Friday, January 15, 2016

A Day in the Life of Mrs.Williams - January 12, 2016

As a part of the MTBoS 2016 Blogging Initiative, I documented what a typical school day looks like for me. Here is a (not so brief) description of this past Tuesday. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

4:30am - Wake up to our smoke detector chirping... this happens frequently when the outside temperature drops below 20 degrees.  Of course, my husband can sleep right through it.

4:45am - After tossing and turning for  15 minutes, I get up and reset the smoke detector.  This makes the chirping stop. I try to go back to sleep, as my alarm won't go off for another hour and a half.

5:04 am - Decide that I'm not going to fall back asleep so I might as well get up, go to the living room, and grade some papers.

5:05 am - I look at Facebook, Twitter, browse a few math blogs and a few of my high school friends' blogs to catch up with what is going on in their world before I begin grading.

5:20 am - Grade quizzes, enter grades into our online grade book, and read/respond to a few school emails.

6:15 am - Shower and get ready for school, do my morning devotion, and pack my breakfast.

7:15 am - Leave for school.

7:20 am - Arrive at school, sign-in in the mail room and head upstairs to my classroom.

7:25 am - Make sure all of my copies are ready to go for the day an placed in their class bin, updated my whiteboard with an agenda for each class and their learning target and try to eat my pop-tart for breakfast.

7:50 am - A student comes into my room to chat. Since I'm trying to make copies, I have her come with me to our workroom so she can talk while I get things done. She tells me about going to MonsterJam over the weekend.

8:00 am - My student teacher arrives. It's only his 2nd day, so we go over the plan for first period, then we start discussing the likelihood that we will get an early release due to snow and the procedures for what would happen. Spoiler alert - we don't get out early but the anticipation of snow has students excited all day.

8:15 am - The first bell rings for students to begin reporting to class. My student teacher and I join the other math teachers out on hall duty.

8:30 am - The final bell FINALLY rings for 1st period to begin. My 1st period class is Math 1 and has 22 students, mainly freshmen with a few students that are repeating the course. After a lovely welcome over the intercom, the entire school recites to the Pledge of Alligience and has a moment of silence. We are then wished to have a "terrific Tuesday" and I can finally start my class. .

8:31 am  -  Since it is Tuesday, our warm up is "24." Students are given 4 numbers and they can use any mathematical operation to arrange the numbers to equal 24. While students are working on this I enter attendance into our online computer system. My timer goes off after 5 minutes and we discuss their ways to equal 24.

8:38 am - We pick back up where we left off yesterday - Students are working on an activity called "Up, Down or Neither" where they are given 26 graphs and are having to sort them by whether they are increasing, decreasing, remaining constant, are a combination of those three, or not a function. Then students are given equations which they are to match up with the graphs (using their graphing calculator) and ultimately separate these graphs into Linear and Exponential Functions.  My students are in groups and each group ends of working at different paces. My student teacher and I constantly circulate through all groups and at this point I realize how thankful I am for my student teacher. It's so nice to be able to encourage discourse between students, help guide their thinking, and spend quality time listening to each group.

9: 25am - As groups are finishing, I'm having them glue graphs onto their graphic organizers and instruct them to go ahead and start "Least, Greatest, or Neither" while we are waiting for other groups to finish up. Once every group is done with the first activity, we come together as a class and take notes on their graphic organizers regarding what they just discovered about Linear and Exponential Functions. We then all move onto the "LGN" activity where students are looking for absolute maximums or minimums of their remaining graphs and ultimately matching those graphs to quadratic of absolute value functions.

9:50am - My time with this class is quickly coming to an end, so I'm going around to each group and giving out homework and going over the instructions. By giving the instructions to 4 students at a time, I know they are paying attention to what I'm telling them and can give them an opportunity to ask any questions they might have from today.

10:01 am - Morning announcements come on and students begin to pick up their work space and put their materials back where they belong. Once announcements are over, I give final instructions one last time. The bell rings and they are off to break.

10:04-10:12 am - Morning Break - My student teacher and I rejoin fellow math teachers out on hall duty to supervise our area... since students have 8 minutes of free time to socialize. (During this time, I occasionally have students come by to get help, make up work, or serve a break detention - but not today!)

10:19-11:49 am - 2nd Period  which is my planning period. I work on finalizing the foldable I'm making for my 3rd/4th periods on normal distributions. I then print, copy and cut all pieces needed for these classes. My student teacher works on one his assignments - going through the teacher and student handbook and then writing a reflection on a few of our policies.  Time always goes so quickly during my planning and I work until the bell rings.

11:54 am - My 3rd period class is Discrete math and is a combination of 16 juniors an seniors. Students begin class by working on their warm up, Tuesday 24, while I take attendance.

11:59 am - After discussion possible solutions to the warm up, we pick back up on their activity from Monday (and Friday - what they were suppose to do while I was absent... but for some reason, they convince their substitute they didn't know what they were doing, so it didn't get accomplished.... but anyways.) Their activity from Monday was from Texas Instruments Activity Exchange based on a NUMB3RS episode using Stylometry, the use statistical analysis of sentence & paragraph length to determine who is the author of a passage.

12: 20pm - Students finish the NUMB3RS activity and we move onto Normal Distributions. Students had to cut and put together their foldable booklet before we could begin. Luckily, we had done a similar booklet on our very first day of class (the week prior) so they had almost no trouble putting it together.

12:21pm - A student looks at the weather on their phone and says, "It's going to start raining in exactly 54 minutes... That's what the weather channel app says!"

12:25 pm - Students begin working on the first 3 problem sets in the booklet with their groups using the empirical rule. My student teacher and I circulated throughout the classroom answering questions and asking for explanations on how to do problems. We also did a lot of redirecting and getting students back on task.

