dressing the chickens, Kenny shoes are untied, Michael has disappeared (again), Sean is chasing the cat, Brent is scaring the younger kids, Kevin is complaining (always complaining).

How do I keep up with all of these children?

I walk across the sawdust ground and look up to see the high flying trapeze acts. I am mesmerized.
These are my days of navigating the legos on the floor and washing clothes and feeding children. I am amazed at the disasters these kids come up with.

How do they think of all the things that they do?

I am the ringmaster of my life. I am in charge. I take the whip in my hand and control everything around me that I am capable of controlling.
I am no longer at the mercy of a someone’s whim. I know that I can walk away if it is what is best for me. I no longer  submit myself to someone else’s morals.

How could I have been so gullible?

As I walk across the tightrope, I have no fear for I have a safety net to catch me when I fall. I know that I am not invincible and this net is there for a reason.
The safety net I have is that of my family and friends who are there to support me when it is necessary and help to celebrate my successes.

How could I survive without my loved ones?

I keep the circus within alive, always going, always smiling, not taking life too seriously,
I know that it will work out in the end. I smile at the little things, enjoy the experiences and when the circus tents are packed up and leaving, I will miss the days of the hustle and bustle of our circus days.

How I miss those wonderful days.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Power of Mistakes

Every time a student makes a mistake in math, they grow a synapse. (14)

It this is true then we are missing out on the one of the greatest teaching tools we have available to at no extra charge. I teach math but I hate it when someone tells me when I am talking about something mathematical, 'That's easy for you because you are a math person'. Excuse me. I am not a math person. I am an educator first. I struggle with math just like the next person, but the difference in me and the person next to me is that I am not afraid of making mistakes.

Making mistakes was not something that I have always embraced. In fact, I have spent most of my life trying not to make any mistakes for fear of being yelled at or viewed as inferior. It has only been recently that I have changed that mindset and, in fact, it has been with the change of that mindset that I have discovered how much I have learned. I feel that in the past couple of years when I gave myself permission to start making mistakes, I have learned more than I have in most of my entire adult life. That is amazing.

If we believe that we can learn, and that mistakes are valuable, our brains grow to a greater extent when we make a mistake. (17)

Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching by Jo Boaler Follow @joboaler on Twitter 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Made it through week 1 #sjvwp

This is the record for yesterday's content:

We learned about Jackson Pollock and his art as performance.

Muhammad Ali Underwater Boxing Writing Technique:

We posted some butcher paper on the wall and got out the oil pastels. Volunteers draw on the butcher paper for three minutes, either with their eyes opened or closed, music on or off. Any color can be chosen. Use of the entire body is encouraged. At the conclusion of the drawing for three minutes, we all made observations of what was in the picture. What did we see? A recorder writes down what we all saw. This is our picture:

This is some of our observations: 

Opening a book is like finding magic.
Words can erupt like a volcano.
They can be as disturbing as riding the storm in a boat,
or as hot as a blue flame.
They help you climb to the top of the eiffel tower,
or give you a playground to safely play
It is like being in a candy store with so much to choose
Ideas explode like fireworks on the Fourth of July
There is chaos, or order,
Unidentified Formulated Opinions pouring from us and rising from the pen
Writing is like a masterpiece, an atomic bomb, rebirth

This is just my sample. What could you come up with?

Observational writing helps to build students vocabulary and observational skills. 

How can we add writing to math? What about daily logs or scribbles of math related topics? Presentations are necessary in some careers and in college. What goals do I need to set for my classroom to add writing to our mathematics and chemistry classes?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Cilantro Method - strategies to teach

Teaching creative writing and creative learning and resources, tips by Juan Felipe Herrera at Fresno State on June 29, 2016. Fresno is the capital of poetry in the US.

