Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy Planner

I search for the perfect planner every year. I drive my husband crazy going into store after store finding the one I want. I have wanted an Erin Condren planner for a while, but couldn't justify spending that much money and I wasn't in love with it.

So I bought this planner at Michael's after looking at it for 20 minutes. And I couldn't even see the inside because it was inside a box! Very not normal for me and the fastest I have ever picked out a planner. Also, with a coupon, it was about $25. And it came with stickers, a pen, and a highligher. 

It's the My Mind's Eye Happy Planner and they have a bunch of different styles but I went for the teacher one. Here is the cover. It has a plastic cover to keep it safe and a nice message. 
Each month has an overview page to write goals, tasks, etc. And it comes with a pocket. Right now my pocket holds the stickers it came with, plus some stickers I bought. 

Did you know that planner art is a thing? My instagram is full of pretty pictures of people who have decorated their planner with stickers, washi tape, stamps, gorgeous handwriting, etc. I don't have time/patience/money to take all that on, but I like a few stickers to make my planner more fun. 

Each month also has a month at a glance-with dates already filled in. I need the dates already filled in--I make too many mistakes when I do it myself. 

Then each month comes with 5 lesson plan pages. I only have two classes to prep for (advance and on level math) so I don't need all the columns--but I also use my planner for outside school (probably more often). I think eventually I will print some labels I can put at the top there for all my categories of things to plan for.

Each month also comes with some motivation sayings. 

And finally it has some check lists. There are 10 pages here. I am not sure if I will use this because I don't like the idea of writing student names, and I would need at least 12 to get through the year, and I like my current system of just printing an excel spreadsheet with all my student names where I can write out assignments and grades. 

So here is my happy planner. It almost gives me the motivation to start planning some stuff--but don't worry. I am still on summer break. You might have noticed I have potty training and moving my toddler to a big girl bed to work on this month--no easy tasks. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Two Truths and a Lie--Writing in Math Class

I had a goal to have my students write more in math class this year, without making writing such a big deal. When students hear that they are writing in math, their responses range from disbelief to outright indignation. "Why are we writing in math?! This isn't English." 

So I try to sneak it in their when possible. 

I did this activity with my students at the end of the year--really the last few weeks of school, after STAAR testing was over. I was pleasantly surprised how engaged they were and I am excited to try it again next year when summer isn't on everyone's mind. 

In this activity, we start by playing Two Truths and a Lie-- the get to know you game. This can work at anytime of the year as students always like sharing things about themselves. I first share two truths and one lie about myself (this is how I announced my pregnancy to my students last year) so students know what to do. Then, I give each student a post-it and ask them to write Two truths and one lie about themselves then they share with their group and the other students guess what is the lie.  

I spent about 10 minutes on this part. It gets students talking to each other and excited about class. This way when they go into the activity they are smiling and laughing instead of depressed that they have to writing. 

Then I explain we are going to do Two Truths and a Lie-- The Math Version. Each group is given a sheet of paper with a graphic or word problem on it. There are 2-3 students per group, so I will have about 12 different papers distributed around the room. The group is then asked to write two truths and one lie about the graphic or word problem. 

I did model this for my students before I passed out the papers. I asked them to dig deep and come up with something profound--not something like there are two dots on this graph. I was happy that some students voluntarily did computation as their truths and then wrote a sentence about it instead of just stating facts they could see without computation. 

After all groups had their two truths and a lie written down, I gave each student 4 post-its and asked them to find the lies on 4 other papers. I asked them to write a sentence about why it was a lie instead of just stating "Number 2 is a lie."

In the process, students found that some papers had two lies or that there weren't any lies at all--either students didn't follow instructions, or they had made a mistake. 

Here are some students papers after the activity. 

This activity can be made easily-- you can take pictures of graphics in textbooks, worksheets, make your own graphics, etc. You can have the whole activity be centered around one concept, or a review of several concepts. 

I have a FREE sample of what I used in my classroom--it is appropriate for grade levels 6-8. 

Here is my first completed activity focused on one topic--Geometry. This has 21 pages of graphics that will prompt students to write about triangle properties, area of polygons, and volume of rectangular prisms. There are two versions--one with just the graphics and the other with two truths and a lie already written for students to choose from. 

Here is the next completed activity focused on Statistics. This one is editable if you want to change out the truths and lies to focus on specific vocabulary or concepts. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Excused Absence

If you are looking for my CAMT presentation materials, click here.

I have been MIA for a while on this blog and in life. But my reason is good.

My baby girl is going to be a big sister this December and this pregnancy has taken a toll on me. I have done basically nothing but go to work and then come home and crash for the last two months. I am starting to feel a little better and now I have a short time in summer to prepare for everything I want to get done before school starts and then before baby gets here.

We couldn't be more excited for this new baby.

I attended CAMT in San Antonio and presented and heard lots of interesting ideas. I am planning a post to reflect about all I have learned this week.
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