Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tag I'm It!

I was tagged by the five awesome bloggers below.  I'm sorry it took me so long to get this posted.  It took some time to answer all the questions.  

1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

12 fun facts about myself:

1.  I know God has a sense of humor because I have three brothers and now I have three sons.  It's a boys world for me.  Let's just say if I ever am blessed with a granddaughter she will be spoiled!  :)

2.  I studied in Valladolid, Spain my sophomore year of college and ended up traveling all over Europe.

3.  I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl.  I used to play school all the time.  I wanted to teach either K or 3rd grade.  I teach 7th grade math (not sure how that happened!) and love it despite the fact that I have a double major in Eled and Spanish.

4.  My happy place is Door County, WI.  We have vacationed there too many times to count.  I have been there every season except for winter.

5.  I have beautiful penmanship.  In our college language arts methods class we had to turn in handwriting samples for a grade and I did them for my roommates.

6.  My favorite grades of school were 3rd, 7th, and sophomore year.

7.  I don't drink soda very often.  I mostly drink water.  I love milk, but found out last year that I have a dairy sensitivity.  I love unsweetened iced tea and always drink that when we go out to eat.  If I have soda I prefer diet orange.  I will drink diet coke in a bind, but hate diet pepsi.  I would rather drink water than diet pepsi.

8.  My favorite color is pink.  My classroom color scheme is pink, lime, and teal.  The kids love my classroom decor.

9.  I just got the new iPhone 4s because my son got my iPhone 4 for his birthday.  I just know Siri and I will be bffs.

10.  Growing up I loved social studies and language arts classes.  I never like science and I was always in the accelerated math class, but never really liked math.

11.  I am an early riser since having kids.  Most days I wake up before my alarm (which is set for 5 AM).

12.  When I first started teaching my goal was to get experience for a few years and then teach abroad.  I remember having a conversation with another teacher my first year and I made the comment, "My worst fear is that I will be stuck in this district forever".  Now honestly I teach in an awesome district that people would love to teach in, so I am hardly "stuck", but back then my goal was to continue traveling the world.  I ended up moving to my city, we built a house here, and my kids attend school in my wonderful district.  If I had told my 23 yo self this is how things would end up, she never would have believed me in a million years.

Heather at Loose Shoelaces asked the following?
  1. What has been the most memorable lesson you have taught? When I taught 6th grade we used to do a huge interdisciplinary unit on Ancient Egypt.  It was so awesome and fun, we even had an open house for parents to come and see all the cool projects the kids did.
  2. What's a scent that triggers a memory for you?  Estee Lauder's Beautiful reminds me of college because I used to wear it.
  3. What's your favorite movie?  I am not much of a movie watcher, I watch tons of TV shows.  I love Sweet Home Alabama and the Family Stone.
  4. What's do you usually bring for lunch to school?  I often bring TJ's Roasted Red Pepper Tomato soup.  I will eat leftovers or a salad most days.
  5. Do you prefer student led conferences or traditional parent teacher conferences?  We do traditional because I do one PT conference and speak for all the other academic teachers.
  6. Do you drink Starbucks? What's your usual order? Cold weather-peppermint soy mocha, warm weather-unsweetended passion iced tea lemonade.
  7. What's your cell phone ring tone?  Marimab, I am boring like that.
  8. How often do you check your blogs that you follow?  Weekly for sure, I try to check some daily, but some days I am way too busy.  Once I get busy my google reader gets over 1000 and then I feel overwhelmed.
  9. What's your favorite recipe you like to bring to parties?  BLT bites
  10. What's a TV show that you loved growing up?  The Love Boat
  11. Target or Walmart? Without a doubt Target.  I liken Walmart to the 7th circle of hell!
  12. How many students do you have in your class? 27-29 this year.  Last year we had a breather after two years of the highest class sizes we ever had.  This year we are back up again!

1.  if you weren't a teacher, what would you be?  SAHM with lots of side businesses.  I feel I have so many untapped talents, but no time to tap them!
2. if you could travel anywhere where would you go?  I would go back to Europe.  I am not sure I fully appreciated my world travels as a 19 yo, plus I have more money now and could travel in much better style!
3. if your students could see you as a student would they believe it was you?  (my kids see me a super nerd, goody goody which might shock them to know i wasn't such a goody goody.)  I think they would.  I always enjoyed school, but they are surprised when I tell them that math was definitely NOT my favorite subject.
4. you get to invite a guest speaker to your class who would it be?  Kelly Ripa, only because I'm selfish like that and would want to spend the day with her.  I always think it would be fun for Kelly and I to trade places for a day.  Did you hear that Kelly?  Call me!
5. what are your three must have items for the school day?  SMARTBoard, Flair pens and a good pencil, my iPhone (I use it as a timer)
6. snooze button or jump out of bed? depends on the day
7. glass half empty or glass half full kind of person?  depends on the glass!
8.  do you have any secret talents?  I have many secret talents that I do not have enough time to nurture.

