Saturday, December 31, 2011

How I spent my winter vacation...

I have had another amazing winter break filled with lots of fun and quality family togetherness.  I hope you all have been enjoying your break and relaxing a bit.  I know most of us cannot resist the urge to do some planning or other schoolwork over our vacation times.  I hope whatever you chose to do, the time spent was enjoyable and productive.

My winter break:
December 23rd:
My winter vacation started on Friday December 23rd.  Thank goodness that we do not teach on the 23rd and my sympathies to anyone who does.  We did have one year we taught on the 23rd and it increased the holiday prep stress level to the nth degree.  We have a tradition of opening our family of five gifts on Christmas Eve Eve.  In the past we have had dinner out at a nice restaurant, but this year we decided to make a fancy meal at home.

I spent the day doing laundry, straightening up the house, and wrapping presents.  We also had lunch at a local restaurant and then did a grocery store run.  We had a delicious dinner of pork tenderloin, cheesy bacon potatoes, green beans, and crescent rolls.  Of course no special dinner would be complete without our standard Welch's non alcoholic sparkling grape juice.

We opened our gifts and I was completely blown away by the iPad 2 my dear darling husband got me.  I was completely shocked and spoiled, as we had ordered a Silhouette Cameo and lots of goodies to go with it for my Christmas present.  Greg also got me a new case for my iPhone, some cool retro headphones, and little speaker that attaches to my iphone.  I also got the Ally Mc Beal complete DVD set.  I used to LOVE that show when it was on.  The boys and Greg all got lots of great gifts.  We had such a fun night celebrating together as we always do.
The boys posing in front of the tree

December 24th:  We spent the morning watching the movie X-Men Origins.  Greg got a Blu-Ray player from me and it was the only Blue-Ray movie we had to test out.  What an odd movie choice for Christmas Eve morning, but it actually was a good movie that I enjoyed.  The afternoon was spent finishing wrapping presents, doing more laundry, and packing ourselves up for an overnight stay at my parents' house.  We went to 5:00 PM church.  This year we celebrated with my family on Christmas Eve (we rotate every year so my SILs can spend time with their sides of the family).  After church we had a delicious ham dinner prepared by my mother.  Everything was delicious as always.  After we finished up the dishes the kids unwrapped their presents.  The boys got so many wonderful gifts.  My family is very generous to the boys.  How blessed we are to be able to celebrate Christmas with them every year.  After they finished opening gifts the boys watched the Christmas Story in the family room and the adults opened gifts in the living room.  I got a new VS soft pink robe from my parents.  It is heavenly!  I got all my Lang Calendars (for school and home).  So happy to have my school desk pad again, as my mom was not able to find it last year.  I also got a J Crew GC, Regis Philbin's book, Il Bacio perfume, Tarte eyelash curler and some other goodies.

December 25th:  The boys were so excited to see what Santa brought them.  He was generous to all of us as always.  Lunch was prime rib, with loaded baked potatoes, and salad bar.  Yum!  We spent a lazy day of lounging and playing with all our new toys/gifts.  We ended up heading home after dinner.  The boys were happy to be back home so they could play with all their new toys.

Can you believe this is the most snow we have had this year?  We live in WI!  This photo was taken a week before Christmas.

Greg quick ran outside to capture the closest we would get to a white Christmas this year!

December 26th:  Greg had the day off and we spent an enjoyable day at home together.  Drew was busy building his new Millenium Falcon lego set.  I helped him by sorting out the lego pieces by color.  I also played Star Wars Operation with Cooper.  I think I missed my calling, and should have been a surgeon.  :)  I spent the rest of the day reading my new book and trying to get through my Google Reader.  We went out for dinner at one of our favorite local mexican restaurants.

December 27th:  I had to head back to my hometown for a dental appt in the morning.  I ended up meeting Greg and the boys at BD Mongolian's for lunch.  After lunch I went to JCrew and picked up a couple new adorable headbands.  I am addicted to JCrew's headbands.  Greg did some shopping at Sur La Table (I got him a GC) and then we all did a quick run through Trader Joe's.  It was a nice day spent together as a family!

