Saturday, November 12, 2016

My final political post

After hearing from coworkers, friends and family I decided to make this my last post on Facebook this morning and I wanted to share it here as well.

This is going to be my last post on politics but I URGE you to read this.
I know many people that voted for Trump and many that voted for Clinton and what I have to say rings true for all.
I woke up Weds morning and said to Brian that I'm glad neither of my parents lived to see this day but now I'm glad neither of my parents lived to see how my friends, dear friends, family and the nation are tearing each other apart.
I've heard both sides and I listened very carefully to everyone and the time has come to stop blaming, to stop pointing fingers and to move forward!
Everyone's reactions, while each person feels justified, is tearing the country up more than anything else and no one is feeling safe; women, Hispanics, Muslims, or Trump supporters. It just all needs to stop and people need to focus on moving forward and NOT calling each other names. First and foremost we are all human beings that deserve the love and respect of each other. We can't read each other's minds, we don't know why people voted for who they did but that is done and in the past. Going back and dwelling on what has happened is only going to hurt you and your relationships with others.
I haven't been to church in forever but we all know it's more important to be the bigger person and look ahead instead of looking back and focusing on the negative. It's just going to tear you up on the inside and if you do that and that is not what we want to show our children and the youth of this nation. We want to show our future leaders how to deal with something you don't like but move on in and focus on making things BETTER not on name calling and making others feel worse about themselves. Continuing such behavior is only going to get all of us in a whole bunch of trouble.
I wore my safety pin yesterday but this morning it makes me sad that someone would have to look for a small sign to know that they will be safe and watched out for in their environment. Our country was founded on the idea that ALL people are created equal and that ALL people have the fundamental rights of liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to assemble. Let people speak, let people assemble peacefully, but remember to do as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said and always march ahead.
As you move forward in the coming minutes, hours and days think of the love that Dr. King preached, of the courage that Nelson Mandela spoke of and the strength Mahatma Gandhi taught.
My thoughts, prayers and hopes are with all of my friends, loved ones, current and former students in this time of unrest in our country. I pray that soon we can all join together and be thankful for our rights and our ability to move forward in this time.

Oh, and from now on whenever I see a political post in my feed I'm going to post a funny animal or yoga pic. That's what y'all get!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My thoughts from last night's election

So I went to the AVID Math pathway in Dallas last week and either caught a cold there or my allergies went on high alert with the change in weather that blew in this weekend.  As a result I had some very interesting thoughts while watching the first few hours of the election results come in before passing out.

So this is how my Tuesday started:

Election day should NOT keep a rediclinic from opening on time!  Thank goodness it didn't and the doc gave me an awesome nasal spray!

After an some interesting Instructional Coaching training and collaboration with other ICs around my district that afternoon I went home, plopped on the couch and started watching what was rolling in on the news.

I may have started with this image and wanted to start making additional graphics from this:

Once my husband got home I let him take over the TV and we watched some stuff together before I had to turn in.  Then around 9:30 I posted this on facebook.

Woke up again coughing around 4 am, looked at the news and this was all I could say: 
*NOTE: My biggest concern is having a president that has no experience in a government office and has used very harsh rhetoric and scare tactics to get people on his side.  This is not meant to be a political post so please don't take offense if you are a Trump supporter.

And my last post this morning in an effort to bring a smile to my friends faces for those that are down in the dumps after last night:

Thank goodness my husband's a good sport and didn't mind me laughing at him too much at 4 am.  

On a more math related note:
Did anyone use any of the math or stats in their class today?  I'm missing having a class today since I would have totally rearranged a few lessons to make them more applicable for the students with the recent results!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Math Mania - AKA Fun way to use a worksheet when you're low on copies

Running low on copies???

Kids getting bored in your class??

Tired of trying to force your students to collaborate?

Taking stuff home to grade and falling asleep before it gets out of your bag?

Then try a Math Mania!!!

