Friday, November 28, 2008

Hard teachers

A science teacher that I worked with lately was super frustrated after the first few months of school and last week a student wrote on the board, "Ms. such and such is a B_ _ _ H." After parents calling and complaining about grades and kids not liking her because she makes them work, she decided she is going to be an easy teacher. Later in the week she brought in cookies for the kids.

I consider myself a somewhat hard teacher. I make the kids work and I think that they learn. I would say 50% of kids like me and the other half really don't like me. I can't seem myself changing my style of teaching though. One thing that I wanted to work on this year was being more understanding and compassionate towards kids. The thing is though, you never know if they are pulling a fast one. I want to prepare them for the future, not help them to get an A. I want them to be trained in responsibility and hard work, and most of them don't want to work and want the easy way out. It is hard to find that happy medium.

I felt bad for the science teacher and I feel that we are surrounded by "easy" teachers. I don't think the kids are really benefiting from these teachers in terms of what they will see when they leave high school. I will say that it is difficult to make the kids work hard and be liked. I'm going to keep working on it. I think we'll be appreciated down the road.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ultimate decisions

In the end, I decided to use NING for 3 of my sections and moodle for one. I'm not sure if I will end up having them blog or what. So far, they have posted a biography (about me post) and posted their expectations and goals for the year. I like it all in one place so that they can all read what each other has written. I'll use it similar to the blog, but in an easier fashion, the students can see it as more of a discussion and read what each other has written.

So far, the beginning of the year is going well. Last year, I taught a different approach to geometry and this year I have needed to revise it a bit so that all geometry teachers are on the same page. It has taken more prep work but I think in the end, it will be best for the kids. Some of them are still struggling with bisectors/midpoints - what is congruent after you state there is a bisector or midpoint, etc. Algebra 2 started off with functions, and most kids that reviewed the material and studied really got it. Precalc started with the unit circle and is going smoothly, except for the kids who shouldn't be in the class in the first place.

Hope the beginning of the year is going well for the teachers out there.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


With multiple intelligences surveys I am almost always finding results where I am in the middle or have scored evenly with 2 intelligences. They are visual and logical. I often think about how I learn best when I am teaching and try to incorporate the other intelligences by using a variety of methods.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ideas and Reflections

I started thinking about the beginning of the year. Here are my initial thoughts: the first few days, I will spend introducing the kids to the course, various ice breakers, going over the summer packet and testing on it (2nd day), setting up blogs, and finally starting material. Every year I want to spend more time on getting to know you games and activities and setting the tone. I hope to incorporate these more this year.

I'm planning on having the students set up blogs the first week and make a post. I also plan on using Moodle, but I'm just not quite sure yet. I like the idea of seeing everyone's post and responding easily - a little easier than using Google Reader for the kids.

I'm iffy about Moodle because I'm not sure that I'll keep up with it. I don't want to overdo it either with blog accounts and using Moodle. I guess I'll just go with it for now and see how it goes. I want to start making a journal of blog entries for throughout the year for each course. That is my plan for the next few weeks (2 weeks to go!)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moodle? Blogs? Wikis? studyWiz? Ning?

I don't know what to use this year!! I have the opportunity to try out MOODLE AND /OR STUDY WIZ. Last year, I used blogs and wikis on their own, and this year I was thinking of using ning.

Some pros and cons - but I would like to hear what you use and suggestions.
Moodle - can't get into it. Not user friendly, overwhelming, like the idea of everything in one place, with calendars, documents, links, everything
Study Wiz - seems more user friendly, have never used before, imports classes for me
Blogs and wikis- worked well but available to the world
NING - was going to try out this year, don't know much about it, but like the discussion feature.

What am I looking for? A place where students can comment on each other's discussions.
Bonus: a place to store documents & lessons.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Understanding by Design

I've done some planning this summer for my courses for next year. One thing that I did was to make a list of the topics within each course that I will teach. I made a table for each one with 3 columns: pre-assessment, project idea, extension (for DI). I hope that this will give me ideas through the unit ahead of time. I would also like to add another column of essential questions or enduring understandings. I need the time in the summer to do this and I think once I make that time before the year, it will help me (and ultimately the students) throughout the year.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Here is a great site with reflections:, I pasted from the site below.

General Reflections on Education

What are we doing here? The following sets of questions can help you articulate your philosophy of education. When you are done, you can save your responses to the notepad in your backpack, e-mail them, print them, or share your thoughts with other teachers.

Classroom Reflections

The following sets of questions can help you think about the atmosphere and design of your classroom.

Self-Assessment Reflections

The following sets of questions can help you think about your work this week and this year ... What have you learned this week? What have you taught this week? How are you doing in your work? The questions posed in this section are designed to provide you with some space in which you can consider your own professional development.

Some reflections:
I teach because I want to make a difference in students' lives - not just with curriculum, but by inspiring them. I am teaching a variety of students, from different backgrounds and of different levels. I want students to feel comfortable and excited coming to class everyday (good luck with that!).

Tech mentor - year 1

Last year, I was in a group with a tech mentor, with 3 other mentees. During the school year, we took 3 days where we worked on some integration of technology into the curriculum with the help of the tech mentor, and by supporting and helping each other. It was great collaboration and I was able to get alot done and great things came out of the day.

This year, I'll be a tech mentor. I feel that I already share and collaborate really well with the math department, and I will continue this, and I also am looking forward to working with a small group of teachers to assist them in learning new things that they can use in their classroom, and sharing together. I always learn from these sessions and find them very rewarding. I would like to make time to help my colleagues with any questions and share things that they may not know.

Are you a tech mentor in your building? What kind of things do you do?

Monday, June 30, 2008


High school teachers: What do you do in the first week of school? Last year, I did an ice breaker and had the kids get started on setting up their blogs. They did a biography on their blog and got to know their classmates. I'm interested in what you do in your classroom, so that I can get some ideas for next year.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Do you use NING in your classroom? Somehow after an amazing course with Dr. Fritz at Penn State last summer, I joined the edubloggerworld on ning, and then she created a network for her class that I joined and participated in during the past month. I have created networks for my classes this year, and I'm really excited to try it out. In the past school year, I have had the students create their own blogs, make posts and make comments on their classmates' blogs. Many of them dreaded it, "Oh no, another blog is due?" I think that sites like ning will be more their speed, but I don't want to drop the blogging entirely. Anyone have feedback? Another thing our district offers is Moodle which I am just trying to figure out so far. I would love to hear if you have any ideas!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

student work

Check out my student's work at!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

trial #2 ?

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by lilrunner25

Saturday, May 31, 2008

podcast +PPT

Do you make podcasts with powerpoint? Here is a good link:, I am working on this next week with my high school math classes, if you have any tips.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Boston Marathon

Totally off topic - but I heard that you could qualify for the Boston Marathon with a 1/2 marathon time. Did anyone hear this? And if so, where are these times listed?
Boston '09!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New tools!

What new tools are you using? I just read about Technorati, I know it is not new - what do you use it for? How about Apture? Do you use it? This year I have succeeded in keeping up weekly reading educational blogs and getting my students to blog as well as comment. I might tweak it next year, but I think it has been great. I also want to give them more time to explore the non-math educational aspects of blogging. Right now, for them, it seems forced. I ended up having each kid do a summary of the week and the rest of the class has to comment every 2 weeks of one of the ones that was completed. It forces the person summarizing to review everything and forces the others to constructively criticize as well as read the review. This has been a great success! Over the summer I hope to look at some new tools and incorporate them. I want to check out how other math teachers are incorporating these into their classrooms. The last few months have flew by - can't believe it has been 5 months + since I blogged!!

Summer will be refreshing!