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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

This is a graphic organizer I use to help students organize information about Cell Transport and Tonicity.

Cell Transport and Tonicity Handout

This is what mined looked like when finished.

I like both being on one page because it seems to streamline making copies and passing out papers.

I love that it is still a lot of information but the visuals help make it easier to find information and quickly remind themselves what that concept.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Infinite Algebra...oh how I love thee!

Technology has come so far in the thirteen years that I have been a math teacher.

My first few years I was creating everything in Word (oh the humanity). Even with MathType as an extension, it was so tedious.

A few years later, we adopted math curriculum that included Examview.  I used the provided tests and quizzes, but also had the ability to create my own assessments with its built in equation editor and even include graphs!

About five years ago (???) I stumbled upon Kuta Software! Do you hear the angels rejoicing....

They have free worksheets available to download with answer keys.

More importantly our school purchased the software (available from Pre-Algebra up to Calculus) and it has changed my life. It is so easy to create a worksheet/quiz/test and have the ability to recalculate and scramble questions for multiple versions. The software also has a presentation mode that you can display on your projector. I have the students use individual whiteboards to work the problems out then we can go over them as a class.

Check it out...it will change your math teacher life!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

When I'm gone... not forever...just for the day!

My fellow teachers give me a hard time about how much of a control freak I am (well if I'm being honest, so does my mom). I HAVE TO BE IN CONTROL!

My days off of school are most usually a very planned event. Except for this year when I had the flu for 4 days...geez that was horrible.

Most substitute teachers are up front and will tell us and the students "I can't help with math." I understand completely...math is not for everyone. Knowing this, I try to skip school on a review day or plan a worksheet over material the students already understand. There are occasions though that this does not work out and I need the students to take notes or learn something new.

Enter the control freak: I create my lessons on the iPad app Doceri (previous post about Doceri). Here is a link to my youtube channel. You can see some examples of videos I have created. You can even learn some algbera or precal while you are there!!!

My desk is pretty organized in general, but on sub days I clear everything off and lay it all out nice and easy. I leave my sub folder on top of my desk. It includes copies of class rosters, my sub info document, and a place for the sub to write notes about each class. I also have a folder for each prep that contains copies for the day. If I want the students to turn in their assignment at the end of the day, the sub can put the work in these folders.



If the students will be watching a video: I leave the remote for the projector with a few notes about how to use it.


I have found that the internet at school is not always reliable. So I now save my videos to the desktop on my computer. I leave the computer logged on or Sandy will go in and log on for me.


I am very clear with my students that they are responsible for their work when I am gone, no exceptions. Even if a sub tells them they don't have to do the work. I always write out the expectations on the board. I also let the student know that I have spies and I hear and know about everything that goes on while I am out!

So yes, my coworkers do make fun of my sticky notes (Sandy took these pictures on a day I was gone to show everyone how crazy I am). My goal is for my day away to go as smooth as possible...that way no one has to call me and ask questions!

Check out Sandy's post on what she does when she misses school.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Preparing for a Substitute with TPT



I always try to prepare my students for what my expectations are when I am out sick.  I always leave more work than they can finish because I want them to be working and now causing problems.  I want subs to have an easy day when they take my place.  I also warn the children that no matter what a sub says or what the subs expectations are, I expect that work to be done and it will be graded.  This is what I have done forever.  Lots of worksheets, maybe a crossword or word search, maybe an outline of the upcoming chapter for AP Biology, usually case studies for Forensics, who knows.

This year I had to rush to find things for the kids to do.  I finally got smart and went to Teachers Pay Teachers.  You might be thinking, "I am not spending money on sub work."  Think again!  Did you know every store has at least one item for free?  That is the first requirement of your store, your first product has to be free.  So I went and just searched the free stuff!  Best, Idea. Ever.

If you want to see how a real pro leaves plans for a sub, check out Chonte's post!!

So how about a couple of links that I liked!

Ecosystem Vocabulary
Photosynthesis and Cell Respiration Coloring Sheet
Organelle Riddles
Animal Cell v Plant Cell
Internet Dating Thief




Friday, June 30, 2017

Mendel & His Peas Foldable

I love Mendel, but truthfully, there is not much that students have to know about him.  However, for many genetics problems, the students are expected to know the genotypes and phenotypes of Mendel's peas.

So this is the inside of the foldable.   There is space for the students to write in the genotypes and phenotypes for the recessive and dominant traits for each character.  There is also space for the students to write why Mendel used peas.  And they can color.


The outside is very simple, with just the characters or titles but can still be colored.  


It is important to run double sided copies of these two pages.  And I learned the hard way that copies don't come out perfect and lines on the fronts and backs don't line up sometimes.  So I have removed all the fold and cut lines from the front ... trust me.   You need to have the students Fold First Then Cut. While looking at the side with the drawings, fold the left and right edges to the center line (so you are covering the drawings with the corresponding titles.  Then open the page and cut the dotted lines to the fold.  Then they can fill in the information, color and glue it into notes or notebooks.   