I've got to give credit to the teachers I worked with my first year that told me about this (Ami Harman and Lindsey Heinzman at Henry Middle School in Leander).  If it wasn't for this I would have been in big trouble multiple times over!

The basic idea is that you can take any worksheet -- basic computation, word problems, applications, etc -- and easily turn it into a game and engaging activity.

Here are the basic rules I posted while the students were working:
Word Doc can be found here

Students will be working in groups of 2-4 (3 was my personal max, but you can download and edit the doc as you want).  The worksheet only needs to be copied for the maximum number of groups you would have in a class (hence the saving on the copies).

Once you copy the worksheet I usually cut it up so that only 1 problem was on each sheet but for this example I'm going to have 3 problems on each sheet.  

Pass out the scoresheets so that each group gets 1 and make sure everyone has their own piece of paper.

Then each group gets one problem or set of problems at a time.  As the group works together and finishes they send 1 person up to have their problem(s) checked.  I always told the students to make sure and have everyone's work showing for the problems when they got to me, to have their score sheet and to have their question.I learned the hard way that my students would get a little too competitive and would start crowding around me so I taped a line on my floor like the picture below and would have the students line up behind the tape so I still had breathing room.
If someone came up without the question or without the score sheet I would make them go back and get all their materials before I would start checking their answers.

I also made sure to have my answers on the back of the envelopes lightly in pencil so that I didn't have to constantly check my answer doc while the kids came up.

When checking the work if ALL the students in the group got the answer correct then I would circle the 10 for the number, like Kendra and Rachel did.  If they got it wrong, like Patrick and Nicole did here, I would mark out the 10 and tell them to double check their work.  

NOTE: I would not give many hints or review material with the students at that time because I wanted them to work through why they got it wrong AND because if I started doing that then the line would get really backed up and the kids would have too much down time.  If a group continued to get a wrong answer on 1 question multiple times then I would help the students or I would have another student or another group help them out with what they goofed on.

After they get all the questions on the sheet of paper right I would take the slip from the question they had just answered and then give students the next question and have them keep working through this process.  

As an added bonus when kids would get a question right I would let them ring the bell on my desk.  For some reason that really helped motivate them to keep working and stay accurate while trying to work quickly.

When the group was done I would have them staple all their work together with their score card on the top and put it in the basket they turned in all their materials to.  The work was easily graded and put into the gradebook saving me tons of time and copies!

Please let me know if you have any questions on any of this or need any clarification or have any tips for any other teachers that may try this for the first time!

Keep up the awesome work everyone!!!

My First HyperDoc!

So I just learned about HyperDocs for the first time last week and I wish I had heard of them and used them when I was still in the classroom!  I just created my first one and it's rough, I mean rough.  I did it quickly while creating a tech summary sheet for my teachers (they've been bombarded with PL on new technology - see previous post) so it's not the fanciest or best.  

When I first heard of hyperdocs my first thought was it would be a great way to start units and remind students of what they know from previous years.  I started with this one on quadratics but I'm looking forward to making more as both me and my teachers become more comfortable with them and I can't wait to see the students interacting with them more.

Have you created a hyperdoc?  What's gone well or what have you needed to tweak during the process?  Any feedback would be awesome!

Diving into Technology - The Adventures of Fall 2016

So this year our district gave each high school 4 laptop carts for each core content area and LOTE.  While the addition of the technology is wonderful and I'm not going to be the first to turn it down, the PL that the teachers have received has been fast and furious.  

Some of my teachers forget what the different resources are that they've received training on so far so I made this little cheat sheet full of links and screenshots to help my teachers out.  I figured others might like it too.  

CHS Fall Tech PD Resource Snapshot

Let me know if you see something that should be added to any of the quick summaries or have any additional tips or tricks for any of the resources.

