Friday, July 28, 2017

2017-2018 Geometry Scope & Sequence

Every year since having my blog, I've posted about my new scope and sequence.  Yes, this changes every year.  Every year, as I'm teaching I find things that I want to change or try for the next year.  I'm just used to it now, and consider re-writing my scope and sequence as something that I do every summer.  (Usually I do this at the very end of the school year during regents week, right before leaving for the summer.)

If you want to see my progression from past years, the posts are linked here:
July 2013(1) | July 2013(2) | Aug 2013 | June 2014 | Nov 2014 | July 2015 | Aug 2015 | July 2016

This year I'm making one big change.  I'm moving the constructions unit to the very end (unit 10).  Constructions are so weird.  There's too much to include it in my first unit (the Geometry basics unit is already long enough), but there really isn't quite enough to justify constructions being it's own unit.  At the beginning of the year, constructions include angle bisectors, perpendicular bisectors, equilateral triangles, and shapes inscribed in circles.  Throughout the year, constructions can be added.  For example, transformations, points of concurrency in triangles, and tangent lines of circles.  Throughout this past year, as I taught about inscribed and circumscribed circles, I had to re-teach angle and perpendicular bisectors.  My hope is that by moving constructions to the end of the year, I will save time by not having to re-teach the basic constructions before teaching more complex constructions.  Also, with moving constructions to the end of the year, I can plan what my students learn based on how much time we have.  Since constructions are only a small part of the regents, if some things aren't taught because the priority was to spend more time on a more heavily represented topic, I can (sort of) live with that. 

The small changes I made were re-wording some of my standards, and moving basic triangle topics to the first unit.  Last year, I eliminated my triangle properties unit.  Two topics that don't seem to be emphasized by common core are the Triangle Inequality Theorem and Midsegments of Triangles.  I want to still teach these topics (especially Triangle Inequality Theorem), so I'm still incorporating them, but not spending too much time on them.  This year I am also moving isosceles and equilateral triangles to the first unit.  Last year, I taught isosceles and equilateral triangles during the triangle proofs unit, and it felt disjointed to me.  My hope is that by moving isosceles and equilateral triangles to the beginning, we can just keep rolling through the proofs unit.

 Here is my new unit breakdown:
1-Essentials of Geometry (All the introductory lines and angles and triangles stuff)
2-Transformations (Congruence transformations only)
3-Triangle Proofs
5-Similarity (Dilations can be found here)
6-Right Triangles
7-Measurement (All the fun 3D shape things)
8-Coordinate Geometry

My thoughts:
  • Since constructions is moved to the end, I'm excited to teach topics earlier in the year than normal.  (Proofs in the first quarter and coordinate geometry before spring break for example.)
  • I hope that teaching proofs earlier doesn't mean that my students shut down earlier.
  • In light of the additional Cavalieri's Principle topic being included in the June 2017 regents exam, should I just plan to cover all of the additional common core geometry topics?  Doing so does not align with my goal of focusing on the most important topics for longer periods of time.
I am very interested in hearing feedback on my last thought (question).  Please feel free to comment what you do as a Geometry teacher.  I would love to hear from you.

Here is my 2017-2018 Geometry Scope & Sequence.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

My First Vlog | VIDEO

I've considered vlogging for the past year.  There are some things that can be better explained on video with the written word.  So I'm giving it a shot.  During one of my busiest weeks of the past school year I documented it using my phone.  The quality is not great, and I really don't know what I'm doing, but I'm trying something new and I can only improve from here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Back to School Supply Haul | VIDEO

I wanted to wait until the last minute before Back to School shopping, but there were some sales that I couldn't pass up.  This year I'm keeping it simple.  Check out the video below to see what I got.

Note:  Sales end Saturday, July 29th!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Project Adaptation

One of my summer goals was to find a project for each unit of my General Geometry course.  To be honest, I haven't even started searching yet, but I wanted to share how I adapted a project.  I had a simple project idea in mind, and knowing that it was so simple, I was certain that someone else must have done a similar project before.  Yet after searching the MTBoS, I couldn't find a similar project anywhere. 

I turned to Teachers Pay Teachers, and the closest thing I could find was this project.  Rather than reviewing area with a basic, boring worksheet, I wanted to do an area review project related to a home floor plan.  I used the layout and furniture pieces provided in the project, changed the premise, and made up different requirements.

