Saturday, November 8, 2014

week in review.

So I think things are going well with my interactive notebooks.  I have yet to finish an entire lesson with my kids—we're going slowly but surely.  After spending a few days staging an intervention and group therapy, and two with an actual lesson (that will culminate on Monday),  I have a few things in mind for the next iteration of this.

  • I will start numbering the pages from the center.  Page 1 will be the page on the right of the center seam, and the left page will be zero.  The students will number their books positively towards the back of the book, and negatively towards the front.
  • I will make sure that there are getting-to-know you types of activities for the first few pages.  
    • I really loved the "Me at a glance..." page from Sarah Rubin over at Everybody is a Genius.  The multiple intelligences, learning styles and color quizzes are brilliant.  
    • I think i will also put in a math autobiography as well.  There's a one that goes with the CPM curriculum that I could incorporate.  I've also had students write letters to Math in the past.  My English teacher work-girlfriend (I'm in a polyamorous work-marriage) uses mock Facebook profiles and timelines to do character analyses, so maybe I can work something in there as well.    I'm not committed to anything yet, but I'm committed to the idea of something.
There are, however, a few things that I'm currently in search of, primarily how do I measure progress, and how do I grade my students' notebooks, if at all?  Mrs. Hester doesn't and Sarah does minimally.  I think I'm leaning towards a peer review, or short scavenger hunt.  I don't feel like putting too much effort into something that doesn't necessarily prove mastery of a standard.  And as for progress, I think if I'm happier, and my students are in a more productive/persistent/positive atmosphere, that's progress.

I really look forward to doing this again, but with actual intent, as opposed to out of a desperate need for change.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's almost go-time

Today, we finished all the preparation for our interactive notebooks (the stuff I should have done at the beginning of the year but didn't and now regret).  My Sixth Period's math-holiday is over, and we will start tomorrow with writing linear equations using slope-intercept form and then converting it to standard form.  It has taken my Fourth period almost three days so far, but I'm ok with that.  I've circled in graphing review as well as calculating slope and reinforcing independent vs. dependent variables.

I'm feeling very hopeful about tomorrow.  My fingers are crossed for Mr. ArrogantPants to have a bit of humility.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Today was a good day...

Today was a good day.  I started my Sixth Period by telling them that I was going home unhappy.  But instead of being unhappy, I was going to be the impetus for change--I can only control myself, after all.  I told them that everything I skip any sort of team-building, I regret it. I hadn't done any team building activity at my last school because I looped with so many students that I didn't need to. Things are different and now I need to make amends. 

There was a lot of listening and helping neighbors today, and I think my students got a greater understanding of each other's shortcomings.

And my icing, the emergency, all-hands-on-deck parent meeting gave one of my more difficult cases a new perspective on schooling in general. Yay me. Yay us. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tomorrow's go...

My daughter likes to "have a go" at things instead of "having a turn".  So, this is tomorrow's go.  I hope it turns out ok.  And even if it doesn't, change is good.  At least I will know what not to do.

I was searching for solutions for absent students, and I think this may work.  Kagan has the facilitator deal with paperwork for the absentia, so I put in a space for the facilitator to sign her/his name.  I like that it's reminiscent to the old, pink office message slips.  I think I'll even copy it on pink paper.  I made it so that there are four to a page, but still has ample space to write on.  This makes me very happy.

Dry run...

I think I may have struck a balance with how to incorporate foldables and graphic organizers in my interactive notebooks while still be able to keep up Cornell-style note taking.  In the spirit of the left-side/right side of interview notebooks, I'll have only one "left-side" page foldable, and the other pages will be Cornell notes.  I think I'll initially have the foldable pre-made, but gradually release them to make their own (dare to dream?).

I also think I've come across a student record keeping/goal setting that I can work with.  I'm looking for a little embedded structure in my own record keeping.  I'd like to have the assignments separated by how they're weighted for grading, but this works for now.

This unit's major vocabulary.  The students' books will have more.  I was too lazy to go beyond getting a visual feel.  

Cornell notes on the right-side, a foldable on the left.  I think I'll keep the foldable and graphic organizers as a team closure activity.

I'm still working on a protocol for absent students that works for me.  I"m considering going the Kagan route and having that be a cooperative learning role—it's the facilitator's job, right?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Getting off the ground...

I've been doing a lot of internet-based research on how to get my interactive notebook off the ground.  I've started my own master-version, and I'm finding that i should do a little more "staging" before the pasting process begins.  After some things have gone down, I've discovered things that I wished came before other pages.  It's ok.  This is a learning process.  Plus, I can always paste to the back.

I'm debating with myself about how much/deep I intend on going with the foldables and interactive graphic organizers. I've done a lot of Cornell notes in the past, and due to foolishness, I haven't done so this year. I'll most likely be incorporating a balance of the two. 

I'd like to take a moment to thank all the math-teaching angels out there who have done the amazing job already and are willing to share it all with the world:

I'm still in the planning and staging process.  I feel very positive and hopeful that this will help my kids.  It may not be the silver bullet that I'm looking for, but change is almost always a good thing.

Cover and Bobby Straightedge:

Learning styles and cover information

Personality inventories

The start of a unit, with a pocket and vocabulary Frayer models. 
I think I'll have my students set up for the upcoming unit for homework after they take their unit test.  It'll be something simple to reset their heads after a test. I also want to have some sort of progress tracker organized by standard or objective, and a place for them to record their scores and revision scores. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Change comes from within...

I can only control the actions and reactions of one person.  

I haven't been happy with my last class, even though there are only 11 students, the personalities and needs of them make it seem as if there are 35.  Things need to change, and I cannot count on that change to come from them.  Thus, without lowering my expectations, I will embark on a journey that reflects my love for my job and respect for students.  I will be seeking patience, courage and peace.

Namaste, bitches. ;-)