I hope everyone has a great day!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 25: I totally math geeked out last night

So my neighborhood has a Google Group where everyone is able to post if they are having a garage sale, dates and times of bird walks and nature hikes, about the issues with mailboxes (don't get me started on that subject) and the crazy traffic that has come up at an intersection near where 3 schools are located.  This gave me some inspiration for either a WCYDWT or 3 Act problem for the kids.  I still need to hash out all the details once I learn all the space requirements.

Here's the background:
Last year there was just 2 schools near this intersection and now there are 3 all starting at the same time.  

The stars are where the schools are located

There's lots of congestion and people have also noticed people blowing through the stop sign near the intersection.  Then I saw this in the email thread:

And I started wondering, why isn't there enough room?  How much room is required for a roundabout or traffic circle?  Could that be applied to properties of circles and area in geometry or would that be better attacked in Algebra 2 and try to maximize the restrictions?

I found this when I started researching the construction requirements for a roundabout:
I'm still researching a lot about it and how much more space is required compared to traditional intersections but when I get a problem or project or something worked out I'll update this post with it for anyone else that is interested in using it.

Gotta love the random inspiration I get!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 23: We all survived!

We all survived our first day of the new school year!

I even managed to get a run in this morning. It proved to be detrimental since I had to help the administrators pick up paper attendance all around the school (which covers a quarter of a mile) 3 times today!

I'm just glad that all my teachers finished the day with everything that's happened at the school to start off the year. All of the technology may not have been functioning completely and many of the rooms weren't totally decorated but what's happening in the classroom with the kids is what's more important than anything else!

Monday, August 22, 2016

#MTBOSBlaugust Day 22 Part 2: Need ideas for notebooks for PreCalculus classes

Woohoo!!!  2 posts in 1 day!!!  I'm on a roll!

I'm in need of some tips or tricks for one of my teachers.

This year we were able to buy composition books for all of our students.  Literally, all of our students.  This is the wall to my office after 24 boxes were taken.  We still need to get a lot more out to teachers this week.

We bought the notebooks with the idea that they will follow the students from year to year so they can build on them with their additional knowledge from each course.  The kicker is that we don't have inspiration for all of the upper level courses and how to use the notebooks there.

One of my PreCalc teachers wants to use the notebook as a study tool the kids can go back and use at the end of a unit but she doesn't want to make it something she's going to have to stop at the end of the unit for kids to create or always double check that the students have created the correct notes or guide to use.

My idea was to have the kids create a mind map; something like this:
From ZIMBARDO Patrick (
But she's worried the kids won't have enough space to make it as the unit is being taught and they won't have enough space to make it detailed enough.

I'm curious what other people have used before and if you have any quick pics that you could share that would be awesome!  

Thanks so much #MTBoS!!!!

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 22: What I really do as an Instructional Coach

I recently got a comment on one of my posts from an old coworker who said she was looking forward to hearing more about my position as an Instructional Coach and I decided that would be a great thing to blog about.

My official title is the Math NIET Master Coach but it really just means Instructional Coach since the campus stopped using the TAP program right before I was hired.  Officially my job description is as follows:


In case you looked at those images and said "yeah, I'm not reading all of that" here's my "I'm a math teacher and I like to be concise" explaination:

  • I lead regular Professional Development for the math teachers by PLC and department on strategies and district initiatives.
  • I am present for all PLCs in my department to help facilitate the conversations on instruction and data.
  • I also participate in the PLCs by creating lessons, assignments, etc that the team needs help with.
  • I analyze all the tests/assessments to ensure they are aligned to the TEKS/standards and at the appropriate level.  I also keep an eye out for any typos, misaligned columns, etc.
  • I do walk-throughs in classrooms to observe the teaching and learning going on.  This is often when I get inspiration for PD that I'm going to develop or when I determine what other teachers may need to present on some of the strategies they use in their classroom.
  • I co-teach in different classrooms and help facilitate small group learning.
  • I help create the Department Improvement Plan that is incorporated into the Campus Improvement Plan.
  • I observe teachers using the T-TESS rubric and evaluate them for the year.
Now that last one is not exactly what I had anticipated doing when I first got this job.  I always thought administrators did the observations and evaluations but with the new T-TESS rubric and the process you go through with the teachers it is much more of a coaching tool than a "gotcha during one observation" tool and I really enjoyed it last year.  I did not enjoy doing 3 observations in one day last year (I learned the hard way that's not how to do it!) but overall the teachers I worked with and I all enjoyed the process and learned about ourselves, our strengths and areas that need improvement from the process.

