Boy It’s Hot Outside

Posted: July 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

Today I went for a 5K run, well, actually I ran 2.6 miles and then had to walk the final half mile because of the heat. It’s not that it’s too hot to run, otherwise I wouldn’t have gone on the run. However, I wanted to push myself a little and to help my body acclimate to hot weather because you never know when a race could be hot weather.

While running today, I started to think about how great it was going to be to get home and enjoy the air conditioning. That thought got me thinking to growing up in a house that didn’t have central air. Yes, we had a window unit in the dining room and we had rules on when my brother and I could turn the A/C on. (Above 100º before noon.) Of course, our parents could turn it on whenever they wanted. IMG_2192

When attending college, I lived in a fraternity house without central air conditioning. We had a few window units in common spaces, but it wasn’t enough to make it the house cool. There were some who put window units in their bedrooms and we even had arguments about those who had them should be paying more in rent because they were using more energy than those without A/C.

I’m currently reading Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had by Tracy Zager, which states that students learn better if they can make connections. If you do any educational reading, you know Zager is not the only educator to state this fact. So you can see I bring all of this up because I’m making connections myself.

As I was running, I started to think about how hot it would be at times sitting in the house. Sitting in front of a box fan was not only entertaining (talking into a fan is the best), but it would keep you cool. But how many students don’t have the luxury of even  window unit? Yea, that’s not too bad. It can be hot and miserable, but there are ways to keep cool. What about winter though? I know students who don’t always have heat.

As teachers, we need to keep these things in mind when a student doesn’t have their work complete, or are tired, or just needy. Students live in so many different atmospheres that may not help them focus at school as we think they should be. What can you do to help them out? Yes, we’d all love to give them a better home, but we can’t do that. How can we take the challenges they face and help them in the classroom?


Just writing

Posted: March 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I shared about how I’m doing on my goals for 2017. After I finished, I started to think about all the excuses I have for why I am not doing so well on my goals. That’s what we do, find excuses. So why not share some here?

It’s been too cold in the mornings to go run and then when I get home after school I have the dog to take care of, dinner to eat and planning for the next day. I don’t have time to run. Yea . . . that’s an excuse. I keep telling myself to go out and run every morning, but then I don’t. I have to stop staying no and just make myself do it!

I like watching television. I don’t have time to sit and read. Actually, when I’m reading, I can’t play Candy Crush. I enjoy being brain dead in the evenings and watching t.v., but that needs to end. I need to get to reading more.

Finally, I feel I always need to have some profound to say in order to blog. I know that’s not the case, but I feel like some people may open my blog and just go, “I’m wasting my time.” Well, I hope not. I want people to enjoy my blog. Yes, it will be boring at times and I need to be okay with that.

Now, to stop making excuses and start making changes.

2017 Goals Update

Posted: March 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

It’s the end of spring break, which means we’re about a forth of the way through 2017. On my run today, I got to thinking about the goals I set in January for the year. How are they going?

Well, first you can read about my goals in that post.

Goal 1: I’ve been running, but I haven’t even reached 100 miles yet. Yea, if you do the math, I should be at 166 miles already. I have a little work to do, but I know I can reach 800 miles. It’s only 17 miles a week, so DOABLE!

Goal 2: I’ve completed two books, one professional and one fun read. I have a few more books set and ready to read, I just need to turn the television off more often and read instead.

Goal 3: Well, I’m writing right now . . . yea, need to write more as well. Again, I need to turn the television off more often.

I hope all of your goals are going great!

The Changing Path

Posted: March 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

img_0903Yesterday I attended EdcampOKC at Del City High School. I had a great time catching up with my educator friends and meeting new ones. Edcamps are a great way to connect with others and to learn from one another. I even helped an edcamp newbie write a session and then facilitate it. It was awesome to see the power of self-empowerment happen!

The two morning sessions were great and I really enjoyed the conversations. One was about classroom management, the other on teaching middle school. In the classroom management session, I learned how we need to better prepare new teachers tips about managing their classroom, especially when stepping in mid school year. We can do better.

