Today was the first day of the last Student-Led Conferences (SLCs) I will have with my current Crew. I've been working with them for four years and - through trials and tribulations - we are almost at their graduation. Despite many many tough, aggravating, and downright crazy times, it has been a wonderful learning experience for them as well as me. I had a great conversation with a student today about his future and may have made some connections that will prove really fruitful for his future. I can't wait for more conversations tomorrow to see how they want to deal with their futures.
One of the various roles I play at school is as a member of the Committee on Culture and Character. We advise and make policies related to how our school functions and deals with interpersonal interaction. One of the great things we do is make sure students know when they are being commended so today we sent out various emails to students we thought had been demonstrating our values nicely. I got a chance to shout out one of my students for helping others in class. It was quite nice.
It is rare but does happen that errors pop up in our textbooks. One of my students (finger in photo) pointed out the issue in our Geometry text. Apparently, the image of the arrowhead-like figure had two angles of the same measure that should have been known by double-tick marks. Unfortunately, that part of the image was about half a centimeter too low and it became confusing to students. We made sure to fix this issue on our smartboard to show students what it should look like.
There are a number of ways that students react when faced with an assessment of their learning. In this case, the student decided that they had nothing to work with and simply wrote that it was hard. She even walked out of the classroom for quite a lot of time instead of persisting.
What I notice is most important here is that she actually tried on various problems and crossed out her work. One of the things we emphasize a lot is that mistakes are a part of learning. It seems that she thinks they won't help her as much as we do and that's unfortunate.
One of the cooler activities in Geometry class happened on Friday. As a review of types of symmetry, we had the students create snowflakes by folding a square piece of paper into triangles and cutting out sections. They then had to determine where each section came from and what symmetry they saw between them all. As you can see, they pointed out some interesting repeating patterns. This activity actually connected with one student in particular who is almost always sullen and removed from class conversations. I gave him praise at the end of class and hope to see some kind of continued engagement.
I know I've been slow. I apologize. Next week's photos will likely explain why.
On Thursday of last week we had our ELA Fieldwork for the Spring. Our 12th grade students went to go see an educational play called X: Or, Betty Shabazz vs. The Nation which was all about Malcolm X and his history. It focused on his later years in life and his death, with the conspiracy theories abounding. While I thought the play was interesting, yet not that engaging, the workshops afterward were more to my liking. Representatives from the play's educational staff came to our school and ran workshops with the kids based on the play and Malcolm X's life. It was wonderful to hear the students dig deeper into themselves to share their thoughts and experiences.
As a senior Crew leader I have been learning a lot about the graduation process. One of the things we get to do is nominate students for various awards that will be given out at the ceremony. There are a whole host of them (63!) that may be awarded but not all have to. The most important ones are listed at the top of the spreadsheet and include what I have made into a screenshot below. I look forward to deciding who the awardees are going to be!
After all the hub-bub concerning a blizzard over the past few days, it seems the snows were a bit underwhelming. I don't fault the meteorologists - it's really hard to estimate the amounts and types of precipitation in these situations. In the end, I got to have an enjoyable day home from work to relax and catch up on some things for home that have been piling up. Thanks, weather gods!
It is that time of year: PBAT season for a lot of courses at my school, Algebra 1 included. Every year my students learn all about data, scatter plots, lines of best fit, and residuals during class, after which they research their own question and present the data they collect in a small group roundtable. One component of this is to ensure students demonstrate mastery on a variety of skills before they are allowed to present - thus solidifying their knowledge and making sure they can have these skills in their back pockets. I am pleased that this class is so far along, despite only having worked on these items for four days!
I was unfortunately remiss during the past week in taking photos and posting them to this blog. It was a very stressful week with my tenure portfolio due at the same time. Finally, that application is complete and I can try to get back into a rhythm of making these posts. Luckily, I did take two of Crew situations. The first is my final, winning bananagrams board that I competed with a number of my students last week. The second photo is two of my Crew students I happened to see giving a presentation as I passed their classroom while preparing for my own class. It was a pleasure to see them display their knowledge well!
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!