Second Breakfast: Day 173 Or Forgot About Presentations

So I gave a big review project to geometry last week. We were presenting the projects the last two days and we didn’t get through all of them. I told students who didn’t go that we would finish them up today.

Well, I totally forgot about that. I made up a practice exam, gave that, and then went over the solutions. And with 10 minutes left to go in 3/4 I remembered. And none of them had said a dang thing.


So we will have to fit in presentations later this week. Oops.

I’m finding myself running out of these to talk about this year. The semester is winding down and we are in finals week. We start exam schedule tomorrow and really the only job I have left is to review and then proctor. (Other than grading these final projects.)

But exams are stretched out over two weeks this year so it’s a long stretch of me not having a whole lot to write about right after a long stretch of me being to stressed out and busy to write about topics when I did have things to write about.

Sorry, dear reader.

Also, I just realized if you replied to an email titled Dear Reader it would be a palindrome.

RE: Dear Reader


Wait. Crap. It’s almost a palindrome.

Shoot that’s disappointing.

Did you know these really are written in real time as my reactions to my own thoughts?

It’s weird how the written word compresses or expands time that way doesn’t it?

Okay, I’ll stop now.

Thanks for reading.


Second Breakfast: Day 172

We continued review presentations in geometry today. Some of my students had excellent presentations and were very engaging. Others were… not so engaging.

I definitely will need to build up more structure if I do this assignment again next year. As I tweeted today, “I always forget that you have to explicitly state every single thing you want students to do and that even then they will sometimes miss the point of an assignment. They can’t do “spirit of the thing” they can only do “letter of the thing” and even letter they aren’t great at.”

I was thinking about that comparison for my classroom rules as well based on the posted rules in my room.

I have the “spirit of the law”: Work Hard and Be Nice to People. You are here to learn math.

I have the “letter of the law”: Participate! Don’t give up! Stay on task! Use technology appropriately! Be respectful! Listen to directions at all times. Be in your seat and working by the time the bell rings. No passes in the first or last ten minutes. Work bell to bell. No eating or drinking. No cellphones or headphones.

I think I may explicitly labels these as such in my classroom next year. I also am going to follow the lead of my colleagues and post outside my classroom: “No cellphones or headphones in sight once you enter this room” because I am LOSING. THE. BATTLE. Daily.

We have a three day weekend. I so desperately needed it.

Thanks for reading.


Second Breakfast: Day 171

So totally disregard what I wrote yesterday. I decided I am going to have my geometry classes make sangaku as a end-of-term project. I am pretty excited about it and I hope they turn out well. I plan to spend a lot of time having the students revise their proofs before they ever try to paint any boards.

We had presentations of review material today. They are going well so far. Both of my classes were very respectful while their peers presented. I realized that I haven’t really given the students any framework for presenting or for evaluating their peers presentations at all. My little google form for peer review was thrown together at the last minute.

One thing that I would really like to work on next year is getting students to speak and share their ideas more. They are very, VERY reluctant to speak and I am too eager to jump in and help explain. Group projects and presentations and all of that can be difficult to manage and sometimes it’s just easier for me to do the presenting. I do think there are times when I should be presenting and speaking, but they probably aren’t as often as I do them now.

Exams start next week.

Thanks for reading!


Second Breakfast: Day 170

I have officially taught all of the material for the courses and we are in review mode. For algebra I assigned a bunch of practice problems on Delta Math and for Geometry I made a big review project that the students are working on. Essentially this week my classes consists of students working and coming up to ask me questions when necessary. I am so tired and the students are so tired that I don’t think any other format would go well. When I try to explain ideas up in front of the class it’s like I am teaching to a brick wall. All of the faces are blank and tired. The students are fried. I am fried.

I would really like to do a final art/math project for all of the students once they have taken their final exam (we still have days of instruction after the final) but I waited too long to plan it and now I think I will not have time.

At this point I am already thinking about summer and what I will be doing for classes next year. Things to try, lessons to tweak, classroom management techniques to improve.

I know my blog quality has really dropped off as of late, but I have just been absolutely swamped with my two part-time online jobs, which take up a majority of my non-school time. I am not sure if I will continue my daily blogging habit next year or not. Probably.

Thanks for reading.


Second Breakfast: Day 168 Or Trash Can

I was literally hitting my head with a trash can in class today.

I tried to start notes. I gave the students a transition warning (we had been doing computer work) and waited while they shuffled from chromebooks to notebooks. AS SOON AS I started talking, a student started sharpening a pencil. They didn’t sharpen it during the transition, no. They didn’t get around to it until I had said “Okay!” and started writing on the board while talking.

And then of course another student needed to sharpen a pencil.

I began again. I usually start notes with a quick recap of the previous day’s topic to job their memories, especially if today’s notes connect with yesterday’s notes. A question from a student. “Mr. Belcher, should we write this down since we wrote it down yesterday?”

“It would be a good idea to write down whatever I put on the board, yes.”


I began again. I have the trig identities listed and I’m about to review a few examples. Another student with a question.

“Mr. Belcher, should we write this down since we wrote it down yesterday?”

I picked up a trash can (it was plastic) and dramatically hit my head against it a few times.

“Mr. Belcher, are you going crazy?”


I’m so done. I need summer desperately.

Thanks for reading.


Second Breakfast: Day 167

Usually when I teach a geometry lesson my first attempt with 3/4 isn’t bad, but I smooth out the kinks by 6/7. This is generally good since my 3/4 is better behaved and can handle a rougher lesson. But today it was the opposite. My first attempt with 3/4 went really well and my second attempt with 6/7 was a mess. I think I was tired, but I am not sure what happened.

It has been a. week.