Monday, August 19, 2013

Made 4 Math Monday- Homemade Whiteboards

Well I have finally been able to get into my classroom and start setting it up.  I worked there Friday 10-4:30 and today 9:00-7:30.  I did go out to lunch both days and take a break to drop off my oldest at football practice.  I must say that I will not spend as much time as I did today because I was cranky and hungry by the time I got home tonight. I did accomplish quite a few things, but my room really looks like a disaster at the moment. Pictures will be coming soon.

I laminated some tagboard and then put duct tape around the edges for my homemade whiteboards.  The first picture shows what it looked like when I wrote on it.  The second picture shows what it looked like after I cleaned it. Putting the duct tape on was not easy and if you look closely you would see that I did not do a very good job.  I do not think I am cut out for using duct tape after this little experiment.  I am not sure how well these whiteboards will hold up.  I a cheap generic dry erase marker to test this out so I am not sure if an Expo marker would clean up better.

TA DA!  I will not let the duct tape control me.

After I cleaned it.
I will let you know how these hold up once students start using them.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Goals for 2013-2014

I decided that I was not going to make a ton of goals this school year and focus on the three most important things I want to accomplish professionally and personally.

My district mandated that we go to a workshop delivery model in 7th grade math for the coming school year.  I'm completely on board with it because it was something I was trying to figure out how to implement in my classroom three years ago.  At the time there were no resources on how to do this in a middle school classroom.  This past summer I did a  book study on the book Minds on Mathematics by Wendy Ward Hoffer.  Click to the link to see all the wonderful posts linked by other bloggers.  If you are curious about workshop for grades 4-9 that would be the place to start.  I also started a weekly twitter chat #mindsonmath Tues 7-8 PM CST,  where we talk about implementing math workshop into our classrooms.  I am looking forward to chatting once school starts and we are actually workshopping instead of just researching the concept.  Please feel free to chat with us and find out more at Minds on Mathematics Workshop.

The main focus of all our district PD this school year will be to create Standards Based assessments.  I have made that my second goal because it will be a big focus of mine this year. We have been implementing many of the principles of SBG already into our classrooms like retakes and no zeroes.  I think SBG will work really well in math and am looking forward to the direction we are heading.

My third goal will be to continue to grow my PLN.  The people I have "met" through my PLN have made me a much better teacher.  There are so many amazing ideas being shared online and it opens you up to a whole world of collaboration that was never possible before.  I want to continue to participate in twitter chats that help me grow as an educator.  I also want to attend TMC14 next summer.  It would be the ultimate PD for sure.

Personally I need to continue to find balance between my career and my family life.  My oldest son is a freshman and will only be around for four more years before heading off to college. I have always been aware of how fast my boys are growing up and try to cherish the time I have with them (even when they are driving me crazy).  I want to make sure that my boys realize that being a mom is my number one job and teaching is number two.  Unfortunately with everything going on in education today it's really hard to find the balance.  I know my younger two like to find me home when they get off the bus, so I will try to not stay late at school more than twice a week.  I tend to stay late on Fridays to get myself set for the next week and I feel less guilty doing that because I know we have the whole weekend together.

I need to have more patience and tolerance with at home.  I feel that some days I use up all my patience at school.  Some days I go home completely exhausted.  People who don't teach just don't seem to get that.  I need to find ways to recharge myself so I have something left over for my own family.  They are my priority and I need to start living that way.  I also want to have fun with them.

I feel that healthy eating and being active will help with my patience at the end of the day.  Teaching is a very stressful career even when everything is going well.  Being healthy physically will assure that I am happy mentally and not stressed out.

What are your goals for 2013-2014?  Whatever they are I hope you have your best school year ever!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Made 4 Math Monday- Printing on Post-It Notes

I finally have something to share today for Made 4 Math.  Yesterday instead of cleaning my bedroom closet like I should have, I started playing around with trying to figure out how to make a template to be able to print directly onto post-its.  I have seen such cute ideas of printing on post-its, but none really applied to what I would use in my classroom.

After a couple hours of trial and error and several wasted post-its, I achieved success.  I am so excited at the endless possibilities of being able to print on post-its.  I plan on printing out some post-its for formative assessment and math workshop.  I will be sure to post photos of what I do.

This is the template I created in Power Point.  I basically created a 3x3 square using the shape tool (although PP would not let me create a perfect 3x3 but it was close enough.  Make sure you duplicate that slide a few times so you do not have to start over when you mess up your squares (and mess up I did, several times!).  Once you have your page ready to print you must go back and get rid of the lines on the slide you are printing by putting no fill and no line.  This is very important or the lines will show up on your post-it.  Now if you made your square big enough so it won't print on the post-it then you won't have to worry.

Place your post-its on top of your template and then print away.  Do not forget to delete the line and fill from your square you made.

 Below is an example of three different post-its I made.  The one on the left could be if you wanted to collect the "I notice" "I wonder" feedback from your students.  The middle one is what I plan on posting on top of the student info packets at Back to School Night.  It's hard for them to see their names on the schedule they get so hopefully this will help.  Then they can write the name and spelling they prefer (that way anything I make for the first day for them will be with the name they want).  Then I thought it would be fun to introduce "I notice" and "I wonder" that night to students and get some quick feedback that I can use to answer questions during the first day orientation, this will be a perfect intro to a technique we will be using in math class.  I feel that this post-it will give each student a chance to ask about something they are wondering.  The last one is just a Top Six To-Do List of the most important things that need to get done that day.

