Rookie Year: Day 74 Or Desmos Snowmen

Today was the last day before Christmas Break. We started with a 2 hour Winter Days assembly and then had shortened classes afterwards. The assembly was actually very neat. We have a LOT of musically gifted students at our school and as a former band kid I appreciated that essentially the whole school attended a Winter Concert. Student committees also raised over \$13,000 for Make-A-Wish and collected thousands of canned goods, toys, coats, etc, etc, etc. Very cool.

In class we made Desmos snowmen and practiced skills on IXL.

Here’s my snowman.

Thanks for reading and Happy Christmas. I’ll resume daily posts in January.

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Rookie Year: Day 73

I made my students some coffee in a chemex today. They reacted about how I would expect them to react. Which is “UGH IT’S SO STRONG HOW CAN YOU DRINK THIS”. I told them they were weak and needed to get better at drinking coffee. So that was fun.

Today was the last day for students to make up missing assignments so I spent the day assigning make up tests and entering missing work. Students who had no missing work or tests practiced on IXL.

I did give a short quiz at the beginning over the linear equation problems we had been practicing all week. No one did well. Sigh. Although during previous lessons I felt that there was some lack of student effort that led to poor quiz scores, I was feeling the inadequacy this time. I am just not satisfied with how I taught linear equations to this group of students. To be fair to myself, this is the first time I have really taught those concepts to a bunch of 9th graders but either I am not satisfied. But I have some ideas for next time.

Tomorrow we have an hour and a half assembly and during the shortened classes in the afternoon I will be making them practice, practice, practice for the final exam that they will be taking when we return in early January. A lot of them asked if we could watch a movie tomorrow.

My response

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Rookie Year: Day 72

All week I have been having students practice writing linear equations in three forms: slope-intercept, point-slope, and standard form. I give them a little slip with blanks like so:

y = __ x + ___

y – __ = __ (x – __)

__ x + __ y = ___

And then I give them information like two points, or a point and a parallel line, and so on. The classes have improved on finding the equations each day we have done this, but this still heavily rely on me, especially when rewriting slope-intercept into standard form.

Yesterday and today I gave them parallel and perpendicular labs where they plotted lines, found the equations, and then compared slopes. This went pretty well both days. Some students did struggle to plot points correctly, but I think this was a focus issue rather than a lack of knowledge of how to plot points and then graph the line. Sometimes they would plot the points correctly but then connect the wrong ones when drawing lines. Next time I do an activity like this I will tell them to draw the lines immediately after the two points AND after double-triple checking to make sure that their points are correct.

The activity also went a little smoother because I had already given away the punchline by teaching a lesson on slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines last week. So the “what do you notice about the slopes” questions weren’t as challenging as they would have been if this was the first lesson on the subject. (I was given the activity after I had already taught a different lesson.) But it served as a great reinforcement because many of my students had not internalized the connections. (I’m still not sure if they have, but overall I think we improved.)

I also had a parent visit today. I realized as I was teaching that I was very similar to the student whose parent was visiting in that I found myself trying just a little bit harder and putting on more of a show when I had an adult audience than when I did not. That is not to say that I’m slacking by any means, just that I think I may have been more animated than I normally am. (And I am always animated.)

I left off here 6 hours ago thinking I would finish the post but I went to a movie instead.

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Rookie Year: Day 70

I had a post planned to talk about how my last block students got into an argument about the definition of candy and what was and wasn’t candy today. I took what they started with and got them to argument some abstract math without realizing it.

But today was long and it was a Monday. I kicked four students out of a single block for progressively worse reasons and the block before that was unusually rowdy. An online college student is upset with me because they don’t like their final grade and I have been just repeating the syllabus policy in email over and over.

I don’t really feel like writing anything today. I’m emotionally exhausted. I feel the same way I do when I let myself get sucked into a stupid internet argument and I hate that feeling and I always wonder why I let myself get sucked into them. I think it’s because often in those types of arguments I feel as though the other person has the wrong mental picture of me and as an ENFJ that drives me nuts. It’s one reason I think I have struggled with classroom management this year. I didn’t discipline well enough because I was afraid of the image I would project.

Aaaand now I’m writing. I’m tired and my face feels hot from unpleasant emotions. Goodnight.

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Rookie Year: Day 69

Test day today. Not much to report other than I still don’t know what I can do differently to convince my students to prepare better for exams or how much of their failure on exams is actually my own failure. I don’t feel extremely responsible but I also would like to see some better test scores. Not sure.

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Two Quick Thoughts

1. Because of my pure math background and bent, I have not been giving my students enough applied problems. I need to work on this. It is one of my bigger weaknesses.
2. It was worrisome how many students were unable to answer questions about slope today. Not conceptual questions. Computational questions that were purely an application of the formula. I also need to do better with this.
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