The second session was one I facilitated and we just talked about teaching middle school and how to help them be more successful. It was mostly talking about student behavior and getting work turned in. Again, a great session.

Then lunch time hit.

The afternoon was much different. I felt lost and I didn’t know what session to go into. I stepped into a couple and I felt as if the conversations were not geared helping each other, but more of complaining. I had to step out. I ended up leaving early and heading home.

During the hour drive home, I started to get depressed. Am I over edcamps? Are they no longer for me? Why did I feel lost?

As I thought about it, I had the chance to talk to a good friend about the situation. What I figured out is that I love the edcamp model. I have attended over 20 edcamps (I’ve actually lost count), which has helped me create many lasting connections and friendships. I wouldn’t give that up! However, I don’t think it’s where I am to go to learn.

You see, I’ve empowered myself throughout attending all the edcamps to search out what I want for my classroom. I don’t need anyone telling me to do this and to read this, I seek it out myself. I use Twitter to find new things to read and blog posts to try new things in my classroom. In fact, I’m looking and changing my classroom so much next year that I won’t even recognize it.

More on that later, back to my thought yesterday.

I am one of the original founders for EdcampKS because I know it’s a great place to make connections and to learn from your peers. I also head up the edcamp for my school district for teachers to learn new ideas and to share. I know the power edcamps have and I have loved every moment I have attended one.

However, they are not the place for me to learn.

img_0801-2You see, I think I have things to share. I know I’m not the know-it-all (some may think that), but I’m not. I’m always finding new ways to try things. In fact, I just finished Hacking Project Based Learning by Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy. It was a huge slap in the face. I know I don’t use PBL as I should and I always make excuses. However, this book helped me realize I need to make just a few changes.

Would I have gotten this out of an edcamp? Probably not.

See, there are many who attend edcamps who have no idea even where to start. I was there once. I needed edcamps to get information and find connections to help myself improve. But I don’t need them as I once did.

Am I going to stop attending them? Of course not! Will I attend every single one possible? Of course not.

I will continue to attend Edcamps to share my knowledge of information, but I do not need to be there to learn. Yes, I will learn while I’m there, but I won’t be learning in the same capacity as I once did at them. My path of learning is changing and taking me in new and exciting places.

Yesterday afternoon as rough as I felt I couldn’t do anything. Today, I’m ready to see the new path and head off in a different direction.

Happy Learning!

Yes, I Wear Ties

Posted: February 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

I love to wear a tie. I wear one Monday-Thursday at school. There are some days I don’t wear a tie, but students will say “Where’s your tie?” on those days. Yes, it’s just normal to wear a tie.

I often get asked, “How many ties do you have?” I don’t remember the count right now, but I can go the whole first semester without repeating a tie. Yes, an entire semester!

I use an app “How to Tie a Tie” to change up the know sometimes.

fd703f51-3f1c-4ca1-a8ed-d96c75679a1fYes, I can tie a bowtie.

I love a good tie!

I get in trouble when I buy yet another tie. . . .

Enjoy these photos!

Feedback Failure

Posted: February 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’ve been reading Hacking Project Based Learning by Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy. I’ll be honest, I’ve been a little slow reading this. However, the latest hack I’ve been reading is a huge slap in the face (in a good way).

Hack number 7 is about feedback. It’s important.

You see, I have students work on a monthly project at home which uses the current information we’re discussing in class in order to complete. What’s he problem? I only grade the final project.

I have students write reflections as part of the project, and I say I am more focused on what they learned and not so much the end product. But is that true?

Reading this hack I’ve realized I assign the project, then grade it. Am I focused on what they are learning? If I were, I’d be checking in and visiting with students about the progress they’re making.

I need to work on getting more feedback throughout the process and not just at the end. How can students put the best into their work if I don’t help them find what their best is?

Time to get back to reading and thinking.

Thank you Ross and Erin for his great book to help me reflect on how to improve my projects.

The end of the chapter really speaks what I’m thinking. In fact, I’ve witnessed it.

Put It Out There

Posted: February 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

I live in a state of low teacher pay.

