Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"An Inspired Student"

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.

Monday, May 19, 2014

It's the Final Countdown!!!

It's the last week of this school year! There for a while I thought it would never end. But this one snuck up on me fast! Since our grades are due before the official last day, I've decided to take this week and make it kind of easy on myself and the kids. Let's be honest, they are done (and so am I). So this week we are making stellated icosahedron stars out of straws and ribbon. I got the idea from a wonderful blog I follow. Here's the link to the activity: Dog Days of Math. I saw it and immediately thought 'last week of school!' I teach 9-12, so I'm interested to see how to plan turns out with the different age groups. Even in high school, something that interests freshmen probably won't have the same effect on juniors...yet again it may. I'm hoping this is one of those things.
While we build our stars, I'm busy getting final grades in and cleaning out my room. EVERYTHING has to go since I'm moving schools. You never really know how much crap you accumulate until it's time to find a new home for it. Three years is all it took for me. 

Since I didn't have a blog when the school year started, no one knows what my classroom looks like. Here are some pics from the beginning of the school year. Personally, I hate boring classrooms. Kids don't like looking at stark white walls for 50 minutes, and I don't like looking at them for 7+ hours each day. I tried to find a happy medium of cute but age appropriate. My kids loved my room from the first day, which was good because I was not changing it after making all of those dang pom poms! 

So here's my room at the beginning of the year:
 This is the view from the door.
 Another view from the door to the closet. I kept my calculators in an over the door shoe rack that had numbers glued to it. I liked this idea, but I still had a thousand calculators go missing by the end. I still have yet to come up with a good system to borrow calculators.
 The view from the door to my desk/projector area.
 My desk area. Yes, that's a picture of a cat in a suit.
 My desk. Unfortunately it did not stay like this for long. Teenagers are lovely because they think if something looks nice they have to find a way to destroy it. Before the end of the first quarter the front of my desk was completely ruined. My pencil organizer was a lovely pinterest idea...tin cans, paint, and a plastic plate were all I needed to make this beauty. BTW the dinosaur is my hall pass. He's awesome.

 My homework center. Each class has its own crate that holds extra papers used each week throughout the quarter. It helps when I have absences so I can just grab their papers when they return and know exactly where they are located.
My own bulletin board. I'm lucky enough to have one right outside my door. In years past I would change this quite a bit. I quickly learned that in high school no one really cares about your bulletin board so I made mine match my theme and kept it up all year long.

So this is my classroom at the beginning of the year. Here it is now:

It looks way different. It'll be even crazier once I get all of the stuff out.
 The cereal boxes along the ledge of the windows are what students use to keep all graded work in throughout the year. I make them keep EVERYTHING for a couple of reasons: 1. They can use past tests to study for finals, etc., and 2. They can't tell me that I lost something which is why it's missing in the gradebook. If they don't have it, then I never got it.
 I know my tables are in the same arrangement that they were in the beginning. I've changed my room around several times, but I always revert back to this in the end.

Cleaning out this room has been challenging, which is why I went ahead and started the process even though school isn't out. It's amazing how much crap you accumulate over the years!

Anyways, I can't believe this school year is finally almost over. This one has definitely been the most challenging for me. I've had a lot of health issues and a lot of personal issues this school year which has caused me to miss a lot of days. Also, my kids were pretty difficult to say the least. I was so excited for this year to begin, and when it did I quickly learned it was going to be a hard year for me. So now that it's almost over, I can finally smile and be glad that I survived. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

About Me

Howdy! My name is Sarah. I'm a high school math teacher (duh!). I have been teaching Pre-Algebra, Algebra IA, Algebra 2, and Trig since 2011. I'm very excited to be changing schools starting next school year. I'll be teaching all freshmen in a program called Freshmen Academy. This program is designed to create a more nurturing environment for freshmen to guide them toward a more successful high school career. I'm extremely thrilled to start this new journey!
Amongst this change in locations/jobs, I'm also in the process of planning a wedding. I'm engaged to my love Jon and we will be getting married in the summer of 2015.
I created this blog because of the inspiration I've gotten from other teacher blogs I've seen. I have gotten a lot of great resources and ideas from the ladies of these blogs. I wanted to create a place to share my thoughts and ideas to help make teaching better for everyone. I'm a newb to the blogging world and can't wait to get started! Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy!