Sunday, December 29, 2013


Oh how I've needed this winter break!  As the days of luxury draw to a close I would like to write about the wonderful discovery I have made over this holiday vacation.
I am more than a middle school math teacher!  I worked so hard for this career, starting when I was 35 years old with a 6 year old and a newborn baby. After 20 years of secretarial and retail jobs I decided I wanted more and went after it!  My goal for so long has been to be a great teacher and you know what it is a HARD goal!  Am I giving up?  Heck no, but I think I am starting to realize that in order to be a good teacher I have to be more than a teacher, I have to be me.  

I am also realizing that I need fitness,exercise and clean eating in my life.  Is it natural, nope I am and am surrounded by junk food junkies, but I was looking back on photos from facebook and my computer and I am much happier when I am involved in the bodybuilding lifestyle.  So although I will feel like the biggest poser alive, I am starting fresh on New Years Day and will get back to eating clean and lifting heavy.

Finally, since I've gotten sick over the holidays and let my house fall into shambles, I've decided I need to nurture my home more.  I've never been a suzy homemaker, but I've realized that I have to make our home more "homey" and represent our family values and taste.  I think the 10 year old is old enough to keep his legos contained to his room so I may have more freedom with this.  Although I still don't know where that $400 Lego Death Star is going to live! It is massive!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December already!!

I have no clue as to where November went!  It flew by and I think it has to do with the fact that my daughter needs to start driving lessons in order to get 6 hours logged before 1/26 which is when she will turn 16.5! (16.5 is when she can get her permit with the 6 hours of driving school logged and be on target to get her licence at 17)  I cannot believe I have a daughter old enough to start driving... anyhoo

I have not been happy with the way the school year started off and has progressed.  Since we adopted a new textbook series this year, I decided to follow the program to the letter (which means a lot of direct instruction), but its not going well.  When I asked the students for feedback right before the break it turns out the biggest things I can do to help them is to slow down and provide more written notes.  DUH! I'm going back to my videos!!  I've decided to flip again, this way kids can write down notes at their own pace. I have two daily models that I will be using starting next week and they are problem solving and stations. So after they get their lesson via video we will do stations based on an "entrance ticket" based off the video.  Those who "get it" get to work, those who don't get a reteach.  Stations I am considering are of course the reteach and then an INB station where they make something for their notebook.  Then when we switch, the "reteach" group goes to INB and the INB group goes to practice sets.  One more switch gets the INB'ers to practice sets and the practice set either to enrichment or computer practice. In an average class, that means 15 minutes per station with 5 minutes dedicated to the entrance ticket/sorting.  The thing I will have to work on is how to separate my stations.  My room is TINY and it is really a nightmare getting kids up and switching seats.  I would love to have them stay in their seats and have the stations be what they are working on, not moving from place to place.  The only problem I see is the reteach group.  But then again I can make the other students who are working do so silently, but then I have a problem with placing the INB supplies and computers.  Right now I have two groups of 4 and two groups of 5.  My 7th grade classes I have 18 students and my 8th grade classes have 12 students.
The next day we will stay working on the same objective, but the kids will have problems to solve within their groups and have to present, just like I had planned my math workshops. I feel like after that first day, they should all be in a better place to problem solve.

That's where I am so far.  I am so jealous of bloggers who write a post every day and I hope I can get into that habit.  It seems that when things are not going well, I don't blog.  But isn't that the time I should be blogging the most?  By not going well, I mean I don't feel the kids are retaining what I've taught them.