Monthly Archives: October 2016

Stars of the Week Vol 6 #SOTW

Since my last SOTW post was over a month ago (!!!), perhaps I really should take Pat’s suggestion from my last post and rename it “Stars of Whenever I Want.”

If you’re a #SOTW, grab the badge using the code below if you’d like it for your blog!

Stars of The Week
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Remember you can always use the nomination form and I will put it in my next post!

If you teach Geometry, you definitely need to be reading  @lisabej_manitou‘s Crazy Math Teacher Lady blog. She has tons of great ideas, but also realizes that sometimes you just need some no-frills, get-the-job-done, quality materials (a girl after my own note-taker-maker heart). Check out her quadrilateral collection. (BTW, if you interested in more materials like these, be sure to check out the comments on @k8nowak ‘s post that Lisa linked.)

I know we’re not supposed to have favorites in the #MTBoS, but I do, and @TPalmer207 is one of them. Ever since our TMC14 dash-to-get-cupcakes-before-the-store-closed, her great outlook and humor have always been something I look forward to seeing on Twitter (and in person!). Not only that, but she’s definitely the type of teacher I wish I could be – in the moment, not afraid to try new things, and constantly creating great discussions in her classroom. Check out this gorgeous teacher move of slowly revealing all the information with the absolute twist at the end that no one saw coming (not even Tina!). I know what you’re thinking, sure, everyone gets lucky once in a while, but no, Tina makes her own luck, as you can see in this segment addition postulate lesson.  You know, she only has about 60 posts so if you’re looking for a way to up your teacher game, spend an afternoon reading the entire collection. You won’t be sorry.

Speaking of teacher moves, if you teach ELL students, @heather_kohn is your gal. She is a great advocate of doing what it takes to bring the ELL student up to the goal, instead of lowering the goal down to where they may be now. Her post on scaffolding open response questions will make you rethink how you can help your struggling students (who may or may not be ELL).

Hey, here’s a great teacher move that easy to implement into any lesson on Monday: Ask Me a Question from @dsladkey. It moves the “Do you have any questions” to “What questions do you have” change to a whole new level.

Another one that’s so easy to implement, but can change the whole classroom climate: @a_schindy‘s Nevermind Strategy.

Wait, you want more teacher moves? This next post comes with a warning: This article will lead to great feelings of inadequacy and make you think most of what you’ve created is crap. So if your current mood is: ugh, I suck as a teacher, you might want to skip the @Desmos Guide to Building Great Math Activities. But if you’re feeling pretty good and want to pick up some ideas that will help make your next lesson planning be a little more thoughtful, go read it.

If you did read it (or even if you didn’t) and you’re looking for good examples of rich problems, check out @algebrasfriend‘s Algebra II examples. I LOVE the parabola one!!

Speaking of parabolas, you know function transformation are near and dear to my heart. @jreulbach created a wonderful Desmos marbleslide for them, but the key move here is the creation of an additional real-life worksheet for students to reflect on their learning and can have it for reference. (Also check out her Function Notation QR Stations–great practice problems for something my students always struggled with)

Ok: One more teacher move: let’s make mistakes a starting point for rich discussions. @Dave_Sabol shows how he used the results from a Desmos Activity Builder to decode mistakes in Calculus. (Also I think Dave should be in the SOTW Hall of Fame for his How I Teach series.)

Man, I don’t know about you, but now I’m overwhelmed by all the new teacher moves I’m supposed to be doing. So let’s take a brain break, sponsored by @mathequalslove‘s brainteaser collection.

And then let’s eat our feelings by baking these Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Now onto some starred tweets!

For reals, take David’s advice:

Yes, Zippy won (Adorable) Scruffiness of the Week!

Joel’s smartass reply (does he have any other kind?) to the discussion of how to say “apothem”:

Speaking of smartass replies:

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked at this tweet and laughed out loud:

I told you Heather has the pro teacher moves:

And speaking of that pause feature:

And other features:

You know I love my shortcuts:

And this one was brand new to me and I’ve used it every day since then!!! I’m even using it RIGHT NOW.

It always warms my heart to know that people enjoy my stuff; especially when it’s someone who has so much great stuff herself!