That's about it for this post!  I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Friday, August 19, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 19: Just wanna brag on a team...

So I did not get a chance to work with my Geometry team while they were creating their first test (which I really would have liked to have done).  And I just got an email from the PLC lead with the test and when I scrolled down to the bottom I saw this:
No prompting needed, no having to bribe or convince them to try something new.  On their own they came up with the idea of giving a standards based test and breaking it up into parts for assessment!!!  I'm so thrilled I'm literally bouncing in my seat as I type this!  

Students always struggle with Geometry and I'm loving that they're wanting to go this route and try this out.  I can't wait for the students to really take ownership of their learning since their grade will really mean something to them and I can't wait to see the passing rate in Geometry skyrocket as a result!!!


Just had to brag since they totally went that route on their own and that was a route I really wanted to slowly open the department to.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust day 16: My not ready school and office

So this summer our campus was getting work done on the roof, the HVAC was getting replaced and new technology (interactive whiteboards) were getting installed.
Here's some of the technology that
is still waiting to be installed right now.
At least some of the interactive whiteboards
were installed this summer.

So I haven't been able to blog lately because I've been troubleshooting some beginning of the school hiccups with some of my teachers.  What hiccups you say?  The kind of hiccups where you have no way to project something while water is running down your walls.  :D 

Well, there were problems with the work on the roof, and after the rain this weekend some of the rooms and offices now have water damage.

On the right is how some of the rooms are currently going under demolition and construction to repair the water damages.  On the left is all the administrators stuff that has been moved to the teachers lounge while their offices are repaired.

The technology isn't installed. Hopefully it will get done before school starts in a week.
And my office has been abandoned and I don't know if I will be finished before the kids come back. Actually I'm pretty sure that it won't be finished...

So that's how were starting the school year. I hope everyone else has a better start to the school year!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 11: The right way to start the school year!

Yesterday was a super long day and I started this but literally fell asleep when working on it. It was the first day back to school for everyone and it's always so much fun putting all the teachers from a campus in a room where the AC isn't working right.  At least it wasn't as warm as the rest of the building was!

It was great seeing all the teachers together and getting to know the new teachers even better.  I have to admit that I was late to the start of the meeting because I thought it started 30 minutes earlier, but I wasn't late for the rest of it!

After the campus meeting we got to have a nice LONG lunch, seriously it was an amazingly long and wonderful lunch.  They gave us 2.5 hours!  But it was followed by convocation with all the staff of the district at one location so everyone needed the extra time to get to the location and try to find an easy way out once we all were released.

I have to admit that this was the best start to a convocation that I've ever been to.  Instead of starting with the superintendent on the stage a student that had made it into a video the last two years was on the stage in a fancy suit and tie.  

Kenneth gave us a perfect start to the school year!
His opening line was perfect!  "What?  Who were you expecting?  The superintendent?!"

This kid had so much personality and pizzazz and he's just now starting 6th grade!

It was a great start to the school and I'm hoping we hear more from the students when we meet as a campus and district in the future. I hope everyone else had a great start to the school year!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 10: Planning PD without me

So I finally realized knew of the reasons I've had such have a hard time planning out the PD I'm going to be delivering to my math teachers thus year. It's because I'm not sure when my mom is going to need me and I don't want to have my teachers miss some great professional learning because of my family issues. My mom has been sick for 8 months now and is under hospice care at home and we're not sure how much longer she's going to last.

