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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

DEVOLSON: Teacher-Brain

Devolson* has reared its ugly head again, and I hope today is the worst it gets.

Have you heard of pregnancy-brain, it causes pregnant women to forget everything.  I say there is also a condition in DEVOLSON called "teacher-brain."  Consider the following story as evidence:

Today I forgot my phone number.  Not like I had to think about it ... not like I had to close my eyes and pretend to be typing it in to an imaginary phone (I do that every time I'm asked for it).  Nope, today I made up a new number and thought is was mine.  Then I emailed it to 4 different people. Just before I hit send on the 5th email I realized "that is not my phone number."  I took an area code that is not mine, then my area code, 4then my last 4 digits ...

Then the best part... emailing people and letting them know that I forgot my number and here is my real number ...

Welcome Devolson.

Thankfully Chonte' and I have a comp day tomorrow.

*If you are unfamiliar with the term DEVOLSON you must immediately read the entirity of the blog Love, Teach.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cell Transport & Tonicity Doodle Notes

I am amazed by what some teachers can create.  This year I have thrown the old Interactive Science Notebook format (A&B sides) out the window and the students and I are creating foldables, graphic organizers, sketch notes (completely their own ideas) and doodle notes (my ideas).  We are using color everywhere.  We are cutting, folding, pasting and coloring.  It is a nice change of pace.  It is rough.  Some days don't go as planned ... it is worth it.

So I gave the students a handout for Cell Transport and Tonicity ... and we filled in notes and drawings from the power point.  This took FOREVER (I apologize for every who is cap sensitive), for two reasons.  One, we had never done this before (aka it always takes longer the first time), the students had to try to think about color, spacing and the content at the same time.  Apparently it was just the one thing ... or I forgot the other.  How I solved the problem.  I added more words.  It is not perfect.  It will be after next year.

Do you do things like this?  I was inspired by Math Giraffe.

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Modified Love Letter to Google Classroom

So I am one of those teachers who hears about "the next big thing" every summer and spends weeks trying to figure out how it can be implemented in my classroom. Then, when school actually begins one of two things happen, 1. I usually jump off the bandwagon and teach with my tried and true methods, or 2. I modify the tool to fit my needs.

This year, my school is pushing all of us to use Google Classroom, and I LOVE IT! The flipped classroom has been "the thing" for several years, and I tried my hand at it but I couldn't seem to make it feel like me; it never felt authentic, so I left it behind. Well, Google Classroom has brought the flipped classroom back to me, and it is a game changer! I have typed notes on Google classroom that students complete at home. When they come to class notes get stamped for completion. The class discusses notes and adds information if needed. This frees up time for group activities, videos, and assignment are now done during class time. As with all tools I use, I have modified Google Classroom to serve my needs.

The greatness of Google Classroom: (my top 4)

1. Students can get to their work from any device.
2. Students can collaborate with each other and the teacher.
3. Students can set notifications for updates in any class.
4. Students can take notes at their own pace.

As with anything, you can find problems, but I am in love so I can only see the good!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Reasons teachers are late ... Part 1

Our school district like many have changed our work hours to cover the extra minutes our kids are going to school, as a result I need to get to school 15 minutes earlier everyday and stay 15 minutes later.  No problem ... except for that 15 minutes earlier part ... its not really a problem just more of a challenge.

I've done good so far (almost 3 weeks), until today ... But I have a good excuse...

Walmart doesn't have a teacher aisle or teacher bin where I can find all the items I need in the way to school in one easy location. 

That's a good excuse, right?  

Gotta have supplies for the Marshmallow Challenge!  And I broke a nail ...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Parent Communication

Communication with parents is a necessary part of teaching. As a parent of an elementary age student, I know the extensive parent communication elementary teachers have with parents. High school teachers have a unique situation because part of our job is to prepare our students to be adults.

Now I know, most of us still call our parents for advice, but how embarrassing would it be to have your father call your college professor or principal and explain you could not finish your assignment the night before due to your stress level! We have a responsibility to our students to make them responsible and hold them accountable without a ton of parent persuasion.

However, every student’s situation and parent/guardian needs are different, so to try to find the perfect balance for each student, I have created a parent communication form for parents to fill out at the beginning of the year. I hope that this communication form will allow me to communicate more effectively and efficiently with all my parents and students in my classes this year!