And when someone uses my suggestion and then the result is heartwarming:

And then when someone uses an idea I had and their students do so much better with it:

Be sure to send some encouragement to Kristin next weekend!

Do I like CalcDave because of his gifs or in spite of them?

Insert picture of two beautiful math teachers here.

Now I know what the first 91 books I buy as a librarian will be.


Genius Part II.

Genius Part III.

And I think I’ll let Casey wrap this (extremely long) edition up:

What? I’m not crying. YOU’RE crying.

Hey, What’s Up?

I promise a Stars of the Week post will be coming in the next couple of days! Maybe I need to rename it Stars of the Month?!?

This is just a “hello!” post from me.

ACT Prep is still a struggle. I am just going by what I read in a workbook I found and I spend every day literally teaching to the test. It goes against every fiber of my teaching soul. Rumor has it I might be sent to some training soon so that might help.

On the upside, I am much less stressed this school year. So you want to shorten all our classes to 47 minutes? No worries! Oh, all the seniors will be gone Monday afternoon and then all the juniors have a ring meeting the next day? Go for it! 7 pep rallies? I’m interested! Plus all of my weekends have been homework-free! (So I really have no excuse not to have SOTW posts up weekly, except Lego Disney Castles do not build themselves, people.)

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Plus there was a trip to Nashville to see The Lumineers, with, yes, FRONT ROW seats! They put on SUCH a great concert!! It’s like they’re actually happy to be there and want to give the crowd a good show. img_1594

(There was SRO in front of us but we were still super close! And there was even a ledge for the seats so I could still see above everyone! Which never happens!!)

Ok, back to work and ACT prep. There was one day that was kind of fun: the first day of talking about writing. The workbook I was using said that the best “hook” to use was a fake quote. Yup, just make something up and attribute it someone famous (or your grandma). We practiced making fake quotes and shared them. Also told them all about how the essay was going to be about something in high school, and you’re to take a black-and-white stance on the issue. Then that afternoon I was working on the next day’s notes and went to look up another thesis example on my favorite ACT website, Prep Scholar, when google returns the following article: “The New Enhanced ACT Writing (2015).”


We had a great lesson in “sometimes your teacher does not know everything” the following day. And yes, guys, you can still use a fake quote (and back it up with fake statistics!).

To fill my day and to feel productive, I spend my prep periods helping the IT teacher and the bookkeeper. The bookkeeper had surgery on her hand the week before school started so I’ve been her right-hand man. Guys, you need to go thank your bookkeeper tomorrow. You have no idea how many steps it takes to get a PO filled and paid. It’s ridiculous.

I’ve also been spending time in my garden, aka my deer feeder. My new favorite nursery is the Lowe’s clearance rack. I mean, if the deer are going to eat it anyway, might as well spend $.25 or $1 on a plant instead of $5, right? We finally installed a second deer barrier (fishing line strung between two PVC poles that we can take down each morning) that seems to be helping. (Yes, I’ve tried two different sprays, dried blood granules, dog hair, dog pee…). Here are some survivors and new plantings:


The black-and-blue salvia and whatever that blue plant is in front of it have been super-deer-resistant. Not bad for $1 each!

But the biggest news of all is that in two weeks, I will be starting my Masters of Education in Library Science! Everything sort of fell into place: if I start now, I am grandfathered in to receive Master’s pay even if it’s not related to what I’m teaching; our district gets a discount on tuition; I have time in my schedule to intern at the school and local library to get my hours. If all goes according to plan and I book it (pun intended), I should be done a year from today!

Does this mean I’m giving up on being a math teacher again? No, it doesn’t. But it certainly expands my options for the future.

Is this just a random choice? No, I’ve actually been talking about doing this for about ten years. While I didn’t start truly loving math until college, books have always been my first love!


What would your dream school library look like?  Big comfy chairs. Whiteboard tables. Charging stations everywhere. Student & staff recommendations. But most importantly, I want a library where any kid can find a book that’s about him or her.  For me, I’d want Ann Patchett’s This is The Story of a Happy Marriage, which contains the article This Dog’s Life, which was the first time I read that it’s okay to be a woman and want a dog instead of a baby.

Please share a book that you wish you had read in high school (or maybe did read in high school and are glad you did) in the comments section!

Category: Reflections | Tags: