Monday, October 17, 2016

2016: First Quarter Highlights

There is technically a week before the end of my first quarter, but there is a blog post waiting to be written.  This post is my first one in quite a while; it will be a random collection of things I've encountered these first two months of school.

1.  Dan Meyer recently blogged about his Ten Lessons From Ten Years of Blogging.  His first one is "Figure out why you're blogging."  I blog for two major reasons.  First, it is good for me to reflect on what I'm doing in the classroom.  My blog has helped me think more deeply about the "Why's" of my work.  Second, I blog because I feel as though I have something to contribute to the greater good of our profession.  A majority of my activities, lessons, tasks, etc. have come from other people's work and ideas, many of which I have found on blogs.  I want to give back as I continue to grow.  By blogging, I'm a member of the larger community of math teachers who want to improve math instruction for all students, not just their own.

1b.  Dan warns about blogging first and foremost for fame and readers; I like to think that I'm not.  However, I did recently get excited when my blog went over 3000 views...which is about 2995 more than I ever dreamed about!

1c.  Just yesterday, my curriculum director emailed our staff about an opportunity to hear a gentleman named George Couros speak.  Along with her invitation was a link to Mr. Couros' blog.  I followed the link and the very first post that I found was titled "Blogging is your job."  It made tons of sense to me; I recommend you read it.

2.  Desmos continues to make small yet game changing improvements to their products.  Also, we had students play Marbleslides in geometry during our equation of lines lessons.  Students LOVED it.  We had them work with partners to do as many challenges as they could during one class period.  100% engagement level each hour.

3.  My co-teacher, Jarrod, and I made a change in the logistics of our geometry classes.  We have been very happy with the results.  Read about those changes here.

4.  There has been a lot of cool happenings on Twitter -- too many to mention at once.  One I do want to mention is April Pforts (@aprilpfortsiowa) recently started to blog.  (  I met April two years ago while doing some work with leaders from SD, ND, MT, and IA.  I'm excited to read her blog.  Congrats, April!  Search #MTBoS for other great resources.

4b.  I am sick and tired of the political garbage that takes over social media.  It's to the point that I steer away from Twitter and Facebook at certain times.  I can't wait until this election is over.

5.  Our district had a full day, all-staff inservice day a week ago.  We listened to a speaker named David LaRose.  His message was about PLCs and what effective PLCs look and feel like.  He was superb and I'm not very motivated to get PLCs up and running in our school district.

6.  I've tried to improve my communication with parents this year by sending parents a weekly newsletter via email.  I'm happy to say that I haven't missed a week yet!  The newsletter idea came from my child's 3rd grade teacher who sent out an email each week last year.  My newsletters are nothing out of the ordinary; they simply highlight some of the happenings and highlights from the week that was, and offers a glimpse of the week ahead.  I try to include dates of quizzes and tests.  I plan to ask parents for feedback at conferences next week.

Here's to a great second semester!

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