Thursday, May 23, 2013

I just said that...

Today in my algebra 1 class we were working on applications of quadratics. I went over some very cool (at least I thought they were cool) demonstrations, some students go to throw things, etc. yesterday. Today we tied that into the quadratic formula and the vertex. We started working on a worksheet that outlined the equations that we would be using, and also a few start up questions based on what we had talked about yesterday.

The first 2 questions:  How can you determine what the maximum height is that an object reaches? How can you determine the time an object is in the air? My students were all quick to answer the first question: Find the vertex. At that point I thought great! This class will be awesome!!!

The second question required a little bit more thought, because they all assumed the x axis was distance, and not time. But it was not long until they figured out they needed to solve for x (or t) using the quadratic formula. Again, YES!!!

That is when we crashed and burned. Next problem: You shoot a basketball, here is your initial height and velocity, how high does the ball go into the air.

Them: Blank stares. "I'm confused."

 Me: #$@#$%@#%@#%#!!!!!!!!

Where is the disconnect?

I get to teach this lesson again in 15 minutes. I hope we can make this connection, and if anything changes I will let you know.

But this reminded me of a post from @edtechdev on Twitter. "There are 26 sheep and 10 goats on a boat. How old is the captain?"

I hope it is me, because I can fix me. But I also hope its not me, because I feel like I make connections to math and the real world often. I will change up my approach soon and hopefully things will go a little more smoothly. Thanks for your thoughts!!!

The second time I thought the class, the about half of the class knew what was going on! I changed up my delivery a bit, so I am thinking maybe that had something to do with it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Thank you all for your positive feedback. I really feel as though this will make my lessons much better and much more interesting. I have always felt that my best lessons come from bouncing ideas off of my department or friends who are teachers. I have a feeling this is going to be great!

Tomorrow will be my last day of truly new material before Keystone week. We are going to review a few topics we skipped over, but for the most part it is material they have seen before. My main goal of next week is to build up their confidence.

I can't tell you how many students told me they know they won't pass that test. They have heard other students' horror stories, they have seen sample problems, and they assume they will perform poorly. As stressed as I am about this test, some of my students are just as nervous (others couldn't possible care less). I am excited to teach next week because of those scared students. I am going to teach a Dan Meyer Act 3 lesson, and I know they will succeed. They can't fail.

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."Jimmy Valvano. I believe my students will pass. They are ready.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Here is a little more about me. 

I earned a bachelors of science in biology from the University of Scranton in 2007. I knew I wanted to teach in some way, but I was not sure what age I wanted to teach. I started looking for masters degrees around Philadelphia, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted to Saint Joseph's University. Their master of science program had a special program in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and a local museum called the Wagner Free Institute of Science. While working on my research and taking classes, I taught elementary school at four schools in the area. It was an amazing experience and I learned so many things about teaching. I also learned there was no way that I would be teaching elementary the rest of my life, and there was no way I would be continuing my education the following year. I wanted to get out into the workforce, and I wanted to teach high school.

For now, high school is a great age. I think I have much to offer the students at this age group. Obviously I am very concerned with their education, but I think I can help with their emotional and social growth as well. 

I applied for countless jobs, and I was fortunate enough to teach a combined 7th and 8th grade at an elementary school. I really enjoyed that year, but I really wanted to teach high school. Through some miscommunications with a university I was attending part time to obtain my teacher's certification, I was forced to quit after a year and attend school full time (again). That was a rough year. My spring semester I was taking 15 credits of graduate classes, 3 undergrad credits, working part time at Petsmart, and tutoring 15 hours per week. The next semester I student taught and against what the university told me, I kept my part time job and continued tutoring. I finally earned my teacher's cert in 2011.  (Side note - I don't really like that university, because I had a few scheduling/financial conflicts)

Even with my education, experience, and now certification in math, biology and general science, I was hired for a long term sub position the Friday before school started. I finally got to teach high school! I taught biology for a quarter, took a handful of substitute positions, then found another long term sub position teaching math, then I was hired full time when the position opened (Finally a full time position!!!!). 

I love teaching math, and I love the high school where I am teaching. My department is great, and we all support each other very well. I think my best lessons come from collaboration with my department. I really like bouncing ideas off of them, and I enjoy helping others with their lessons. That is what I am looking for with my blog, and I really enjoyed reading the feedback from people, because it seems that is what most people are looking for as well, which makes me excited to be here!

I would't want to read something this long, so I will save more info about me until I have some more time. But that is how I got to where I am. Thanks!