I feel like I need to say hi as its been awhile since I have blogged about anything. School started and life got a lot busier so blogging was put on the back burner.
I have been managing my fibromyalgia pretty well and the weather has been pretty warm so I have not had any major flare ups until this weekend. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had mini flare ups this fall as I have but they have been minor compared to the one that I am having this weekend.
I have found that sometimes instead of getting sinus infection or the flu I get a major fibro flare up. I’m not really sure which I would prefer to have, none really but that’s not life.
Anyway this weekends flare up started yesterday while Tim and I were out trying to get the last major part of Christmas shopping done. It started with a minor headache and just having the fibro fog. Then last night the headache turned to where I couldn’t have any lights on so I was in bed by 7:30 and didn’t get up till 8:30 this morning. The headache is gone but the pain in the upper half of my body is insane. Like normal it’s starting in my arms, and neck. It will probably be in my back by tomorrow with lingering pain in my arms and will move into my legs by Tuesday. At least that is usually what happens.
I hate this as I don’t think I will make tonight’s Turkey Shoot at church and tomorrow I will cringe at work whenever someone comes near hoping that they don’t try to hug me or touch my arms or back.
Just typing this blog is a chore taking me time to write with mini breaks to rest my hands and arms. Thankfully my son is great at helping out around the house when I can’t do much. Tim is too asking what needs to be done and taking on extra duties. I was really wanting to get some things sewn today for Christmas presents but I guess that will have to wait until next weekend.
I am really struggling with what I believe about giving homework or not giving homework right now.
I have read a lot of Twitter conversations about homework and some blogs. I have always believed that students need practice in math that is outside of the classroom. I have never believed in assigning 1-30 problems to students but a few problems as meaningful practice.
This is what I commonly hear from parents since Common Core has come out, “I don’t know how to do this math anymore. The math I see my child doing in middle is math I did in high school. I can’t help them at home anymore.” I totally get that but the work that I have always assigned is work that students should already know how to do. I try to never send home work that is new to students.
The majority of my students around 75% do their homework the first time assigned.
I am also a parent of a struggling child who sees how homework affects our lives at home and wonder if it’s the same for some of my students. Do you my students parents find that it’s a struggle to get their child to do my assigned homework? Is it stressing out their family life? Is is not allowing the student and family to have time together at home?
These are all the questions that are going through my mind right now. Along with more that I just can’t remember right off hand.
We will be starting our fourth week of school tomorrow and for the first time in my teaching career I have only assigned homework twice so far.
One new thing that I have done is given two exit tickets to students in class.
I am throwing around the idea of giving more exit tickets this year than homework. The one obstacle that I am trying to get around is finding enough to time in class for students to complete the exit ticket. It’s not that the exit ticket is too long (so far 4 questions on one). I teach using Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) and I am lucky if I can get through one lesson in one class period. I need more class time (even 10-15 minutes would be GREAT).
So this is what I am thinking. I will try to continue with exit tickets given every couple of days. I will also need to make sure that I plan time for students to complete the exit ticket during a 5-10 minute period in class. I want to then use the information I get from the exit ticket to call students in for more one on one help with topics they haven’t fully grasped.
I would love to hear feedback from people on their ideas for homework and about giving homework. I would also love to hear feedback about my idea for homework this year.
This week we had three days of PD. I was pretty surprised with how much time we were given to work in our rooms.
The day began with the mandatory teacher meetings which took up most of the morning. Then we had our union meeting. Did I say that I am co-president this year for my local teacher union? If going back to school was not enough stress I also have to deal with this but at least I have a great partner in crime working with me on it. We then had the afternoon to work in our rooms.
This was a full day of meetings. To get more funding in Iowa schools pretty much had to create a teacher leadership program that is where TAP comes into play. This is our first year implementing TAP so we spent the morning learning about it as a district. The school board then provided lunch for us. (Thanks) After that we had building meetings to see how TAP would work in our buildings. It all comes down to having a master teacher observing us, then a mentor teacher and finally our princpal. Along with that we will have cluster meetings where we will work on implementing strategies in our classrooms. Over all it was a pretty stress free day.
