Monday, January 11, 2016

#MTBoS Blogging Challenge #1

Hello!  It's time for the Math Twitter Blogosphere Blogging Initiative!  What's this challenge all about?  It's just about gently getting you into the habit (or back into the habit) of blogging.  This week we have two options:

Option 1: We rarely take the time to stop and smell the roses. Even on the most disastrous of days, good things happen. And these good things, when you’re on the lookout for them, pop up. All. The. Time. So for one day (heck, do it for many days), keep a lookout for the small good moments during your day and blog about them. We bet that by keeping an eye out for the good, your whole day will be even better!

Option 2: A few years ago, some people in the #MTBoS wanted to share what their teaching lives were like. Partly because we all work in different schools, and so we wanted to get a glimpse of our friends-in-action. At the same time, we also wanted to battle against the idea that teaching is easy. We wanted to share what it is like to be a teacher with non-teachers! So we all blogged about a single day of teaching — from start to finish. So for the first week of the blogging initiative, we thought you blogging about a day in your lives would be a great way to start getting to know each other!

Since I've blogged about positive moments more recently than I've done a day in the life, I'm choosing option 2.  

5:30: Alarm 1 goes off.  I make friends with the snooze button a few times.
6:14: I coax myself out of bed, hastily grab an outfit from the closet, and hop in the shower.
7:15: Having finished breakfast and packed my lunch, I'm out the door.
7:16: I back out of the driveway and see a light I left on.  
7:17: I park the car, turn off the light, and head to school.
7:24: I pull into the parking lot and head into the building.
7:33: I sign in at the front office and check my mailbox.  No news is good news.
7:40: I walk down the math hall and say hello to the teachers on hall duty.  One teacher asks if I'll be able to come to her Algebra II class and I say I think I will provided I'm not pulled to test.  
7:45: I send my weekly memo via email to math teachers.
7:50: I go to the Algebra II class and assist students who are struggling with their review questions for the final exam. This teacher has students write work on the board daily.  They're allowed to take a buddy along for support/guidance if they're stuck.  Two students ask me to be their buddies, and I oblige.
8:40: I return to my office and start reviewing material for the Bridge Projects I'll be writing next month.  (In Maryland, Bridge Projects are an alternate way students can earn credit after they've failed a standardized final test in a course like Algebra I at least twice.) 
9:03: I get a call from our testing coordinator asking what I'm doing second period.  Could I please test a make up PARCC session?  I go back to looking at the Bridge Project information until it's time to test. 
9:23: I head to the media center for the make up session.  It's 11th grade English.  It takes some time to get the majority of the students there, most likely because we're also running final exams this week and our state-mandated tests (HSAs) in Government and Biology.   
9:53: I finally say, "You may begin."
10:46: All the students have finished, so I end the session.
10:52: I finish cleaning up the room and return the materials to the AP.  
10:54: I heat up my lunch, left over PF Chang's Beef with Broccoli from my dinner out with college friends on Saturday.  I will need to drink several liters of water this afternoon to combat the insane amount of sodium they include in their meals.  I basically haven't stopped drinking water since Saturday evening.  There were over 3,000mg of sodium in that meal.  Eek!
11:10: I check my personal e-mail while eating lunch and decide to start writing this blog post.  Usually, I eat with the math teachers at 12:05, but I have meetings this afternoon, so I'm eating in my office alone instead. 
11:32: I pause writing here to return to work.  I start gathering materials and thoughts for my 12:00 meeting.
11:44: I go to the office to sign out.
11:49: I'm in my car driving to the Board of Education.
12:00: I start meeting with my supervisor and the other specialist from the other high school in the district.  We discuss the meeting we're having with teachers in the afternoon, textbook adoption, benchmark testing, data analysis and more.  
1:30: Our supervisor leaves for a different meeting, so the other specialist and I continue our previous conversation and update each other on how things are going in our schools.       
3:00: We start meeting with teachers from the two high schools to discuss course sequencing, course offerings, master schedules, and sort of the overall pathway that students would take in high school.  
4:30: We end the meeting and I discuss more with one of the teachers from my school as we walk out. 
4:40: I arrive at the grocery store so I can make brownies for tomorrow's potluck at "C" lunch.  I only have two eggs left and brownies require three.  I'd better get milk too.  
4:50: I get home from the grocery store.   
4:55: I preheat the oven and notice that brownies take, in fact, just one egg so my grocery store run was pointless.  Hmm.  It must be some cakes that need 3.  
5:30: I start making dinner.
5:50: I eat dinner.   
5:55: The brownies come out of the oven to cool.  
5:59: I resume typing this summary of my day.  
6:10: I start playing with the master schedule a bit pursuant to my discussion this afternoon with teachers.  We batted around the idea of requiring freshman to enroll in Algebra I first semester if they haven't completed it in middle school but we're not sure how that will change the rest of the schedule.  
Master schedule tinkering