Our Matra:

C - Cultura
I - Inspiration
L - Literature of and for the people
A - Assertive Creativity / Many forms and styles
N - Network / Small Groups / Virtual / Community & Global & Library of Congress / Laureate Lab
T - Telling our story / Community and Binational and International
R - Radical new thinking / Experimenting always
O - Oxygen, laughter, breathing exercises every 15 minutes

  • Laureate Lab - Fresno State / September Inaugural - Brand new resource (paper structures, murals with words, etc)
  • Library of Congress: Various Divisions: House of color, prints and photographs, the technical adventures of Catalina Neon (super hero) - Juan will write the first chapter, everyone will write other chapters.
  • Bilingualit Rising! bilingual version of Get Lit Rising. There is a bilingual element to this book.
  • Fresno Youth Laureate
  • Fresno Laureate - Lee Herrick - - can come to your school
  • Mai Der Vang (Walt Whitman Winner) Fresno  - Hmong community, can come to school -
  • LA Youth Laureates - will come out -!yplla/cylz
  • Oakland Youth Laureates -
  • Amanda Gorman - LA Youth Laureate / previous - neighborhood cam poem - -
  • LA Laureate - Luis Rodriguez will come out - grew up in the gang world -
  • California Poetry in the Schools / SF -
  • Poets and writers
  • CAL Humanities - can fund activities -
  • California Arts Council -
Explore these books and presses:
  • Get Lit Rising / new book - coming out soon - Spoken word classic - teenagers responding to poems and what is going on in their lives - Beyond Words Press -
  • Francisco Jimenez Series (YA) -
  • Please excuse  this poem / published -
  • Naomi Shihab Nye's books -
  • An American Hero: Shiro Kashino -
  • Lee and Low Publishers -
  • University of Arizona Press / Chican@Latino@ and native american series -
  • Heyday Books - Oakland -
Notes for today:

Before we begin: the five magic words - You have a beautiful voice

Movement is the key to being successful as a teacher.
Use a lot of calling out in the classroom so students can use their voices.
The brain likes oxygen. Movement helps bring oxygen to the brain.

Tapping Ten doors:
Get into a tortilla (make a large circle) Introduce yourself to someone in the circle and move to another part of the circle.

Masa ball Theater:
Another circle like the tortilla, but this one is smaller. Someone (the director) comes to the circle and places everyone in the masa ball in various poses. Students write a short story about the masa ball.

Students can get into a masa ball (less than half of the class). Teacher gives the students a topic either directly to the masa ball students or gives it to the audience students to tell the masa ball students and the masa ball students act it out. Teacher says to freeze and the audience does a free write about what the students structure looks like. Tell a story.

Student can use one of their five senses when writing descriptions.

Salmon Run: (approximately 15-20 minutes)
create two lines facing each other
Students can whisper or talk loud, either is fine
everyone has a pen and paper
'We are the salmon runners'
we are going to learn how to write a poem without having to write a poem
all of us in the salmon run is going to write and speak at the same time
create a poem without having to write a poem
whether we like or hate writing a poem
the students are going to talk to each other non stop
one student at a time will walk down the middle and write down everything they hear
extreme listening, extreme writing while we are moving
you can give the students a topic or concept to talk about
this could be a review before a test
the comments they write down can be added to their blog
Students then read what they wrote down going through the salmon run
Students may add words to fill it out a bit and make more sense
  1. Spoken word - The new IT!
  2. The Mariachi Phenomenon - everyone loves it 
  3. Aztec Renaissance 2 - learn and use Nahuatl in your experiments
  4. The presence project - show our faces and our words
  5. Cultural Drift - our communities have many talents to share
  6. The new MFA and groups: diversity movement of artists and writers
  7. Super abilities: many likes - art, acting, dance, computers, painting, etc
  8. Verbal Olympics - games for the students that want to move
  9. Libros & Familias - bringing in the families
  10. The Biggy: violence and friendship - the issues of our new generation
Exercises for Starters:
Movement / Music / Art / Visualization / Group / Voice / Performance
  1. Make a book - one piece of paper - six pages - fold it in half and then fold it in half again. Now it is a quarter of the size of that piece of paer. Fold it in half again. Open it. There are eight rectangles in the paper. Tear the paper in the middle down to the fold. Now fold it in a way to make the book. (pictures will come). Can be used to write about concepts. Use pictures and words. 
  2. The gauntlet - everyone writes without effort - also known as the salmon run.
  3. the Muhammad Ali underwater boxing writing technique
  4. Writing on newspapers and magazines
  5. El Tendedero / writing in groups, with word groups / yarn / space / movement
  6. headphone poems
  7. perform poems
What if we wrote on cardboard? The students are so use to seeing paper. They have been given paper their entire school career. But cardboard is different. It is different than paper so it can get the attention that the old fashion worksheets don't. They are use to worksheets. This would be excellent for pre-paper writing to gather ideas. Use different sizes, give to individuals, give to groups, etc

SJVWP Reunion Day with Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera addressed our group. Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet, performer, writer, cartoonist, teacher, and activist. Herrera has been the United States Poet Laureate since 2015. The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.

