Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Who's on First

Ok first things first...  In my last post I noted a little nervousness about being classified a "temporary" teacher and not yet knowing if my job was actually mine for next year.  Well I heard today that I am on for another year.  Relieved.

Tonight we were watching the SF Giants game and my daughter kept asking "Who's on first?"  Well being the annoying parents we are, we definitely had to torture her a little bit.  Ok, quite a bit...  If you don't know what I am talking about check out the Abbott and Costello Who's on First routine.  I will guarantee you will be entertained.

Of course about half way through I got to thinking... That's how the kids who are struggling must feel.  They think they understand what is going on, but really don't.  We try to explain it again, they think they understand, they have that ah ha moment only to be let down when they find out they really don't get it...

Why is this important???  It is testing season...  The year feels like it is beginning to wrap up (but it's not)...  It just put back in my head that we need to make every effort to find that thing that helps each student "get it"

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Trying to keep spirits high by looking back

This is a tough time of the year for me.  As you may have read previously I stepped out of a vice principal roll of about 5 years back into the classroom.  I love being back.  The tough part is that I was in a charter school and am now in a district school.  This really isn't that big of a deal except I had to come in as a temporary teacher.  Meaning no guaranteed job for the next year.  Will I have a job next year?  I am about 98% sure that the answer is yes, but until that day happens there is that unnecessary stress that sits in the back of your mind.  What if...What if...What if...  I hate what ifs when they have to do with my family.

I just wanted to put this out there, but I want to thank @jdmahlstedt.  He was a teacher that was hired at my previous school.  When he started he was green and developed himself into an excellent teacher pretty much on his own.  I loved what he was doing with his kids, they loved going to his class and he made learning fun for them (and from what I can tell still is).  Before I left we sat down and talked math: people, influences, twitter, TMC and blogs.  This is exactly what I needed.  My focuses had been spread over the years as an admin and I knew I needed to get current.  I spent the summer reading, planning, trying to figure out where to fit things in.  There have definitely been some huge ups and at the same time some definite downs.  Both have been excellent learning experiences.

That being said my school is loosing two of our three administrators to retirement and I have had several people asking me to apply.  While this is flattering I feel like the classroom is where I am supposed to be.  There is definitely the need for change to happen, there always is wherever you go.  I will just need to find some different avenues in order to do so.  I'm looking forward to what is to come...

It's Sunday night, one week until state testing starts.  Aren't we all looking forward to them???

Friday, April 3, 2015

NBA Desmos Scatter Plots

This is my first ever blog.  My main purpose is to help me document the things I am doing in class to be able to make them bigger and better each year.  Decide whether they should be repeated or if they should be tossed.

Rebuilding an Empire.... The name is because this is my first year back in the classroom in about six years.  I had the opportunity to be promoted at my previous school to VP.  While it was a great school and we had some great years it was time to get back into the classroom because 1) I felt that my expertise was better suited for the classroom 2) I feel much more fulfilled in front of students 3) My time with my family has exponentially increased due to the lack of an hour commute, which makes all of us much happier. 4) I get to take my son to school with me every day and next year my daughter.

Today was my first day using Desmos in class.  I have been trying to work it in, but to be honest I don't have that much experience with it, so I have to do my homework with it as well.

I chose to have student look up statistics from players on NBA teams, but I was rather specific on what they were to look up (FGA/FGM).  Students were able to follow the directions easily, really had no problems creating their graph with the scatter plot template and with extremely basic instructions were able to adjust their Trend Line to relatively appropriate positions.  They then saved their graphs and turned them in through Google Classroom. Here's an example.

I would say we had basic success.  Students were able to complete the assignment successfully, but I think my being specific on what data to use I don't think my students really gained too much from it.  Yes they understand what the scatter plot looks like and we have begun Trend Lines, but that's about it.

Next time...

Buy in....Must have more buy in...
Consider using the lesson by Dan Meyer about celebrity ages. It will provide more back and forth banter.  Students will be challenged to see who can be the closest, their scatter plots will all appear different and they can provide for additional conversation on why the Trend Lines look so different.

Mine was a good exercise for completion, but needs to be stepped up for next time.