If you are interested in a getting to form please check out We Teach High School on Teachers Pay Teachers, and choose Parent Communication form.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Interactive Notebooks

I have shared my Interactive Notebook PowerPoint on our TPT store.  The file is completely editable.  I use the first day after the first weekend of school to set up notebooks.  This gives my students the opportunity to get composition books.  I do buy several composition books myself for kids that were not able to find composition books.

I spend they day setting the books up, I write over the presentation to show them how to label pages and how to fill in the Table of Contents.  It takes a little time to reinforce the binding of all the students, and it is easy to mess up, so I keep this task for myself.

I removed all my crazy fonts (so you can use your own).  There is some word art instead, but again, make it to whatever you want.  I hope this makes your year easier!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Folitical Fridays (2016 Election in the classroom)

As we all know, we are in an election year. In any presidential election year, I try to incorporate the election into my lesson plans for my classes, especially my US History course. This year I am trying something new. With the nation more focused than ever on the election and the intense “he said, she said”, I want to have my students look at the election and the candidates through their eyes, instead of the eyes of their parents, friends, Facebook, or the media.

 I plan to have lessons on the primary process, qualifications and the role of a president, views of the major parties and third parties, the Electoral College, role of media and social media, webquests, predictions, and a final map of the election outcome. Here’s to the craziest election I have ever witnessed! 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

First Day Handouts

Have you checked out our TPT store?  We have uploaded many handouts and forms for the first days of school today!!!   All files are completely editable!  Here are a few:

The Student/Parent Information Sheet.  This form has several questions for the parents about what motivates their children (be ready for the answers of food and money) ... sometimes you will learn thing you need to know that would not have been offered had you not asked.

The Potty Pass.  I gift my students to two trips to the restroom per six weeks.  I use these Potty Passes to keep track.  I copy the passes onto brightly colored cardstock and write the student's name in.  Any time they have to leave during the lesson they bring me their pass and I sign my initials over the box that says "Potty Pass."  When they are are they are out.  I often change a font or add a bioharzard symbol or microscope to be able to differentiate each six weeks at a glance.

High School Syllabus:  I use this same syllabus for all of my classes (Biology, AP Biology and Forensics).  It is easy to customize for your class and it sets your class apart from all the others!!

Copy Me Form:  I tend to be absent minded, so I have come up with a form for copies.  When I print/find something that needs to be copied, I paperclip this form to it, and put it under my to-do list, and write the copy on my to do list (in a perfect world).  This way when it is time to run copies, I don't have to spend time trying to figure out what I did with those copies ... 

Stacy is hoping to be able to buy Tieks :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thank You!!!

We would like to say thank your for taking your time to read out ramblings. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Do Teachers Want?

I know ...another survey ...

I want to know what you want or need in your classroom and where you turn when you need something.  I feel we have shared a lot with you and now it's your turn!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Survey About Room Decor

If you have a minute or two we would love to hear from you!! We want to know what your room looks like and why!  There is another survey coming soon!  We really appreciate you reading and taking the time to complete to survey.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Forensics: Owl Pellets

I use owl pellets as a lab in my Forensic Anthropology unit!  I think this is a great analogy of how careful you would have to be in an excavation.  You may or may not find a complete skeleton.  You may have multiple skeletons.  You have to be very careful to not damage any of your "evidence."  And if you don't do your job thoroughly, you can leave a lot of evidence behind.

This is the owl pellet before it is broken up too much.  Most students are very timid and don't want to touch the owl pellet at the beginning.  After finding a few bones, most of them will get over it, and dig in.  I give the students a couple of pieces of white paper and a brown paper bag.  One pieces of paper is to work on.  One piece of paper is for the bones they find.  And the paper bag is for their "Trash"  which we do not throw away until the very end.  Often students need to go back through their trash before they turn in their final product.

Then students try to assemble the most complete skeleton they can.  

Some students pay attention to the details and make impressive looking reconstructions ....

Others see it all as "the blob of useless bones ..."  (This was actually the first time I had this after doing this lab for 4 years.)

Most of my kids said they did this in junior high, but were never asked to reconstruct, and most found this to be a very challenging task.  

I would love to find a great video about owl pellets, but haven't been able to find one that I love yet.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Biggest Lie I Tell Myself ...

"This is the year ..."

This is the year that I remake everything ... and I keep everything ... and I won't have as much prep next year ... 

Have you said things like this?  The endless optimism is my everyday.  I do not think most people would characterize me as optimistic, but this blind hopefulness permeates most of my year and definitely the entire summer. 

I am currently re-working my forensics calendar, made a new interactive notebook set-up PowerPoint, and checked my AP scores!! 

