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Showing posts from August, 2016

I Notice...I Wonder...The Pythagorean Theorem in 3D

I am pretty tired and close to brain-dead, but I wanted to post while today's activities were fresh in my mind.

I had a brainstorm Saturday morning. Algebra 1 was finishing up the Pythagorean Theorem this week, and I wanted to take a look at the Pythagorean Theorem in 3D. I tried it last year with not a lot of luck. A few saw it, many did not.

My "A-Ha" came at the strangest time, but I went with it and began planning. What if I approach it with an "I Notice...I Wonder..." angle? What if I can get kids to see where we're headed without telling them?

I decided to show kids a diagram of a rectangular prism with the interior diagonal in blue and ask what they noticed and wondered. Then I showed them the same diagram with the dimensions of the prism and the question, "What is the length of the blue line segment?"

I split kids into groups of three, gave them a copy of the diagram they could write on, and I gave each group a box (various sizes) with str…

#flipclass FlashBlog On Parents, Support, and Homework

I try to keep the parents of my students informed about what is going on in my classroom. I could always do a better job.

I have one main "parent goal" for this coming year. I would like to get more feedback from parents about what is/isn't working for their child in my class. I collected email addresses at the beginning of the year and plan to form groups so I can send reflection forms to parents similar to what I have students complete throughout the year.

The biggest problem is finding the time to get all of that set up. Since I'm still in the process of finding my groove, email groups have been low on the priority list. But I don't want to forget about them.

Support from parents and administration for my flipped classroom has been amazing. My admin has been behind me from the beginning, and as positive comments started coming in from parents and students, support strengthened.

The only question I've been asked by a parent was during the Open House at the …

Trying to Find my Groove

I just finished Week 2 with students, and I have to say it's been a rough two weeks. My students are fine. I have one challenging class, but we are approaching the place where we understand each other. :)

I have just felt perpetually behind the past two weeks. I feel like I'm barely staying one step ahead of where I need to be. I don't have my sea legs, yet.

There are probably good reasons. We moved my son to his freshman dorm last weekend. I had to miss a day this week for a committee I'm on. There have been after-school appointments, which completely cramp my stay-at-school-until-I'm-done style.

I have been reminded of when I returned to teaching after 5 years at home, with two small kids. It was Christmas before I felt I was in a routine.

I really hope I'm not going to feel this way until Christmas.

The point of this blog, however, is not to whine about how hard everything feels right now (at least, not too much).

I want to reflect on what has happened in th…

Goal for the Year: Keep Taking Risks

I didn't intend to blog today, but I had a "moment" yesterday, and I need to share it, mostly for my own benefit.
As a teacher, I do not tend to avoid risks. I flipped my classroom. I implemented a broad retake and redo policy. In the last few years I have used methods and strategies and lessons completely outside my comfort zone. I play around with new technologies.

Does everything always work smoothly? No. But the rewards of all those things have been greater than the hiccups.'s a new school year (students start tomorrow) with new opportunities for growth. I have pushed myself and my students HARD the last couple of years, but there are still improvements to be made.

One area of focus is developing students conceptual understanding of math. WHY does math work the way it does? An understanding of the math is infinitely preferable to blindly using a rule and not having a clue why it works.

One topic where I find students' conceptual understanding to be p…