I am so excited at the possibilities of what I can print on post-its!  I am no printable expert so if I can figure this all out on my own I'm sure you can too!  If you make something be sure to leave a link in the comments.  I would love to check it out.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Minds on Mathematics Workshop Weekly Twitter Chat- Tues 7-8 PM CST.

Minds on Mathematics Book Study

Last Tuesday night we had our first twitter chat discussing what we learned during our summer book study of Wendy Ward Hoffer's Minds on Mathematics Using Math Workshop to Develop Deep Understanding in Grades 4-8

We had a great discussion about our plans for implementing Minds on Math workshop this school year.  It was great to share ideas and links with each other.  I encourage you all to join our Twitter chat on Tues evenings if you can.  We follow #momathchat.  The plan is to keep chatting weekly so we can share our ideas and help each other as we actually start teaching with this workshop model in our classrooms.  If you did not get a chance to participate in our book study this summer,  you are still invited to participate in the chat.  The more the merrier!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Currently August- Where has my summer gone?

I'm linking up with Farley for her August Currently  I'm a few days late so I should be person 5000.  ;)

I cannot believe it is August already.  My summer has once again slipped right through my fingertips.  I cannot believe that I will be heading back to school for preservice days at the end of this month.  Students start school September 3rd this year.  I am enjoying my last bit of summer fun with a long weekend away.  I cannot complain because I have had plenty of fun this summer, including a weekend BB tournament in WI Dells where we had the best time hanging out with a bunch of other families at the Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark.

Listening:  My husband took my three boys fishing so I am chilling in our vacation condo listening to the air conditioner.  We weren't able to stay at the resort we always stay at in  Egg Harbor, Door County because it was already booked for one of the night we needed so we are trying a new resort that's located in Sister Bay.  It has been fun spending more time in Sister Bay because we always just passed through or went out to dinner at certain restaurants.  They have a beautiful marina area with a volleyball court and very nice playground.  After dinner last we walked down to the marina and hung out for a couple hours.  We've seen much more of Sister Bay than ever before.

Loving:  I am loving being up here because Door County is just one of my favorite places in the world. We have been coming up here since before we were married and have so many fond memories of spending time with the boys here.  We have certain restaurants that cannot be missed, but we are also exploring some new options.  Yesterday we tried a new place for lunch that was meh (we keep teasing my husband because he suggested it) and then last night we tried a new place for dinner that was really great.  The resort has an indoor and outdoor pool and tons of other amenities so the boys are loving the options from BB to ping pong, foosball, and many other things.

Thinking:  How blessed we are to be able to create these vacation memories with the boys.  It has been a super busy summer with BB for my two youngest.  The middle is on a select team that played several weekend tournaments.  We even had a LAX tournament a couple weekends ago for the oldest.  I had two days of meetings for math and lesson study training.  This past week I took a grad class on Workshop Model in Math.  Normally this past week would have been our vacation time, but my class met Tues-Thurs.  Greg had the whole week off  and even though he was under the weather he was able to take the boys to Six Flags (which shall forever be Great America in my mind) one of the days I was in class.  I'm so happy we could squeeze in this extra long weekend getaway before my middle starts FB (the night we get back) and the oldest starts the next week.

Wanting:  The continue to enjoy the rest of the summer without completely stressing myself out about getting my classroom set up and planning for the coming school year.  It's easier now that the boys are older because I can leave them home and go in and work on my classroom, but I still want to do fun things with them before the summer ends.  Cooper has been asking to go to the zoo all summer (poor third child hasn't been there in years, we used to have an annual zoo pass when the older two were little) and I need to make sure we get there.  Every summer I want to take the boys to Chicago on the train and every summer comes and goes without us doing it.  This summer is shaping up to be no different.

Needing:  I need to make my August To Do List so I can hit the ground running when we get home from this vacation.  Something about my personality/psyche just cannot seem to function or be productive without making a to do list or thirty.  I don't know what it is about me, but if I make a list I am so much more productive and on task.  I need to prioritize what needs to be done for school/home to get us all ready for back to school.  This includes getting Cooper's bday parties planned.  What on earth was I thinking having a baby Sept 9th?!

Back to School Must Haves:  1) I am a bit obsessed with all school supplies so being a teacher is the perfect profession to feed my addiction.  I am partial to markers for some reason.  My love for Flair Markers can be traced to other teacher bloggers.  I also love Mr.Sketch and just got the 18 ct pack.  I do not like ball point pens and only like to write with Zebra pens.  My writing utensil of choice is a mechanical pencil or Pilot Pents which are actually gel pens.  Ballpoint pens are no bueno for me.  2) I also need a clean and organized teacher area to function.  I feel like it's such a battle keeping my house clean and organized thanks to the four males I live with, but at school I can completely control my teacher area organization and it makes me so happy and calm and content!  3) I must start every day with my Passion Iced Tea Lemonade.  I make it myself with Tazo tea I brew and Simply Lemonade.  I used to drink it at Starbucks, but found it's so much cheaper to make it myself and then I can have it anytime I want.