December 28th:  After spending the morning lounging in my PJs (and putting together a Vista Print order that took forever!) we finally headed to Barnes and Noble after brunch (which consisted of the boys eating their BD's leftovers around 10:30 AM).  All the boys got GCs from my parents for B&N.  We spent a few glorious hours there looking through books and getting Starbucks peppermint mocha and peppermint hot chocolate, along with splitting a brownie and the most amazingly yummy sugar cookie.  We ended up meeting Greg for an early (for us) dinner at Baker's Square across the street.  That night I finished up my Vista Print order that I had been working on ALL DAY!  I had some trouble because I did not realize you were limited to 10 free items, so I kept putting more free items in and the something previously free showed up at full price on my order.  After called customer service I got things figured out.  I am so excited for my order to get here and I got a ridiculous amount of goodies for $42.  I will do a separate post once my order comes in next week.  I had it sent directly to school because everything is for school.

December 29th:  I spent most of the day lounging around in my PJs (I'm not sure I would ever get dressed out of my jammies if I did not have a job, for reals;) ), doing some research on CCSS in math, catching up on blogs, and checking out pinterest for new recipes/ideas.  I spent the afternoon/evening watching Grey's Anatomy Season 1 on Netflix through Greg's new Blu Ray.  Amazing is all I have to say!  I still watch Grey's, but miss the original cast.  It was the perfect day spent at home lounging.

December 30th:  Another annoying rainy day here in WI.  Where is our snow darn it?  We went out to lunch at A J Bombers.  Greg has been wanting to go there for quite some time to try their burger with peanut butter on it.  The restaurant won Travel Channel's Food War.  It was such a fun restaurant.  Peanuts are transported via the ceiling and then dumped down a chute at the booth.  We were lucky enough to sit in a booth where this happens.  They boys thought it was so cool!  It was just a super fun restaurant with really good burger very reasonably priced.  We will definitely return.
See where the peanuts drop down into the bowl from the ceiling

So much fun for kids!
Last night Greg rented some DVDs from Blockbuster.  We watched Red Dawn with the boys.  I LOVED that movie back in the day!  Can't wait for the remake coming next year.  We squeezed in a delicious grilled salmon dinner with green beans and salad between our movie night.  We are so lucky that Greg is an amazing grillmaster!  We also watched Transformers 3 (can't believe I enjoyed it).  Then after the boys went to bed Greg and I watched Bridesmaids.  I wasn't expecting it to be serious.  It was funny and a good movie.

December 31st:  This morning I made Cream cheese sausage balls.  They were really good, but you have to flip them around or the bottoms get too crunchy.  Tonight we are going to a NYE party at our neighbors.  It will be a blast I am sure.  We live in an amazing neighborhood with tons of kids that play together and parents who have a great time hanging out.  I am really looking for a kid free night out!

January1st:  Tomorrow I plan on spending the morning in my classroom doing some organizing.  I got all caught up on grading and lesson planning before leaving for break, but I would love a few hours alone in classroom to get caught up on other things.  I am sure you can all relate!  We are having my parents over for an early afternoon turkey dinner with all the trimmings!  I just love a good turkey dinner.   The rest of the day will be spent watching the Packers and undecorating anything Christmas.  I do a lot of more winter type decor so it stays up through winter.