I loved how he transitioned by playing the harmonica. He had everyone up on their feet and participating in a fun and safe manner.

He read many of his poems to us throughout the day as well as have us read along with him or repeating after him as he read. 

He had a printed hand out which I have posted on another post. There is so much that he has taught us about writing that can be used in any content area. These methods and strategies will work in my math classroom as well as my science class. Learning is learning and absorbing information is best when we use many strategies. It is like the more you incorporate the five senses, the more you will absorb.

There are so many cultures in our community. Likewise there are so many diverse cultures in our classroom. 

There are three things that are most important according to Mr. Herrera's mother: Be kind, be respectful, and to find happiness. Live these three things and everything else is just the icing on the cake. 

Skate Fate is one of his books full of funny poems and some serious ones. The book is dedicated to a boy that was shot in an apparent hate crime. He came open about being gay. The kid continued to write and leave poems all over the place. 

Have you ever had a dueling word wall? I think if I had opposing word walls and one line of students face the one wall and the other set of students face the other wall and as the students go down the line listening and writing what they hear being said, it is a mix of both word walls. I am looking forward to trying this with my students this year.

Norms for the Mathematical Writing Class

There is no right or wrong when designing your norms. 

There are some things to consider when designing your norms.
  • Use of time - read aloud, silent, discussion of process, questions and answers
  • Whole group, pairs, trios, or flexible grouping (combination of the grouping)
  • Feedback type and the ways of giving feedback. How detailed? 
    • Quantity
      • Type
      • Style
        • Verbal
        • Written
        • Combination of verbal and written

Students that are experts can look for particular things when sharing. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Should we separate boys and girls in schools?

One of the articles we read was entitled All Split Up? by
This article was given to us as a model classroom lesson. In this lesson, we were looking for verb/verb phrases and noun/noun phrases. A different math related article could be used instead for this lesson, which is what I would do instead of this article. This article did bring a little bit of debate of classmates feeling one way or the other. It was thought provoking.

US Department of Education announced changing the regulations or rules of Title IX. That law prohibits public schools from treating boys and girls differently.

This law was put into place in 1975, single gender classes were allowed in specific cases such as physical education. Under the new rule, schools can separate students if they think it is better for the learning.

Same gender classes in public schools have become more common up to about 240 from three. 51 of those schools are completely single gender schools. According to Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education, says that some students learn better in single gender environments. Research suggests that boys and girls feel more comfortable raising their hands if they know that they won't be embarrassed in front of the opposite gender. Is is suggested that this provides less peer pressure.

NOW (National Organization for Women) is against this because it can harm the advances that women have made in the world today. Besides it doesn't prepare students for the real world.

Does separating the students by gender help in the math classroom? Is it better to have the variety of students versus eliminating part of the community? We all have something to offer.


Building a community that matters - Day two of bringing writing into the math classroom

The most valuable learning occurs in classrooms where a sense of community exists. An effective class is more than a collection of individuals spending 55 minutes in the same space at regular intervals. Learning is a social process that works best in a community setting and that through community, learning can grow. (Bickford and Wright)

Community encourages rich learning because of the interactions among many individuals, not limited to the two way exchange of ideas or information that is often the case when students fail to form a community.

A real community exists only when its members interact in a meaningful way that deepens their understanding of each other. Community requires meaningful interaction and deepened understanding, two things that can occur as a result of writing and sharing, particularly informal writing.

Robert Yagelski explains that as we wright, we become connected to that moment and other moments we may be trying to describe and indeed to all those other selves who may somehow figure into our writing, including potential readers.

