Archive for January, 2017

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.

Setting Goals

Posted: January 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

It’s day 8 of 2017 and my goals? Yea, they’re there.

You know, many people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by this time. Me? Well, it’s not off to the best start, but that’s ok.

You see, part of setting goals to to work to achieve them. Many will make adjustments to their goals as they go along. Me? Well, I’m doing ok.

So let’s look at the goals I set and how I’m doing so far.

Goal 1

My first goal is running 800 miles in 2017. So far this year I’ve run 11 miles. Last year by January 8, I ran 0 miles for the year. So I am doing better than last year so far. However, 800 miles is about 2.19 miles per day, which means I should be at 17.5 miles, so I am a little behind. That’s ok though, I’m going to make it!

Goal 2

Read more. Well, I have been reading more. I’m almost done with my first book of 2017.

Goal 3

In case you haven’t noticed, I am writing more. This is post 6 in 2017. That means I only missed 2 days so far!

You see, when we set goals there are two different ways to look at them if you start to not do exactly want you wanted to do. You can give up or you can look deeper at your goals and keep working harder.

I recently got an Apple Watch. It still has to learn my movements and I have not been reaching my goal for steps I had set. I look at others who have a watch and they are hitting their goals every day. I’m I sad? Yes, but then I remember I have mine set higher than other people. It’s ok not to hit your goal everyday. Don’t get upset.

Now, how are you doing this year with the goals you set?

I Can’t Go On

Posted: January 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

At this point, many people have already stopped your New Year’s Resolutions. I . . . well . . . I’m still going!

I’m not running today though, it’s just too cold.

Today was the first day back after winter break, I can’t read because I’m too tired.

I’m also too exhausted to write today . . . wait . . .

You see, it’s a mindset. I am going to read. I have written today. . . Running? I really don’t know. However, part of having the goal of 800 miles means that I can take a day off once in awhile.

Keep going strong with your goals! You can do this!

It’s Not Easy

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

I have several teacher friends who have returned to school after winter break. I return tomorrow.

Hold on, be right back . . .

Alright, laundry is switched over to the dryer.

Getting back into work mode is a struggle for everyone. It’s not that we don’t want to go back, it’s just tough to get your mind back into the game.

Boy the Ellen sure is a hoot, isn’t she? Today’s episode is great.

Oh wait, that’s right, back to work. Planning the first couple of days is similar to the first couple of days in August (September for some). The difference is you already know the kids. This time we’re finding out what they got over the break, teaching students the new rules (rules forgotten) about appropriate electronic device use, and reviewing first semester information.

Well, I have my running clothes set out for the morning. It sure is going to be chilly running in the morning . . .

That’s right, I’m working on the back to school stuff. I’m excited to . . .

Yup, Twitter got my attention there for about 5 minutes.

I’m excited to challenge my students with the 2017 challenge. I know they will step up and get find solutions to all numbers 1-100. Speaking of which, I was going to make the posters for the challenge and have them up and ready to go. I forgot to do that while I was at school earlier.

Man it’s tough getting back into school mode.


Posted: January 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

From a run this past summer.

I woke up this morning with intentions of starting my day out with a run. However, since it was cold, I could hear the north wind, and I didn’t have to work . . . I didn’t go.

I did make it to school to get some work done, but then decided that I really needed to go for a run. So I dressed warm and took off for the park. After 3 miles in 32 degree (Fahrenheit) weather, I made it around Boomer Lake and headed home.

For the longest time I would be a weakling and never run in the cold, but today reminded me how warm it can be while running, even with 15 mile per hour north winds. So I will get up in the morning and run!

When running in the mornings, it’s dark. I run on sidewalks sometimes, but when it’s that dark, you can’t always see the bumps, so I run in the street. Keeping an eye out for cars, I will step up on the sidewalk when they come near. However, the sidewalk is right next to the street and doesn’t even have a real curb . . .

I bring this up because when I got home today I saw on Twitter about an Oklahoma educator who was hit by a car this morning while running. Here’s the news article.

