Friday, October 28, 2011

Kendama, and Red Ribbon Week: 2 Worthy Distractions!

What kind of toy is so simple, yet commands the attention and engages middle school boys? I'll give a few hints: It is made of wood, and has one string attached to a ball. It is the modern version of the paddle ball with a few modifications. Kendama is sweeping SMS by storm. Look left and students are engaged, look right and the students are engaged. It is so addicting that I went and purchased one and enjoy the challenge it presents.
Kendama is a Japanese ball and cup toy, check out it out for more of the History of this toy!
I don't mind this toy in the class room. It focuses the student's mind into a concentration that benefits Math class. The hand eye coordination enables the student to move, and movement in a middle school classroom is a necessity.

Red Ribbon Week is an important week in schools across the nation. It is an opportunity to talk about the effects of Drug, Alcohol, and Prescription Drug abuse. During this week we try to take the kids out into the community to experience things that can provide a natural high. Our students shoot clay pigeons, bowl, ropes course, rock climbing, swimming, team sports, and photography. It is a great chance for students to interact outside of the classroom walls. As an teacher it is nice to see another side of the students. It opens up relationships and dialogue outside of school, which can go a long way inside the classroom.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Practice What I Preach!

Staying on top of your game in education is a very difficult thing to do, but it is a must! It is not ok to teach the same way year after year, know exactly what you will be covering on a certain day of the year, or just show up and give the same lecture to a different bunch of kids.

A professional is always looking for ways to better himself as a teacher. Does this mean breaking bad habits, trying new strategies, admitting that your way is the right or only way, or admitting you need to change? YES it does! Is it scary? Yes it is! Does it take work, effort, planning, lots and lots of planning? Absolutely!

We can't expect our students to do their best, work hard, give 100% effort if we are not willing to do that ourselves!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Problem with Education!

The problem with the education system today can be summed up in one word - PARENTS! Ok not all parents are the problem there are many parents that believe that the teacher is a professional and knows what he or she is doing, they are supportive and are more than happy to co-teach their children in a way that they grow up to be responsible, knowledgeable and contribute to society. These parents do not come rescue their children, even when it is the hardest thing to do. They let their children learn from the choices they have made. To all of these parents out there THANK YOU!

Now to all the parents that are so quick to come rescue your children I want to ask you to stop and think about what you are teaching your kids.

  • It is ok not to follow through because I will get bailed out.
    • This may be because the parents know that they are not good parents and if they rescue their children they may look like a hero for a few minutes, in the eyes of their children.
  • It is ok not to have to work through difficult times.
  • It is ok not to be responsible.
  • It is all about myself, and what I can do to better my position.
The list can go on and on about how damaging, rescuing your child can be! Really think about the appropriate way to help your children...........Help in a way that teaches good skills not bad skills!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yes! I am alive!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. Between not feeling the best and trying to catch up from being gone for 2 days last week the blog has not been to much of a priority. With that said it is Friday and thank goodness, hopefully a trip to the pumpkin patch with not 1, not 2, not 3, but 7 wonderful, energetic kids will kick this cold I have.

Now on to the Math. It is hard to find a math book that is not boring. When I was younger I remember the math books showing a few examples and then pages of problems. It was up to the teacher to show us the way, but all they did was redo the examples and assigned 1-40 and made them due the next day. The process would then repeat itself for 180 days.

The text books of today are a little better but not much! So I am always on the look out for quality books about Math. I found 3 excellent ones. They were written by an actress from the sitcom The Wonder Years! Winnie Cooper, oh how I wished that I was Kevin Arnold and she was by girlfriend. Yes I had a huge crush on Winnie!

 It turns out that she went to college and majored in MATH. Her books are great! She relates all the math to things that are more relavent to ladies, however I have found that the boys in 7th and 8th grade also relate well. I seriously use theses as a text book!

I hear she is writing a new book and can't wait! Check it out!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Importance of Integers

There are many topics that can be debated as the most important in a math class. The more experience I gain.........not to mention more grey hair or less hair that is turning grey....... I realize that understanding Integers is the most most important. Integer, what the hell is an integer and what kind of genius decided on a  Z for the symbol. Why wouldn't you use an....wait for it......wait for it.......wait for it....... I ? Ok the word Integer is latin but the symbol comes from the word Zahlen which is German. Now I am really wonder students struggle I had a hard time just explaining this little numbers.

Being able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide positive and negative numbers is a life long skill that students do not master. If they do not master this concept and be able to show proficient understanding of how and why, students will struggle in all high school and college courses.

I guarantee my students will be proficient when it comes to Integers and how they affect us in the real world.............To be continued...............

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

HELP......Formative Assessment in Distress

Formative assessment! I need to get better at this. That is the bottom line. I'm teaching everyday, the kids are actively engaged, they are answering questions, talking about the concepts, and correctly finding solutions. It's all good! Then comes the unit assessment.  Can you hear "The Imperial March" from Star Wars.......The results.........I have failed as a teacher. Too many students are not proficient! What the hell!!!! So I will do better. I will use Formative assessment more. I will not let these kids fail!!!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Professional Development

Sorry about the no post the last few days. In a RTI training and will be back in the class tomorrow!