Monday, February 19, 2018

Reflections since Weds

Since Weds, Feb 14th I have observed a plethora of responses to the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. My emotions have run a literal marathon. While many of our youth and educators are finally speaking up and having their voices heard I cannot sit back and not listen to some of the ridiculous things I've heard and seen.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but the answer to this situation is NOT to arm all the teachers! 

Putting metal detectors in all schools is not the answer.

Planning walkouts for months away is not the answer; especially on state testing days. They message will be lost there.

Blaming the lack of mental health care is not the answer. 

Pointing fingers and blaming is not the answer.

Sending thoughts and prayers is not the answer.

But more than anything sitting around and not doing anything is also not the answer.

Standing up, speaking out and voting is the answer. Empowering teachers to get to the polls and to have their voice heard by lawmakers IS part of the answer.

Teaching students how to manage their emotions and how to cope with stress IS part of the answer.
Right now too many people are focused on finding the ONE right answer, but there's a problem with that approach.

There is no ONE right answer.

Our country is in need of a new approach to many of the issues we face. We need a new approach to gun regulations and purchases. We need to all incorporate a new approach to teach the WHOLE child and that requires additional training of everyone on a school campus. We need to connect with lawmakers and ensure they really hear from us.

I hope that everyone is doing well and staying strong after the difficult past few days. I also hope everyone is ready to go out and be heard while educating the whole student.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Working on an Alg I STAAR EOC review booklet and I'm running out of ideas.

Since starting at my current school I've created an Algebra I STAAR EOC review booklet for our intervention teachers to use during the intervention periods we have.  I've worked tirelessly on this booklet, adjusting it after the tests are released and adjusting things from what I see the students are able to do.

I'm now starting to run out of ideas of how to change it up for the kids that have been in the intervention multiple times.  

I try to mix in activities with sample released questions or similar questions

As well as some more fun activities that involve coloring or working with a partner.

And this time I've added some pages that have the students practice "chunking" the test.  

But now I'm in search of some more interesting skills activities to have the students work on this spring.  If you have anything on any of the following topics I would be forever grateful!
  • Polynomial Operations
  • Solving for y
  • Exponent rules
  • Factoring
  • Connecting parts of linear equations
  • Linear inequalities
  • Writing Linear Equations
  • Domain and Range of Functions
  • Writing equations from word problems
  • Graphing and solving quadratics
  • Exponential Functions
Thanks and I hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Those goals from the beginning of the year, yeah....

As I've been checking on the #MTBoS tag today (which I try to remember to do throughout the day on the 11th of each month), I realized that I've been bombing on some of my goals for the year.  :(

The things I've been great at keeping up with were sticking to my walkthrough schedules, getting more involved in educational policy, and I've done some impromptu co-teaching.  So that's 3 of my 6 goals that I'm keeping up with.

While I did organize my twitter deck on my surface I haven't used it as much but I've been a lot better about not going down rabbit holes when I'm checking out my feed.

One of my goals was to actually plan for, participate in and learn something from a Twitter Chat. So I have all these alerts on my calendar that go off each week or so reminding me of twitter chats going on but I keep ending up having different things going on or crazy cats and I haven't been able to participate in as many as I was hoping.  I think I've done 2 since my first one.  Maybe...  That's an improvement though, right?

The goal that I've totally bombed on is the keeping up with blogging.  :(  While I've been more active on twitter this year I'm still working on making it more consistent and not flooding my feed with too many pics of my foster cats.  Speaking of...  I have two precious brothers that still need their forever homes!  

Fingers crossed I can find these guys a home and get back on track with my goals for the year!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Craziest 1st week ever!

So let me start with that I live in Austin and we definitely did not get the worst of the weather this last week like many of Houston and Coastal friends and family.  My heart goes out to them in this crazy time and I will be contributing to their recovery efforts anyway possible.

Our first day of school was Monday and due to the copious amount of rain that came down in our area this weekend we ended up having a delayed start for the first day.  Talk about a different way to start the school year!  My first year teaching was when Katrina hit and I remember the school I worked at closing for a day while we opened our campus to evacuees. 
From NCA Cheer Camp Aug 2017 at Hendrickson HS

Thankfully before all the crazy weather started I was able to get an assistant cheer coach so I don't think I'll be pulled in as many directions as I was thinking I would.  She came to our first practice on Tuesday and was able to help cover the first Volleyball game so I was able to see my husband and kittens before the sun went down!  I'm looking forward to splitting the duties with her so I'll be able to get more planning done for when I work with my math teachers and I won't be totally sucked into all thing cheer.

