Showing posts from August, 2015

New Classroom, New Ideas

I plan to blog again soon showing my "after" pictures. I still have a few finishing touches to add (even though students start tomorrow!).

For now, I wanted to focus on two new ideas that I'm trying in my "new" (to me) classroom. I'm moving from the 7th/8th grade hallway on the 3rd floor down to the 6th grade hallway in Room 211. If you are a number nerd, like me (but I'm no Terry Tao), you will appreciate these facts about my new classroom number:

-211 is can be made by adding three consecutive primes: 67 + 71 + 73
-If you multiply the digits, you get a number that is still prime (2 x 1 x 1 = 2)
-If you add the digits, you get a square: 2 + 1 + 1 = 4
-211 is the 47th prime number (and 47 is also prime)
Okay, back to my classroom. One new idea I'm trying is ditching the teacher desk! Again, I'll share a pic soon of the completed room. I'm so excited about how much room I've gained by getting rid of that clutter mag…

Dear New Middle School Math Teacher,

You landed a job as a middle school math teacher! Yay, you! You might have a ton of questions or you might be feeling like you don't know what to ask because you don't even know what you don't know!

That's okay. Breathe.

Today I'm presenting to 4 new middle school math teachers in my district. I made this presentation, which is pretty specific to my district, but here it is if you want to take a look.

I really wanted to write this post so I could take a minute to write down some of the tips that I give to new middle school math teachers. This might be one of those posts that you read now and then revisit later once you've had a chance to settle in a bit.

1. Come up with an attention signal
Before you even start, think about how you might get the class attention (without yelling). Believe me, it helps. You could do a call-response (I like the one where the teacher says "class" and the kids say "yes" in whatever manner the teacher said "c…

Almost Time!

It's almost time to go back to school... while my brain has been engaged with teaching professional development and participating in Twitter conversations with #MTBoS tweeps all summer, there is something special about the start of the school year. 

When it's time for back to school, teachers either feel dread or excitement, or sometimes a complicated combination of both! I tend to lean more towards excitement. I love new school supplies and the chance to start fresh. I have lots of new ideas that I want to use in the classroom. Here are a few for this year:

1. I want to try vertical non-permanent surfaces.
2. I did interactive notebooks last year and would like to do them again. I found lots of great inspiration here and here. I bought some buckets at the dollar store to keep them organized on the tables this year. My system last year wasn't that great. (more on that later)
3. I really want to try choral countingThis video really illustrates it well.
4. I'm co-teaching w…

Bullet Journal

I've been reading about a new (to me) idea for organizing calendars/to-do lists. It's called Bullet Journaling.

I'm so excited to try it out and would love any tips or tricks from people that have tried it!

If this is new to you too, here is a basic overview: it's a journal where you keep a bulleted list as your calendar as well as bulleted lists for daily tasks and anything else you need. While there are lots of apps for getting organized, and I do love my iPad, there is something so fun to me about actually writing out my lists and checking off things as they get completed. I had a little notebook that I used for school to-do lists, but it was never as organized or nice as this!

Check out this video by the creator, Ryder Carroll, that explains the basics of Bullet Journals well:

I also found some helpful pictures and blog posts on Pinterest. Check them out here and here.

Now, I have to pick my tools: the journal and pens. I've already wrote about my love of Stab…

Graph of the Week

I came across a tweet from @mathsjem where she shared the link to her blog post about 5 teaching ideas. I'm super excited about one, especially, called "Graph of the Week." (<-- seriously, check out this, lots of resources!)

The idea is to pose a graph to students and have them answer questions/ reflect on the graph. It is such an important skill for life!

I'm thinking that I will talk with the Science and Social Studies teachers on my team to get the graphs or at least topics for the graphs so students can start making connections between different subjects.

In fact, besides graphs, I might also include info graphics, as that is how students are also seeing information presented to them. Looking forward to this new idea and will blog in the future to let you know how it goes!

The Nesting Stage of Summer

Now that it's officially August, I feel that it's really time to think about "Back to School." All summer I've been reading blogs and tweets and slightly thinking about how I want to set up my classroom. But, to be honest, I have been thinking more about my new role as a math coach. So, for some reason, this morning I had a moment of panic.

Must. Read. All. The. Blogs!
Must. Read. All. The. Tweets!

I feel like I want/ need to decide some things for my math classes. I can compare these weeks before school starts to the weeks when pregnant, before you have the baby, where you want to clean everything, set up the nursery, etc. They call it nesting.

I feel like that right now. I'm nesting. I'm going to Ikea, Target, and the dollar store. I'm collecting new school supplies, bins, and decorations. I'm planning. I want to clean stuff. I want to purge and start fresh!

So, indulge me as I make a little list of things I'm thinking about:

-I'm moving…

Where Should Pi Go?

I'm up early on a Saturday morning so I can catch up on blogging/Twitter. I have to say, I've been blessed with a child that likes to sleep in (I know!)... don't hate me too much, she still isn't sleeping through the night at 14-months. I was definitely up at least 3 times last night, oh joy.

Anyway... I just want to say, I love blogging and Twitter for stretching my thinking! Seriously!

Again, Sarah Hagan has given me some blog traffic! (thanks, Sarah!) I checked my stats this morning and saw another older post about Pi Day Decorations was getting some new views. I love that Sarah took my idea and made it look even better making a downloadable sign. If you notice, in the original picture, mine is just hand drawn... probably because I thought of it approximately 2.5 seconds before students were coming in! Not that I'm always a procrastinator, but here's why I decided to do it: The day before I did a math talk where I asked students to put pi on a number line. W…