Scribbles instead of journals:

Stevi Quate and John McDermott add that specific practices that contribute to community building: communities share a common purpose, participate in routines and rituals unique to the group and follow norms of behavior. It is the informal writing and the sharing of the informal writing that facilitates all of these activities.

Create a sense of purpose

My students view writing as a way to be judged and not as a way to learn and express ideas. By shifting the writing from an evaluation to a tool for learning, writing becomes a way to discover. When my students share the writing, the purpose becomes more apparent.

Inquiry rather than research:

Things like what does it mean to you? when have you used it?

When students share their response they quickly learn that they are not the only one.

If I give the students a comic strip about a particular misconception in mathematics, I can ask them to write a letter to the character in the comic strip to explain how to fix the misconception.

When students write on a daily basis, it helps to develop them as writers. Writing like any other sport is an activity that becomes better with practice.

What about having an author's chair where students can sit and share their writing?

What about a walk and write where instead of students writing at their desks, they go in groups maybe around the campus and write.

Provide a prompt to give them something to focus on. This should inspire ideas and not restrict their ideas to limited responses.

Informal writing journals can be called Scribbles. Maybe the shift in terminology will help them with their writing and and sharing.

Provide a prompt to give them something to focus on. This should inspire ideas and not restrict their ideas to limited responses.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My first memory about writing

I was very young when I was reading through my baby book. My mom had written things about my firsts: my first words, first meal and the first career choice. From a very young age, I wanted to be a writer. It is probably not surprising due to having a mother that was a writer.

I was in elementary school and kept a journal. This diary was given to me by my mother in an effort to encourage my interest in writing. At first, I really didn't know what to write. It felt awkward and forced. I didn't understand what I needed to do. Because my mother was a natural writer, she did not understand how to encourage me to write. She thought that by providing the materials to write then I would just naturally take to it.

My first writings were very crude. One word sentences, just like that of my students today. My mom could not understand that I didn't understand what to do. I began playing with words as I played with my stuffed toys and Lincoln Logs. I would put words together and take them apart. Play with how they sounded together. I didn’t know what I was doing. All I knew is that each time I played with the words, it sounded different. The meaning changed. I found this interesting.

I continued playing with words into my adulthood. I found that I could say things better on paper than I could when speaking. I was extremely shy and did not like to talk or draw attention to myself, but when I wrote, I felt more powerful and secure.

My greatest accomplishment was when I applied for a writing position with Focus on the Family. This interview process consisted of three writing pieces. The first two were very easy as I didn’t expect for it to go anywhere. The final writing piece was nerve wrecking. I got the job! Working for Focus on the Family allowed me to write about what I knew best - life with five kids. It was this success that made me finally feel like I was a writer. I continued writing and was able to publish a few things.

I need to remember how I felt as I was a child and know that my students feel the same way. If I am going to implement writing into my math lessons as I feel it is important to prepare my students for the real world, then I need to nurture this new way of thinking for them.

Bringing Writing to Mathematics

I am involved in the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project #SJVWP this summer. I am looking forward to this course and implementing writing in my mathematics classroom. I have been including some chemistry and physics in my lessons. As a former homeschool parent/educator, I have discovered that including as many subjects together made the learning and teaching more interesting and applicable to real life as well as making the lessons more understandable and memorable.

Think about the process of writing a draft of your essay. What emotions do you feel? What attitudes do you have about writing? What do you believe about writing?

There are different emotions when writing. When I really get into the grove, I feel empowered. I love to write and have always loved the experience of playing with words. A part of me goes into the work and I am able to settle thoughts and come to conclusions. My attitude is difficult to really pinpoint. I guess if I were to lean one way or the other, it would be a little bit of uncertainty and a bit of physical release. I believe that writing has the power to make us better people and document history and reading is the same: it brings history to life and educates us as well.

