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.