Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is there a full moon or a storm brewing? (OK, yes there is a snowstorm on the horizon!) Today was a tough day especially 5th hour. It started out with KB without book or pencil as usual. That I can handle. But then, he reached over and tore the page in A's book! Why in the world... she is one of those really nice, but terribly whiny girls anyway. Please do not give her reason to whine more! I sent him out... **sigh** Back to teaching math! Things are going well... until P writes a big red KKK on the back of her notebook and flashes it to MK, one of the only 2 black students on 7th grade. She ends up suspended for 3 days, and that is on the tails of being gone for 1 1/2 and just coming back today. Then TJ sprays cologne all over.

All in 20 minutes or so....... thank goodness the rest of the day went smoother!

Last hour prealgebra played a cool game out of the book called Juniper Green. It was a factor/multiple game and they had a BLAST, begging to play again!! Easy to do, easy to monitor and great practice on these concepts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How could I forget MEAP scores??? I know they are not official, and I know they are not public yet.... so shhhhh...... but this year's 8th graders... when they came in 6th grade, 69% were proficent, then at begining of 7th grade, they fell to 61% proficient, but THEN.. drum roll please.... at the begining of 8th grade!! 73% proficient!! Validation comes at a sweet price. I hate high stakes tests.. I am not sure they measure anything accurately... but then again, I love when my scores validate my teaching!!
Slope Mania was FUN. The kids begged to play again. Today was a quick quiz on how to find slope 2 ways - sneaky writing in math class assignment as well. I was impressed! Almost all A's and B's on it!! How cool is that? The 3 that didn't get those scores - I could have predicted, unfortunately.

The one young man cannot read or write, but even when I had him orally answer me, he couldn't use the words RISE over RUN, nor could he explain the formula. The closest he got to anything was saying the numbers increased sort of alike in the table.

Young man #2 does not care - he misses soooo much school. If he isn't suspended, he is hunting or fishing or something. When he is in school, it seems life is just difficult. I have him in social studies as well as math and he tries my patience constantly. He comes late more days than he comes on time. He disrupts others, doesn't have a pencil, does very little work... I could go on and on.

Young man #3, I am not sure what happened. He is usually a good student, and I will touch base with him in seminar tomorrow to see if he can somehow get a more accurate description down on paper for me. He struggles with graphing for some reason but I think he CAN find slope. I am going to have to explore a bit more with him.

Today we did a couple of REALLY difficult slope activities - the hardest one gave the students the slope and Y-intercept and from that, they had to graph the line. It is kind of backwards logic and many of them struggled. However, just as many enjoyed the challenge and really worked at solving the logic of the activity. I was impressed!

My first 2 research papers were turned in today in social studies. WOW... I was impressed. Granted, I expected those 2 to do well, but they did extremely well... EXTREMELY well!! Even their bibiliographies shined.

I spent all afternoon baking heart shaped cookies for Valentine's Day. I feel like a cookie with frosting and sugar all over me. The kiddies will be thrilled though.

PreAlgebra took a mid-chapter test yesterday. Woohooo... They did awesome!! Today an 8th grader came and taught class. He asked to before but I told him he had to come get a book, and be prepared. He did a great job, but I don't think he will be back. He was a bit overwhelmed by the end of the hour with the questions and constant attention of all the girls.

I have to make a decision about our house project.... I don't know whether to have them do it at all, just draw plans, or do full-fledged models. I kind of want to do models with this small group and let them experience the process, but the thought of all that mess and confusion is a bit overwhelming as well. We start proportions tomorrow, with scale factor right on its heels so I must decide soon!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Slope mania this afternoon. I hope it goes as well as I think it will? I have huge graphs laminated, baggies with dice with positive and negative numbers on them, data sheets, bingo chips, meter sticks, write on wipe off markers... all set to go.

The idea is to give them some slope practice in a fun way. They roll the 4 dice- the green are x values, the red are y's. One green and one red have negative signs on them. They then sort into 2 pairs, place a bingo chip at those points represented by the ordered pairs from dice. Use meter stick to connect points in line. They calculate slope as well as estimate y-intercept.

That sounds like fun, right???? maybe not if you are in 7th grade... **sigh**

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Some days, you simply have to laugh. Yesterday was one of those days. First hour, my little Amy Sunshine didn't feel well. We called mom who is a teacher in high school and she said to give Amy an ibuprofen. I did, but Amy didn't feel well still so I let her sleep through first hour. After about 30 minutes of snoozing, she lifted her head and threw up all over, and threw up some more, and threw up some more. We evacuated into the hall while the custodian came and made our room smell better. Amy went home, but the memory lingered.

5th hour Melon Head Merissa didn't feel well. Hmmmm.. she sat at Amy's table first hour, had basketball practice with Amy before school, and was the one who walked Amy to Mom's classroom. When Merissa woke from her nap during math class, with that panicked look on her face, I was quicker! I grabbed the garbage and shoed her to restroom. She made it in time.

Today 3 more from my social studies class stayed home sick and 3 more went home sick... yikes.. when will it hit ME??? Hopefully, never!!

I am frustrated with kids who "don't get it" but don't want to accept responsibility for learning on their own at all. Kids who do their homework sometimes... who do not come before school or during seminar to get help... who won't participate in class...Kids who go home and tell parents we won't help them.. kids who lie.. kids who copy answers from math teacher text -- well, "see margin" does NOT make sense for an answer, DUH!! .... kids who think not doing work is an option....

I love the kids who come for extra help, who ask questions, who struggle and try and struggle and try and then finally the light bulb comes on and they are as excited as you that they've gotten it! I love kids who laugh at themselves and their mistakes and are willing to take a chance at being wrong. I love kids who are willing to make school a priority. I love kids who laugh and joke and ask to do more math problems because they think they might almost get it. I love kids who say do another example. I love kids who ask to redo their 85%. I love kids who dig through the bookshelves looking for another book by the same author. I love kids who come and get their work before they are gone for the rest of the day.

**sigh** thank goodness the I LOVE's outweigh the others by a ton...