Monday, October 26, 2015

Continuing to keep the positive in the culture

At this time of the year, it is very hard to keep the positives up, and the negatives away. The students are getting tired and many are sick, the end of the marking period is near, and state testing for one of my courses is looming in the near future. However, this I will always continue to try. Giving up is never an option.

I try to CONNECT with my students each day by greeting each student as they enter my class and smile when I say hello.

I SHARE a funny story about me, my cats (usually), my family, or something I saw since I last saw the kids. That shows them I am human.

I JOKE with the kids, regardless of why or about what, just to get smiles on their faces.

This year, I have several students call me MOM, (it started because one girl said she wished I was her mother, and so several started calling me mom), and of course, I respond like a mom. MOM? WHAT? Go to your room!, etc. The boys particularly find this funny.

I ATTEND the students' activities outside of school. I have been to volley ball games, soccer games, choral recitals, foot ball games, parades (which I particularly don't care for!) and even a farm show (sorta).

I HELP my students with subjects other than math. I don't make math elite. I show my students that I want them to do well in all of their classes, and so I make sure they do well. I have helped students with spanish (thanks @SenoraGibbs for helping me to help them), biology, chemistry, geometry, and even Agriculture class (studying for a test on birds!).

I LISTEN to the students, regardless of what they want to tell me, and regardless if I have "time" to listen.

I LOVE my students!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The positives, the negatives, and don't forget Zero.

After 3 full years of flipping, and starting my 4th, things feel a little different this year. I don't know if that is because of things going on in my life, outside of school, that I have no control over, or if the new schedule to block schedule and the building of a new school has had impacts.

Some very positive things that have happened this year has really happened in my low level math class. That class is a flipped mastery class, with absolutely no homework out side of school. I have this class on my B day, blocks 1 and 2. School starts at 8:10, but I have some of these students (usually more than half) in my room by 7:50, asking for help with their other math class, asking for help with their current skill drill, asking for the next assignment, or just talking to me about life. These students have connected so much to me, and the community in the room is absolutely awesome! These students help each other, interact with each other, and encourage each other daily. One day, a student drew a flower on my board, because she told me that she would love to buy me a flower, but all she can afford is to draw one. Are you kidding me? The one drawn is far more important to me than any amount that could be purchased. This is a student that exclaimed at the beginning of the year that she hates Algebra!

I will tweet the picture of the flower.

My advanced classes has been flipped for 4 years now, but this year my students only want to watch the video, and some only want to watch, and not take notes. When I ask them to do anything other than watching the instructional video, they don't want to do it. Practice in math is so important, and exploring is even more important, but they only want the video. I have never had to deal with this before, so this caught me off guard. I could blame it on that many of my advanced students shouldn't really be in advanced classes, but that isn't an excuse. They are in my classroom and I need to teach them. Trying to change things a bit so that I can get more from the students.

The Zero:
Not positive or negative, but this year, out side of school so much is going on. My best friend buried her husband the other day. He took his own life. How do you get over that? Also, my own son has admitted that sometimes he feels like waking in the morning really isn't worth it. He is doing so well at school, both musically and academically, but yet, emotionally, there is something missing. I am a very concerned mommy, 2.5 hours away. Just trying to keep encouraging him, showing that there is so much to live for. I was diagnosed with Lyme's disease, and that has me very achey and exhausted. So, not positive or negative, and mostly not anything I can control, but it does take my heart.

Finally, I have decided to go back and finally get my Master's Degree, even though I have a bachelors + 50 something credits already, but that though of going back and getting a Masters of Education in Education Innovation is really exciting. I love learning!