The scenario was that the student was renovating their apartment/house.  I did not give students a budget.  Instead it was set up that the landlord is paying for $1,000 of the renovation, and the student would have to make up the rest if they chose to use more expensive materials.  Students had to calculate the area of the walls to paint.  We discussed how different paint colors would change the cost of paint because they would need to buy more cans.  Students also had to calculate the area of floors, decide which type of flooring they would use, and price out the cost of the floors. 

Overall, students enjoyed the project.  They spent more time designing the layout of the home than I would have liked, but that was the fun part of the project, so I understood.  The note that I made to myself if I should try this project again is to take the time to better explain painting around the doors and how thick the walls should be.  This is a project that I would repeat again next year. 

If you want to see the project outline I provided students, take a look here.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Secondary Teacher Planner

How many times have you, my fellow secondary teachers, gone to look for a teacher planner for the up-coming school year only to find that every planner is geared toward elementary teachers?  Even the planners that claim that they can be used for all grade levels require major adapting.  The struggle is real.  So I created a planner for secondary teachers, and it is now available in my TPT store.
The planner can be customized to fit your needs.  You can plan by period (with pages for 8 or 9 period days) or by prep (with pages for 3 - 6 different preps).  I included pages for long term planning by unit and a form for creating your own pacing guide.  There are planning calendars with a Monday through Friday format if your planner is just for school and a Sunday through Saturday format if you like to include weekends in your school planner.  Also included are print-and-go versions of the 8 period and 9 period planners with two-page layout planning calendars mapped out for the full school year.

I would love to hear your feedback.  Feel free to comment or message me about anything that can be improved or added.

Today I also uploaded a free sample Sunday - Saturday calendar that you can upload here.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Student Goal Setting

Last May my school's Algebra I teacher gave each of her students an index card with their first three quarter grades.  She guided them through calculating the fourth quarter and Regents score they would need to earn to reach their goal for the year.  I love the idea.  If calculating averages is part of your curriculum, this is a great way to give each student an individualized and relevant problem to solve. 

I worked on the same situation with my students, but it seemed too little too late.  I decided that I wanted to apply the same idea of goal setting with grades at the beginning of the year.  This way students can look at the each marking period as a check point and reflect on or adjust their goals throughout the year.  My hope is that this approach will help students measure their goals with grades. 

I put together a short worksheet that I am sharing here.  On the front students will declare their goal and explain the actions they will take to achieve their goal.  This is what I will do with my students during the first or second week of school, and I will collect all of the worksheets and keep them throughout the year.  On the back students will record their marking period grades and reflect on what they are doing well and what changes they need to make.  I also added a comments section for students to add any information they feel shaped their grade that is not covered by the reflection questions.

This worksheet is very much a work in progress and I appreciate any feedback.  Also, if you create your own version of this worksheet, tweet me @BusyMissBeebe.

Friday, July 14, 2017

My Planners

There has been so much talk in so many teacher communities about planners.  This is one of those topics where everyone has their differing opinions and ways to plan.  Today I'm weighing in on how I use my planners.

Yes, plannersss.  Multiple planners seems excessive to some people, but for me, I like having a place for everything and everything in its place.  For me, having one planner with everything would be overwhelming.  Multiple planners is more streamlined for me.

Blue Sky Day Designer
First up, the Blue Sky Day Designer.  This is my OG planner.  Ever since I started teaching I've used a Blue Sky planner.   These planners can be found at Target, and Blue Sky has partnered with a few other designers, but the Day Designer line is my favorite.

This is my "on-the-go" ultra portable planner.  I write everything down in my monthly pages - appointments, meetings, days off, math team meets, schools events, days that I stay after school, etc.  I even highlight the different categories in different colors.  This is basically my "life-at-a-glance".

I use the weekly planning pages for writing out my to do lists for the day, and since I have the full week in front of me, I am able to distribute my to do list throughout the week.  Last year during the MTBoS Blaugust challenge I posted about how I use highlighters to organize my to do lists.  You can read that post here.

This is the planner that I feel I could not live without.  It travels back and forth with me to school everyday.

