Well, I’m not gone yet, just very very busy.
I also think I’ll start adding new things, especially during the school year. For example, here’s something I would like to do more of . . . Scenes from the School.
Scene from last night’s school dance.
Mr. Cates, our music teacher on the mic: Okay, here’s a classic to dance to!
(Starts playing “Eye of the Tiger)
(My 5th grade Students start running over to me)
Students: You need to dance to this, it’s a classic!!!
Me: Wait, I have to dance to this because “it’s a classic?” So when you think “classic” you immediately think of me?!
Me: Is this because I’m old?
(Students start laughing)
I’ll exit stage left now.
Okay, so consistency has never been something I’ve done on this site for, well, a consistent period of time. But that doesn’t mean I give up on it!
Anyway, here’s a few new photos to keep you interested (at least I hope) in the site. I may, or may not be doing something more with photography soon. I’m also still going to use this site to talk education as well, especially here in Nevada . . . and especially in light of all the recent news that has been happening. News like “rankings” and Bills for spending more on education and the like.
Again, I’m on Instagram if you’d like to see more or on 500px. Again, I may just keep this blog for education and general information while I may start another primarily for photography. We’ll see though!
So on Mondays, I figured to keep the post to some educational items, especially if I can reflect on some of the goals I set for last week. Just to recap:
1) Become a visual math teacher!
2) More concepts, less procedural!
3) Patience and Consistency
I will say that today, during the Math period, I definitely addressed the idea of “conceptual” and “procedural.” However, I believe I’ll continue doing that throughout the course of the school year.
I’ll also say that today was rather fun. I was working off of 3 – 4 hours of sleep so maybe that had something to do with my desperate and wandering style today. One student even asked “Mr. D, are you talking to yourself?” Anyway, this was, perhaps, the best the class has been since we started school. I enjoyed myself immensely in the classroom today and it definitely rubbed off on the kiddos as well.
I think for this week, especially during the Math period, I’ll continue with the conceptual and procedural discussion with the students.
Or force myself to sleep only 3 – 4 hours a day. That’s sure to work out better . . .
One place I’m finding myself going to more and more is illustrativemathematics.org. If you’re looking for a decent Common Core (still don’t know what to think about the Common Core sometimes. I’ll save this for a later post) resource for Math, I definitely like this one.
So, here I am, a little refreshed after having the week off for Fall Break (though it still feels weird to have a break now) and somewhat ready to go back to work. For the next few days, I’ll be readjusting my mindset to “school-mode,” which honestly, isn’t all that different from “non-school mode.” Just less swearing.
Anyway, I have continued with my 365 Photo-A-Day Challenge and yes, I feel I’m a better photographer than when I first started. It also helps that I upgraded my equipment midway through! Honestly, it just reinforces the idea that working hard at something will yield some positive results.
So here are a few more favorites from the past few weeks.
If you’d like, I’m also on Instagram if you’d like to follow me there. I’m at photo #283 right now and yes, I’m pretty proud of myself for staying consistent with this idea. If you scroll through my Instagram feed, you’ll see a progression from the beginning of the year to now, in terms of the photographs I’ve taken. It’s been fun!
Other Favorites from the week:
1) Agents of Shield is definitely picking up well during the second season. May have to write more on this later.
2) I’m also liking Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Very alien and also a very good foil to the human companion(s) on the show, especially Clara. Also, apparently Clara is one of THE most important companions in the Who-Mythology. Her run as the companion has seen her influence a number of critical events in the mythology of the show. More on that later as well! We’ll see how it goes with a possible “Clara-less” show this Saturday.
3) Great Basin Sweet Potato Waffle Fries. Holy smokes I can’t get enough of those things. I’ll see if I can’t get a picture of em’ the next time around.
4) NBA basketball. Huge basketball fan (Lakers fan) and any fan should appreciate seeing Kobe Bryant back in action. Yes, he’s older and performing off two very extensive and devastating injuries, but the guy keeps hustling.
That’s it for now. I’ll be back Monday 🙂
Today marks the start of Fall Break, a one-week “recovery” after starting the school year at the beginning of August. This also marks my 8th year of teaching, which is somewhat surprising to me considering I almost quit two weeks into my first assignment.
How the times have changed.
Just thinking about all the sweeping changes that have been made in education since the beginning of my career, I’m thinking about how much teachers have been doing in the classroom. Just going online will bring you to several infographics, like this one or perhaps this one:
Okay, so that last one isn’t an infographic. Just something I thought funny (though teaching “like a Ninja Turtle” would’ve been better).
Anyway, I’m still going to be working for a little over the break (always catching up to that pesky grading thing) but it’s also a time to reflect. I’ve definitely changed in the 8 years I’ve been teaching and I have gotten better. But there’s always that little voice inside that whispers ever so harshly “you can do better.”
With this year, we have a new emphasis on Math since the school didn’t make as much growth with our student populations as we would’ve liked. It also allows me the opportunity to get better at a few practices that I’m definitely going to change once we resume the school year next week. Here are a few things I’m resolving to get better at once we start-up again:
1) Become a visual math teacher!