I live in a country where people look down on educators.

I love my job and I love a good joke. However, the jokes are for everyone to see when we post them on social media.

Look at the following jokes, but as you do look at them from a non-educator mindset.

So if you’re a parent who’s child is in your class, what are they now thinking about having you as the teacher? Do you find out when the principal is gone and show a movie? Is my child the shithead in his/her class?

Think about that. What are you telling people about yourself and your class when you post this on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest?

Now look at this one.

This is a sweet one. Helping parents know you care about their child is important. However, can it be seen the wrong way? Can this be viewed as a complaint of having a large class size?

This last one can be viewed as a complaint, but I feel it’s good for people to realize everything that is done in a day by teachers.

I guess what I’m saying is be careful what you post. You may see it as a joke. Your teacher friends may see it as a joke. Does everyone though? Who else is seeing what you post?

Be the best you can be but also be mindful about what you share with the world.

2017 Challenge

Posted: January 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

When it was time for me to return to school last week, I saw on Twitter the 2017 Challenge. At this point, I wish I could remember who tweeted it, but I can’t. #fail

I took the challenge to my students the first day we returned to school. They loved it (and still love it).

In case you don’t know, the 2017 challenge is to take the digits of 2017 (2, 0, 1 and 7) and using operations, make the numbers 1 to 100.

I placed paper on the board with all of the numbers and challenged them to find them all. When a student found a number, they needed to show me, then they could place their name on the paper. We were to continue (finish) the lesson on Friday, but then we didn’t have school.

Great! So now what do I do?

This week I have been having students continue to work. I have now placed the answers they found on a Google Spreadsheet (below) for them to look at and work on it at home.

Can you find ones they haven’t been able to find yet? Did you challenge your students? if so, how did it go?

Do You Think You’re Brave?

Posted: January 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’m sitting at home tonight thinking, you need to write something. I couldn’t think of anything. Then I remembered a bookmark I have of The Learning Network. So I chose the topic Do You Think You’re Brave?

The topic starts by sharing about the captain of Costa Concordia who left his ship when it was sinking. Am I here to assess if he were brave? No, I’m here to discuss me.

So, do I think I’m brave?

I believe in aspects I am brave.

When it comes to standing in front of my students each day to teach them . . .yes, I’m brave.

When it comes to standing in front of parents and colleagues sharing my knowledge of mathematics and growing knowledge of education . . .yes, I’m brave.

When running in the dark with my lights, bright colored clothing and awareness . . .yes, I’m brave. (Side note, I was almost hit this morning when a truck was coming toward me. I saw it two blocks away, but at the last minute they swerved to miss me. I was safe without the swerve, but that’s beside the point. Watch where you are driving.)

Am I as brave as others?

Well no. In fact, I’m currently watching President Obama’s Farewell Address. He’s brave. As were President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton and every President before them. To stand in front of a country to be Commander in Chief is not easy.

But again, this is about me.

So am I brave?

I feel I am brave enough for what I need at the time. When needing to climb on my roof to hang Christmas lights or to paint, I can do so. I haven’t always been brave enough to stand on a roof, but now I’m fine.

I will be brave for what I need for when I need it. I will do what I need to stand up for what I believe in.

So . . . Do You Think You’re Brave?

Group Quiz Concept

Posted: January 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

A few months ago I had students take a group quiz. I set some guidelines though. You can find the quiz at this link. 2-stepgroupquiz

Students were in groups of 4 and they were not allowed to have anything on the table. I passed out the quiz, giving all students in the group to discuss the quiz. In the discussion, they needed to decide who was going to be completing each question. Each person had to solve one of the problems, but which one to solve was their choice.

When students were ready to take the quiz, they raised their hand and I handed them their pencil. The twist was the person holding the pencil was not allowed to talk. That’s right, you could solve the problem, but you were not allowed to talk, however, the other three in your group could talk and assist you in solving.

Students really worked together and supported students who struggled. It really gave everyone the confidence they needed to complete their problem successfully.

I would encourage you to try a group quiz while placing some boundaries on them.