January 2nd:  A bonus day off.  Holla!  It will most likely be getting the house in order for my return to work on Tuesday.  Greg took the day off.  YAY!  Maybe one last lunch out as a family.    Then of course we will be watching the Badgers play in the Rose Bowl.  What a great way to end a fun family  filled winter break.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 in "11 Linky Party

11. Favorite movie you watched:
I am not much of a movie watcher, but now that we have a Blue Ray and Netflix that may change.  I would have to say that my favorite thing to do around Christmas is watch all the cheesy made for TV movies.  My must see list grows every year as I try to keep up as my DVR teeters around 100% for the month of December.  I have some faves that I must see every year (and the list is long).  My two favorite new to me movies this year were the following two movies:

10. Favorite TV series:
I have so many favorite TV series.  I absolutely love the show "The Middle" and can't tell you how many times I feel like my family is like that family (my two youngest walk around the house in boxers all the time).  Modern Family is equally funny.  I also love the RH of NY, NJ, and BH.  I cannot take Atlanta anymore and I have never watched OC for some reason.  I am a scripted reality TV show junkie.  I love Bethany, Rachel Zoe, Guiliana and Bill, and Tori and Dean.  I am excited for the new show with Rachel' former assistant Brad.  We will see if he is as funny and cute all by himself.  I do have some standards though, because I refuse to watch the lame Kardashians.  
9. Favorite restaurant:
My favorite restaurant is Bacchus in downtown Milwaukee.  The food is divine as is the atmosphere.  Our must have menu items are:  Sea Scallop – mushrooms, Sarvecchio parmesan, truffle vinaigrette.  Spinach – maple-glazed pork belly, mustard vinaigrette, poached egg.   Filet Mignon – bourbon peppercorn cream, sauteed mushrooms, potato mousseline.  “Cookies and Cream” – chocolate chip cookie bars with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

8. Favorite new thing you tried:  I guess that would be one of my new MAC Iced Delights Eye Bag/Silver.  Before winter break I did my eyes with this kit one morning and I had a boy notice that my eyes looked different (in the middle of math class).  Then at the end of the day he came to me for some math help.  Completely out of the blue he told me I "looked pretty today".  I guess he was really digging the smokey eyes.  :)

7. Favorite gift you got:  My sweet darling husband got me an iPad 2 for Christmas.  I was completely surprised by this, as I had already gotten myself a Cameo Silhouette and some other goodies for the Cameo as part of my present.  

6. Favorite thing you pinned:  I would have to say the BLT bites  appetizer.  I made them for Cooper and Drew's family birthday parties, Friday treat day at school, and for a Champagne Christmas cookie exchange party.  They are so easy, but definitely putzy to put together.  Who does not love bacon?  They are a hit whenever I make them.  
My BLT bites appetizer

5. Favorite blog post:  I guess my favorite blog post would be my Classroom photos Part I.  I love being able to look back on my classroom before school started and see how organized everything is.  That level of organization does not last too long!  I see that I never did a Classroom photos Part II post.  I have a teacher workday at the end of January so maybe I will have time to get the whole area behind my desk organized (it has been neglected due to my crazy busyness).

4. Best accomplishment:  I would say that attending the NCSM 2011 conference in Indianapolis was quite exciting.  I spent three days attending amazing sessions presented by key national leaders in mathematics education.  I have to say that I was soooo disappointed that it was being held in Indianapolis (exciting city that it is), but the Downtown Marriott where I stayed and the convention center were gorgeous. 

3. Favorite picture:  This is not the best quality photo because it was taken with my iPhone by my SIL on Christmas Eve, but I love it because it is the most recent photo of our family of five.

2. Favorite memory:  My favorite memory is our summer vacation to Green Bay and then Door County.  The day we were supposed to leave none of us wanted to go (and our resort was booked) so we made reservations at another resort and stayed an extra day.  We just did not want to leave our happy place AKA Door County!
The boys striking a pose

No trip to DC would be complete without at least two visits to Double Delights for gelato.

1. Goal for 2012:  My goal for 2012 is to spend more quality time with my boys and husband.  I am so busy with school and all the committees I am on, there are some weeks where I have after school meetings four nights in a row.  I need to find balance between work and home.  I absolutely love my job and the many leadership roles I hold, but I feel like my boys are being shortchanged in the process.  They are growing up so fast and I don't want to fill like I missed out on what is really important.  My professional goal is to move forward with the big changes coming out of our math review and the CCSS in math. Big changes are ahead and it is an exciting time, but I need to keep the balance I previously talked about.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Deck the Halls With Coordinate Graphing!

