On Friday I got a chance to visit Urban Academy Lab School, a transfer school located on the Upper East Side, and a partner of Brooklyn Collaborative as part of the Performance Assessment Consortium. While there I visited their computer programming and Arduino classes and loved to see the students actively working the way that they did. Additionally, I spent time in their math department and learned of their graduation requirement: the Calculations Prerequisite. In order to leave their school all students must master 80% of the test pictured below without a calculator. As you can see it is not the most high-level mathematics but there are many topics that often stump our teenagers. This is definitely something I appreciate and would love to see happen in my own school (or some version thereof).
Today we had a meeting of the senior class of BCS in order to talk to them about upcoming events, requirements, and general tone of the class. Apparently, this is the least-spirited class in years and they are having difficulty getting enough of them to go on things like the senior trip and prom. As the iconic ideas of senior year almost slip by these kids may regret some of the decisions they make. The guilt was put on pretty think - I hope it works!
The vast majority of our seniors have applied to and been accepted to college so the next step is to look at their course catalogs and start signing up to fulfill requirements. We had a small activity for the kids to research courses they might want to take and start to see what is required therein. There were some surprises in what could "count" as an English or Math credit, and some excitement at the prospect of taking these courses!
Sometimes days get really packed with additions to the regular schedule. As UFT chapter leader I am privy to meetings and other events that need to happen over the course of the day. As you can see, on Wednesday, 4/26 I have a pretty packed schedule and even had to go to a meeting outside the building, only to return 5 minutes after it was over for another meeting back at school. It's a regular occurrence and I don't lament it - but it can be a heavy lift at times.
I post office hours at the beginning of every month so students know exactly when and where I will be if they want assistance outside of class. It always happens at the end of a unit that many students come asking for help, begging for extra time, and the like. This time around there were a few people who came earlier on and I got a chance to work with them in a smaller group. I love these kinds of interactions because I get to really talk with kids about the math and see what they know and how I can help them learn better. I hope to continue doing this for the near future!
It was recently my birthday so on the Friday I returned from Spring Break I had a few folks over for a Shabbat dinner and birthday cake. My wife gets a delicious cake for me yearly from a place called the Chocolate Room. It is such a large cake and I have difficulty finding people who are going to eat all of it. That being said, I also like when they don't. So, I am glad that I just finished the last slice today!
I'm definitely not doing the best job at keeping up with these photos nowadays. I keep forgetting to take them and then not prioritizing writing about them. I'm going to try to keep it up for another few weeks until the school year is over but I may not be able to. We shall see.
In the meantime, here is a photo of some lists I have been tracking intermittently. I want to make sure students have notebooks in each class and are actively participating through cold-calling. So, I have been writing down names and contacting homes of those who need writing spaces and putting grades in for those who are or are not participating actively.
Before Spring Break students had been working with a local artist in order to create the newest mural at Brooklyn Collaborative. The photo below is only one part of a set of three that demonstrates how we are Crew, not Passengers in this educational journey. It truly is magnificent and was a wonderful way of returning from Spring Break.
The last day of classes before Spring Break was a relative blur - except the transportation to the airport afterward. With school ending at 3:05pm and our flight leaving at 5:40pm, it was very tight to get there, Luckily, the LIRR came to our aid and we arrived at check-in with a few minutes to spare!
Students are actively working on their Geometry PBATs. They have to calculate distances and angle measures to show if a pool ball will eventually go into a specified pocket on the pool table. They are working feverishly trying to get it done!
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!