Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Day #9

Today marks the beginning of my ninth year teaching.  I've enjoyed my career thus far and the inevitable changes keep it interesting!

Here's a peek into what my first day was like:

7:30- arrive at school; swing through the math hallway to greet teachers
7:40- help students navigate to their homerooms
7:50- homeroom has started; check e-mail
8:25- homeroom ends; help students navigate the halls
8:30- track down testing headphones in the media center; help the computer lab facilitator and media specialist with Google calendar issues
9:15- check in regarding log-in information for online diagnostic test
9:25- drop off headphones and let teacher know we're still waiting on log-ins for the last two students
9:50- log ins are OK, so we start testing
10:30- return to office; call a parent to address a scheduling concern
11:00- find a teacher who wanted Google contacts help
11:30- more e-mail; talk with principal about furniture needs
12:00- conference with teacher regarding curriculum and resources
12:30- remember that I've missed my lunch period and eat lunch at my desk instead of with colleagues
1:00- return to pre-algebra class for more diagnostic testing
1:30- visit our school within a school for students with behavioral needs to check in and provide log-ins
2:00- get called to the library to discuss scheduling with a student
2:30- get a list of students with calculator accommodations and begin preparing materials for their teachers to use in daily instruction
5:00- discuss the first day with two teachers who popped in on their way home
5:15- leave school, make dinner, and start working on FAME
7:30- finish working on FAME website/correspondence from home

How was your first day?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B

Friday, August 19, 2016

Why the dishes are still in the sink

You know how the first week back to school after summer break hits you like a truck?  I started thinking about everything I've done since work officially began on Tuesday and I started to understand why washing the stack of dishes in the kitchen sink sounds like an impossibly hard task at this hour on a Friday night.

Tuesday: All day county-wide kick off meeting at the other high school in the district
- Listen to speeches for about 2 hours
- Present a 40-minute high-energy session on brain breaks three times in a row
- Try to simultaneously help 6 teachers with varying computer requests (Can you find my data from last year's testing?  Where did those Google files disappear to? Can I get my data now?)
- Research aforementioned Google problem, discover the culprit, email the file owner with a request to restore last year's work 
- Fix the toilet at my house after securing the right part (yay, me, doing home repair all by myself)
- Work on paper for grad school

- Arrive at school to find that my new office is finally being emptied from the previous program's belongings.
- Check in with each teacher
- Work on compiling data
- Attend faculty meeting
- Attend discipline and discipline data meeting
- Attend classroom procedures meeting
- Attend school rules meeting
- Answer guidance counselor questions.
- Create 90% of the bulletin board in my new office.
- Attend training for FAME facilitators at the middle school.
- Attend Mass at my church for the consecration of our new altar.
- Continue to work on paper for grad school. 

Thursday: Agile Mind PD
- Attend an 8-3 training that summarized the 2.5 day training I had in the summer.
- Answer what felt like 50 questions/requests about curriculum, technology, materials, etc.
- Draft newsletter to FAME cohort participants.
- Return to school for a faculty dinner at 4:30
- Compile testing data for teachers
- Back to School Night after school
- Write agenda for department meeting

- Attend full staff faculty meeting
- Run department meeting
- Answer questions about programs, curriculum, lesson planning, vocabulary instruction
- Clean my new office (dust is always everywhere anyway, and my room had some student cubicles in place previously that were probably never cleaned behind because of how they were positioned so I gave everything a nice once-over before bringing in my things)
- Move everything from my old office into the new one (down a flight of stairs) except my desk and filing cabinet which the custodians will have to do.
- Track down the custodian to ensure my desk and filing cabinet will be moved on Monday.
- Long-term plan Advanced Algebra I with that teacher
- Help the special ed co-teacher become familiar with the Google drive and pacing guide for the courses she'll be co-teaching
- Track down textbooks for a course
- Answer guidance questions
- Lend a listening ear to a colleague who was hurt by a decision from higher up
- Finish my bulletin board
- Begin making the space beneath my windows into display space (to cover the horrible tape residue left behind)
- Make a mental note that I need a phone, trashcan, and somehow a table and chairs in my office.

I feel like I'm going in so many directions.  There wasn't a clear priority in place for me this week other than to get everything started.  I need to spend some time reflecting this weekend on the relative priorities of what I need to do next week.  Time to bring back my daily task log from early last year to aid in that process!  

How do you prioritize the first week back?  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Teachers' First Day 2016

Welcome back for another great year, everyone!

The school year officially kicked off this morning with the first of 5 professional development days in a row.  I consider myself very lucky to work in a school system small enough that our entire instructional staff can fit in one high school's auditorium, with seats to spare.  We gather at the beginning of each year to reflect on what lies ahead, celebrate our past accomplishments, recognize our teacher of the year, welcome new faces, and thank those who retired over the summer. 

New this year, we had a professional development conference organized over lunchtime.  I have to give massive kudos to the person or people who organized the physical materials, schedule, and sessions.  There was a wide variety of content available and things moved like clockwork.  They even managed to group the sessions so that secondary and elementary teachers were separated.  This made differentiating the sessions much easier. 

The assistant superintendent reached out a couple of weeks ago to ask if I could present a session on brain breaks.  I agreed.  I presented a session on brain breaks ideas and a little on implementation, taken heavily from the Kinesthetic Classroom course I took last summer.  I enjoyed leading the session; 40 minutes wasn't enough to share all of the things I wanted to share with these teachers. The turn out was great: 27 and 18 elementary teachers in their sessions and 32 teachers in the secondary session.  That's 77 people who can make a positive impact on student learning.  I'm always pleased to see a good turn out.  Leading professional learning is fun for me and I feel like it can make a large impact on student learning because of the ripple effect.

The results from the exit questions aren't all in yet, but I think good things are brewing in my county based on these responses.  



If you want to try some brain breaks in your classroom, check out the presentation I gave for some ideas.  You can also download more resources from this Google folder, such as mailing labels to make these brain break Popsicle sticks a quick addition to your classroom. 

Our superintendent left us with 6 questions to consider for the year.  To me, this is too many (because if I need more than three things on a grocery store, I need to either write them down or be guaranteed to forget the most essential one).  I'm considering making these into posters for my room; a bit of a focus wall, I suppose. 

What does the first day in your district look like?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B