Archive for October, 2015

No Teacher Desk

Posted: October 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

If you’ve read through my blog, you know that I have removed the teacher desk from my classroom. Even though I’ve gone nine weeks without, I don’t regret it. I removed it because I rarely sat at it and I always had piles of paper all over it, so I couldn’t really use it.

But I know it’s not for everyone.

My friend Matt Coaty shared the New York Post article, “Principal Doesn’t Want Teacher Sitting – So She Threw Out All the Desks.” I read it and instantly didn’t understand her reasoning. While reading the article, you find out that the chairs were not removed. I’m not sure about you, but I think more people sit in chairs and not on the desk.

I feel bad for the first year teachers who are probably just skirting by with everything they need to do when their desk is just taken from them. That’s not fair to them. They need some way to help them be organized.

Now, before I go on and tell you everything that Donna Connelly has done wrong (in some people’s eyes), I want to share some things that she could do to help the teachers.

  1. Visit with the teachers and discuss why she did what she did. She probably has some great reasons (besides not wanting them to sit down) that she needs to communicate with the staff.
  2. Purchase standing desks for the teachers. If the whole reason is to keep them from sitting, give them the comfort of a standing desk so that they can stay organized in a way that they understand. Here’s a great desk for them to have, that’s even mobile!
  3. Be an understanding administrator and help people change their teaching styles and not just rip the rug (or desk) out from under them. Change is difficult and takes time.

I hope that we can see a story come out later about some great things that Ms. Connelly is doing with her staff. I know principals change schools and staff all the time, but we all need to work together to help make transitions go smooth.


Game Strategy

Posted: October 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

This past week my Pre-AP students have been working on one-step equations. It is a 6th grade standard, but we are covering it to review before we start on two-step equations next week. For those of you who don’t know what one-sIMG_0253tep equations are, they are equations that take one operation to solve for the variable. I wanted to do something a little fun, so I thought of a game today to play before the quiz tomorrow and before we move onto two-step equations.

The game I made up was “One-Step Equations Relay”. I divided the class into 5 teams of 6. One person would be the runner going around the board. One person would be in the center solving the equations. After a student solved two equations correctly, they would go back to their team and another student would be solve equations.

One the game board each team had a “start” space. The solver in the IMG_0257center would solve the equation, then if they were correct, they runner would move the number of spaces as the the answer. (If the answer is 4, they move 4.) The runner was to go around the board and make it to their “home” space. Once they made it home, they would return to their team and another person would then take their place on the “start” space. The goal of the game was to be the first team to have all their players go around the board and make it home.

I thought I had a great game created! I even included having “move up 1 space” and “move back 1 space” spaces. I also wanted to make sure that students were knowing how to use positive and negative answers. I thought it would be funny to watch students move clockwise for positive answers and counter-clockwise for negative answers. I was trying to set up the game so no team could actually win. I was focused on the practicing of solving equations.

Then the seventh graders outsmarted me.

IMG_0256You see, the students “home” was two spaces counter-clockwise of their “start”. When we started, the kids all tried to get the correct answers to move around the board. Then a negative answer showed up and students had to move counter-clockwise. Wheels started turning in their heads. They clarified the way to get home was to be moving in a clockwise direction.

Students then were getting answers wrong . . . on purpose. Well, only the positive answers.

You see, they started to figure out that if they only move in a counter-clockwise direction, they could pass their home. Then, when a positive answer came along, they would get home, replace the student with someone new and then repeat the action. Students were no longer going completely around the board, they were just taking a quick way to finish.

Was I mad?

Heck NO!

You see, they figured out a quicker way to get their teammates “around” the board and back home. Were they still solving the equations? Yes! They were purposely getting the answers WRONG so that their teammate would move when the answer was not what they wanted. In order to do that, they had to know the correct answer.

At the end of class, we discussed how no one cheated and that everyone was just strategizing on how to play the game. It’s not what I expected when I created the game, but it was still an awesome way to practice solving equations.