This was the summer I was going to accomplish so much.  I did good today, but that is one day out of half the summer ... but, of course, I am still hopeful that I will get it all done!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Quote of the Week

So my big chalkboard I threw together at the end of last summer was a big hit.  I did not change it weekly, but I was close.  I forgot to take pictures every week, but maybe I will be better next year. (I am always so hopeful about being better next year!)  But here are a few that I put together in a video so you don't have to scroll forever :)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ceiling Tiles

For the past five years my students have been creating amazing ceiling tiles that remind us of what we need to know.

Unfortunately I got bad news two days ago.  Apparently the Fire Marshall said they all had to come down ...

I loved having these reminders up without feeling like my room was wallpapered with student work.  So now I am trying to come up with a new way to display visual reminders like this!

Friday, June 17, 2016

What Do You Want Your Legacy To Be?

This year my father is retiring.  He has taught and coached for 42 years, and the last 33 has been in the same school district.  He had the most amazing retirement party I have been to.  The stories that were shared and the amazing amount of people that showed up on a Thursday afternoon were so touching and a testament to the service he provided to the school and community.

As his family we have always given him a hard time about the large number of ex-students and athletes that approach him and talk to him and he sometimes has no idea who they are. But after only a few years teaching the names started getting jumbled, and now we all understand.  But his name and his presence has stuck with so many of those that he taught and coached.

My father taught math, driver's ed, PE and coached volleyball, football, basketball, tennis, bowling, cross country, swimming and diving.  He also has taken countless co-workers and athletes fishing and taught them ... well, probably a few choice phrases.  As teachers we learn so much from our students.  One of my memories was that one of his students taught him to french braid hair, so if our hair was ever french-braided growing up, it was his handiwork, mom didn't know how.  

And the pool he has coached at for the last 30 years is now named after him.  That meant so much to my family, but the stories that co-workers, ex-athletes, and ex-parents shared will live in our hearts forever.

The things that stuck with me were how he worked to include kids in his programs, how many kids he trained as lifeguards and hired to give them their first job, how he saved many of them from a path that would not have been as good on the one they are on now, how he was patient (for the most part) while putting up with the nonsense of teenagers for 42 years, and how his faith transcended all that he did.

I have always admired my father, and it is nice to know that others appreciate and admire him as well.  So now, how will you be a positive influence on as many lives as possible next year?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

If I could turn back time ...

Today I told my class I was stopping time (freezing the screen and stopping the timer while I took roll) they all froze in place until I was done.  Sometimes it is the little things that make my day.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Healthy Eating Resouce

My high school students often ask about the best ways to lose weight and be healthy.  Many times it is girls of a healthy weight looking which is frustrating.  I always try to emphasize health, and today I found a great resource that is very clear, user-friendly and promotes long term health.  It is Canada's Food Guide.  

Every time I have tried to pull up the US version I am frustrated and I don't know why but I really like Canda's version.  Maybe it is the fact that it has different numbers of servings for different age ranges and sexes.  Maybe I like that it is more user friendly.  Maybe I think a country that provides healthcare for its citizens has a vested interest in the health of those citizens. The Canadian version seems to promote a healthy life, with clear information and example in a positive tone.  I will be using it when students want to know more about nutrition and healthy choices.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Immune System - Innate Immunity

I am back at it.  This time of year seems to be when test-related stress starts to build and I need therapy ... which, in my world, means I need to do creative projects.  I am using the term summary sheet loosely here.  These are really just notes.  I made them visually appealing and everything fits on one page.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Teacher shoes

I have had a hard time finding work shoes for the past few (okay, five or seven) years.  I finally decided to spend some money on shoes to make it possible to be on my feet all day and still be able to walk when I get home.  I admit I am not the biggest on current shoe trends.  I am also much more interested in comfort, but I am not going to spend money on shoes that are too ugly to wear.

I have been searching for a while, and decided I was going to a New Balance store to buy dress shoes.  Not your first thought?  Mine neither, but I happened upon them one day, and I can go to a store and try them on before spending money on them.  Bad news is the price is they were $100.  Good news the shoes were worth it!!

So what do they look like?  Check them out for yourself.  I bought from the Cobb Hill line.  I think I bought the Pearl, but they may have something you like better.  

Maybe they aren't for everyone, but there are lots of styles even boots and heels.  

My goal was to have comfy shoes and to have my toes covered during winter.  I have been very impressed with these.