Our final day this week was yesterday and we started out by having the morning to work in our rooms. I worked on getting all my student Chromebooks plugged in. Then worked on some computer work. I went to lunch with two great friends/coworkers. After that we had building meetings. The first meeting was making sure everyone knew how to set up their grade book which was easy! Then we moved into curriculum groups to review Iowa Assessment data, the grading rubric for SBG and discussion on how we are going to work with students in need of assistance (those that didn’t score high on Iowa Asssessments). This was all fine. There was one thing that did make this afternoon very stressful and is still on my mind today but I can’t share it now.
We have one more day of PD on Monday and then students start Tuesday.
Do your clothes just hanging on your body make your body hurt? Does it ever hurt to just have your husband/partner rub their hand on your back? Does it ever hurt putting on lotion?
I can’t figure out why my fibro is acting up right now because school has not even started. My husband says that I am starting to stress about school already and kids don’t even start until next week Tuesday. I go back for PD starting this Wednesday. My classroom is all ready with just a few minor things that probably will pop up in the next week. During classroom work time this week I hope to get some lesson planning done and update my Google Classroom that I hope to use more this year.
I have been told by others that this is going to be a difficult year because of the kids that are entering seventh grade. I try not to think about that. I want to give each student the benefit of doubt. They had all summer to grow up and it’s a new year. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t done extra planning for active students. I am looking forward to this year.
I do know that there are a lot of changes happening in my district and I will admit that I have a little anxiety about that. My district is implementing TAP where we will have a master teacher at each building along with two mentor teachers in each. Even though I was part of the process to get TAP started I don’t like the unknown and I guess that is getting to me.
I am going to try to enjoy my last two days off. I am co-president for our district teacher union this year and we are taking all the new teachers out for lunch on Tuesday. That should be a fun time.
I guess I am going to go catch some TV time.
So, I am going to try something new this year. After reading blogs this spring and summer about flexible seating I thought I would give it a try with my 7th graders.
I purchased 6 exercise balls from the store Five Below. Then I went to Walmart and purchased 6 water noodles and some cool duct table to create exercise ball stands.
No, I don’t have just 6 students in my math classes but I do have 6 groups. I put a colored dot on each desk. Each day I will post the color dot that gets to use the exercise ball instead of their chair if they want. If they decide not to use the exercise ball they can give it to someone else in their group.
I am not sure how this will work with 7th graders but I want to give it a try. If it does work well I will explore more options for flexible seating. I will write an updated post later into first quarter to share how its going.
I did steal and change some rules for flexible seating that I have posted in my room.
My room is about ready for school year 16-17 but I wanted to include some posters in my room for extra inspiration. I have to be careful with how much I put up on walls as the Fire Marshall says we can only have like 10% of our walls covered.
So, I decided that I would make 11×17 posters and hand them in the four corners of my room from the ceiling. I don’t have a Staples close by and I wanted to try to stay local so I am using a store in town called, Paper Trail. I created my posters on easel.ly and saved them as PDF’s. I just sent all of the PDF’s to Paper Trail via email and I will wait to see what I get.
Below are the four posters I created.
Convince Me Convince Me
I’ll send pictures out late this week when I get them hung up.
In my district we have at least one PD day where it’s just technology. One session that I attended was on Twitter so I went and created an account. At first I didn’t do much with it as I didn’t feel that I needed it right then in my life. I thought it was just for posting random things; not a place where you can experience such wonderful PD on your own. PD that is specific to what you need.
Looking at Bob’s first question here, “What experience caused Twitter to become a PLN for me?” (Sorry, Bob I reworded it a little) Is that I felt that PD in my district was stagnant at least for me. I felt that what I was learning at the district level was stuff that I already knew or had learned as at that time I was getting my masters and did a lot of research reading on my own and that we were moving too slow. So, I turned to Twitter and found this marvelous group(s) that I now call my virtual PLN (but once a year I can talk to people in person at TMC). I have my #msmathchat PLN, #MTBoS PLN, #TMC PLN and individual people that support me in ways that I never thought possible. I have learned so much through tweeting and participating in chats on Twitter.
I can say that I am not a novice on Twitter anymore but I don’t think that I have moved to a Twitter ninja yet either. I am somewhere on the side of the spectrum that is moving closer to Twitter ninja.
I don’t think I have an aha moment except to say that Twitter has pulled me through some rough days of teaching. The support that you get on Twitter is amazing.