Archive for May, 2015

Keep Change Start Stop 2015

I decided to hand out the Keep Change Start Stop worksheets from Math Equals Love as the last pages in my students’ ISNs this year.  I had them do it twice…the first one said ‘I Should’ at the top for them to self-reflect…the second was ‘Mrs. Skinner Should’.

This was a great idea because we won’t be offering Intro to Algebra again next year.  I’m not quite sure what my math prep will be next year, and I wanted to give students a chance to tell me if they loved/hated the notebooks and the warm ups and all of the things I tried this year that I may or may not try with my new prep next year.


  • Your Personality Score one for me!
  • Teaching
  • Notebooks x 3 Three points for Notebooks…YES!
  • Doing Notes x 4
  • Taking Notes Completely
  • Pushing Us
  • Book Work
  • Small Assignments Everything was labeled as class work this year.
  • Daily Warm-Ups
  • Being Awesome  Score two for me!
  • Quizzes
  • Semesterized Finals I might be the only math teacher who semesterizes my final, but I’m glad someone likes it.
  • Worksheets


  • Nothing x 2 Score four for me!
  • To a Science and Math Teacher This kiddo might be a little confused…I am already a science and math teacher???
  • Creativity
  • Going Outside x 2 I’m not sure if this means they love going outside or hate it.  I’m guessing hate…because we went out three times this year and they were very vocal.
  • Size of Worksheets
  • Desk Arrangements
  • Seating people with others who will fight I wish I was better at this.  Sometimes I look at my seating chart and it feels like no matter how far apart I put the fighters, they’ll just pick a new target.  I am guilty of putting a class into the HappyClass app and seeing nothing but frownie faces…
  • Working Independent
  • The seating chart every month I change it every quarter, or when a new student joins.
  • The seating to rows Tried pods this year so they could share ISN supplies…
  • The Notes -1 for notes.


  • Being the Best You mean I’m not already the best?  Ouch…my ego. -1 for me.
  • More Class Activities x 2  I agree!  I need to work on my class management a little bit so we can have more fun time without me worrying that all of the supplies will get destroyed and that I’ll have to send someone to choices for being disrespectful.
  • Changing your ways of notes. -2 for notes
  • Kicking people out if they don’t try.  You can’t just boot someone out of a core class.  Sadly several of my students stopped participating after they no longer had to worry about being kicked out of sports…I’m working on what to do about that.
  • Being More Strict x 2  I need to get a little more creative with my discipline…because every teacher seems to give detention.  So ‘those students’ that choose not to work at the beginning of the year usually get it piled on so thick that they can no longer visualize how long they have to serve.  By Halloween, they are daring me to give them detention because my half hour would just be another drop in the bucket.  I also have the option to send them to the choices room if they’re a distraction.  But any time I send a student out, they miss notes, they miss homework, and they miss the chance to positively interact with their peers.
  • Punishing Slackers x 2 I give so much ‘Noon Tutoring Detention’ for incomplete classwork…The students who actually turn in their work have NO idea…
  • Having 1 extra credit assignment per quarter I kind of like this idea…
  • Taking away Phones I was a little more lax with phones this year because I know our school goal is to bring tech into the classroom properly.  We played with Socrative and Nearpod and the students loved it.  Physics didn’t have a problem with phones day to day, but my intro students are total addicts…we’ll see what I do with the level of math student I get next year.
  • Working in Class Together
  • Working together for warm-ups Confession:  I make them spend 5 minutes working on the warm-up alone so I can take attendance.  After that we do work through them together…
  • More Worksheets


  • Nothing x 3
  • Letting us go to the lunch room Agreed…
  • Giving Us Slack
  • Book Work x 2
  • Being late to class  Confused by this one.  This student is in 1st hour and usually shows up about 20 minutes early to sit outside the door.  I’ve never been late, but this student always beats me here.  Alternately this class is full of students that show up late.  So either I need to get my butt in gear and show up earlier, or stop the students from coming late?
  • Giving us Finals Sorry…school policy.
  • Playing on Phones  Yes, the phones are ridiculous.
  • Giving out Homework x 2
  • Warm-Ups x 2  Sorry, the school is adopting these as policy next year…you will see them EVERYWHERE!  FWAHAHAHA!
  • Sitting in Pods

This was actually way more useful than my formal staff evaluation this year.  (Hoping this changes when we switch over to the Marshall evaluation method for next year.)  Even then, I will highly recommend this activity!

My intro class dynamic was a little unique this year.  I started with large classes (25-30).  Students have come and gone, but a quick check shows that only 60% of the students who were in my class at the beginning of the year made it to the end.  I’ve also seen more than 80 unique students across my three sections of intro…many of them only staying a week.  One thing that I KNOW that I have to work on is getting these new students included and assimilated so they don’t become behavioral issues.  I haven’t yet found the book on how to get a student to buy in when they show up in remedial algebra with only a month of school left…but I’m trying!

I also think I need to work on a better way to contact parents.  Next year if I have another freshman-level math, I hope to use Remind to send out the classwork assignment every day.  And oddly enough it seems like the parents I need to contact most don’t have updated numbers in PowerSchool.

I’m three years in, and I think I’ve learned how to initially balance a classroom.  I’m still working on rolling with the changes that occur with students constantly coming and going.  I still really fight non-participation.  I think that’s partially because perfectly capable Algebra students are placed in Intro because they were non-participatory in 8th grade.  If you’re in a class that’s not challenging enough…you get bored!  The notebooks were great, and I think I’ll keep them until the school goes more tech-based.  I will definitely try a limited-scale notebook for important Physics stuff next year.

This was a good year!  Next year will be even better!

Teacher Appreciation 2015

TAW 2015

I feel like the placement of teacher appreciation week is genius.  It’s always about the time when students decide that all work is optional and seem determined to spend the last two weeks tanking their grades.  And of course it’s about the time that I become extra determined to get some of that work handed in so I can prove that ‘Hey, these guys know enough to move on!  I know they do!  I have proof!’.

So the week has started with an awesome sign on my door.  (Which I’m contemplating making all of my kids sign at the end of the week to serve as a yearbook type thing…)

…and I opened my mailbox to find a package of pop rocks.

and after I find a can of Coke to drink with these…I’ll be back to chasing down students to bring up those grades.

Honestly…they could call this Teacher Motivation Week…because it totally works that way.