Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for my DAY FAMILY!

I took my Geometry class on a field trip to Home Depot, Menards, Sherwin Williams, and Sears on Tuesday. We also had a great conversation with Tim Marshall of T&T Heating and Plumming. Our House Projects are nearing completion and I am thrilled with how hard my students have worked.

My Algebra students worked with the substitute teacher on Tuesday. Thanks to the great tech tools GKB has provided, I was able to teach while not being at school. I used Camtasia, my Hitachi Interactive Whiteboard, and YouTube to teach. The class worked on problems via Khan Academy and some real education went on, not just busy work! I was able get on Khan and see what work they completed and how well the lesson went. Although, I believe face to face education is truly the BEST way to teach, I can see how this has appeal to many people. Like most teachers, I hate to be out of the classroom. Being out always seems like a wasted day. Tuesday was not wasted, it was just another day of learning.

The last assignment I asked my Algebra students to complete was a Blog Post on Thanksgiving. I have been so amazed at how great my students love to blog and their posts are amazing. I gain great insight on their lives and thinking beyond Algebra. I really think this helps me as their teacher. These blogs are just another tool to connect and go beyond the "traditional" classroom.

I am so very Thankful for my students. I am overjoyed to spend my day with these young men and women. I often hear teachers complain about their kids. In many ways it disgusts me. If you can't find the good in the students you teach, you need to look to another profession. If you get so bogged down with late assignments, lack of discipline, confrontation, dress code violations, and poor academic performance that you can't build a positive caring relationship you need to do something else. If you can't care for the least of your students, how can you teach them or expect them to learn? I don't have the top students in my class. I love them. They are my "day family". They aren't perfect. My classes are the same as most other classes. I have students who don't work hard, they don't complete all their work, they give up, they have too many absences, and have bad attitudes. We ARE family. Like most families, we have good moments and bad. I wouldn't trade them for anyone else. I love technology and what it allows me to do with my DAY FAMILY. But, that only goes so far. There is something special about the relationships teachers build with students that aren't measured on a standardized test. You can't get the caring, personal relationship students need from a computer. You can get great content. Life is more than what you know. Life is about relationships with people.

Thanks to my classes I get to spend my life building relationships and teaching students how to live life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Veterans Day 2012 -- It's about Honor!

My classes spent the day. Watching Veterans Videos and blogging about Veterans Day on Friday. I know it's Algebra Class, but there is nothing more important than making sure the next generation knows the sacrifices made by our military.

We first watched a shortened version of this Dad saying goodbye to his son who is leaving for Afganistan:

I just thought they should know how much a sacrifice it is for a family. I then shared this video from CBS Sunday Morning in 2011 about the Militaries Dignified Transfer procedure for those military personnel that gave the ultimare sacrifice. This is a great video:

I then had the opportunity to share with them the TWO times I have participated in the "Dignified Transfer" this past summer. Most of my students knew or knew of Jabraun Knox who was killed in Afganistan this past May. We talked about that sacrifice and the emotions of that loss.

 I also shared with them the video SPC Nick Talyor of Berne killed in action just 2 months after Jabraun. I shared this video with them and also shared how I knew this young hero and how close this hit to home for me.

At the end of class, my students wrote in their blogs to thank our veterans. As always, my students did a great job and I am honored to be with them Every single day. It is because of Military Heros like Nick and Jabraun that I have the opportunity to teach and help the youth of our community prepare for their future!

I have shared some of those posts on Twitter @ghsmath2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

HammondVictor's Blog: What is School for? Why is School Important in Soc...

HammondVictor's Blog: What is School for? Why is School Important in Soc...: Question to ask: What is School for?           There are some days where I do question myself about the point of school. Sometimes I ...

Ashley Peaslee: What is school for?

Ashley Peaslee: What is school for?: What is school for? Teachers, parents, and students all wonder why we really have school and what's the point?  I honestly think we shoul...

Emily A. Kennedy: What is school for?

 Great insight by one of my MANY great students!

Emily A. Kennedy: What is school for?

Second Nine Weeks is underway!

It's been over a week since my last post. Parent Teacher Conferences are over, Halloween is behind us and we are pushing toward the Holidays full steam ahead.

Algebra I

          We are working extra hard on Linear Equations, graphing, and Real World Applications.  80% of the ECA (End of Course Assessment) will deal directly with Linear Equations. I have been greatly encouraged with how hard the ENTIRE class is working on this topic.
          I have also started to produce a couple video lessons of my own using Camtasia. It is not exactly what I want, but it's ok to start with. I really am trying to produce Khan like lesson videos. I have noticed, and so have my students, his videos are not always the best. I just do things differently than he does. I will keep working to try to figure out how to do it in a better way.

Here are a couple examples:



 Today we watched another TED video on "Failure" . The question of the day is, "What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" We will blog about this on Monday.  I am really enjoying mixing writing in with my classes.

           Next week we will prepare for a Linear Equation Assessment, participate in Acuity testing, and continue to prepare for the ECA. It's sad that we put so much emphasis on the test. But, our state and country put so much value in this high stakes testing. This testing gets in the way of REAL LEARNING taking place.(Just an opinion!)


          This class has grown by 3 students since the end of the first term. I was a little worried about changing the dynamics of this class by adding students. During the first nine weeks we have grown to be a pretty close family. Even the students voiced their concern, (before the students started). But, the "Newbies" have been accepted into the family and we are moving on. Unlike the Algebra class, I have some great freedom to take my time and really work at teaching critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication through Geometry. 
          We have just started are first REAL PBL lesson. We have divided up into teams. Each team has been assigned a NEW HOME to finish. They will propose flooring, wallcoverings, lighting, and appliances for a newly constructed home. The teams have been given construction blue prints and will be providing a detailed bid to "Finish" the home. 
            Teams have made group contracts and are in the midst of compiling TASK LISTS. Next week they will organize these lists and develop a time table for the tasks to be complete.  I just love this type of real life work. Students take this work very seriously and have already impressed me with their brainstorming plans. 

          I love coming to these classes and being with my students everyday. My students are the greatest. They challenge me and encourage me every single day. They stretch me and my preparation and I hope I am stretching them also.