Carl's Teaching Blog

A place to talk about teaching and learning

Category: This week (Page 3 of 3)

This Week: Rolling Dice, Perfecting Lessons, and Mice Infestations

This week is my first full week of teaching since break, except for a few meetings I have to attend.  Now the preparation is replaced by action and adjusting, as each this cycle begins it’s narrative.  Will this be the cycle I get all my classes to do insanely well?  Will this be the cycle that I learn how to respond to all my students needs?  Will this be the cycle that I blog for a week and a half and then give up?  The answer to all of these questions will be much clearer by the end of this week.

What I’m Teaching this week:

This week I plan to introduce probability to my equations and patterns class.  We will do a task that which explores the law of large numbers through rolling lots and lots of dice.  I have been doing a task for the past few years, but I am hoping to find ways to improve it and make it better.

In my Investing class, I want to find a website that allows students to invest in the real stock market.  Investing in the stock market is a fraction as exciting as kids expect, and my enthusiasm isn’t really good either.  Last time I did it, I explained the basic info in the Wall Street Journal, talked about the information available online and I gave them $1 million to spend in a virtual simulator.  Despite all this, kids ended up looking the brands they recognized, and did only superficial research.  Do you know of an effective way to teach students to invest?

What I’m Blogging this week:

This week on the blog. I on outlining how I intend to dominate my next observation.  I want to try to meet the description of highly effective in every area of classroom instruction according to Charlotte Danielson measures of effective teaching rubric.  Doing this would be the equivalent of pitching a  perfect game.  This was something that I wanted to try when it was announced that NYC was trying this new evaluation system. Also, there is a good chance that this system will be changed, now is my last chance to be evaluated on all these features.  I’ll document my preparation and the observation this week with as much detail as possible for how it goes.

What I’m Thinking this week:

This week I’m thinking about a file cabinet that up until now was very successful at keeping food safe.  Apparently mice were going in and out of this metal cabinet, eating most of an unopened bag of microwave popcorn.  While cleaning up the mess, I drifted to thoughts of vengeance immediately as I looked for ways to seal up the file cabinet and catch the mice.

As I thought about it more, I realized it was my fault.  If I cared more about stopping mice from running around, I would have not let his happen.  This made me think about a lot of other things that I don’t care about.  Sometimes I get so into what I’m doing that I let lots of little things slide.  I realized that I needed to do a lot more of the little things, like filing papers.  After school I spent an hour cleaning the mess in my file cabinet, and filing papers until I could see my desk afterwards, and there was no room to for mice to run around.  What’s the small stuff that you’re forgetting to do?


9/30 #MTBoS

This Week: MTBoS30, Sports, And The First Day of Class

I’m picking up where I left off yesterday on my MTBoS30 quest with the third post in a row!

As this is the first Monday post of this blog, I thought a good Monday tradition might be a good plan to lay out the week ahead.  I’ll call this little feature “This Week” and I plan to layout the teaching and blogging I have lined up for the week, as well as whatever else is on my mind for that monday.

What I’m Teaching this week:

SPORTS!!! The first three days of this week are what we at our school call “Intensives.”  It’s a time for kids to really immerse themselves in an exciting learning activity.  In the past we helped create a documentary, taught kids to DJ, and last year we a trip to DC.  This year I am getting physical, and focusing on playing sports with kids.  Today we played baseball, football, and soccer, and have Basketball, Table Tennis and Kinect Dance Central on deck for tomorrow. I’m pretty excited.  I wish I knew more basic games that any kids can play that don’t require equipments or put unknowledgable kids at a huge disadvantage.  It was really sad watching two kids kick around a soccer ball because they didn’t know how to play American football with all the other kids.  Perhaps we’ll play a giant game of Sharks and Minnows or Freeze Tag or some other game.

The last half of the week I am launching 4th quarter classes with my usual start of the class routine:

  1. Kids come and are greeted with a index cards for filling out personal contact information and one or two questions.  The questions will probably be “What do you think of math on a scale of 1-10” and “Use the word ‘Probability’ in a sentence about your life”
  2. After about 5-10 minutes it’s time for the ‘Syllabus and the Shpiel’ where I run down the rules of the class, how we should treat each other, and the grading plan (which I’ll talk about later this week).
  3. We’ll go around and get to know each other by sharing one of the questions from above, and if there is time we will do a diagnostic activity.

What I’m Blogging this week:

I’m not sure how the MTBoS30 deal works, but if there is a prompt I’ll answer it. If not I might dip into the ‘Blogging 101‘ posts at the Daily Post

On my own I need to set up a Standards Based Grading system, so I’ll probably lay out what that is going to look like.

(I’m also going to stop firing off a post after midnight and changing the time so it looks like I posted the day before…)


What I’m thinking this week:

I can’t stop thinking about the horribly racist comments that were made by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  While that’s bad, and the outcry against it has been amazing, it saddens me that our racial conversation still circles around the misguided actions of individual people but ignores misguided policies and structures that affect certain racial groups disproportionately like the recent Supreme Court ruling about University of Michigan’s right to create a racially diverse student body.



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