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Settling Down…

So, now that the student’s schedules are settling down it is time to get serious about things. Test scores come in after school starts- then the students are shuffled around to make sure they are in the Algebra class. A sidenote on that- just because my class is labeled Pre-Algebra on the student’s schedules does not mean we do not cover Algebra I concepts.

I am very excited for this school year. I have one all girls class 1st period. Then I have two periods of all boys classes. The boys this year are very energetic and I have spent 3 weeks helping them learn how to channel their energy toward productive mathematical thinking. We are making progress. The girls are eager to learn and though some admit to a fear of math are willing to put their trust in me that I can help them learn and learn to like math. I know I can do it! I have also been fighting the inclusion battle. They are pulling students out to put them in resource. I have been asking for them to be kept in my room. So far I have won one of them back.

Next on my plan for having a great school year: Implementing the Math Forum POW’s. Centers are still on my radar. They have just been bumped further out due to test scores and other tedious things I need to take care of.

I have a stamp that I had made last year that matches our states standards based test rubric.

4 Advanced

3 Proficient

2 Nearing Proficient

1 Emerging

Last year I used it infrequently. I have decided that I will use it on a regular basis this year. I am also going to tape a breakdown of the rubric onto the student’s desks so that they can learn to analyze their own work. Take ownership of their answers and solutions.



Currently thinking of a way to integrate all of the great mathematical projects, games and such into the classroom. Something I have toyed around with in my head for awhile is centers. My train of thought right now is to at least twice a month – because I am not sure how time consuming it will be to set these up and maintain them- the students will rotate through centers. The centers will possibly be based on topics – like puzzles, logic,…(still working on this). Trying to develop a way of how to document the learning that takes place.


How to make it fun, exciting, and something the students will persevere through?

How to document the learning taking place?

How to organize this and keep it going throughout the year?


Ongoing List….

How to start the school year:

  • Establish Norms through Build It Together
  • Ms. Wollard Quiz
  • Things to do…Not a list of things not to do. I find students gel into the class better when there is a positive vibe from the beginning about what they can do to be successful. When they are presented with a list of things to not do, it sets a negative vibe.
  • Bank- Give the students index cards with $100 on them. Periodically collect as a productivity grade. Then they get another $100. Can earn bank as well as lose bank. Depending on the behaviors, attitudes, or habits I am looking for they will get charged or earn stamps. Each stamp is worth $2.00. Some kids get extra credit if they have had no charges. If what they do – or don’t do- is a big no-no, they could lose upwards of $50.oo. It all depends on the student and what they have done. The cool thing about this system is that even when they have fallen and really messed up, they get a chance to start over.
  • Begin Day 1 with mathematics. Do not start with boring introductory crap. They are in 8th grade- treat them with respect from the start and let them know that this is math class and we will be doing some great stuff.
  • …..More to come

Take Away’s and Fields from PC

Having just spent three weeks of intense mathematics exploration and pedagogical discussion I am left now to ponder what have I taken away from that time. Yet it is also about what have I given. Throughout both my daughter’s soccer and marching band careers they had a saying-

“Leave it on the field”

Which for me meant that they put all they had into the game or performance and walked away satisfied no matter if they finished victorious or in first place. So two questions linger-

What have I taken away from Park City?


What have I left on the Field in Park City? 

I believe that some of what I have left on the field in Park City is a bit of my passion for teaching and working with kids. I have also come to love working with adults to help all of us become better at teaching kids. Yet it is kids that drive me and what I continue to do. I must also say that I have left a bit of my passion for life as well. It is a journey that is too short and must be live to the fullest. ENJOY everything, even the tough stuff, it makes us who we are.

What I have taken away is that I am not the only one. There are brilliant mathematicians out there who have also chosen to dedicate their lives to children, kids, young adults, whatever you choose to call them. They too experience the same issues that I do. That makes the world a bit smaller and friendlier to me. This is a topic I will spend more time on as it comes to me. Much to process my friends…


How to share all of the thoughts that ramble through my brain about education, math, and life in general? We shall see…

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