I'm looking forward to using Google Classroom this year to help my teachers with some Professional Development and learning.  I just hope that I can figure out a way to really streamline the process and routines for my teachers so it's not another burden on their plates.  If you have any ideas or suggestions I would love to hear them!

I hope everyone else is having a great beginning of the school year and staying safe and dry!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Gotta Stay Active and Involved this year!

I saw Julie's post about two days ago and I realized that I really need to get into blogging and get a smoother system working for my Twitter so I can follow all my interests better and not be so ADD.  I figured I would jump on into #SundayFunday and #PushSend even if my blog seems short and not like something others would be interested in.  But of course today something interesting happened that was one of my goals to start doing more of.

I'm going to list my goals in order of most attainable to year long goals.  But the theme is... Stay Involved and Organized!

Goal 1 - Organize my twitter deck so I don't get so distracted by other things -- like this cute cat -- when I'm scrolling through who I follow.  I'm a little ADD when it comes to animals!

Goal 2 - Actually plan for, participate in and learn something from a Twitter Chat.  Which happened TONIGHT!  But it wasn't a planned one, so I need to continue doing this and actually plan on doing it advance.

Goal 3 - Be more involved in Educational Policy, stay up to date with what is happening and possibly testify in front of the state to let them know what teachers really do want and need.  

Part of this goal actually got to happen TODAY!  Only downside of having a friend that works on policy education means you might get a text or call with a less than 24 hour notice that says "Wanna come testify on a teach pay bill tomorrow??😄😄" Well, just under 24 hours later I was standing in front of the Texas House of Representatives Public Education Committee with my hands shaking, 3 pieces of paper with lots of things crossed out, a shaky voice and saying "So I had all this planned stuff to talk to you about but I'm just going to give you the important information..."  

It went surprisingly well!  They actually listened and didn't stare at their phones the whole time, and even really asked me some questions that I was able to answer and I think I helped Rep Bernal see the complexity of why teachers move from district to district.  And now I think they'll call me more to testify!

Goal 4 - Actually stick to my schedule on walkthroughs!  I get pulled way too often for various meetings, preparing for EOC testing, and to create different things.  I have a tendency to make a plan one week and then go off script when the time comes.  I did get some tips while at CAMT to help plan my time and with my goals for the year, so hopefully that will help me stick to my plans.

Goal 5 - Coteach with teachers on a regular basis.

Goal 6 - Keep up with blogging and stay active in the math teacher and IC/TOSA twitterverse.

I think that's all of them.  Fingers crossed I'll do better this year than I've done before!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Helping students while I'm a "sub"

So today was interesting and exhausting!  One of my teachers was home sick with laryngitis for the 2nd day and  one was surprisingly out today.  I had told the one with laryngitis that I would be stopping by their room throughout the day to check in on their kids and I ended up having to step into the other teacher's classroom for a few periods to cover since we didn't have enough subs.

Actually 6 of the 21 math teachers on my campus were out today and only 2 had subs that picked up and showed up for the jobs.  But that's a whole different story.

What was so interesting to me today was as I bounced back and forth between two classrooms for the last half of the day I was able to help students understand the big idea behind what they were doing in their respective math classes in 1 or 2 examples and then they were able to go off and run with the crazy algebra skills tied to it.  

In one Algebra 2 class I was able to help some students understand how to find the least common denominator by giving them some examples from years ago when they were adding fractions by hand.  The sweeties asked if I could come into the classroom more and I had to remind them that today was their second day working on the material so it was going to make more sense now but it reminded me how on the fly some of my examples from previous classes were when I finally had break throughs with my own students.

It kinda makes me wish I had a class for a grading period or just a tutorial group of kids to work with so I can make sure and spend more time with many of them on areas that they are struggling with.  

I wish I could be an IC and a teacher at the same time sometimes!

Or I could just wait for summer school and remember that I'm going to get a handful from many students when we start working with the students that need to retake the EOC test.

I hope everyone else had a great day and was able to have some insights with their students as well!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

That wonderful feeling...

You know that wonderful feeling when you complete a large review book that you're putting together for your students.

Yeah, I had that feeling today.

Took me two weeks to get the book put together based on Texas' EOC reporting categories and today I finally finished making the answer key.

Oh, and that other wonderful feeling when  a student you no longer have realizes it's time to grow up and focus in passing his classes are tests?

Yeah, I had that feeling today too. Put together a bunch of resources, videos and his STAAR test history so he can knock out that sucker out of the park this year. (fingers crossed)

Just wanted to share about my good feels today. What good feels did you have?