Long time no blog.  I don't know how you teachers who blog regularly do it.  I admire you greatly, but I just cannot find the time to blog everyday, or every week it seems.  I promise I will TRY to be a more consistent blogger!

I have been doing lots of great things in my math classes and have many new things to share with all of you, so stay tuned for some upcoming posts from me that will share ideas and strategies that you can easily adapt and implement in your own classroom.

Today I am sharing the bulletin board I just finished putting up today.  Our 7th grade blue house has a bulletin board at the entrance to the 7th grade pod.  Each quarter I like to offer at least one extra credit opportunity for students.  This saves me from students constantly asking for extra credit or begging for it the last week of the quarter.  My mantra is, if you want extra credit you better do it when I offer it.

For second quarter the extra credit option is to do a coordinate graphing picture of either a tree or a fireplace.  In addition there is a decorating contest for anyone who wants to win a free assignment pass.  The students who want to be in the contest color there pictures and bling them out however they choose. The students who want the extra credit, but don't want to be in the contest, just do the coordinate graphing (the kids who do the contest also get the extra credit).

Today I had teachers choose their top four pictures for the tree and the fireplace.  I put a post-it note on each picture and they made a tally mark on the post it of each of their top four pictures for tree and fireplace.  I also had some Peppermint Joe-Joe's as a treat for all teachers that helped judge.  It is always nice to provide a treat to teachers when they help you out with something like this.  That way the next time you ask for volunteers you will have no shortage of willing help.

The full effect

Left side close up

Right side close up

A close up of a tree

Close up of a fireplace

Hope this puts you in the Christmas spirit!  Fa-la-la-la-la

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's Personal-My Real Life in FB Updates

Things have been super busy for me, basically since school began for me back in Aug.  I have three boys in 7th, 4th and K that all played football this fall.  That meant six practices per week and three games every Saturday.  We were blessed with gorgeous weather this fall in WI so other than one rainy Saturday, we have beautiful brisk sunny fall days.  Football did eat up most of our day on Saturdays and with birthday celebrations for Cooper in Sept and Drew in Oct, our weekends were jam packed and not at all relaxing.  This past week was the first week since early last Spring when BB began, that we did not have a single sports practice nor a game.  It was heaven!

We were not able to squeeze in a trip to my "Happy Place" this fall, AKA Door County, WI.  The boys all had football on Halloween weekend when we normally go up to DC and then the first week in November is my annual Chicago shopping trip.  We had tentative plans to go up there this weekend, but I told all the guys that if the house did not get clean, then we were not going to go.  Well Wed night they all finally decided to bust a move and clean up, but I told them it was too little too late.  I was sad to not be able to go up to DC this weekend, but Greg and the older boys will be hunting this month and not way am I being left behind with a disaster of a house.  Hopefully we can find a weekend before the end of the year to go up there and visit.  We have been to DB in Spring, Summer, and Fall so it will be very different going up there in Winter.

I continue to spin my wheels at school with all the committee work I do in the district and at my school.  We also had a lot of time eaten up in team planning lately with discussing PT conferences, changing our Core Plus groups for quarter two, and planning our quarter one incentive party.  In addition to that there are parent meetings, IEPs, and then general day to day business.  We do team planning for our teaching teams on M, W, and alternate Fridays and for our content areas on T, Th, and alternate Fridays.  Our content days have been busy with modifying quizzes and tests and sharing teaching ideas.  The other two 7th grade math teachers got SMARTBoards this year (I have had one for a few years) so we also share tips with each other.  We had our state testing this past week so we also had been busy planning some reviews for that.

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately (like probably all of you, it comes with the territory) with everything I have to do at school and everything I want to do.  The haves take up so much time (and aren't always the best use of my time IMO) that the wants get pushed aside day after day.  We used to have the Thursday of teacher convention week to either attend convention or to spend the day working in our rooms.  I always used that Thursday as my "catch up" day, where I finally had a chance to organize the piles of papers that seem to have multiplied around my room like rabbits.  Well this year there was no convention so our district used that an a professional development day.  Part of the day was useful and part was not as much, but nothing I did that day was more helpful than having a day to get caught up in my classroom.  So here I sit struggling to get control of it all. I am sure you fellow teachers can relate!

