Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pi Math Night

This year I have been so incredibly busy, I now understand why so many first year teachers don't return a second year since the first one is crazy.  One of the things that I have been working on is a family math night at HDA which was held on 3/14/13 (Pi Day).  I have been thinking of ideas about this night since I got the job and started actually planning as of January.  I wanted a night for both parents and students to work together and explore the concepts of mathematics beyond what the classroom teaches.  I wanted hands-on activities as well as games to apply these concepts. 

My idea started with having different booths around the auditorium with each booth containing a different activity and concept.  I came up with 9:

1. Exploring the Monty Hall Problem
2. Coordinate twister
3. Pi Digit Reciting
4. Estimation Station
5. Sudoku Raffle
6. Tessellations
7. Fibonnachos
8. Magic Squares
9. Creating a Pi Mural

I quickly realized in planning this activity that I wouldn't be able to create each booth myself.  So in the spirit of having this a family night, I emailed parents and had a family "sponsor" a booth which entailed creating the activity and running the booth that night.  I quickly got volunteers within hours of my email, so this wasn't an issue.  With the booths taken care of, it freed me up to do other organizational tasks which included creating the program, shopping for materials, creating posters, advertising, and searching for pies. 

The night was absolutely amazing, and exceeded all expectations that I had.  We had about 100 people attend which included students, siblings and parents.  Everyone seemed to have fun exploring each booth and stayed and bought slices of pie, where the money went back to the school.  I was extremely nervous about how the booths were going to look like, due to the fact that I have control issues.  But as the volunteers arrived, each booth looked beautiful and were well thought out.  They were all much better than what I would have been able to do on my own.  I learned from this event that you need to delegate tasks in order to be a good leader or manager since I would have gone insane if I did all that work myself. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It is finally here...

After all those days on Edjoin and various interviews, I finally have a job and a place to go this fall.  I got hired at a charter school in Escondido to teach 7th, 8th and 9th grade math, which is a lot, especially for my first year.  This school seems to be a good fit for me, the staff is young and friendly and I have a lot of freedom in which I can teach since I am at a charter school.  They have already conducted orientations and they sent me to the AVID Summer Institute last week which has given me a lot of good ideas in which I can start getting my class together.

As I sit at home on my final day off before 2 days of meetings before the first day of school (Monday) I am in awe that I have a job and I feel so lucky.  I know so many of my friends from my program last year weren't able to find anything (although the fat lady has not yet sung) and I hope they can experience the same feeling that I am soon.  I am just so excited to finally be doing what I have worked on for the past 5 years and that I can start teaching kids REAL math the right way.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wrapping up

I can't believe that the school year is almost done.  University classes are over, job applications are piling up and interviews are exhausting.  As much as I am enjoying my time with my student teaching assignment I am definitely ready for summer break to come.  I look back to who I was when I started the program, and I feel so much different than before.  I have learned so much about the different "hidden" aspects of a classroom like student dynamics, ways to use visuals, and making sure that what you are teaching is actually interesting.  When the hidden things are addressed, a lot of the bigger issues like classroom management simply work out.  Overall, I am mostly excited to have my own classroom and really try these techniques from the beginning.  I just hope that things work out next fall!    

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Digital Reflection Project

Here is my Digital Reflection project for EDSS 530.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You Know You are a Teacher When...

As I have been integrating into the world of education, I have been noticing a lot of common things that teachers do.  Here is the list that I have come up with so far:

1. You think that when you wake up at 7am on Saturday that you are sleeping in.
2. You ask your friends if they have any questions when you finish telling them a story.
3. You are suddenly self-conscious about your appearance for work.
4. You laugh about jokes related to your content matter and when you tell your students, they think you are crazy.  (ex: Why was the obtuse angle upset? Because he could never be right!)
5. Germs are suddenly really scary.
6. You carry around red pens with you all the time.
7. You get worried about seeing your students when you go on errands around town.
8. You make graphic organizers to help you make decisions or to organize your own thoughts.
9. You start using acronyms for phrases other than education terms.
10. You think Kleenex and whiteboard markers are valuable.

Feel free to post more in the comments!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Homework Conundrum

After being back this week from Spring Break, something has really got me thinking about the structure of school.  Homework is a tool used by teachers for many types of reasons, but what is the best use of it?  There is the issue of too much homework, and understanding what students can handle within a night or two, and you have to think about what other classes the students have homework in and what other extracurricular activities they are involved in.  If students get too much work then they might not have the motivation to do it.

The other question is what is the real purpose of homework?  Should it be used to get ahead and for students prepare for the next class or should it be used for extra practice after class?  Could homework be a waste of time since so many students don't even complete it?  And if so do you give them easy problems to practice or do you give them something challenging to make it interesting?

There are even extreme cases where teachers are completely flipping their classroom structure to do homework at school and instruction at home with videos online.  This is seen with an article from The Washington Post.

As of now, my opinion of homework stands as both practice and a challenge, but shouldn't be too much work.  Homework from a single class shouldn't take up more than 20 minutes of the student's time.  I also think it is a time where students should work through the homework and use the tools they learned in class to figure out things on their own that might not have happened in a group setting.  I am still contemplating this and I am sure I will continue to do so within the next few years.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Possible or Impossible?

This is probably one of the coolest things that I have ever seen. It is modeled after MC Escher's Waterfall painting, which is an optical illusion about water flowing against gravity.  MC Escher is a well known artist in the mathematical community for his artwork depicting ideas of infinity as well as patterns, fractals and tessellations. 

But what you should be asking: "Is this actually possible?"  The mathematician in me wants to say no, but the video is pretty convincing.  So immediately I turned to my good friend, Google, and saw what this thing really looks like.  If you are curious, check this out: or this one:

I might bring in this video to a classroom at a higher level of math to explore the idea of infinity.  It would definitely be a good conversation starter on a concept that is difficult for students to grasp.  Maybe it is an illusion, but it is definitely interesting.