Carl's Teaching Blog

A place to talk about teaching and learning

Category: MetaBlog (Page 2 of 2)

Planning For My Scariest August Yet

Unfortunately it’s August. August has always been the month that I have always associated with both vacation and work ever since I began my teaching career 10 years ago. It is the month where I curl into a fetal position on the ground while moaning with fear, anxiety, and overwhelmedness. (is it just ‘overwhelm’?) As this is first day of my 11th (!) professional August, the 2.033 Month birthday, and perhaps pay periods under the title of ‘Teacher’, I have a lot more to think about. I’m going to steer into the skid of August by making an action plan that will hopefully mean spending less time hugging my knees on the rug.

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9 reasons to get excited about #MTBoS30

Now that March Madness is over* I am more than excited to get into the April #MTBoS30 challenge.

Are you also late to the party, or sitting outside deciding if you want to jump in? Maybe a list of the 9 reasons that I am excited about a fresh 30 blog posts for this April/May.

1. The Memories

Last year I participated in an #MTBoS30 and really appreciate the fine-grained snapshot of my classroom at that time. In retrospect, looking at those posts were really interesting to see a clear picture of what happened in my classroom at that time.

2. The Reflection

It is also obvious that the act of writing forced me to do slightly more thinking about what I wanted to improve on in the classroom. It’s amazing what growth can come out of asking yourself “What about today is worth writing about?” for a month!

3. Don’t want to write after school? Write in the morning!

Morning writing is a regular practice among artists, writers, and other creative people too. WHy not apply the same approach to your work in the classroom. One approach you could take might be to write first thing in the morning. These “Morning Pages” are really popular among a number of creative people, as the act of writing early each day actually frees the mind for more creativity.

4. Write without fear

Throughout the 30 days of my writing there was always a warm reception for my posts. The blogosphere is a wonderful place to talk about teaching, and good ideas are always welcome. I personally feel more comfortable sharing my ideas online than I than with some of the teachers at my school.

5. Benefit from new ideas

As you talk through ideas with new people you may find times that people challenge your thinking. This can help you think about new ideas, or old ideas in new ways.

6. Share your ideas with others

The act of writing each of your posts is certainly valuable, but also valuable are the insights gained from reading and commenting on other people’s posts. Engaging with other posts are a good way to help people other people benefit from your experience and give you some inspiration on days where the words don’t come as quickly.

7. Do what you can, with what you have

If you’re still on the fence, perhaps you are worried about having enough ideas to make it the distance. In looking at my posts from last year I realize that I didn’t “get it done” each day and sometimes wrote two posts the next day. Some posts will be more detailed than others, and that’s ok.

8. WRITE ABOUT IT!

Trying something new this year? WRITE ABOUT IT! Seeing an interesting trend of misconceptions while grading your last quiz? WRITE ABOUT IT! Funny anecdote when you were up at the board? WRITE ABOUT IT! Want to cheer on Duke in the final four? Not cool, too soon. Too soon.

9. Teachers have the best stories

Have you ever been at a party where you are talking about your day with some stranger and they are completely engrossed? That is because teaching involves so many truly human interactions that even mundane daily activity can sound like riveting drama compared to making TPS reports in a cubicle. Because of this, going in detail about an interaction is often a good idea for a post, even if it just another day on the job.

*March Madness is over whenever the Michigan State Spartans lose

1/30

Thanks MTBoS! For Helping Me Turn A Lesson I Was Scared Of Into One I Am Excited About!

So late last night was like most nights lately.  I needed to make a post and since I did not have a particularly witty story or an educational diatribe to roll in to, I really was just trying to keep the streak alive.  Since I had just finished looking at kids’ final projects, I noticed how all of them needed help doing or even attempting the “Generalizing Problems” worksheet.  That worksheet felt worse than anything I did all year.

So I wrote out a post late last night and placed the worksheet that so many students struggled with right in there.  Did I mention how bad I felt about this worksheet? Anyways, the next day I woke up a little more comfortable with the idea of having this thing that scared me out in public, so I asked for some ideas to improve it.

After this a torrent of ideas came my way about how to get students to write proofs, how “proof” should be thought about, and many other things I could do to improve this lesson for the next time I teach it.  I also tried to quietly back out of what seemed like a long standing argument about whether rectangles or triangles are better (it’s triangles, right?).

Either way, it made a day better that otherwise wouldn’t have been, and will hopefully make my students better mathematicians! Thanks #MTBoS! I will try to incorporate some of this into what I have going for the rest of the year, or I will do it the next time I teach the course, but I appreciate it all a great deal.   If I do I will post my new and improved materials here.  Hopefully, I can give back what I have gotten to other teachers on the blogosphere.   11/30 #MTBOS30

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