Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I have my students get 3-subject notebooks for their ISN's. In high school, a 1-subject just won't hold it all. We go through a lot of topics and activities so a 3-subject really works best. They got their syllabus on the first day of school (Thursday) and had until Monday to get their notebooks. I bought a bunch of extras in case students forgot. That way they could participate in each activity and wouldn't be behind. I made their notebooks a grade (10 points). If they used one of my notebooks, they could either pay me back or replace it to get their points. Believe it or not, I'm STILL out about $30...but I digress.
On Monday, we worked on our cover pages. I printed out strips of paper that had their class title (Algebra I, Advanced Geometry, or Algebra A) and another strip that says "Numbers about Me." These strips were in fun fonts so they got to choose one that they liked best. Then they got to choose their paper. I had cardstock, colored paper, construction paper, and even wrapping paper which they used to put on their cover. Their task was to write 5 numbers that represented them. A lot of students picked their birthdays, graduation year, etc. A lot were generic but some were pretty creative. I was impressed. Once they made their cover page, I then taped it with packing tape to make it more sturdy. Below is an example of my cover and links to pages I used for their labels (feel free to download!).
Algebra I Notebook Labels
Numbers About Me
Tuesday we started setting up the inside of our notebooks. On the inside cover, they taped their ISN Rules and wrote their calculator/clicker number (that way they won't forget when it comes time to use them). Their rules are simple and are a good reminder of what they should be doing in their ISN.
Their first 4 pages are reserved for their table of contents. Here they keep track of each activity we do. Everybody has the same information on the same pages in their notebooks so everyone's TOC is the same. Each day, I have them write the unit number, page numbers, and activity title in their table of contents before we start. I've done it where it's their responsibility to keep up-to-date with it and that's a mess. It's a big organizational thing for me and I think them having the exact same content will be beneficial for them in the long run.
The next 5 pages are reserved for their vocab. I call this section Words Worth Knowing. With each activity, they have a couple of vocab words that aren't major topics in the activity but are still important to know (like "substitute" is an important term with properties of numbers, but specific properties are not listed here). Once student fill out their TOC, they turn to their WWK section and write down the vocabulary and definitions here.
Page 1 is where their syllabus is located. I wanted their syllabus to be informative but interesting looking so its something they can look back to when they have a question about a policy or something. I wanted to put the most important information on here since it's the first item they received from me this year. I also wanted their parents to look at it so they could know what was going on in my class so I made a place for them to sign (10 point assignment).
Pages 2-3 are where we put the Classroom Expectations and More Class Information pages. These are things that are really important, but I didn't want to overwhelm them with it on their syllabus. I passed out these papers and went over them on the 2nd day of school so they knew the expectations earlier than the 5th day of school. We put the More Class Info page and Class Expectations on page 3 and did the High 5 activity on page 2 (why I did these this way will make more sense later).
More Class Info
The High 5 activity was pretty fun and they did a good job with it. They had to trace their hand and use information from the syllabus/expectations to write 5 things that they think will be the most important things for them to remember about my class. Some kids listed the rules since I have 5, but a lot of kids were actually creative and wrote things they knew they needed to remember. The biggest one was what to do when they don't have an assignment to turn in (but that will never happen, right?). This was another way to reinforce rules/policies/expectations without droning over it for the first week of school.
ISN Info Pages
In the very back of their notebooks we made pockets so they have a place to keep their loose papers until we get them glued into their notebooks. I call them iPockets from something I found on Pinterest. They like them for the most part. Some kids were mad because I had them rip out their dividers that had pockets from their notebooks if they were not directly in the front or back. I didn't want them to have a random pocket in the middle of their notebook but they didn't understand that concept.
So that's how I set my notebooks up! I had a lot more things planned for my notebooks, but to save time and start on content we skipped on those. In a high school setting, I think this is plenty. Stay tuned for more ISN pages soon!
Monday, July 21, 2014
Sunday, July 20, 2014
I went to Wal-Mart the other day and the workers were busy stocking the shelves with school supplies. Can it ready be getting close to that time again?! It seems like summer just started, especially here in Missouri. For those of you who are not familiar with Missouri summers, they are typically hot, humid, and miserable. This year it has been a very, very mild summer (I hope I just didn't jinx it) so it doesn't even feel like summer has been here yet.
We start school on August 14th, which is coming up a lot faster than I thought it would. So today I decided to get in gear and start making the easy things for my classroom so I can hopefully get in and start working on it this week. I've been working on binder covers, banners, posters...just general things.
I went supplies shopping during Walmart's teacher appreciation sale and got tons of things that we'll need throughout the year. Today I got to get in my classroom and start getting stuff together for the upcoming year. Below are a bunch of pics of what I've been doing this summer. I'll let you see the finished product once school begins.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
It's been a while! A lot has happened since the last time I posted. Obviously school is out and summer is in full swing. If you've been following, you know that I am changing schools for the next school year. So since school's been out I've moved, changed coaching positions twice, and been to multiple basketball camps with my new girls. Busy, busy, busy!
Yesterday I met with the math department head at my new school to get books and kind of learn the ropes a little bit. There are going to be a lot of changes for me at my new school, but I'm excited to be working with great people.
I'm super excited for these books. For one, they are brand new! I love the smell of new books. Second, they are already aligned to common core which makes that part of lesson planning a little easier. And last, I used the Pre-Algebra addition at my last school and loved them. I'm happy that all of the math classes (except dual credit) are using the Glencoe series. That will make transition from one class to the next a whole lot easier because they flow so well.
Now that I have my books and saw my future classroom, I've been busy scouring Pinterest to find ideas on decor and ISN setups. My new classroom is absolutely huge! The ceilings are very tall and the room is pretty deep. I have a lot more wall space than I had before so I'm in the market for good decorative ideas.
Even though we still have over a month until the start of the new school year, I'm already ecstatic to get started planning and decorating. The elementary teacher comes out in me around this time of year. I'll be sure to keep you posted as the new school year approaches.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Today was a very trying day for me. I spent a lot of my extra time getting my grades ready and packing up my things while my students worked on their stars. It was a pretty rough day in some classes and by the end of the day I was pretty worn down. While I was cleaning out my grading bins I found this letter from a student. After I read this and had my cry, I felt so warm inside. This is what teachers dream about doing - inspiring their students. This definitely made my day a million times better and it is something I'll cherish forever. We all have those discouraging days in our careers, but this is a sweet reminder that all the work we do and everything we put up with makes a difference to those young ones we influence daily.