I’ve been told that I’ve got high expectations for my students when it comes to anything I do in the classroom, but sometimes, when I teach, I’m not doing everything I can for *all* the students in my classroom. For years, I’ve been trying to shift my instructional practices to incorporate more “visual” learning, since manipulatives are hard to come by (at least for everyone in the classroom).
2) More concepts, less procedural!
I think I need to teach the students more conceptually than I have in the past (not that I wasn’t to an extent). What I mean by this is to reach deeper in terms of the math we’re actually learning and to be more accurate and precise as to why we’re doing certain things within specific algorithms. I know there have been some really public complaints about the Common Core curriculum, especially with Math, but I can understand the thought process behind it. Honestly, I’m still not too sure about Common Core (especially the creation behind and all the debates behind it) but it is challenging to me and what is life without a few challenges?
3) Patience and Consistency
These two ideas have been better, at least in terms of the application within the classroom. Still, I do have so much more to do when it comes to patience and consistency. I feel that sometimes my frustrations (whether it’s an inattentive student, other issues that take instructional time, etc.) do spill over into my teaching and demeanor. I can feel the “flow” of the classroom become stagnant when that happens and I become a rather mediocre teacher when it does. I have to be better. Whether it’s using my own calming exercises, taking a step back to recover, or just allowing the class a simple brain-break, I need to be patient with the outcomes.
I’m also going to resolve to post more 🙂
My reaction when I realized there was only one week of summer vacation left . . .
So, with the realization that I would be heading back to work (fully immersed, I should say . . . I have been going in during the summer for a few hours here and there), there are a few things I’d like share. These aren’t really “classroom hacks” in a sense, but there are a few things I use in the classroom that’s based on technology.
I think the Splashtop App is a very useful tool, especially if you use an iPad (or even iPhone) in the classroom and if you have an Interactive Whiteboard you can sync it with. It’s very convenient since the Splashtop App essentially streams your desktop onto your iPad, so you can manipulate your ActivBoard on your iPad. It’s very handy during a presentation so you can walk around the classroom to monitor behaviors if necessary.
This website is accessible for both iOS and Windows systems. You can also adjust any sort of discussion or conversation topic within the site itself after you’ve set up something for the students to talk about.
I don’t use this often, but I do introduce it to the kiddos. If someone from the class has a chance to work on some enrichment activities, sometimes I let them try to create a text message conversation between any of the historical or literary figures we’ve been studying.
Those are just three of the things we try to incorporate within the flow of the classroom. The Splashtop App is probably the one I’ve used the most for this past year, especially since it allows me to roam the classroom instead of just standing in front of the class during a Prezi.
Any other teachers out there have ideas to share? 🙂
Photo a Day
Here are some of my favorites from the past week in terms of photographs. I feel I’m getting “somewhat” better at photography, though I still have loads to learn.
Last weekend was the annual Art Club Field Trip to the Nevada Museum of Art. It was also the first time Room 55 Students had a lesson taught to them by one of the docents of the Art Museum. Normally, I’d take the students through the museum itself and then have lunch at a local restaurant. This time, however, the Nevada Museum of Art was kind enough to let us participate with the guided tour and time within their studio. A big shout-out to the Nevada Museum of Art.
If you’re a local or just a resident of Washoe County or the surrounding areas (Carson/Douglas . . . where you at!), I definitely recommend visiting the Museum.
Currently, the museum is showcasing two things:
- There is a collection on loan from the Haukohl Family who apparently own the largest collection of Baroque Pieces in the United States. Very impressive collection.
- There was also a collection from Doris Duke’s home in Hawaii. Now known as Shangri-La, it is a center for the study of Islamic Art and Culture.
Funny thing about that . . .
. . . I used to live in Hawaii and had no freakin’ clue this was there! Of course, I was probably occupied with doing 10-Year-Old Boy stuff when I lived in Hawaii, but still! Definitely a place I want to see if I manage to make it back to Hawaii 🙂
Anyway, I thought the visit went great. It was awesome to see as many students come to the field trip during the summer, especially some of the students who haven’t been in my class for a few years! However, once they’ve gone through the class, they do have that privilege of coming back on the trip, if I manage to stay in touch with them!
Anyway, we finished our trip with the Art Lesson, which centered around creating mandalas using a heavier weighted foil paper. There was also talk of geometry, especially defining asymmetrical design. I was happy the students could define “symmetrical” and sort of arrive at the conclusion that “asymmetrical” mean it wasn’t. As far as the embossing lesson itself, I’ve seen done before with embossing dragons (which I think I’ll do as a lesson next year) but this was a great application as well!
Naturally . . . I took some pics of the Art Project as well 🙂
We finished the day at My Favorite Muffin and Bagel 🙂 In all, a very fun little excursion into the city. I just hope the kiddos had some fun with it as well.
Now . . . it’s time to travel. And I think I’ll write more on my “Photo a Day” deal 😉