6:32: Schedule analysis complete.  I tried to change as little as possible.  Of the nine teachers, 4 could keep their exact schedules, three could teach the same courses but alter the number of sections of those courses, and only two would have to teach different courses.  Those two teachers would each add one new prep (but they would still have at most two preps per semester).  
6:37: I answer an e-mail from a teacher who is requesting help with a course that's coming up next semester.  
6:40: Back to tying this summary.  

I'm going to publish this now because my work day is essentially over.  I'll do the dishes, maybe throw in a load of laundry to catch up from what I didn't do over the weekend, write a thank you card to a family from youth group who brought me a Christmas present last night, and carve out some time to keep in touch with loved ones via phone.  

To all the classroom teachers out there, I'm sorry.  I still carry tremendous guilt about the fact that with my new job I've been able to carve out personal time in the evenings and not grade papers or plan lessons all the way until bedtime.  I stay busy, but it's a different kind of busy than I had for the previous seven years and I'm not quite settled into this new routine yet.  Not having Sunday evening anxiety is strange.    

Which prompt option will you choose to blog about this week?

Mathematically yours, 
Miss B 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Two little joys from today

I just wanted to record two happy moments from today.

1. I visit a particular Algebra II class almost daily to help students who are struggling.  One of the students who is generally not in need of extra assistance is a 10th grade student who was in my class in 8th grade.  She commented today, "You know, I just threw out the notebook we made in your class and now I wish I hadn't because this stuff was in there and it would have helped me."  Obviously, I had a little twinge of pain in my heart when she admitted to throwing out her ISN, but I was more pleased that she recognized its utility.

2. When I parked at Dollar Tree, I was parked behind a running Mustang with a passenger inside.  My quick purchase turned out to be a little more time consuming than I expected because the staff insisted on boxing up my purchase instead of putting it into bags.  I walked out of Dollar Tree carrying 20 glass prayer candles for a youth group event this weekend and noticed that car was still running.  As I was walking back to my car in the especially dark parking lot carrying this heavy load, a young man hopped out of the running car.  He called out my name and ran to my car.  He wanted to chat; I taught him French last year and although he had moved school districts, he had heard I'd changed jobs.  It was nice to hear that he's doing well at his new school.   

Kids are the best, aren't they?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B

Blogging Challenge

Did you make a New Year's resolution?  I gave up on those many years ago, but if you're looking for something quick and easy to try in January, may I suggest the 2016 Blogging Initiative hosted by the good folks in the #MTBoS?  You can read more here

I started this blog about 3.5 years ago when I was in the middle of a Pinterest-inspired creativity session.  Wanting to share the pretty things I made for my classroom, I wrote a few posts.  From there, I realized that blogging about what I was doing in my classroom impacted how I was planning for instruction in my classroom.  There were many nights that I blogged about my upcoming lesson as a vital part of my planning process and in writing the post I made crucial revisions to my plans. 

I'm out of the classroom now and work as a coach for a team of teachers.  I'm not blogging much.  I'm going to participate in this challenge so I can figure out how to blog about my new job in a useful way. 

MTBoS Blogging Initiative

Today's question will be simple: Will you join me for the 2016 Blogging Initiative? 

Mathematically yours,
Miss B