Today's Expeditionary Thursday brought seniors from a Government class to learn about the symbols of wealth in NYC by walking through the financial district and touring around the Museum of American Finance. This trip was well planned by my coworker, especially since he only had seven days to plan it! Due to the snow day cancelling school last week he spent a lot of time making sure that we had somewhere to go that could take us within one week. He coddled together some split sessions, walking locations, and more in order to allow our students to get something positive out of today. At the end of the day a student who had been complaining and wanted to go home even said he had a meaningful, positive experience. It's little mentions that remind me why I do what I do.
As Chapter Leader of my school I get the opportunity to see the political process in person. Paid for through a contract negotiation with the Department of Education, I will get to go to Albany on March 14 in order to meet my state representative in person and talk to her about issues. It may be preaching to the choir in this case but it is still an important thing to do and I'm glad the UFT has organized for it to take place.
There are so many ways in which students use their cellphones for unfortunate or unreasonable circumstances. Today, however, students used it to look at data closer up and analyze it by making scatter plots, lines of best fit, equations, etc. As part of our data unit they are getting used to interpreting the world around them. This use of cell phones is and will forever be completely valid.
Every year we send a group of students (along with one staff member) to a Central/South American country as a part of the problem called Global Glimpse. Students come back with great stories of the things they learned, people they met, sites they saw, and how it will impact their future worldview. I have heard about great experiences from many of my students who have gone.
In order to fundraise, students cook a lot of food (or get their parents to) and provide a wonderful hot lunch to staff at a price of $10 a plate. It's a great deal and a lot of staff show up to participate and support them. Amazing!
While inputting Crew grades on Friday I had to take a picture of the details since there was an issue with my computer slightly freezing. What I find fascinating about this data, however, is that while most students in our Crew are doing fine in the first week (participating, learning, discussing, etc) there is a small minority who are doing almost nothing (i.e. they are on their phones) or are pretty disruptive at times. It's sad that the students who need the most credits are having the toughest time following protocols to earn them. I just hope they get it together soon.
Due to extreme weather conditions at the exact time of travel for students/teachers, the mayor and the chancellor decided to cancel school on Thursday. While this is definitely one of the more favorite actions for students, it is really the teachers who get the true break. I had time to watch a movie, make pancakes, bake cookies, and get some more work done on my tenure portfolio so my weekend is a bit more relaxed. It was really useful and productive while being restful and relaxing. Thanks, weather!
I had the privilege of taking part in a workshop at Math for America teaching me the basics of how to use the Arduino, a chipset that can be programmed using a computer in order to achieve specific, small goals. In the case of this photo, I have made a program that fades in and out six LED lights in quick succession. It took me about an hour and a half to build up to this point and once I had achieved it I felt a strong sense of success. Our trainer, another MfA teacher, says he uses these devices to help teach about circuitry in his physics class. I am wondering if and how I can incorporate any of this into an Algebra class. To be determined.
We are having the student complete more measurements in order to analyze a data set. Today's measures involved moving around the room a lot and so it got congested and tough to complete. Despite that, it was great to see students working together who might normally do so. They were discussing the problem, how to solve it, and what steps to take. It was quite inspirational.
In order to meet our Work Plan Goal of improving our mathematics instruction and outcomes, our leadership has decided to dedicate a lot of time to bring coaches from our math curriculum (College Prep Math, or CPM) to work with us on improving what we do on a daily basis. They are observing our classes, running workshops, and debriefing with us to help us understand what we are doing and how it can be better. Based on the one workshop I participated in today, the questions they are raising are definitely important and I can't wait to think about them more!
Every little while the Committee for Culture and Character gathers to discuss how our school culture is morphing over time and how we can make sure it evolves into a more positive portrayal of our value system. One of the important aspects of this is Crew, the daily advisory class that all teachers have. We loop with the same students over their middle school or high school careers and try to guide them in their social and emotional process of learning. One of the aspects of that is academic advisement and monitoring - something I love to do. I like talking to students about their options in the future and how they can achieve their goals if they put themselves into them fully. This was some great stuff to discuss!
I am a math teacher in the New York Department of Education. I infuse technology and real-world problems into my curriculum in order to prepare my students for the future. I would love for people across the country to recognize we teachers can't do it alone. If you don't believe me, come visit my classroom!