Here is a quick update of my "real life" via FB updates.  I hope you all have an awesome week!

Right now I feel like returning all the clothes I bought today at Gap Kids and Land's End and using the money to buy myself a one way ticket to Appreciationville with neighboring cities of Personalresponsibility and Ididitwithoutbeingasked.

It's an early Christmas miracle. I finally found a restaurant that serves fried ice cream. It wasn't as good as Chi Chi's, but for a moment I was transported back to the mid nineties!

So how long should I let Drew sweat it out? I found his retainer on the floor a bit ago <GRRRR> and put it somewhere safe. He is now tearing the house apart and when I asked him what he is looking for, he told me a catalogue. Ahhh another teachable moment in our house! 
Cooper is so excited to go out for his special birthday dinner with Nana and Papa. He said he is having shrimp franchese at Cheesecake Factory. He is taking Watermelon (the reindeer) with him.
I have just entered the 7th circle of hell AKA Walmart.

I believe I deserve some sort of teaching award for teaching one=step equations yesterday on a full moon day!

Me: you are not wearing shorts Ben, it's 28 degrees outside. Ben: Oh my gosh, grumble grumble grumble. Happy Thursday! : P
FSOT: One smart, sullen and argumentative tween, loves football and chocolate, doesn't love practicing his instrument nor reading when I tell him to. One adorable and formerly sweet kindergartener, loves playing mind games with me and appealing to my missing guilt gene, doesn't love me telling him I am disappointed in his choices. For the moment I am keeping the nine year old. He is being kept on an even keel by the strep virus currently inhabiting his body and I spent so darn much money on braces, I want a return on my investment.

Check out those straight teeth. No more Billy Bob from the backwoods teeth. Phase one of braces are done. Let's take bets on how soon he loses the retainer. :)

In and out of Target in less than five minutes with a purchase. That's a personal best!

Good thing I didn't buy much yesterday in Chicago because I just bought new winter coats from Land's End for Ben and Drew. For the first time ever they are wearing the same size coat so no hand me down for Drew this winter.

It's a gorgeous day for shopping in Chicago 
Nothing like a dead vehicle to start my morning.

Cooper's last flag football game played at the HS. He scored two touchdowns, one running and one catching.
 OMG I just told Cooper he is NOT allowed to hand out TOT candy in his boxer briefs. Not sure the world is ready for prime time Cooper. LOL

Poor TOTers. What miserable weather. :(

I brought home some paper protractors and rulers to hand out for TOT if any of my students show up. Buwahaha they thought I was kidding when I told them Wed that's what I would give them if they show up. :)

Our last three football game Saturday. HOLLA! Brrr it seems chilly.

The thought of seven hours of meetings today makes me want to crawl back into bed.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Greg is helping Ben with his math homework.

Cooper is sick :( Looks like I'll be home snuggling instead of teaching equations and subtraction of integers.

Ben and I are watching the Rugby World Cup and trying to figure out what the rules and objectives are. Strange game!

So proud of my three boys. Had wonderful PT conferences with all their teachers. My bucket is full and we have succeeded in hiding their dark sides from the school district. :)

Friday treat day preview. My family is not happy that these are going to school.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Belated Halloween Decor Photos

I never got around to posting a few photos of some touches I added to my classroom for Halloween.  I keep things simple, but the kids really enjoy the little touches.

We gave our students Caramel Apple suckers on Halloween.  I made sure to buy them early this year because in past years it has been difficult to find them.  Target had plenty when I bought them as soon as Halloween candy came out.  We passed them out at the beginning of IRT (silent reading).  The kids were very appreciative.
Cute bucket from Target's dollar spot.  

I change the border on my window ledge every month or two.  It was time for some pumpkins.
My little pumpkin patch.

