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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We want to hear from you!!

We have been getting a lot of requests for the summary sheets we have posted here.

If you have any other topics you would like to see summary sheets of please let me know.  I am trying to work on a few more this summer, and I am open to suggestions.  I am hoping to eventually get summary sheets for all AP Biology information, but they do take a lot of time to get them just right.

Also do you like the color versions or black and white?  I think color is great for projecting, but I can't print the color for my kiddos.  What are your thoughts?

Feel free to comment here or send us an email.  I will post the summary sheets as we get them done so you will know they are available for request.

As always thanks for reading!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Math Nerd Camp

I have had the privilege of being able to attend an awesome math conference over the last 11 years that I have been in education. CAMT(Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching) is an excellent opportunity to reset, get new ideas from other teachers, be inspired, and get new math t-shirts.

My entire math team was able to attend CAMT this week in Houston and we all had a wonderful time. CAMT rotates between three major cities in Texas: Houston, San Antonio, and the Dallas area. I highly encourage you to find a conference in your area for your subject area. You'll love it!

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago... I was ready for summer to get here. Summer is a time to reset.

At CAMT you have the opportunity to hear from other math teachers about activities that they do in their classroom. Some sessions you have the chance to have an open dialog about what works and doesn't with particular strategies. The buzz words this year of course were: New TEKS (our standards for curriculum), increasing mathematical vocabulary, technology to incorporate into the classroom, and RIGOR (is that a popular term where you teach?!?!).

There are certain names that I always look for in the session catalog. It may not be what they are presenting that I am interested in, it's just the way they present. And sometimes I just need a good laugh.

Our math department has a super tight bond. I have always treated them as family...because we are! We are in it together...the mathematical battle. We certainly have a turnover rate, but the last couple of years we have remained constant. And I think that is key to having a strong department. We had game night while we were at the conference and it was so much fun!!! We laughed and laughed...a great time was had. Simple things brings a family together.

One last reason I love going to math nerd camp is the math shirts. I have quite the collection now. I always wear a math shirt on Thursdays (I started a thing.... it's should too...Math Shirt Thursday). My kids are so funny, they always ask "Where do you get all these math shirts???". And I tell them, "Math Camp!". They really don't know how to respond. I imagine it just confirms their suspicions that I am a total nerd. I should probably clean out my t-shirt drawer to make room for the new ones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

EOC Review Ideas

Stacy shared her EOC Review with me and it sounds amazing.

She had 16 stations set up.  At the odd stations there was information, for example match the number to the amendment, and at the even stations the  students had to complete a task using that information, for example draw the amendments.

So really she had eight topics and two stations per topic. For US History she had the following topics:  People, Dates (to know, love and remember), Amendments, Presidents, Decades, Student Review, Teacher Review and Flash Cards.

She said that it took a lot of prep to make the review, but after you make it you will have it forever!

Great idea Stacy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Blogging Reflection & Stats

We have been blogging a little over a year now.  And we are not expecting to take over the world with our little blog, but we have reached farther than we ever imagined.  One of my favorite things is looking at the stats that blogger provides. This is one of the reasons I love blogger.

The first page I see when I choose stats is an overview.  You can choose to view the stats from all time, month, week, day, or now.

When we choose to look at stats and choose audience it will show the ten countries that viewed your blog most for the time period chosen.  This is our year one audience stats. Who would have thought that I would be seeing countries from around the world?  Not me, it is so unexpected, and it is my favorite part of our stats.  That no matter where we are, we are all teaching kids and, therefore, have similar concerns and common goal.

I think it would be great for students to blog and get to see how easy it is to connect to the world outside of their home town.  Think big!!  I want to try a blogging session with my kids this year, but I am still trying to flesh out the idea and guidelines for those blogs.  I would love to hear from you if you have already done this with your kids, and/or if you would be willing to work out a way for our students to find one another's blogs to see peer work and to begin to build a community of thinkers that is bigger than the four walls of our classroom.

I really appreciate the comments and emails that we get from those of you reading the blog.  I hope that you find useful ideas or material here, I know we are planning on getting a few new posts up soon, so we can keep you coming back for more.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Best Part of This Job

Summer Reset

The spring is so stressful and crazy at a high school. Teaching seniors just adds to that. They give up so early and we have to work harder to keep them going.

The summer gives me time to rest and take a break. Then at some point I'll start thinking about next year. 

This next year will come will loads of challenges: Texas has adopted new TEKS (our standards) and new textbooks for high school. So I'll be starting all my classes from scratch. Just thinking about it has me worried. 

But I'll let myself rest a few days before I dive in!

Friday, June 5, 2015


Thanks to Fran I have a new toy to play with this summer: Padlet.  Hopefully this will my AP students collaborate and share ideas and even ask questions.  Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers has a great tutorial for how to use a Padlet, as well as, several other posts with ideas of how to use padlet.

I created my first Padlet to be a collaboration for the first AP test of next year.  Students can post information that is important, questions they need an answer to, and other resources they find helpful.

I can post links to video assignments and answer any questions posted.  (My students have very busy schedules and will not always have the ability to come in and ask questions before or after school.)

I am very excited to see what my students think.  I am always looking for a way to have them ask questions, and have an opportunity to "talk biology."

If you have used Padlet and have any real-class (instead of real world) insight, I would love to hear your opinions and or tips.