Post 03 – Programming Drones & Mathematical Properties

We're entering week 4 of school.  This will be the first full, normal week so far.  First day of week 1 was the odd first day schedule with assemblies and such, 2nd week had a 2-hr delay on Monday due to hurricane weather, and last week was labor day on Monday.  Glad to start getting into a normal routine.  But onto the reflection of last week. ROBOTICS & DRONING I spent most of my time last week reflecting on robotics.  I was trying out doing some drone lessons where students program the drone to do stuff.  Our first mission was…
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Post 01 – First Week Pre-Algebra, Robotics, and Advisory Activities

Well as part of my goals this year, I'd like to continue to blog every week as a reflective practice in my middle school math & robotics classes.  This is my 7th year in the classroom, 4th year teaching middle school math & robotics, and 3rd year doing weekly blogs.  I'm impressed by the number of teachers doing the #teach180 initiative where teachers write a DAILY reflection.  Some will do an Instagram or Twitter post and that'll suffice.  I'm going to be less worried about the presentation aspect of these blogs this year; I'm not spending time on cover photos…
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Entry 29 & 30 – “I Learned More In The Last 45 Minutes Than I Have This Whole Semester”

Entry 29 & 30 – “I Learned More In The Last 45 Minutes Than I Have This Whole Semester”

Didn't reflect last week.  Had a big, fun retreat weekend and left right after class on Friday.  It was with Sara's residency program.  I made a fun video that has nothing to do with school that I'll just place right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NliF41lAmHM Onto the school content: PRE-ALGEBRA We finished up our ratios/proportions unit last week and students took their summative test on Monday.  Our last lesson of that unit was using proportions to find the missing side of a similar figure.  The opening question ended up being not as effective as I had hoped: I chose this one because I…
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Entry 28 – Middle School Math Research Projects & Proportions

Entry 28 – Middle School Math Research Projects & Proportions

Long time no update!  This is the practically first week of just normally scheduled classes in over a month. 1st week of March - student led conferences on Thursday/Friday so no school (link to last years conferences discussing our philosophy on it) 2nd week of March - Project Week (link to what I did for my own project week) 3rd week of March - Spring Break (link to my time in San Diego!) 4th week of March - Project Week Presentations on Thursday/Friday (link to a video of what the students ended up doing for their projects) 5th week of March -…
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Entry 27 – 6th Grade Fractions Project

Entry 27 – 6th Grade Fractions Project

Tried a new project this year to close out our fractions unit.  I talk about how I set it up, how it went, and feedback from students on what worked and didn't.  It involved finding fractions in recipes and converting them up to 3 1/2 times the amount of ingredients for a big family gathering as well as cutting them down to half the amount of ingredients for a smaller party for friends. Here's the rubric: https://goo.gl/T6BhXn
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Entry 23 – Trust Me, This Will Make Future Problems Easier

Entry 23 – Trust Me, This Will Make Future Problems Easier

Let's just do a general reflection on what went well and what didn't this week. PRE-ALGEBRA So we had a quiz on solving 1-step equations last week.  They didn't do super.  It's hard to help them make the shift from doing problems they can do in their head (x + 5 = 12) to actually solving algebraically by doing the same thing to both sides of the equation.  We went over the algebraic properties of equality this year beforehand for the first time.  I really just gave them definitions and examples like if I have 12 = 12 and then…
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Entry 22 – Six of the Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make

Entry 22 – Six of the Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make

This week's prompt: What do you think is the biggest mistake(s) teachers make? I think the best way to go about answering this would be to reflect on many of the mistakes that I've made in my own practice. 1.  Feeling the need to be in control. I know in my first year of teaching, I made such a concentrated effort to make sure everyone was following the rules all the time and that they would definitely know if they fell out of line.  If things got too loud, I felt I was losing control.  If students starting goofing around,…
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Entry 20 – The Biggest Impact on My Teaching

Entry 20 – The Biggest Impact on My Teaching

This week's prompt: What/who has had the biggest impact in your teaching approach and why? I've got a few people, quotes, and books that have shaped the way I approach teaching. Rafe Esquith Esquith is best known for his book 'Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire.'  He's a retired 30-year, 5th grade teacher and really embodies everything I hope to be as a teacher.  It's incredible the things he was able to do in the low-income school he worked in all his years.  He held an after school program where students read and performed Shakespeare (once joined by Ian McKellen).…
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Entry 19 – Let’s Get A Math Exhibition Going

Entry 19 – Let’s Get A Math Exhibition Going

We're trying something new at my school this year; a Math Exhibition of sorts.  Students will explore a math topic or concept and give a visual presentation.  We actively avoided 'math fair' because that sounds boring.  But MATH EXHIBITION!  Sign me up! We do something somewhat similar to this each year with Project Week.  The difference is that Project Week has students explore ANY topic of interest for a week and then present on it.  They get a week off of school to do it.  The video below by yours truly sums it up: https://youtu.be/Ysvz2XeEg90 So as a math team…
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Entry 18 – 2nd Semester Start

Entry 18 – 2nd Semester Start

Last week was our first week back. It was weird being back at school so close to New Years.  We had staff development work on Monday the 2nd but were done by mid-day and were able to work on whatever we needed to.  The wifey had to work for much of my first week off so I tried to get a lot of my second semester planning done then.  My semester stays the same with exception to a new group of kids in my robotics class. GETTING STUDENTS TALKING IN MATH I did a pretty fantastic 'how do we do…
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