Saturday, August 31, 2019

Edulastic Extravaganza Contest!

Hello All,

As you may or may not know, I am a member of the Edulastic Innovator Team. Edulastic is featuring a Edulastic Extravaganza Contest, where, if you win, you can win Edulastic Enterprise (the version with the most features) for your school! Our school currently has Premium for its math teachers, and I definitely love it!

If you would like to learn more about Edulastic, please reach out to me! is the link for the Edulastic Extravaganza Contest!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

2019-2020 Classroom Photos

Well, I am back for a second year at my school, and we have our first day with students tomorrow. So, I figured it would be easiest for me to share photos of my classroom via the blog.

I am teaching an AVID class this year (and for the next four), so I wanted to display some pennants. Maybe your alma mater is in our collection. I wrote many colleges asking for pennant donations, and I had a decent response rate! My wife made a couple of things on here Cricut, and I have to add a couple more touches, but it's nearly complete! :) Let me know what you think!

The far left pennants are the schools from which I graduated. 

The pennants from Dartmouth and Columbia were purchased by our AVID program. The rest were all donated! 

My father-in-law found this frame at a dumpsite. We made it into a whiteboard. 

I have to give credit to my great colleague for the idea, but I added a couple of touches to make it my own.  My wife also helped majorly! 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

AVID Summer Institute Day 2/3

We started day 2 by discussing college/career readiness skills and how they paired with skills that are taught in the AVID elective. After this, we began to dive into the Tutorial Process. The tutorial is a major component of AVID (approximately 40%), as the typical schedule requires AVID tutorials two days a week. There are ten parts to the tutorial process, which is in the photo below. There is pre-work, in the form of a Tutorial Request Form (TRF), where students have to fill out to identify points of confusion. There was a ton of information in this section, so it's still hard to digest. However, AVID provides a ton of resources on tutorials.

Day 3 was also chock-full-of information. We discussed philosophical chairs, which are a form of a debate, but with different rules. After philosophical chairs, we combined learning about the Critical Reading process and Socratic Seminars. After this, we discussed setting up the AVID binder and did wrap up to finish. We had another meeting after this before the conference was over, and we had to fly home late that night. Overall, it was an amazing conference, and I have so much to take back to school here in a few weeks, not just for my AVID elective, but for my Algebra 2 and Geometry classes.

AVID Summer Institute 2019 Day 1

I had the opportunity to attend the AVID Summer Institute (SI) last week in Dallas, Texas! As I stated in a previous post, I am going to be teaching a section of our AVID elective for (at least) the next four years. As the final step in being able to teach the AVID elective, I had to go to SI for training.
We had two half days and a 3/4 day training to teach us strategies and expectations for teaching the AVID elective.

I have just now got time (or had the mental energy) to be able to process all of the information that was given. Let's go through it.

Day 1
We discussed the importance of relational capacity, which is a fancy term for building community and relationships within your class. We did a license plate icebreaker, which helped us to get to know other people in the room. My AVID elective teacher partner (the teacher who is teaching the other section of AVID 9) are planning on tying this activity with the infamous Sara VanDerWerf name tents. If you haven't seen these, go check them out!

Then we dived straight into WICOR, which is an acronym for AVID teaching strategies. The picture below will define WICOR.

Then we started our section on Focused Note-Taking, which includes five phases for taking notes: Taking Notes, Processing Notes, Connecting Thinking, Summarizing/Reflecting on notes, and, finally, Applying notes. For more information, google the 5 states of note taking and AVID. I did not have time to take a picture of the slides on this part. We then went through and modeled the steps as a group.

After focused note taking, a student panel was brought in of local kids who were in AVID, and then we got to talk to some of the kids and talk about AVID and how it had made a positive impact on their lives. After this, we did a collaboration (the C in WICOR) activity which led into an introduction to the tutorial process, which was day 2.

I also forgot to mention WICOR partners. You give students a sheet with WICOR on it. Then you play music and when the music stops, the person closest to you puts their name on your sheet. The first person would be your W partner. Then the process repeats for ICOR. So, this is a cool way to do partners! As a teacher, you can say "Get with your W partner" or "Get with your O partner. Students would need to file this in a binder or INB.