I also added some fun pumpkin lights to the wall space above my vertical files and a cute sign.  
The pumpkin lights are from my Secret Spook MANY MANY years ago.  I  inherited the adorable Boo sign from a dear friend when she retired.  I miss seeing her adorable classroom all decorated!

If you did something fun in your classroom for Halloween I would love to see it.  Leave a link to your blog post in the comments section and I promise to stop by and visit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Computer Table Organization

Sharing some photos of my computer table organization.  When I am sitting at my desk my computer table is on my right.  I have to plug my MacBook in every morning to all these cords.  There is a white power cord, a grey cord to the network,  and the white dongle is for the projector, I also have to plug that small black cord in for sound.  There is really no easy way to organize these cords.  I tried to use binder clips on the edge of the table, but my table was too wide for that to work.

All these cords for my computer to hook up to my projector and SMARTBoard
This is a view of the whole table with computer, files, and teacher resource materials.

My organized computer table
The top file holds corrected papers that have been entered into Powerschool (our computer grading program).  The next file below holds empty sheet protectors.  I like to put everything into sheet protectors because like my copies to have no holes punched in them.  Whenever I print something I put it into a sheet protector right away so I know it's a copy master.  The next level holds items that need to be put away into module binders (that's why they are all in sheet protectors), and the bottom holds extra copies of any binder handouts students receive.
File Holders
This organizer holds file folders I need to access regularly.  I keep my phone extension list in the front so I always see it (I turned it around for the photo).  I keep catalogues on the bottom and above that I keep copies of things I have printed off the computer that have not yet been filed or placed in the appropriate binder.
More files
Here is my teacher resource/binder organization.  I only keep the things I am currently using here.  Everything else is on my teacher resource bookshelf.  On the left are my two favorite problem solving books by Ed Zacarro.  I keep a copy of my lesson plan book from last year (it's not in the photo because I was using it) as a resource for planning and pacing.  I also keep the books that I am reading during IRT.  I keep other teacher resource books that go with the current module we are on.
Resource books and Module Binders
My post-it notes and my Lilly Pulitzer notebooks that I carry with me at all times to any meetings I go to.  
Love my Lilly Notebooks and Stickies
A close up of the darling Lilly stickies.  I usually carry these with me too because they are in a nice protected case.
Lilly Stickies
Post-it heaven.  The post-it colors match the color scheme of my classroom.  I am so crazy for color coordination.  :)
I hope you have enjoyed seeing my computer desk organization.  I will have an upcoming post with photos of my teacher desk organization.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Round Robin One-Step Equations

I taught one-step equations to my Accelerated Math class yesterday.  Actually my sub taught it on Monday using my SMARTboard notes.  When I returned yesterday the students complained that the sub did not explain anything, but just posted the notes for them.  I realized that I needed to go back over the notes explaining the importance of the "process" we use when solving simple one-step equations.

Here is and example of my SMARTBoard notes on the steps to solving an equation.  I give more notes and lots of examples, but this is a picture of the slide that shows step by step what to do.  This is actually a page recording, but you get the idea.
After clarifying the notes on this topic I felt that the students needed to do some practice on this in their groups.  I like this activity because all students must participate and even though each student does his/her part individually, they have the knowledge and support of the rest of the group if they get confused or make a mistake.

The way the Round Robin strategy works is that each person has to have a different color writing utensil.  Kids enjoy this because it is usually pencil ONLY in my math class.  Once the kids have each picked out a different color and cleared off their desks I pass out one paper to each group.  The students solve the problem step by step, passing the paper around the table.  Each students completes only his/her step and then passes the paper on to the next person.  The whole group is responsible for making sure each step is correct before the paper gets passed on.  If someone notices an error they need to explain the error to the writer and have the writer fix it before passing it on.  This strategy works best for a multi-step problem like solving equations.  It also is a visual representation of the step by step process.

This group was all boys.  Look how neat those equations are!