12:38 pm - A student noticed a few snow flurries and everyone got excited... except for the kid that had trusted his weather app. He was disappointed that it wasn't precise in it's prediction.

12:39 pm - I have to remind the class that they have problems to finish, regardless of the four snow flakes that had fallen!

12:45 pm - Everyone was finished, I had a student read the 4th scenario out loud as well as its first question. Then I allowed students to discuss why this problem was different. (It wasn't a whole standard deviation away from the mean, therefore the empirical rule could apply!)

12:54 pm -The lunch bell rang and my students were off to lunch. My student teacher and I joined the rest of the math department in the teachers lounge for lunch. I heat up my leftover soup from the night before and enjoy the company of my department.

1:24pm - Students return from lunch and I introduction z-scores. However, I didn't give students the z-score formula, I gave them a piece of paper with the definition of z-scores and allowed them to work with their group members to figure out how to compute a z-score. This was taken from Sarah Hagan who writes the blog Math Equals Love.  This method worked wonderfully and can be found here. Students actually understood what a z-score represented, without having a formula first! We then took brief notes on z-scores for their interactive notebooks and groups were off again to find z-scores for the remaining problems. (Because we only have a brief amount of time after lunch, I decided not to introduce the z-table so that students can find the percentage of data below the z-score and will cover this tomorrow.) During this time, I continued to circulate around to each group and encourage discourse between students.

1:50 pm -  I give final instructions about what needs to be completed by the time students arrive in class tomorrow, had them clean up their work space, and answered final questions.

1:54 pm - Go back on hall duty for class change. Say "hi" to a lot of former students as they make their way to their last class of the day.

1:59 pm - My 4th period class is Discrete math and is a combination of 13 juniors an seniors. Students begin class by working on their warm up, Tuesday 24, while I take attendance.  This class went very similar to 3rd period, except this group is a lot less talkative and a lot more focused on their work.

3:25 pm - Afternoon announcements come on.

3:27 pm -  I gave final instructions and reminded my students to be careful on their way home - to drive cautiously and not be distracted. Even though there wasn't a lot of snow, it could get slick quickly.

3:28pm - The final school bell rings and students leave for the day.  I return to the hall for my last hall duty of the day - making sure students clear the hallway!

3:35 pm - My student teacher and I discuss the day and how things went. We then talked about the plan for Wednesday and that he's already getting comfortable in my classroom and is a great asset. He then leaves for the afternoon, since he has a 45 minute commute and with the weather I don't want him to have any issues on his way home.

3:45 pm - I work in my classroom grading a few papers, compiling makeup work for absent students, updating my class webpage, and making sure things are ready for my first period tomorrow. I talk to another teacher about our plans to meeting tomorrow after school to discuss our plans for the next two weeks, since we both teach Math 1 and Discrete.

4:45pm - I leave school, the earliest I have in a while, but I have to go by the bank before it closes!

4:55 pm  - Go to the bank and make my deposit. Talk with the teller about how strange our winter has been so far and how I wish it would finally snow. These snow flurries are just a tease!

5:10 pm - Go to the grocery store. While picking up my two items, I see a current student, a former student, two teachers and one of my friends. I then go to check out - I pick the line where the cashier is a former student so that we can talk for a moment while she rings up my things. As I start to leave, I see the store manager who stops to talk about her daughter's progress in my class.  I LOVE living in a small town, but sometimes you just want to run your errands and get home... but that doesn't happen.

5:33 pm - I leave the grocery store and head home.

5:35 pm - Arrive home and change out of my school clothes into my "comfy clothes." About that time, I get a text from my sister-in-law that they are home and that my nieces are waiting for me to get there to help them do their homework.

5:45 pm - I leave for my sister-in-law's house.

5:47 pm - Arrive at their house. I talk to her for a while about school-she use to be a math teacher at the same high school as me, but now she is an assistant principal at one the elementary schools in the county. (Our husbands prefer for us to talk "school talk" when they aren't around.)

6:00 pm - My nieces have now interrupted our conversation at least 10 times, so I head back to the room where they are doing their homework. My nieces are in 2nd grade and Kindergarten so they don't have too much homework. It just takes a while because they are easily distracted.

6:04 pm -  My oldest niece is practicing her spelling words by doing "owl words," where if the word has a double o in it, you make to eyes and then write the word as a smile. My youngest niece is playing a matching game with her new sight words. Every time I go to work one-on-one with them, the other starts whining about how much they need my help. It's a constant struggle to get them to work.

6:50 pm -  On his way home from work, my husband comes over to give the girls hugs and kisses. Then we head home.

7:00 pm - After arriving home I start making pancakes for dinner.

7:15 pm - We eat pancakes and relax for a little while.

8:00pm - My husband goes to workout and remember that I promised my oldest niece that should could do her reading to me tonight with FaceTime. So I FaceTime her and enjoy listening to her read. At first, we are continually interrupted by her little sister who complains that we are being too loud and that she doesn't know how to do something. Eventually things quiet down and she is able to get her 20 minutes of reading in. She has the camera pointed to her book and when she doesn't know a word, she zooms in and I'm able to help her.  This is definitely one of the best parts of my day.

8:30 pm - I say goodnight to my niece, give her kisses through the screen and tell her how much I enjoyed her reading. She asks if we can do it again tomorrow night!

8:45 pm - My husband has finished his workout and and has had a a chance to shower so we relax on the couch together and enjoy our evening.

9:30 pm -  I go to bed to read for a little while before I fall asleep.

~9:38 pm - I fall asleep.

Then when my alarm goes off the next morning, I'm up and at it again. And that's what a typical school day looks like for me!

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