  • Pre 1970s - rhetoric - composition studies were not yet a field.
  • 1970 study of cognition in relation to writing yielded rich information/ideas about the writing process (Donald Murray "Teach Writing as a Process not a Product")
  • Not isolated: reading and writing work together - and writing is a tool for learning and discovery (meaning that writing can support learning in any content area)
  • The writing process is an important component of composition pedagogy - but not when it is reduced to a formula or series of steps
  • Writing process cognitive acts successful writers make (Flower and Hayes)
  • Prewriting: making an outline, analyzing free-writing material, word wall, KWL chart, think-pair share, annotate a text for re-write, research, mind maps, story boards, use of journals, quick writes, reading a story relating to writing a story.
  • Draft: address a counter argument, write an introduction, red light/green light activity: circle the beginnings of sentences of a draft in green and the ending of sentences in red. Adjust punctuation if necessary.
  • Revision: Explode the moment - take a section and expand, engage in peer responses, cut and paste/rearrange sections, direct instruction on grammar, edit draft, cut up a paragraph into sentence strips and rearrange them.
  • Publication: submit story to writing competition, read a draft in the author's chair, blog, read aloud to class, create anthology of written work, read picture book to audience.
How do we help Ss transition from the draft process to the revision part.
Free-writing is not necessarily draft.
Teaching Ss to collaborate is preparing them for the work force.

Composition Theory - The study of writing
  • Read and annotate: underline, write questions, engage with the descriptions of different approaches to writing instruction
  • In a small group discuss what you noticed, liked, had questions about
  • individually which approach do you feel reflects how you feel writing should be taught
  • what would you need to do in your instruction to reflect this approach? What could you change and/or add to your teaching?
  • What questions do you have about teaching writing?
Writing and Cognition: 
  • Writing as a process: voice to their thinking
  • Expressionism: ideas, thoughts, lives through writing
  • Writing as Decision Making: arguments, time to reflect
  • Genre Theory:analysis of genre conventions in ways that develop deep understandings of how texts are constructed.
  • Critical Literacy/Social Constructivist: specific cultural and historical contexts
Help Ss to develop a tool kit for writing

Frank Curre - Tattooed on your soul
  • On December 7, 1941, thousands were killed when the Japanese bombed the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii.
  • Frank Curre was still a teenager then. He had enlisted just the year before and ended up at Pearl Harbor aboard the U.S.S. Tennessee.
  • At StoryCorps, Frank remembered how he got from his Texas hometown to an island in the Pacific Ocean.
It was early in the morning, just before 8 am on December 7, 1941. There was the sounds of Japanese fighter planes overhead. The pains of my stomach were becoming more unbearable. I could not stand it anymore. I could no longer walk and yet for two hours I heard the bombing. It was devastating. I was devastated. I did not know if I would survive to birth this child that was obviously on its way without concern of the bombing of our naval base in Honolulu. Soon the barrage was over and my child peaked her head out of the home she has resided in this past nine months. What did I bring her into? I later found out that there were 20 American vessels, eight battle ships and more than 300 planes as well as more than 2000 Americans died.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


The word comes from the Latin language (which isn't a language we use today) which means whole. So this must indicate that an integer is a whole number. If it is a whole number, then it is not a fraction or a decimal.

A whole number is any number including zero and any number that is greater than zero and does not have any fractional part.

[ 0, 1, 2, 3, ...]

Counting numbers are just like the whole number but these numbers don't include the zero. It would be just like you are counting 1, 2, 3,  and so on.

[ 1, 2, 3, ...]

The integers are whole numbers, but they include positive and negative numbers as well as the zero.

[ ..., -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ... ]

My students have been having problems with integers. We have tried temperatures, sea level, checkbook and now the red and yellow counters to help explain the ins and outs of integers. I am looking for more ideas to help explain this concept.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Google Classroom - Setting up my class

This is my first year being able to use Google Classroom.

I was teaching Algebra 1 and 2. I was amazed at how easy it was to get started. Our school was already a Google Apps school so all I needed to do was to type in the search bar: and hit enter. Bazinga! I was there.

At the top of the page next to my school email, I saw this little plus sign and just clicked on that. It gave me an option to join a class or create a class.

Well since I was creating this class for my students I chose to create a class. My students were told to join the class and I gave them a code. This option made it very easy for my students and less work for me. I just made the code available for them. I will go into that later.

