Week 33 – Trying To Stay Ahead At The End Of The Year

Week 33 – Trying To Stay Ahead At The End Of The Year

Yet another week where my weekly reflection is falling on the Tuesday of the week after.  Didn’t realize how much I could forget over the weekend.


As most teachers know, the end of the year is a bit harder to stay ahead of the game.  In the perfect world, I would have summative assessments made before we start a unit and take a backwards design approach; working with the end in mind.  That’s not happening now with my geometry units in either my 6th or 7th grade math classes.  Didn’t get to those units last year so I’m doing them for the first time in both classes.  I have a skeleton of the unit and I know my learning goals, but am making the quizzes as I go and actually going through the finer details of the lesson either the day before, or sometimes even the day of (like today).


Something I AM excited about is that I get to teach circles for the first time!  I remember having my own aha moments for the area of circles just somewhat recently, and I normally don’t show many videos in my class but found some awesome and fun videos to share about circles, like this one as well as the one below:

I tried out a YouCubed lesson for discovering the area of a circle today but it didn’t go super.  They had to draw their own circles, cut them out, and then try to arrange them in a rectangle shape to try and find the area.  They were then supposed to cut the circle into smaller segments and try to make the rectangle again.  Basically what they do in this video:

It took them a while to draw & cut out the circles and some of them were pretty terrible circles.  Additionally, a few of them made their circles too small to really do the activity.  I think I’m going to print out some circles for them to cut out to speed the process up a little bit.  I ended up showing them a video that sort of explained it since we were running low on time.  They were confused at the end of class.  Will try again tomorrow with my other Pre-Algebra classes.

And now I realize I’m actually reflecting on this weeks lesson, not last weeks.  Something I did last week in the 6th grade class were a couple of activities to find the area of a triangle and trapezoid (another YouCubed activity).  They went fairly well and students seemed to get it.


In both of my classes, students are making geometry booklets that they can use on quizzes and tests.  They’re putting formulas, explanations, and example problems in the booklets.  Some students are losing them and just having to make new ones.  I told them they will only be able to use their geometry booklet on the assessment (not journals or computer or anything).  A part of me is thinking ‘they’re getting a chance to use additional resources, all they have to do is maintain that resources and show up with it.’  One student asked ‘so is this another one of those things testing our ability to be prepared.’  I said ‘yes.’  The student is traditionally horribly disorganized and said ‘ok…dang.’  I thought JUST DON’T LOSE IT!!

A math teaching philosophy in me would say ‘if you’re assessing them on the math, give them the resources they would need to show their knowledge of the math.’  The teacher of life philosophy in me would say ‘it’s up to you to be prepared with the things you’ll need to succeed’   Sigh.  Hopefully he and everyone else shows up with their books.


Last week I flew a drone for the first time.  I put it in my most recent episode of Middle School Robotics and will post that in a separate post.  Also took my first personal day of the year for my wife’s birthday.  We went to Fort Worth for the weekend and I got to fly the drone up there too (it belongs to a parent who was very generous to let me borrow it…got a grant to get a drone for the school next year though!).  Will create and post that video as well.


And I will end this entry something I emailed my advisory.  In their weekly update, I asked them to describe their perfect day.  In my response to them, I wrote what my perfect day would be:

My perfect day would be to wake up at 7:30am (don’t want to sleep away my perfect day!) and breakfast would be kolaches and breakfast tacos (mix between bean and cheese and bacon egg and cheese). I’d go for a moderate run with my wife, perhaps four miles. It would be about 9am and we would go to a coffee house and I’d get an iced coffee while we spend time reading whatever book we’re finding interesting. After about an hour, we would have brunch with some friends and I’d have to debate with myself about whether or not to eat breakfast or lunch at brunch. After lunch, we would go bungee jumping or paragliding because why not. We would then take a short hour-long siesta nap and then attend a bar-b-que with our families. There would lots of cheeseburgers and sausage. We’d hang out until late in the night, probably play some board games and video games, and then head home. Oh and I’d vlog the entire day. And somewhere in there, I’d like to ride a motorcycle and go to a shooting range, either firearms or bow & arrow, whichever range is closer.

By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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