Still Here?

January 8, 2016 Leave a comment

 

Realization

Me, realizing that school starts up again on Monday. And it’s the 3rd Quarter of School

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.

Sand Harbor 1.1.16

Sand Harbor on New Year’s Day

Winter at Mayberry Park

A recent picture of Winter at Mayberry Park

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!

Back to School!

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Reflection

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 . . .

Resources

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.

 

 

Friday Favorites

October 10, 2014 Leave a comment

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 🙂

 

Watchful Wednesdays

October 8, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m starting to think along the lines of organizing my posts according to the days of the week.  Mondays can be reserved for work-related, educational posts (with maybe a Friday thrown in for reflection on said posts).  I’m also thinking Fridays can be used to post some of my favorites things, a “Friday Favorites” so to speak.  A part of that will also be some of the pictures I’ve taken, but I may do something else with those.

Wednesdays can be reserved for things I’ve been watching on television, in the theaters, or reading in the media.  For example, I could talk about the new Doctor Who (which I’ve done before) or perhaps Agents of Shield as well (which I have also done before).

Or I can review some sports related items I’ve watched (I do like sports!).

For today, I think I’ll start this “Watchful Wednesday” with something I did watch today (at least technically).

The lunar eclipse, aka the “Blood Moon.”

Blood Moon

Lunar Eclipse – Taken early morning on 10.8.14 by me 🙂 The secret ingredient . . . is blood. No, not really 🙂

Yes, it was cold.  Yes, it threw my sleep pattern a bit of a curve . . . but it was interesting to watch and photograph.

It also got me thinking about something I had said in class the other day, when I had the students imagine for themselves, ways to explain natural phenomena without the use of research or the scientific method (to a certain degree).  Some of the responses they gave were along the lines of storytelling, which the students thought was an interesting way to explain things (stories are usually explanations anyway, are they not?).  We were reading about earthquakes and volcanoes and how the ancient Romans and Hawaiians had explained volcanic activity and I started thinking . . . “I’d definitely freak out if I saw this eclipse way back when!”

Yes, “way back when” is a technical term for thousands and thousands of years ago.   Coincidentally, I still need to watch the movie “The Way Way Back.”  Heard nothing but good things about that movie, especially the soundtrack!

But I digress.  Back on topic . . . as far as this blood moon, I also started thinking . . . how would I explain this if I did live “way back when”. . .

. . . so in no particular order (and with the use of anachronisms . . . I couldn’t resist these other explanations), here are my explanations as I watched the lunar eclipse.

1) Kool-Aid Man is upping his game.  Instead of a wall . . . hello moon!

2) Old-Testament Plague except moon-style this time!

3) Moon got really embarrassed by something.  Or angry . . . 

Honestly, these were just random thoughts as I watched the lunar eclipse at 4:00 am in the morning (on a break from school no less . . . how fortunate!).  More or less, I was glad I witnessed this as I know it’s not extremely rare . . . but still rare enough to get me out of bed to watch the spectacle of nature and the cosmos 🙂

 

Fall Break

October 6, 2014 Leave a comment

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 🙂    

Summer Almost Gone

July 27, 2014 1 comment

My reaction when I realized there was only one week of summer vacation left . . .

AgsGW

 

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.

1) Splashtop

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.

2) Padlet

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.

3)  SMS Generator

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.

drbw

Downtown Reno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mayberrypark1

Mayberry Park . . . the Sunflower is actually giving a thumbs up!

TCR6

Thomas Creek Road. Still within the city limits, but looking somewhat rural in South Reno.

Summer is Fading

With the new “balanced-calendar” scheduling, teachers report back during the first full week of August, which leaves me with little over two weeks left before going back to work.

While it’s a bit disappointing, I’m fine with coming back to work.  Well, for the most part.  I’ll miss the idea of being able to sleep in (honestly, even during the summer, I still manage to wake up at around 6 o’clock or even 5 a.m.!) but I’m also looking forward to helping out with another class.  Last year’s class manage to come together for the most part and I was extremely proud of how they managed their growth during the course of the school year, both academically and as citizens of our community.  It was absolutely fantastic to see.  The challenge, of course, is to see if you can do it again.  That’s always a great motivator for me.

Anyway, to continue with the summer!

But first, another disappointment.

I was planning a little trip to Los Angeles to visit friends.  I was going to leave this week in fact.  I was excited by the opportunity to hang out with some of my oldest friends, taking in the sights and sounds of Southern California.  But sometimes, the best laid plans of mice and men . . . often get small chunks of rock thrown violently against the windshield of your car, enough to where is breaks the first layer of your windshield to cause a splinter pattern of cracked glass that’s beyond repair.  The only option is to replace the windshield and the replacement windshield isn’t coming to the glass installation company until later this week.

So much for the trip.

Anyway, on to some other, more positive things!

For this entire year, starting on January 1st, I’ve made it a goal of mine to take a picture for each day of 2014.  In retrospect, I should’ve been writing on this blog the entire time I was doing it, just to explain some of the things that happened to me as I was exploring Reno, Sparks, and both Nevada and California.  So I think I’ll do that.  Maybe not everyday, but on a day where there’s more to the picture, where the story behind it needs to be told.

For now, I’ll leave you with some favorites of the past week.  Hope you enjoy!  In case you’re wondering, I do have an Instagram as well as an account with 500px if you’d like to follow along.

Tahoe4

From a scenic viewpoint at Lake Tahoe

RG15

Rose Garden at Idlewild Park in Reno

Tahoe1

More from the viewpoint at Lake Tahoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tahoe Scenic Viewpoint

More from the scenic viewpoint at Tahoe

Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity

Ryan Decasa Photography

Fine Art Landscape Photography

Kristen VanCitters

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