Monthly Archives: February 2012

speed dating

So I am going to toot my own horn for a second.  If you don’t like bragging, please stop reading now.

I love teaching at Nevada Middle School.  I feel like I have become a fantastic teacher this year.  And it feels really good because my principals recognize it and tell me that I am a good teacher.

Two weeks ago I had an unannounced formal observation.  It was one of those days that I wasn’t really “into it.”  I was giving a test the next day and felt like I needed to review but was totally uninspired to be engaging.  I had a study guide/practice ready for the kids and I was just going to have them work on it in class and give them the answers at the end so they could study at home.

My first hour class is really small and many of those students struggle with math.  I decided to let them work together on the assignment.  They picked a partner and started working talking.  After about 5 minutes I told them all to find a new partner because they were not doing what they were supposed to do.  They got new partners and worked (a little).  I told them to switch again and they worked a little more.

One little girl said to me “This is fun.”
Me “What is fun?”
LG “You making us switch partners every few minutes.”
M: “Uh…”
Her partner “Yeah.  I like talking to other people to get help rather than the same person every time.”

Apparently they didn’t realize I was switching them up because they were getting off task.  This conversation did lead to a bit of inspiration.

During second hour I did the same review and I decided to let them work in pairs.  Only this time it was more formal.  I made 2 circles out of the desks and I set a timer for them to rotate every 5 minutes.  By third hour I named it: Speed Dating.

Good thing I came up with a good name because that is when my principal showed up for my unannounced observation.  My kids were perfect.  They were engaged (the currently trendy buzzword).  They were helping each other understand how to find the volume of a pyramid and the surface area of a cone.  It was great.  (and the test the next day showed that it may have worked because they did really well!)

I got an awesome review and will have a job next year.  whew!

But here is the best part.  During Tiger Pride on Wednesday (that is our PLC time- half the staff meets on one Wednesday while the other half supervises AR time then we switch the next week) I was told that the principal bragged on me and the speed dating activity.  This week I have heard that 3 of my fellow math teachers have been “speed dating in class and I just walked by a language arts class that was speed dating!  My idea is being used all over!  I am pumped.

Do you speed date in your classroom?  What innovative ideas are you using to make your teaching meaningful?  Can I borrow them (please- I will give you credit for the idea).

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what are you giving up?

It is Fat Tuesday (and after eating my way back and forth across the state this weekend I am pretty sure that is an appropriate name!)

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.  The first day of Lent.  Traditionally people give something up for lent.  For the last ten years or so, I have tried to take it one step further.  A Bible study leader once called it a time for a lenten discipline… a time to do conscientiously do something to draw closer to God.  Instead of just giving something up, replace it with something that strengthens your faith. This had a powerful impact on me.

Last year, I gave up Facebook and Twitter.  That was interesting but I realized I was so obsessed with giving it up that I did not draw closer to God.  I have not gone back to twitter and I have definitely cut back on my facebook time.

I have given up complaining about life and replaced it with asking for direction.

I gave up talking negatively about my students.  That one gave me great results.  When I stopped complaining things got better.  I used that one two years in a row.

The first year I tried for a meaningful lenten discipline I gave up gossip.  That was H.A.R.D.  I learned a lot from that one and still think about it and go back to it every once in a while.

When I was home (that’s St. Louis with my parents and siblings) my mom asked what we are giving up for Lent.  I hadn’t even thought about it this year.

My dad said he is giving up deodorant.  You better watch out if you have to interact with him.  Maybe he is channeling John the Baptist.  I will know for sure if he starts eating locusts.

The hubs says he is going to get back on track and focus on reading his Bible for 15 minutes every day.

Me?  I think I am going to read a book this year.  One that makes me think and act.  If I finish one, I will read another.  I have a stack next to my bed so I won’t run out.

I am going to start with “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idelman.  You can check it out here.  Sounds like it will be really challenging to me.  I will let you borrow it when I am done if you want.

So what about you?  Are you giving something up?  Are you going to practice a spiritual discipline this Lenten season?  Keep me posted.  I will let you know how my book goes.

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have you ever jumped out of a plane?

Have you ever jumped out of a plane?  Dude asked me this question today.

Apparently, he has.  Today.  With the babysitter.  While the other kids napped.

The story (according to Dude) is that after all the other kids were gone to dreamland (where he got that word is a mystery to me) Miss Candace drove him to the airport where they boarded a plane with parachutes.  He told me they took off and when they got off the ground (no clue how high) they jumped out of the plane.  He was pretty proud of himself because she didn’t have to hold him.

He is full of it today!!

During his story Dude also yelled at Bubba to “stop being so incredibly annoying!”

Where does he get this stuff??

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technology fail

i have just spent the last 15 minutes typing a blog to complain about the technology (or lack of) in my school district.

I used my better judgement and deleted it.

I love using technology in my classroom.  apparently my principal thinks i am pretty innovative because she keeps sending teachers to observe me.

this is funny to me because I know many of my friends are way better at using technology than i am and are doing some pretty awesome things with a huge variety of resources in their classrooms.

anyway…

just wondering your thoughts on creating 21st century learners.  how do you use technology in the classroom?  how have you been successful with technology in your classroom?  what are some tech fails you have had?  how do you overcome your issues with technology?

by the way… wordpress has decided to refresh a 10,000 times as i am typing this.  i call this a partial tech fail.

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Powder fresh

So I bought new deoderant this week and I have just opened it. As I applied I had a horrible realization that I had bought ‘sheer powder’ scent.
Sure it is clean and fresh. It protects from BO just like ‘spring fusion’ or (in the hubs’ case) ‘after hours’ but there is something about about sheer powder that makes me think of babies and diapers.
Right now those two things make me break out in hives. Am I crazy?

What is with deoderant names? What is your favorite scent?

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