So knowing that the unknown is ahead I've decided to embrace some various forms of PD. This year instead of all the PD being done in person or with their PLC I'm going to have my teachers do learning walks or walk throughs every few weeks. I want them to first do them with other math teachers and then after the first month or so start walking through classrooms from other content areas. I'm going to give them a form to fill out either on paper or electronically so everyone will still be held accountable but also so they can reflect on what they may have observed or picked up from the classrooms that they want to implement in their own classrooms.

I'm thinking the teachers will enjoy this so they can get a chance to see other teachers when they're in their zone and also because then they can give me even more feedback on what they would like further help with in the classroom.

Here are some of the questions and reflections that I'm planning on using from my APs previous form as well as some of what I've used as a teacher before.
- What did the teacher do build background with students in order to motivate/engage the students?
-What classroom management strategies were in place or observed?
- Describe how the teacher differentiated and scaffolded the instruction for various learners.
- What other SCALE/SIOP strategies did you observe that would be useful in your own classroom?
- What is something you are taking away from your walkthrough and want to implement in your classroom?

Any ideas, thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated! If you've participated in something like this before please let me know what worked or didn't work for you. I'm looking forward to really planning these out and letting the teachers make the most of their own PD!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust day 9 - Reflecting on other Blogs

Before I actually started doing work today I decided to see if I could get some inspiration from other blogs participating in #MTBoSBlaugust and I found these 3 blogs that were new to me and gave me some inspiration and ideas for PD for my math teachers.

Questions that promote thinking by @fractionfanatic

I love how she's taken the 100 questions, whittled them down and kept them so the students are really reflecting on how else they could answer the question, how they know they are right, and really analyzing their process themselves.  I think I'm going to tweak the posters I made for my teachers last year with some sentence starters to include more of these types of questions.  

This is perfect and some of what I feel like I need to remember during the school. Yo isn't pick your pollinators and you can't pick all your coworkers.  Sometimes people are great in collaborating and some need more help in learning how to collaborate. 

I'll be honest, this is one of the posts that made me wish I could run back into the classroom and start trying this with my classroom. I'll also be honest that I haven't really wanted to do any work since I've gone back to work early the last week and I might have found myself doing some of these puzzles on my own when I was searching for something other than work to do. I've found myself trying these puzzles multiple ways and I was wondering all the various ways that students would try some of the problems. I think everyone should try to incorporate this to classrooms if possible. 

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 8 a little late: My biggest inspiration

I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday but I'm going to make up for it today!  

It was a busy day yesterday with helping out with New Teacher Orientation at my school, going to my mom's rent house to make sure the new AC unit got put in and visiting my mom. My mom's health has been declining since December and she's now receiving hospice care at home.  She was diagnosed with many issues last December when I took her to the hospital after seeing how weak she had gotten in just a few weeks.  The biggest issue ended up being a diagnosis of bile duct cancer which she (surprisingly) opted to have surgery on when there were no other options available for treatment.

My mom isn't the type to give up but with this she had her fourth cancer diagnosis and she initially was adamant about not having surgery (she's never recovered from it well).  While I'm glad she's fought as long as she has for her health and to see my brother, me and her grand kids grow up I know she's ready to relax, be at peace and not be in pain anymore.

I'm focusing on her for this post because she really has been the most influential on my career and has been a fantastic mother and a great mentor for my teaching practices at the same time.

My mom got her degree in counseling and ended up getting her PhD in child and adolescent development.  She always said she would have become a psychiatrist if her and my dad hadn't gotten into it so many times when he was trying to help her with her math classes.  (She wasn't the best at math while my dad was a wiz!)  

Growing up I saw my mom impact so many lives as an LPC and as a high school counselor at alternative schools while also teaching college classes.  She has always been someone I could go to and speak to about my personal struggles as well as my struggles in the classroom or with students and she knew exactly what to say.  She also gave me so many tips and tricks for working with difficult students or coworkers and helping students with learning disabilities.  She was also the big reason I finally went to grad school (she told me she was going to go travel with the money she had saved for me for grad school if I didn't start ASAP, LOL).  She has always known how to push me just enough and encouraged my curiosity and desire to further my education and help others in their pursuit for knowledge.  

