Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7, 2016 - Monthly Post #DITL

The following post is a contribution to the Day in the Life Book Project initiated by Tina Cardone:

 Yesterday we set the clocks back, but my body has not adjusted.  My alarm was set for 5:00 am, as usual, but I was wide awake before 4:30.  I have to admit, it was nice to slowly wake up and lay in bed for half an hour. 

Today I was able to leave the house at 6:30 am, which was exciting because that has been my goal since day one.  Having a pre-made breakfast is what got me out the door so early.  I have to eat some kind of protein or I'm starving before my students even walk through the door.  This usually means that my husband or I have to make some kind of eggs.  I had the idea over the weekend to bake a quiche ahead and eat it throughout the week.  I was also reminded of last year when I would make "egg muffins" on Sunday nights and eat them throughout the week.  I may have to go back and forth between these ideas to get me through the year.

I arrived at work by 6:50, and headed straight to my classroom after signing in and closing my door.  I find that I'm most productive early in the morning, and this is my only time where I can avoid interruptions.  Today I was able to put together SMART Notebook files for the week.  This somehow didn't get done over the weekend. 

My first class started at 8:14 am.  Today we had an activity to practice applying the midsegment theorem.  My first class is General Geometry.  It's a course that I developed for students that would struggle to meet the rigorous demands of Regents Geometry.  We cover much of the same material, but not always in the same depth.  I love this class because we have time to explore each topic.  The typical routine is we take notes or do an investigative activity to learn a topic and then do practice problems one day, and then we do some sort of practice activity the next day. 

Today's activity was a Math Lib that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.  There is an editable version, so you can make up a silly story about the teachers in your school.  Students really enjoyed it.  We actually didn't finish in one class, so there's a cliffhanger.  The activity is meant to be used as a stations activity, but on a Monday morning, it seemed to be better to have students stay where they were and switch cards as they needed.  I did have to adapt the activity by completing the last 2-3 questions with students as a whole class effort.

My second class began at 9:00.  Today we started our journey to understanding congruence.  It's the end of our transformations unit, and today's topic was using rigid motions to create and understand congruent figures.  Once I had my class settled and ready to begin, our principal walked in with our instructional coach.  A new initiative in our school is for our principal to conduct "learning walks" to observe what is going on in the classrooms, and eventually coach teachers to improve.  It is a non-evaluative measure, however my students don't know about this yet.  (Today was the second day of the first round.)  They went from chatty to silent immediately.  I always laugh a little on the inside when this happens.  In a past experience, I observed how students responded to a teacher they hated during an observation.  They were wild and threw her right under the bus.  I never take for granted how my students will behave during an observation, and I always remember that even though they are acting unnatural, they are doing it for me.  (And some are doing it to stay under the radar.)

During today's lesson we were able to address confusion regarding identifying reflections and rotations given a diagram.  This is a huge win.  My students always have trouble with this.  We practiced drawing lines from one vertex to its corresponding vertex so we could see when it indicated a reflection (when the lines were parallel) and when it indicated a rotation (when the lines intersected).  I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.  I'm going to make a note for next year to teach this method at the beginning.

During my prep period, I was able to get some printing, answer keys, filing, and organizing done.  I had a couple of students in my room for extra help toward the end of the period.  My next two periods are the same as my first two,  and the lessons went the same (sans principal).

After my two late morning classes, I have my lunch period.  Today I had three students come in to complete their re-tests from Unit 2 (Constructions).  I used my time to eat lunch and write an email to the senior class reminding them about our fundraiser, the first trip deposit, and the food drive.

My last class of the day is my SAT Prep class.  Today these students were taking a test.  Actually, it was their first test because I meet with each section every other day, and things move slowly.  I hate that they will only have test averaged into their grades for the marking period.  I have to re-evaluate how I break up my units. 

After SAT Prep, I have my last prep for the day.  During this period I was finally able to get my BEDS form done, and I graded the SAT Prep tests.  I had hall duty for the last period of the day.  Today I had to hunt down some seniors and find out about their intentions for their senior portraits.  Many of them decided not to get their portraits done last year for whatever reason, then the company came back for one day last month and did not have enough appointments, and now they have to come back again to finish up the portraits. 

After school today we had a faculty meeting.  We were informed that we will be having an active shooter drill in the spring.  My husband's school has done these a few times, and they always sound awful.  I am now dreading ours.

By the time the meeting ended and I drove home it was 4:00 pm.  My husband and I had a snack and spent half an hour unwinding and talking about our days.  Then I went up to my office to create some assignments and update my interactive notebook.  I worked until 6:00, and then went downstairs to make dinner.  Tonight I roasted some vegetables, grilled some chicken, and had that with some rice.  I made enough to have more for lunch tomorrow, and leftovers for later in the week.  I wrapped up my work in the kitchen by 7:30, went back to my office to finish the work I was doing, and then started writing this blog post at 8:00 while watching some tv.  I was hoping to get to bed before 10 pm, but I'm still editing this post.

Reflection Questions:
1.  Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day. Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming. When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of? What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?

I'm happy with my decision to adapt the midsegments activity by completing the last questions with my students.  Some of the questions in activities that I find are beyond the grasp of my General Geometry students.  I like this method for a quick fix, but ideally, I would like to find a way to scaffold these questions so students can complete them on their own.

2.  Every person’s life is full of highs and lows. Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher. What are you looking forward to? What has been a challenge for you lately?

I've probably said this before, by my biggest challenge has been having a work-life balance.  Issues in my family have made me want to spend more time with my parents, but it is difficult for me to spend time with them when I know that I have so much work waiting for me when I get home.  It actually gives me anxiety, and makes it so that when I do spend time with them (or anyone for that matter), I cannot enjoy the time.  I'm hoping that things will eventually get easier, but it's been four years. 
3.  We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is. As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students. Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.

Today when my principal came in to conduct a "learning walk" I observed my students react immediately, and were on their best behavior.  To me, it indicates that my students respect me as their teacher, and want good things for me as my supervisors are concerned.  It's not a big thing, but it is reassuring.
4.  Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year.

My goal for the year is incorporating group work and collaboration.  I have my students seated in groups so that they can work together and help each other during work.  I purposely seated strong students with struggling students.  The problem is that the pairings don't always work like I want them to.  I have been reminding students to work together and ask their table partners for help before me.  I think I may need to institute a "three before me" rule and change some seats.

5.  What else happened this month that you would like to share?

In the past month we had spirit week.  Our spirit week ends in a pep rally and homecoming dance.  I had to chaperone the dance because it's a requirement of the class advisors.  I was really dreading giving up a Saturday night for it, but I really enjoyed seeing my students dressed up and having fun. 

1 comment:

  1. Well done being productive in the morning - you're at work before I'm out of bed. I'm also impressed that you've developed a course, whoa! And it's interesting that you see a class every-other day, that feels like a different sort of routine. I do know about making enough dinner to have some lunch tomorrow, at least. All the best with your routines going forwards (I peeked ahead).

    FYI, I’ve linked/summarized this particular post in my DITLife roundup; let me know if that’s a problem. (


Teacher Time Investments

Vlogging is great and all, but I want to do more.  I started finding a focus for my weekly vlogs when possible last week.  This week's f...