Friday, May 10, 2019

My 10% for the 2019-2020 School Year

It is that time of year where testing is over, and we have just a few weeks left until school is out. It's also the time where I start thinking about planning for the next school year. When I went to Twitter Math Camp in 2016, one of our keynote speakers, Dylan Kane, discussed the rule of 10%.  He talked about how teachers should change 10% of their practice every year. He also added a caveat which stated that it is unreasonable for teachers to try to change more than 10% each year because if we as teachers try to change more than 10% each year, we will tend to get overwhelmed and not be successful. Conversely, we should not change less because it is very important that we do this to be more effective for our students.

Here is my list for my 10% for the next school year.

I am teaching an AVID 9th grade elective class, so this will be a new prep for me. I will have lots to learn and implement. I want to start my class by building community and setting that college ready mindset from day 1. I am pumped and ready to start decorating my room.

Geometry Interactive Notebooks
I have used interactive notebooks in my geometry classes in previous years, but I didn't use an INB this year. I have really missed it, so I am looking forward to getting some INBs in for Geometry next year. We have been doing notes on OneNote this year, and I have really liked it because it cuts down on paper. However, I have had a few kids who haven't had styluses; therefore, it has been hard in some ways. With that being said, I still LOVE OneNote!

Cell Phones
Cell phones have killed me this year. I plan on being way more strict with cell phones. If I see a cell phone, they will be required to turn it in. I just have to be consistent with it!

I went to two days of Kagan Structures training last year, and I want to do a better job of integrating Kagan Structures into my instruction and having the individual accountability, which I find to be lacking when we do group work.

Visible Random Grouping (VRG)
I am wanting to try VRG from Day 1 because it will give different kids the opportunity to work together. However, I haven't decided if I want to do weekly or daily. I am willing to listen to advice.

Tech Tools
I am taking an online class on integrating Google Tools with Lynda Moore, who has some great ideas. I want to implement some of the things I have learned in this class, such as drag and drops and review menus.

I really want to start to flesh out a bathroom policy that doesn't make my classroom a revolving door. I also really want to limit how many times a week a kid can go. Some kids take advantage of me almost daily. I am going to start having kids turn in their cell phone in order to be able to go to the bathroom. I would also love to have some conversations on this as well.

Earlier in the school year, one of my colleagues/friends presented on behavior expectations, using the acronym CHAMPS. Champs stands for

I want to implement this to help with some classroom management issues and to create more structure.

Let me know what you think! Maybe we are thinking of some of the same ideas! Here is my 10% post in the 2016-17 school year. I think I have grown since then, so that is good!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Big Announcement!!

This will be a very short post. Last July, I took a temporary (interim) position at the high school in the town where I live. I really wanted the opportunity to be able to be hired permanently. The teacher who I was filling in for this year resigned, therefore creating an opening. I applied for the opening, interviewed, and on Tuesday, my principal officially offered me the job! I am ecstatic! Also, I am going to be teaching AVID 9 (an elective with our AVID program), and I am so pumped! So, now I can relax and enjoy the school year without the fear that I am going to be unemployed. Less than 4 weeks left. WOW!

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I just wanted to take a moment to reflect. Here are some of the "warm fuzzies" that I got this week. Furthermore, I took advantage of the free sandwiches at Arby's and Chick-Fil-A as well as free tea at McAlister's.
Handwritten note from a student (the AVID job is part of the "big announcement" below

A parent of a student hand knitted this scarf that looks like a pencil. I laid it across my desk so you 

This almost, legit...made me cry. I haven't cried since my wedding day. 

My wife made me a cup with our school logo and my name. 

Also, here are some Teacher Appreciation Notes. I got the idea from Sarah Carter, so I thought I would share. I had the kids write their own thank you notes from teachers. I was lucky to get a few myself! 

Edulastic Extravaganza Contest!

Hello All, As you may or may not know, I am a member of the Edulastic Innovator Team. Edulastic is featuring a Edulastic Extravaganza Cont...