We were talking last night when I was reading a message to her from an old family friend and we both started tearing up at it.  The conversation went something like this:
Mom: "Haha!! I'm not the only one that gets teary eyed at this!"
Me: "I'm getting teared up because Liz has lost her folks and she is trying to comfort me through this."
Mom: "This is what I'm going to miss the most.  The people that I've grown to know and love.  I'm just sad that I won't be in their lives anymore."
Me: "Mom, you're always going to be in their lives.  You've touched so many people, helped so many people and been a rock for so many for so long that you're always going to be in their lives, even when you aren't physically there you're spirit will be with them.  So don't be sad about that."
Mom: "You're right.  When did you finally grown up and become so mature?"

(Note: I'm about to turn 35 and I'm the baby of the family.  So I didn't have to start maturing and taking care of family stuff until recently.)

So that's it for this post, I promise the rest won't be as sad and sappy!

From before the wedding when she had just zipped up my dress. And that's my baby crib behind us.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 7: Who wants to help me write this work equation?

I don't know about everyone else but when I find something that makes a job in my house a lot easier I want to turn it inti an equation. Like "Ms L spent 5 hours painting white coats on a bookshelf (including the dry time) with a traditional paint brush. Then she got annoyed with how long it was taking and decided to buy a paint sprayer. In 30 minutes she was able to set up, spray paint the bookshelf, break down and clean the paint sprayer. If she has to wait an hour between each coat, when is it the best for her to use the sprayer instead of the paint brush?"

And yes, that was the real timing of each event.

Also,  I mowed the lawn for the first time time since buying the house. It's been at least 5 weeks and I've learned that there's no equation for figuring out when we should mow the lawn. The answer is always yes, mow the lawn!

So these are some of the real world ways I'm gig to approach the students this year. And I also want to find a way to Pokémon Go in more than just the circles unit.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust: Day 6 10th Song on Playlist

So jumping to my Workout Playlist (which is the only Playlist on my phone) and I found that Blondies "One Way Or Another" is my 10th song. Talk about a song that has so many memories for me!!!

The first song that I laughed to, really belly  laughed to was this song. It was back in 1981 or 1982 and my mom, brother and I were sitting in the front seat of my mom's car. My brother kept reaching over and tickling my stomach during the "I'm gonna getcha, gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha" parts and I just let out a total barrel laugh.

For the rest of my life I haven't been able to listen to the song without getting a huge smile on my face and even laughing.

It also reminds me of all the times I've pushed to find exactly whag I need for my job, education, classroom and life. I've searched high and low, near and far to get exactly what I needed in my personal and professional life.

- I found the perfect job to start with in an amazingly supportive environment
- I found the perfect next job after that to move me to the high school level with amazing coworkers
- I found the perfect grad school program while working and planning my wedding
- I found the perfect job post grad school with the exact position I dreamed of (I didn't even realize that it was really an opportunity!)

So "one way or another, I'm gonna" get what I want, I'm going to get what I need to be the best educator and teacher I can be!

Friday, August 5, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust: 20 Facts about me

  1. Tell us about you!  Post 20 facts about yourself.
  2. What is your fitness routine and how to stick to it during a busy school year?
  3. A  mentor/colleague who impacted your classroom/teaching…
  4. The best teacher I ever had was …. because ...
  5. How do you tame the paper tiger?
  6. What are your best organizational tips?
  7. What’s the toughest challenge you face as a teacher today?