I didn’t know Michael Reid, but when I look through his Twitter feed, I do remember his tweets in the #oklaed chat on Sunday evenings. I also may have sat in an Edcamp session or two over the past few years. We have a big group of connected educators here in Oklahoma, which is partly why it was tough to hear about this loss. May God be with his family (personal and professional) through this time of grieving.

As I was running today I was thinking about writing about my run today, but after hearing about Michael’s death I am thinking about the dangers of running in the dark. Unfortunately, due to individual schedules and the more than 14 hours of no sunlight currently, people run in the dark.

For people driving, please be aware of your surroundings. Put your phone away, especially when it’s dark, while you drive. I see so many out running in the early mornings and late evenings. You are in a large, dangerous machine. If you do not pay attention, maybe you shouldn’t have a license.

It’s not just on the drivers though. Runners, there are several things you can do to help keep you safe.

As I said earlier, I do run on the street. I wear bright colored clothing, but that isn’t always enough. I was almost hit once during the day with the sun out while wearing a bright orange shirt. So in the dark, you may need a light.

I have been wearing Power Armz lately. One on my arm and one on my heel. These work great and even help me see a little better. They are completely worth the $20 each.

For Christmas I received an Energizer Headlight. I haven’t had a change to use it yet (I’ve been on winter break and run during daylight), but I will have it on when I return to my early morning run tomorrow. It’s bright and will help me see where I’m running and others to see me.

One more piece of advice, that I am going to truly take myself is to carry identification with you while you run. I’ll be honest, I often run without it. I need to always have it with me when I run.

To end the post, I want to share many awesome educators who run and motivate me. You can also follow #fitnessedu on Twitter to see all the great educators who run.

Everyone, please be safe when running (or other athletic activities). My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Michael Reid.


*Disclaimer – I was not paid to mention the products above, nor was I given the products in order to share about them. I mentioned the products to share what I use. There are many other products which serve the same purpose.

First Book of 2017

Posted: January 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

hls-hacking-pbl_finalThis week I purchased the Kindle version of Hacking Project Based Learning by Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy. It’s helped me start thinking about bringing Project Based Learning (PBL) into my classroom. I have had some experience in PBL, but I’ll be honest, I struggle with it.

During the 2010-2011 school year I taught at Turning Point Learning Center (TPLC) under the direction of Ginger Lewman. I was only there for a year before the school changed hands and my position was eliminated. I did learn a few things from Ginger, but I know I didn’t learn everything I needed to be confident.

Since leaving TPLC, I have struggled in finding ways to incorporate PBL in the middle school math classroom. It’s been difficult for me because I keep trying to look at the standards and wonder how to get some of these standards into inquiry based lessons. I feel some students won’t ask what needs to be asked to help them see higher level math.

The beginning of this book has helped me to get the confidence to figure out where to take my students this spring with some projects. It takes you step by step on how to sit and figure out where to use PLB in your classroom. I’m excited to take a project I used last year and use PBL for students to learn the information. I know it can be done and I’m excited for it to happen.

Thank you Ross and Erin for your wisdom and leading to get back on the path Ginger started me on 7 years ago.

Goals for 2017

Posted: January 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

It’s January 1st and I have been thinking about setting some goals. Of course, as the story goes, if you share your goals then you are more likely to keep and reach them. So here we go.

Goal 1

My first goal is a running goal. I ran 442 miles in 2016. That is the most miles I have run in
a year’s time. For 2017, I’m going to set my goal at 800 miles. I know that is almost double, but when I look at number of miles I ran each month, I can see that there is a lot of room for improvement. June 2016 was the only month I ran everyday. I know I will do better this year.screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-3-21-11-pm

Goal 2img_0045

I am going to read more this year. I have several books I want to read to improve my
teaching. This year I will set time aside to read. I will be sharing what I read through this blog, twitter and other social media as it fits.

Goal 3

I will write more. Last year I was really lazy and I wasn’t writing. This year I will start by writing everyday. There were so many times in 2016 I had a topic to write and share about, but I was too lazy to do so. This year I will sit down and actually share what I’m thinking. On days I have writer’s block, I’m going to use this website to find a topic for that day.

I hope you are going into 2017 with goals of your own. What are your goals?