9.  what talent do you wish you had?  I wish I had a beautiful singing voice
10.  if you were a superhero what would your superpower be?  to read minds
11. what television show do you wish had NEVER been created?  I wish there was no Cartoon Network because my boys watch all the dumb shows on it (throw in the Disney network while you're at it)
12.  how do you deal with the stress of a long day?  I veg out and watch TV shows I have DVRd

1. Favorite Color?  Pink 
2. Favorite School Subject?  Math
3. Favorite Classroom Management Technique?  Tone.   I always tell the kids I do not need volume, because I have tone.  It is so funny because they never claim I "yell at them" they say that I "tone them"  like it's a verb.  LOL
4. Favorite School Lesson?  
5.  Least favorite school "chore"  Making seating charts
6.  Apple or Android  Apple all the way
7.  Money not being an object... Dream Car?  Some sort of luxury SUV
8.  Favorite restaurant to eat a fancy dinner at?  Bacchus

1) What is your favorite new thing you have incorporated into your class this year?  I am still in the process of implementing learning stations, but haven't done it enough for it to be my favorite at this point so I would say that I love (and the kids love) my little reading nook with comfy chairs and pillows

2) If you could be any musical artist who would you be?  I would be Carrie Underwood because I would like to rock her body and voice

3) What is your favorite store to buy teaching clothes?  I have a few boutiques in Door County that I love to shop at because no one else will be wearing what I am!

4) Favorite vacation spot?    Door County, WI 

5) What is another job you have had besides teaching?  Restaurant hostess

6) Trip to the beach or to the mountains? Beach

7) What is your favorite website?  Pinterest

8) What is your favorite book?  Hmmm not sure

9) Do you prefer to see movies in the movie theater or wait to watch them at home? at home

10) Do you have a favorite time of year?  Fall

11) What is one of your guilty pleasures?  chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate 

12) Where do you want to be in 3 years?  Well in three years I will be the mother of a *GASP* 16 yo, 13 yo, and 9 yo, so I guess I just want to be sane!

1. How long have you been teaching?  21 years
2. What is your favorite grade to teach? 6th or 7th
3. Favorite quote?  Pick up the shattered pieces of your life and move on
4. What's on your playlist?  Believe it or not, I really only listen to music on the radio when I am driving.   I love rap and hip hop even though I know the lyrics are often inappropriate
5. Favorite clothing store?  On Deck (has three stores in Door County)
6. Shoes...cute, comfort, or both?  Both
7. Mountains or beach?  beach
8. Coffee or tea? tea
9. How do you spend the summer vacation? Driving my boys here there and everywhere, at the pool, at the baseball fields, on the computer researching and planning my next school year.
10. Most recent addiction?  Grey's Anatomy early seasons on Netlix
11. Does your classroom have a theme?  I don't have a theme, but my color scheme is pink, lime, and teal
12. What's your favorite technology item in your classroom? SMARTBoard

12 questions:
1)  If you had a celebrity bff who would it be?
2)  Who was your favorite teacher when you were a student, and why?
3)  What is your biggest pet peeve?
4)  What is the current state of education in the city or state where you live
5)  What are you most proud of?
6)  At what age did you decide to become a teacher?
7)  Who do you consider your teaching mentor?
8)  What is your favorite part of your job?
9)  What is your perfect day off of school?
10)  What is the one thing you think they should warn education students about?
11)  Where is your happy place?
12)  What would your theme song be?

I am tagging the following bloggers:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Currently February

I am joining Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her currently linky party.  Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Homework Linky Party

Today I am joining the linky party hosted by Jenaya over at The Lesson Plan Diva.  As a 7th grade math teacher I give an assignment nearly every day.  Our textbook divides each Module (which is a chapter) into approx. five sections that each have one to three explorations.  I typically give a textbook assignment after each exploration and then at the end of the section there is a practice and review worksheet that covers the concepts that are assessed on the section quiz.  
I copied and pasted (in blue) the section from my parent handbook page regarding my homework policy, as well as, how grades are determined.  Our 7-12 math dept all worked together to decide on grade percentages so they were consistent for all teacher per grade level or math class (at HS level).  Our district is actually doing a K-12 review over the next year to look at standards based grading and revamping our report cards so big changes could be on the horizon.
Homework assignments:

Daily assignments are worth 2 points. Students will receive a completion grade. If the assignment is complete with all necessary work shown the student will receive a grade of 2. Things that will cause point deductions include, but are not limited to: not showing work, incomplete homework, not labeling answers, and not following directions. HOMEWORK MUST BE DONE IN PENCIL TO RECEIVE A GRADE. 