20 Facts about me...
  1. I'm an Austin girl!  I love the city, all the fun things to do around town, the nature, the closeness of the hill country and that it doesn't get too cold here. 
  2. I love to run.  I've done 4 half marathons (I'm only half crazy) and I'm planning on doing another 2 in January and February of next year. 
    Friends talk friends into doing the "Toughest Half Marathon in Texas" multiple times!
  3. I also love to do yoga.  I haven't been able to do it as much as I would like lately due to an injury from attempting to move a ton of stuff ourselves but it's something I find myself doing even a little of each night to center myself before bed.
  4. My husband and I just bought a house this summer and I'm loving being a homeowner! I still feel at times like someone is going to come in and tell me that I need to stop messing with their house and to get out. Hopefully someday soon it will all really sink in!
  5. I got married April 4, 2015 and I'm still not used to my new last name.  How long did it take you to get used to yours?
    From our ceremony in my parents backyard.  Small weddings are the best!
  6. We were engaged for a year and half and during that time I was teaching 2 preps, the credit recovery class (which was not completely computer based), and working on my masters. 
    From a day when I was trying to figure out how to fit in everything I needed to do; teach, run, read, go to class.  Such an exhausting and hectic time!!
  7. I have my masters in Educational Leadership and Administration (yes, I just had to double check that on my LinkedIn profile).
  8. I don't think I'm ever going to be an administrator even though I have my degree.  It's been over a year since I finished my degree and I still haven't taken my Principal certification test but I'm happy in my current role and it's really what I wanted in the first place!
  9. I was in the classroom for 10 years working with everything from 8th graders to seniors, a majority of the time teaching Geometry.  Last school year was my first year as a math Instructional Coach and I loved it!  
  10. As an Instructional Coach I love my job and being able to work with the teachers on implementing new practices, lessons and strategies but I do also miss having my own classroom and group of kiddos I get to know throughout the school year.
  11. This year my goal is to get into the classroom and co-teach with my teachers more often.  I was hoping to do that more this last spring but with my mom's health issues I found myself working from home or the hospital more than I had anticipated. 
  12. I love, and I mean LOVE, animals.  Cats, ferrets, foxes, bunnies, sloths...  You name it, I love them!  Someday I would love to open an animal rescue sanctuary with a close friend where we nurse animals back to health and build their independence and trust back up.
    The rescue cat, Gracie, and the rescue ferret, Dottie
  13. On our honeymoon I went snorkeling for the first time and I wish there were more places close to me to be able to see such a beautiful and peaceful space.  
    snorkeling in Antigua
  14. My husband and I both LOVE live music and while at SXSW, ACL and various music events around town we've met some pretty awesome folks over the years.
    From Left to Right: with Arcade Fire at a show at COTA, with Delta Rae at SXSW, with Max from Catfish at SXSW
  15. I love to color!  I love coloring and tangling/zendoodle.  If you've never heard of it it's a wonderful therapeutic thing to do while at PD that you're not finding very useful or while sitting around waiting for a Doctor.  You can find tons of links with tips and tricks for adult coloring and zendoodle/tangling on Pintrest.
  16. I'm a horrible procrastinator!  I'm currently doing this post instead of figuring out what PD I'm going to be presenting once school starts.  So far my calendar just has the topic of the first PD and all the meetings I'm going to go to. 
    I think I might need to actually start to do some work soon!
  17. While I'm currently back on contract and supposed to be working the building hasn't officially been released for the teachers to work in it so this is currently the area around my desk.  I'm finding myself working in other people's offices more than my own right now...
    My desk is to the right of the interactive whiteboard.  The campus got new AC this summer and interactive whiteboards were installed in all the core classrooms but everything isn't quiet done yet.  Oops!
  18. My husband and I are addicted to reality TV shows!  Bachelor, Bachelorette, Big Brother, Survivor, MTV's The Challenge, American Ninja Warrior, RuPaul's Drag Race.  You name it, we watch it!  Well, I really got into RuPaul's Drag Race after hearing about it on a podcast we listen to regularly.  If you're a member of Bachelor Nation I highly suggest the podcast Rose Buddies!  There's even a facebook group for the people that listen to it too!!!  FYI, it's NSFW but it's hilarious and great!  
  19. I love to garden and play in the yard, even though I already killed our first lawn mower.  At least it was only $25 off of a Facebook swap and sale group.  
    Took forever to get it started and then the spokes on the wheel just broke right off.
  20. I haven't been really good at posting blogs in the past few years but my goal this year is to blog at least once month, but ideally once a week. 