Love the pink and green. :)

While the students are working in their table groups on the activity I am circulating around the room and checking their papers.  If I notice an error I point to it and ask the group to figure out what is wrong.  The rule for the round robin is that each person is allowed to only write with their color ink.  Each person does one step of the equation and then passes it to the next person.  The only deviation I did from the set up of my notes is that when checking work (which is a two-step process) I have two different people do that.

A more close up view

It is important to note that once an equation is solved and a new one is started a different person must start the new equation.  That way students do not keep solving the same step over and over.  Notice how Each step is a different color on the worksheet.  That shows how students are solving a different part of the equation on each turn.

A completed equation

Another group's work

The students felt much more confident in solving their equations after completing this group activity. It helped students to catch some of the more common errors that are made when solving their equations.  We are building a strong foundation for solving equations by focusing on practicing the process of how to solve these.  Today in class the students will be completing their graded assignment to show mastery learning.  I will do a follow up post on that.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lesson Planning

I still write out my lesson plans the good old fashioned way, in my lesson plan book.  I like to do this because it serves as a pacing record for me, from year to year.  Nothing in my lesson plan book is ever etched in stone.  I will spend an extra day reviewing if need be, or if students have mastered a concept and I planned a day of review I will skip that.  I always find it is better to have too much prepared, than not enough.  If you have an extra 5-10 minutes at the end of class where everyone is finished with homework, I like to use that time for an educational game or to wrap up the learning concept for the day.

My lesson plans for this week.  YAY for having Friday off!  Thursday is an inservice day full of meetings.  :(
Accelerated Math Plans

Close Up

Regular Math Lesson Plans

Close Up

This is just a quick peek into what my lesson plan book looks like and how I structure my math lessons.  I hope you are all having a nice weekend.  We have had a gorgeous fall weekend here in WI.  I spent yesterday watching three football games in the morning, had the best burger for lunch at a new local restaurant,  spent way too much money at Sam's Club as always, and then took a several hour nap.  The nap was pure bliss!  Last night I caught up on my DVRd episodes of Revenge after dinner.

Today I ended up skipping church so I could go into school and work in my classroom.  I did not accomplish everything I hoped to, but that always seems to be the case for me.  I am teaching One-step equations to my accelerated students this week and subtracting integers with my regular students.  We only have three days with students and then Thursday is a full day of teacher inservice.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's personal-Cooper's curls

This is my baby whom I love with all my heart and soul.  He turned six on September 9th and is in full day kindergarten.  This boy was born practically bald, and then after age one started to grow the most gorgeous curly hair.  We are talking ringlet curls. 

Cooper's first haircut ever.  I scanned a wallet so sorry for the quality and spots on the photo.
As the years have gone by so have Cooper's curls.  It makes me sad sometimes I could just cry!
Four years later and all the curls are gone. I think I captured the this photo mid wink.  
Good thing he is beyond adorable with or without curls.  What would I do without boy #3.  I cannot even imagine.  :_

Human Coordinate Graphing

Yesterday I introduced coordinate graphing to my regular math classes.  They learn coordinate graphing in sixth grade, so they come to 7th with a pretty good grasp of the concept.  There are some students, however, that struggle with remember which is the x or y coordinate, and sometimes forget whether to go up or down or right or left for + and -.

I am very fortunate that my classroom is right next to an exit door that is used for fire drills.  I am able to take my class outside at a moment's notice to do things like walk through the steps of human coordinate graphing.

For the x coordinate students walk right for positive and left for negative.  For the y coordinate they move forward (up) for positive and backward (down) for negative.  The whole class moves together and counts aloud as they move.  I make sure we throw in some zero coordinates so they realize that zero means they do not move.  

By sixth hour (my last class) the students were a little more wound up so I actually allowed some of the boys to leapfrog their coordinates.  They loved that!

I really feel this hands feet on activity helps struggling students to get a better grasp of this concept.  All the kids love going outside and moving around while doing math.  I always tell my students that my math class  is not a spectator sport, but full contact learning.  :)