I have a lot that I will be doing this summer. When I think about everything that I am doing individually, they are all great things for me and my students, but when I think about everything together, it seems crazy to think that I will get everything done and keep my sanity. This post is mostly for me to write down everything that I am doing so that I can reassure myself that I can do it and keep my sanity.
1. UT Prep
Last school year, before summer, I was asked to work at an academic summer camp. I would get paid really well, and I'd be helping students fight the summer slide. I taught middle schoolers Algebraic Structures and it was so much fun. I was only able to work half of the camp because my school started back in the middle, but since I changed schools, I decided to work the entire camp. Most of these students are from Title I schools and are on a scholarship to be at camp. I think it is so cool that some of the things that I am teaching these students they won't see unless they choose to take specific courses in college. This camp is Monday-Thursday 8 AM-4 PM.
2. Online Blended Learning Academy
I was emailed with an opportunity to take UTeach's online Blended Learning Academy. The TEA is trying to get more teachers to take professional development about blended learning, and UTeach developed an online course. It's 4 courses and full of so much wonderful information about how to implement blended learning effectively in the classroom. I've only finished the first course so far, but I'm so excited to finish the rest. The instructor is also Kelli Allen, who is a wonderful woman who does so much for UTeach, so I am also excited to continue to learn from her.
3. Writing an article for the Mathematics Teacher about my Maker Lesson
Shelly, the director of UTeach Maker, asked me if I'd consider writing an article about my lesson. The Mathematics Teacher currently has a call for articles about motivation behind why math teachers do what they do. I hate writing, but I understand the importance behind it. My best friend is also writing an article for Science Scope, so we're doing it together, which makes it easier.
4. Presenting my Maker Lesson at the UTeach Alumni Conference
Next Friday, I will be presenting my Maker Lesson at the UTeach Alumni Conference. I have my presentation started, but not finished. I don't mind presenting in front of people, its what I do for a living. It's just that sometimes, when I have so much to do, I even procrastinate doing the easier things on my to do list. Kinda like what I'm currently doing with this blog post.
5. UTeach Maker Summer Challenge
UTeach Maker has a summer challenge for its Makers.
6. Maker Projects
I don't like that my pants have such small pockets and that most of my dresses don't even have pockets. I want to learn to make dresses with pockets. Then, I'd be unstoppable. Seriously though, I'd be able to wear dresses all the time and not have to take a purse or tell my wonderful husband to make sure his pants have enough pockets to carry my things.
I also have a lot of crochet projects to start/finish. A baby blanket for one of my husband's co-workers and monster slippers and a Dr. Who hat for a friend.
A round kitchen table.
7. My husband and I are buying a house!
We're buying our first house. The closing date is scheduled for mid-summer. So we will be moving along with everything else!
Our current kitchen table is perfect for a small space, It folds up to create space, and unfolds for company, but I like the way circle tables fill up the space, but they can be pricey. So I have decided that we are going to make one. We will probably buy chairs, because that seems like more work and skill than I currently want to do.
8. Actually Blog
I have a few drafts that need to be finished, so I should do that. I want to write and reflect more, but as I previously mentioned, I don't like writing. A few of these posts are about moving to a public school, goals for next year, and a few are lessons that I wanted to reflect on.
9. Plan for next Year
I also want to plan for next year. I will not have many work days before students get back, so I want to try to have the first month/unit planned.
I have 6.5 weeks to finish all of this. It is definitely possible, but I should probably get back to work and stop procrastinating with this post.
This year is the first year that I've really used Google Classroom. It is awesome. When you post an assignment and link a Google Doc, you have three options, depending on what you want the students to do with the document:
Most of the time, I just post digital copies of homework, so I just allow students to view. For digital investigations, I make a copy for each student so that they can turn it in.
Recently, I covered properties of quadrilaterals in my Geometry class. I do not like to give students the properties, I would rather that they discover them through investigations. I have Geometer's Sketchpad investigations, but my school has Chromebooks and you can no longer download Geometer's Sketchpad. I tried looking for these investigations, but eventually decided that I just needed to make them myself. I used Desmos Geometry to create them and Google Docs to create a guided investigation template. The Google Doc has the links to the investigations.
My students this semester are really reluctant to do investigations, they do not understand why I am making them do it. I have a circular conversation with them most days that we do investigations:
Student: Why are you making us do this?
Me: So that you can think for yourself.
Student: But I can think for myself.
Me: Can you answer the questions in the investigation?
Me: . . .
I'm not really sure why my students are pushing back with investigations. I have some students who need me to sit there next to them and read the questions that are printed on the screen. There are students who just refuse to do it, and wait until we go over it as a class. Thankfully, I do have some students who complete the investigations.
There are some days that I want to give up on investigations and everything that UTeach taught me about effective and engaging teaching, but that is why I cannot give up. I did not become a teacher because it would be easy, I knew that it would be challenging. I became a teacher because I wanted to show students how math applies to life outside of the classroom. And I will not stop trying to achieve this.
As I mentioned in my about me, I use Interactive Notebooks (INBs) in my teaching. There are many different ways teachers can use INBs, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to do what you're comfortable with and have time to do. You can go crazy and have a variety of foldables where the students need to use scissors everyday, or you could use traditional notes shrunk down to fit in a notebook. I'm the teacher that has students use scissors everyday. I love the interactive aspect of INBs. I love looking on pinterest, twitter, Teachers Pay Teachers, and other math teacher blogs for inspiration for my foldables. My favorite foldable is one that I made for Trigonometry.
I use the foldable along with SOH CAH TOA, although this is he first time that I have written it out linearly since I learned it in high school. I usually write it out how you see it in below. I think it emphasizes that you divide the triangles leg lengths, where writing it linearly could lead to the misunderstanding of multiplying them.
One of the first things I was told to do to prepare for the first day of school, was create procedures for everything. There are some teachers who have procedures for everything, it is how they have order in a chaotic classroom full of teenagers.
I do not have too many of these, just because I find that they are more of a headache to enforce, but I do have one that my students notice when I do not do. It is how I dismiss them from class. I do not allow students to line up at the door way because it makes me feel crowded, but I do have one "magic" phrase that dismisses them:
Bye! Have a great day! Make good decisions!
It started out as a joke, because the students would lovingly tease each other and I would tell them to be nice to each other. It then evolved to telling them that they needed to make good decisions, and being nice to one another is a good decision.
I received a few responses, two my favorites being "What's a good decision?" and "You make good decisions Ms. Evans". Whenever I forgot to say it, my students would tell me "Bye Ms. Evans! Have a good day! Make good decisions!" If I am absent one day, my students will tell me the next time they see me that they forgot to make good decisions the previous day, because I was not there to remind them to make good decisions.