Looking forward to reading interesting things about everyone else participating in #MTBOSBlaugust!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 4: Lesson Inspiration - Audible Books, Shows, Random places

So a friend of mine got me started on Audible in December, which ended up being perfect in multiple ways.  It's been great since I've spent a lot of time in the hospital with my mom over the past 9 months and I've actually gotten some inspiration for various math lessons since then through the books I was listening to.

The first was from Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs.  This series is what the TV Bones is loosely based off of (if your read it expecting everything to be the same as in the TV show you will be disappointed).  

In it someone is killed and there is an in depth discussion of blood spatter evidence and how the point of origin was previously calculated using the string method, compared to how it is now calculated with a program and utilizing various functions.  I came up with an extension for some of the Algebra 2 students that dealt with using the absolute value function to find the point of origin and made an additional extension for the PreCalculus students to do it with trig functions.  Placing it in PreCalc really is more appropriate but I thought it would be interesting for some students to do it in both courses and compare their findings and see which is more precise.  I'll upload that lesson once I get it more flushed out after working it with some students.

Another inspiration that came to me just yesterday was from The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerriotsen.  These books are about Rizzoli & Isles (another great TV detective show, I might have an addiction to these) and again, the TV show is loosely based on the novels.  Lots of little differences between the books and the show.  In The Mephisto Club someone is leaving clues behind and at one uses the eye of Ra.  The eye of Ra, also known as the eye of Horus and the all seeing eye, is an early use of math and each part represents half of another piece.  


I'm not quiet sure yet how I'm going to use this in an lesson other than maybe when doing geometric regression, but it's definitely something I want to try and incorporate next year.  Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Before I've also gotten inspiration for math questions or lessons while at live shows when thinking about where the best sound will be or watching a show being filmed when someone is using a Jib Jab.


I'm curious what are some of the interesting or different ways you've gotten inspiration for a lesson or question to pose to your students.  I'm looking forward to hearing about it!

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 3: Getting ready for the school year (yesterday's post)

You know you're kinda crazy when you're willing to help an old co-worker out that is opening a new high school in a district unpack and inventory stuff rather than get ready for your own school year.

Those are of her classroom that she's going to be sharing and of just half the biology supplies that needed to be unpacked, inventoried, and then packed back up (because the storage room currently has a bunch of lab desks in them).  

While working with her it really made me think about all the things that go into opening a new campus that many administrators don't know or take into consideration since they've never had to do it before.  It got me thinking that more than just Principals, APs and Department heads should be involved in determining the hours, pay and time available to work in classrooms before the school year starts.

I'm curious how other schools, districts and states attack opening a new school and the supplies that stream in before school starts.  I hope everyone is gearing up for school smoothly!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust Day 2: School year hasn't even started and I've already got success!!!

I just got done meeting with the Geometry PLC lead at my campus and in just 2 hours we laid out the topics for the 1st semester in Geometry while also talking about where to integrate NMSI/LTF lessons.

For only the 2nd day back to work I'm feeling pretty successful and on track already!  Woohoo!!!  Now if I can just keep up with the daily blogs for the month I'll be on fire.  It might be challenging since we're still moving out of our apartment and into our house.  We're so excited for the first house and all the accidental math applications I found while sprucing things up.  Note to self: Even former Geometry teachers don't always do the math right when finding the area of a trapezoid on the back of an old receipt while standing at home depot.  *Sigh*  But at least it's not constantly visible!

Happy 2nd day of August everyone!!!