Recollections Planner
Last January, Michael's produced a line of their own planners under the brand name Recollections (the brand typically used for their papercrafting products).

I have designated this my "Home Planner".  I keep my Day Designer on my school desk all day.  I really don't want students or colleagues seeing the bills that are due on a certain day or the meals I'm prepping or the area of my house that I've designated to clean.  I want to keep my home life separate from school life, so separate planners just made more sense to me.

(Side Note:  In the past when I did write these things in my one planner, I wouldn't keep the planner on my desk for fear of people seeing these things - not that they would be a big deal for anyone else to know about, I just want some privacy.  When the planner is not on my desk, my to do list does not get done.)

What I love about this planner is that it separates each day into three sections.  During the school year, I use the first section for the school tasks that I am completing at home.  This is where I outline the routine I shared in my last blog post.  Once I get home, I rarely look at my Day Designer; hence the need for this second planner.  Thanks to this second planner, I accomplish the school tasks that I need to do at home instead of forgetting about them as I did in the past with only one planner.

During the school year, the second section outlines what I need to get done at home.  This can include cleaning certain rooms, which loads of laundry I am doing, when I pay my bills, and any other miscellaneous household tasks.  In January, I went through the planner and added all of the bills that are due on their due date in the third section.  I wrote down the name of the billing company, and as I pay the bills I write the amount and the date paid.  It keeps everything organized in one place, and I needed that in my financial life.

Now that it's summer, I use the three sections differently.  I use the first section for tasks that designated for the morning, the middle for afternoon, and the third for evening (if it is blank).  I color code the tasks for school and home.  In the fall, I will go back to using the sections as established above.

I feel like I cannot talk about this beautiful planner and not mention the stickers.  Some people spend hours decorating a weekly layout in their planners with all kinds of stickers.  I am not one of those people.  I feel like there are much better uses of my time.  However, I love using stickers for a purpose.  I made my own sticker labels for the headings in my planner sections.  I printed them out using Microsoft Word, and then turned the labels into stickers using my Xyron Sticker Maker*.  I then cut them out, and placed them on their designated sections.

DIY Arc Notebook Teacher Planner
I always see teachers with all kinds of pretty teacher planners.  Some teachers create them on their own, and I love creating.  Last year, I tried to make my own planner, but with the planning routine that I already had, I didn't really need a teacher planner, and so I didn't follow through with using it.  You can watch the video of my original planner set up here.

I made my own weekly planner template in Google Docs.  This is where I do my lesson planning.  I like planning digitally rather than on paper because it's easy to move plans when something changes last minute (like a snow day or surprise assembly), and it's easy to share with my co-teacher.  Using the Google Docs planner made my Arc Notebook planner pages obsolete.  Although, truth be told, I am once again creating planning pages this summer.  I really just like to create forms and documents.  (Insert shrugging emoji here.) 

So what do I even use this planner for anyway?  It's more like my catch-all teacher notebook.  I have a section for "Plans & Ideas" with folders and page protectors holding the district calendar, pay schedule, all of the papers given to me that pertain to whatever unit planning the district is currently requiring, and blank pages of arc paper for lists and plans.  I have three sections for each of my three preps.  In these sections I have planning calendars and the scope and sequence for each course.  I also keep blank Arc Notebook paper for ideas and a list of things to change for the next year.  Finally, I have a section for Professional Development.  I have folders of PD handouts and notes from last year's PD sessions that I took on Arc Notebook paper.

I am planning on making a few changes to the functionality of this planner.   I really wanted to use it for lesson planning, but as I mentioned before I use Google Docs.  However, I need a place to store the ideas I have for upcoming units, so I'm going to add long-range planning pages at the beginning and pacing guides for each course.  Whatever I come up with, I will blog about in the future.

The only negative to this planner (aside from the initial costs) is that using regular paper is not always practical.  What I found after one year of use is that the pages I used the most did start to fall out.  To remedy this, I invested in heavier paper.  So far, I'm very impressed with Georgia Pacific 28 lb paper*.

*Contains Amazon Affiliate Links

Do you prefer one planner or multiple planners?

2017-2018 Geometry Scope & Sequence

Every year since having my blog, I've posted about my new scope and sequence.  Yes, this changes every year.  Every year, as I'm tea...