In the event of an absence it is the student’s responsibility to turn in any missing work and also to find out the assignment given out that day. There will be a file kept in the classroom with all absent work. It is the student’s responsibility to check the absent work file for his/her class hour and collect the absent work. 

If a student misses class due to a school sponsored activity s/he is required to hand in that day’s assignment PRIOR to the activity. The assignment given on the day of the absence should be turned in the next day as if the student had been in class.

Grades will be weighted this year in all 7th grade math classes based on the following percentages: 

Tests 45%
Quizzes 35%
Assignments 15%
In Class Work 5% 
I teach at a 7/8 middle school.  The only reason we don't have 6th grade at our school is because we have absolutely no room in our building.  Our 6th graders are spread out at our five elementary schools, but follow a middle school model where each teacher teaches one content area.
At my middle school they instituted something called "working lunch" last school year.  Every student is required to complete ALL assignments.  If a student does not have homework completed they are issued a working lunch for that day or the next day if the missing assignment is in a class after lunch.  Students are then required to finished the assignment during working lunch (they cut the lunch line to get their food first) and then go to the library and have a "working lunch".  If students do not finish the assignment they are then scheduled to stay after school that day and finish.
You would think with having this working lunch in place the kids would get all their homework done, but unfortunately that is not the case.  We have some flexibility in how we use working lunch with our students.  I teach math hours 1 and 2.  There is rarely any missing homework in hour 1 because it is accelerated math. There is missing work in 2nd hour on almost a daily basis.  Students can either come during Core Plus (which is hour 4) or Home Base (which is the last 25 min of the day).  If they finish it before the end of HB they do not get a working lunch the next day.  The kids during my 5th and 6th hour class can also come during HB and get it checked in to avoid a working lunch the next day.
If a student does not finish the assignment before the end of HB, I fill out a half sheet working lunch form with information about the assignment.  I give the student a red working lunch ticket which allows the student to skip to the front of the lunch line and also to leave the cafeteria and go to the library.
Homework completion has been a huge issue with the group of 7th graders we have this year.  It is not a problem is just my house, but all three houses.  We have spent lots of time analyzing the reasons students are not completing homework.  We have been trying out different strategies to improve homework completion and have really spent quite a bit of time thoughtfully considering what and how much homework we give.
I think our school has a lot of great things in place to assure that students are held accountable for completing homework.  We still have not found the magic bullet because it simply does not exist, but we are trying to do what we can 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Goal Setting

I cannot believe it is already February 1st.  This school year is definitely flying by.I would like to thank the ladies that took the time to offer me some advice and tips about opening a teacher store online.  That will definitely be on my to do list for February!

Speaking of my to do list, I have put together my February School TO DO list.  I find that when I set goals and then make to do lists, I am far more productive with my time.  Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday at school.  Today is my last day without a TEENAGER in my house for the next several years.  My husband joked to my son this morning that he (my hubs) and I should go out to dinner tonight to celebrate our last night of freedom from teenagerdom!  I cannot believe that my beautiful bouncing baby boy will be 13 tomorrow.  Time does indeed fly.  Without further ado:

Month of February School TO DO List:

To Do:                                                              
1)  Assemble teacher binders by CC topics
2)  Choose and complete THREE Pinterest inspired pojects        
3)  Read differentiation books and try TWO new to me methods
4)  Plan Core Plus Activities-Enrichment/Intervention
5)  2011/2012 Budget-turn in receipts

To Lesson Plan:
1)  Ratio/Proportional Relationships
2)  Rational Numbers-evaluating expressions
3)  CMP Wrapping and Filling

To Organize:
1)  Space and shelves behind teacher desk
2)  Organized papers in crates
3)  Declutter five boxes        
4)  Learning Stations materials
5)  Module Binders

To Create:
1) Teacher store materials post TWO units for purchase-possible units: Integers, Fractions, Decimals, Ratio &Proportional Relationships, Geometry, Probability & Statistics, Daily Review, Assessments for CC
2)  Dum-dum sucker tree
3)  Daily Review warm-ups
4)  Fun Activities-minute to win it

To Assess:
1)  Exit slips
2)  Pre-assessments for differentiation
3)  Standards based assessments?