This is where I titled my class. For the first time that I was not very creative and just titled them very simply. Maybe this year coming up I will come up with something more clever (note the first screenshot-not very original). 

For the sake of this post, I created a class that I plan to use for next year. If I think of a catchy class name, it is easy enough to change. 

The top right corner underneath my email address I have the option of selecting a theme and upload a photo. It is here that I was able to personalize my classroom at least a bit. 

In the bottom left corner is the class code I mentioned that I give to my students. I wrote the code on the white board for the students. Once they signed up, the classroom was automatically when they signed in with their school email. 

This was so simple and I had a couple hundred students signed up in the amount of time that it took to read this post.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Three things we did that worked in the math classroom.

This year was a good year. I think I learned more than the students learned. There were a number of things we did right as a classroom, but I want to mention the three things that I think made the biggest difference. These are as follows:

Make the classroom a safe place to make mistakes. We would celebrate the mistakes we made in math so that students would not fear making a mistake. I would make mistakes and instead of trying to play it off, I embraced the mistake and thanked the students for noticing them. It was hard at first because I was suppose to be the teacher and teachers are not suppose to make mistakes, right? When I was cleaning out my classroom for the summer, I had a student come by the classroom and was looking around the empty room. He turned to me and told me that he liked the classroom the way it was. It was homey and relaxing and a fun place to hang out. I never felt that way about any classroom I had ever been a part of.

Another thing we did right was instead of concentrating on the correct answer, we paid attention to the process. How did they get that answer, regardless if it was right or wrong. My highest students were not use to having to explain their thinking and this step was really the most difficult for them. They would give me the answer and say something like, I just did it in my head. The students that were not use to getting the answer correct were the ones that tended to excel in this step. They could tell me everything they did to get to the answer and often I would find that they were just off due to a computational error. This was a big boost to their ego when they realized that they were on the right track and just missed the answer because of a small error. This was an easy fix.

The third thing we did right was we got rid of homework. The students were so extremely excited that we were not going to assign any homework. As the semester moved on, I found that the students were doing work at home and were asking me if they can work on this at home. Of course, I made everything available for them to work on at home as well as the classroom.

I know that there were many things teachers are doing to make a difference in their classrooms. I would love to hear ideas that makes your year a good year.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Coming to a close

This year is coming to a close and I believe that I learned more about math and teaching than I have ever learned before. I had the opportunity at lunch today to meet with some of my co-workers and we had an awesome professional development time over some amazing tacos. What amazed me was the number of students that participated in this casual professional development. We discussed how we could better reach our students and what would help to engage them to be more successful.

The seniors in my class have been processed out of school and will not be back until graduation. The underclassmen are nervous about passing the final and passing the class. Some students are content with just passing and others are anxious about not receiving 100% in the class.

I have had the pleasure of working with 250 students this year. I have some students that have challenged my patience and others that have motivated me to be a better teacher. They have been at so many different levels of proficiency and reaching them all has been an interesting journey.

I have been teaching Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 but the majority of my students have not been prepared for my class. The biggest concern is how do I fill in the holes. If they don't understand the basics before they come to high school, then they are not going to be able to understand what to do with the more difficult concepts.

So many of the students walked into class already afraid of math and thinking that is hard. My goal has been to make the math classroom a place where it is okay to make mistakes and that the mistakes are learning experiences. I love being in a classroom that is the gateway to all learning. #bestsubjectever #juli3<3smath

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Harness the power of math

I teach math. I am not really a math person. I know so many more people that are so much more advanced than me. There are three people that I can think of right now that I work with that are amazing math teachers. I really hope to learn a lot from them.

I have always wanted to be a teacher. I taught my kids at home and found myself learning so much. I believe I became addicted to learning. That is probably why I call myself the lead learner in the classroom. My students teach me so much too. I want them to know that it is okay to make a mistake. Things don't have to be perfect.

Math is one of the most beautiful subjects there is. I find it really the easiest subject because there are so many ways to come to a solution. Math has helped me to think more logically and think critically. It has helped me to save money by watching sales, comparing prices and looking at interest rates. Math has helped me to cook food for my family. There is no escaping math in the real world and since that is the case, why try to escape it. Now is the time to harness the power of math.