On the last day of school in 2016 one of my students bragged to me that he had completed all his IXL sections for practice before the test. He told me he even took a Snapchat of it. I asked for proof and, voila, it was right there in front of me! I guess for some kids we really are making a difference.
I administered a test today and one of my more colorful students decided to ask this question on his test. While he can be motivated to learn he is more often motivated to get attention through silly voices, talking to certain people in class, and trying to get a rise out of me by using inappropriate language. I thought I would give him a curt, specific response based on his questioning.
Our students in Crew have been so focused on gearing up for college that we thought it would be useful to spend some time just relaxing together by playing a game. We held a competition of which half-crew could make the highest tower using the same amount of cups. They had unlimited time but if their tower fell, they lost. It was quite fun and the kids loved it, too!
Sometimes our school brings in special speakers to share important information with us about the outside community. This time it was Brad Lander, city councilperson, to talk to us about his work on allyship in the city and how we can be trained, helpful, and participate in that regard. He shared a variety of different organizations and methods for us to learn and assist. It was wonderful to have a speaker of such caliber and to be motivated in this way. Thanks, BCS!
Every Monday after school all teachers in the NYC Department of Education attend regular meetings for professional development. Our meeting today had to do with our school culture and how to make sure we have school-wide plans in place and train teachers to use them. We emphasize the idea of Restorative Practices amongst staff and students so that we are not caught in the unfortunate cycle that is often caused by more punitive approaches. I find that restorative practices allows me to understand and empathize more with my students and does the same for them with me. Then we can all work harder together to focus on the knowledge that they are supposed to gain going through high school: knowledge of content and knowledge of self. I am proud to use restorative practices in my daily life.
It was a long, arduous, but fulfilling week at school so I post this photo of me enjoying the couch while watching TV under some covers. We had a wonderful holiday party after school at a local watering hold and I had some great conversations with coworkers. I hope next week goes as well so we can start Winter Break with the same successful feeling I have right now.
After two months of very hard work (overtime, meetings at lunch, etc.) the Mathlympics challenge went off successfully. The entire 9-12 grade competed by Crews through a series of competitions that had one group emerge victorious. From what I saw and heard a majority of our students were engaged in the process and the various activities were greeted with joy. A student said to me, "we had so much fun!" In fact, my Crew - who can be very disengaged - were very active during the day. This is a photo of all of them surrounding our version of Breakout EDU, an activity I helped plan and implement. It was quite a fun day!
We spent about an hour and a half after school today getting all the materials prepared for the Mathlympics challenge tomorrow. Laptop carts were placed in their positions; Breakout EDU materials were as well; and all the boxes for each grade to get their folders of info tomorrow are all ready. We feel prepared for tomorrow to come and can't wait to see what happens!
On Thursday is our first annual BCS Mathlympics challenge. Students are taking the entire day to compete in various ways between Crews so they can be marked the winners! Part of the challenges is something called Breakout EDU - a puzzle-based activity we made up involving actual locks and boxes! I am super psyched to see this take place and will be enthusiastic whenever the students complete a clue!
As my school is grades 6-12 it is often unique in that middle school and high school teachers don't always get the same treatment when it comes to the calendar. In January, there is a day when HS staff have professional development while MS do not. The reverse happens in June. So, this year, we were finally allowed to propose taking those two days to run PD for all staff at the same time. It passed overwhelmingly and I am happy for it.
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!