DITLife – November 17th, 2016

Work Day: 7:20 am to 5:20 pm

Today was my last day before the Thanksgiving break. We’re off all next week and tomorrow I have a sick day to take care of my son who is getting his wisdom teeth out. It’s Career Day tomorrow, which made it easy (no sub plans to write).

I walked away from my classroom today with a clean desk and all the piles of extra copies, lesson plans, activities and manipulatives put away from our prior unit of study and having two weeks of plans and copies ready in organizers for when we come back from the break. This is the best I’ve ever done in being ready for a break. I already feel relaxed!

For the past two weeks,  I’ve had a student teacher teaching my second period. She’s a former teacher working on a masters degree full-time before going back into the classroom. She had great classroom control and her lessons were fun to listen to/watch. I learned things, which was great. Also great, the opportunity to work during that hour – grade, plan, identify and support my struggling learners. So, I was able to not only walk away with a clean classroom today but also with having reached out again to my student who got their progress reports on Monday and who are receptive to fixing their grade.

Today was a quiet day of working in class. My first period took a test that they should have taken Tuesday, but so many students weren’t ready that we stretched out the review time. Which is fine, but used up all the “extra” time left in my schedule and December is going to be jam-packed. I really don’t want a snow day! Since my second period had the student teacher and the extra assessment for her schoolwork, my third and fourth periods had more of a work day today – working independently on the same concept we learned yesterday. This gave me a chance to meet one-on-one with several struggling students in these classes. Shout-out to my 4th period who were so quiet today and actually working. I hesitated to dwell on the realization when it struck me in class because I didn’t want to mess it up. I will try not to draw any correlation to those who were absent today.

Another plus for today, I was able to clear my inbox of parent messages before I left school. Including the one that started my day with an insult. By the end of the day, I was able to respond politely, firmly and with a suggestion that I hope was both helpful and instructive. In the balance of life, I attended my daughter’s recital and ran into a former student who greeted me warmly and enthusiastically talked with me about what was going on in his life. There are good people in the world and I have great hopes that all of my students will eventually grow up to be good people.

When I thought about this post earlier in the month, I anticipated writing about the stress and frustration and walking away with piles of things to get done. I’m surprised at the calm I feel. It was a solid day today and I was only slightly jealous of those tweeting from NCTM Innov8. I’ll look forward reading all of those posts as I prepare jello and pudding for my son after surgery tomorrow.

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Two wins for today

Today my students calculated unit rates and decided which grocery item would be the Better Buy. It was a lesson I have used for a few years and this year the implementation of it in 2nd period was by far the most successful ever and as I looked out at the students intently calculating and considering and thinking I felt happy and successful, and now I wish I’d taken their picture. I told my coworkers at lunch that it was the “win” I needed after a rough week. It was one of those moments where the lesson goes better than the plan – it was awesome!

The second win has a picture attached. Jackson EMC funded my grant proposal! I thought the announcements had already been made, so I had written this off as a loss. I was pleasantly surprised to see the balloons come around the corner and I’m happy to have more resources to spend on my hard-working students.

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After the students headed to connections, I reflected back on my two “wins” for today and realized both resulted in the same feeling of happiness. Both represent student success and learning and while the money is very nice, I know I can work diligently towards earning the “win” of successful student engagement every day.