If you are interested in purchasing this as a PowerPoint you can edit, or as a PDF checkout 


And check out our other first of the year, science, history, and math products as well on our TPT store  We Teach High School!

Circulatory System Foldables



This year I have changed up my biology classes.  For the past several (10-ish) years I have had a very strict Interactive notebook for freshmen with left and right sides and everything was very uniform.  This year (a few weeks into the year) I switched gears and I started making Foldables or sketch Notes/Doodle Notes and even giving the kids print outs of the notes and letting them make their own.  And I love it.  It is a lot of work, but it is a nice change of pace for me and the kids.

So here are a few pictures of the circulatory system.  Be on the lookout for more systems coming soon!

First up te Functions and Components of Blood.
 

Next is the Arteries, Capillaries, and Veins.

 

Then the ABO Blood Groups.  I use this one for all of my classes (Biology, AP Biology and Forensics).



 And lastly is the Heart



This year was an experiment as to how much information to provide and how much info they should be adding.  It is a delicate balance.  This set took more than a day to do, which I am not loving.  


Thursday, June 29, 2017

First of the Year Post-It Activity

Many moons ago, I wrote about my Post-It Activity I use in the first week of school to fill time (after safety test, etc) and to get to know the students.  You can click here to read more about that activity.  I spent part of a day going through files in my desk and I finally found my examples for this activity.  It's good to take the time to make your own for an activity like this so that you set the standard for "enough color" and to show not everything really has to be a drawing (my 11 am).  And it is good for them to learn a bit about you as well.


Algebra 1 Syllabus and Calculator/Textbook Request Form

A couple of years ago we posted about changing up our syllabi (previous post).

I finally uploaded my new syllabus to Teachers Pay Teachers (purchase link). This is an editable microsoft word document. Fonts used: Titles - Rock Salt, Text Body - Handlee & Arial

I include all the ways to contact me, rules, policies, supplies, expectations, a letter to the parents, and a calculator/textbook request form.

Here is a preview of what you'll get.







Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Stash...Candy stash that is!

So I like to keep a stash of candy in my desk or in my refrigerator. Candy is like medicine right?!?!

My candy of choice is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (the miniature size...not the mini's or the full size).


On a day that I had a teeni-tiny salad for lunch and dinner is forever away.

On a day when the kids or ADULTS are driving me nuts.

On a day that...well lets be honest...just any day!

I'll even share with my teacher friends if they are having a bad or missed their lunch.

Do you have a stash?

What helps you on a bad school day?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Forensics: Controlled Substances Act

I have been doing a little bit of Foldables in classes other than Biology.  Some units are easier to incorporate Foldables with than others.  And I tend to like to use Foldable with information that is dull-ish.  In Forensics I have used is one for Controlled Substances Act and Schedule of Drugs.

They still take notes, but they take their own notes (a skill they should have for college).  And it doesn't make the information more interesting, but it is a nice change of  pace to get to cut and color sometimes, even if they act like they don't like it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

End of School Inservice 2017

Sandy and I are always willing to share with our coworkers on the latest and greatest teachery goings-ons.

We have found that WE are more interested and engaged when we hear from fellow teachers rather than some random somebody that hasn't been in the classroom for a million years. Hence why we created this blog!

Below are some of the topics we shared with our coworkers this year.

Snipping 
Allows you to copy, paste, and edit (minimally) an image or text.
Start, Windows Accessories, Snipping Tool




Task View/Multiple Desktops
Great for multitasking without having to close out all of your applications. I can have one desktop open for all my teaching software, then another open for all the paper-worky type things I am working on during my conference or after school.


Chrome Add-Ons and Extensions
So many to choose from. Here are a few: Grammarly, Boomerang, Mailcastr, Google Classroom, Flubaroo.

Google Forms
Formative Assessment, Student Information, Survey, Sign In & Out Tutorial Tracker, Rubric Creator, the list goes on!



Openers & Closers
Warm-ups, Bell-ringers, Exit Tickets, Sticky Note Discussions, Journals, Science Starters, etc. We shared what we have been doing differently and had others share their successes and failures in this area.

Videos
Ipad - Doceri, Educreations, Whiteboard, Explain Everything, EdPuzzle...
Software - Camtasia & Camstudio (For a while my iPad was not functioning...so I purchased Camtasia to create videos on my laptop)
Promethean Board/Smart Board - Built in screen recorder



Notetaking
Interactive Notebooks (teacher notes on one side, student notes on the other), Foldables (so many ideas on the internet, Dinah Zike is a great resource), and Sketchnotes



Friday, June 16, 2017

The power of water

One of my AP kids last year saw something similar to this online done with toothpicks, and they wanted to try it in class. I was out of toothpicks, but I did have wooden splints.  This is now a part of my Properties of Water Lab.

Focus on the Positive

Sometimes, you have to be thankful for little things that make you happy. 
 A pretty mug filled with colorful pens looks like endless possibilities.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Losing Students

I lost one of "my kids" over Christmas break.  He graduated last year.  He was my teacher's aide and spent at least 2 if not 4 hours a day in my room.  It hurts, and it hurts when his friends come in and visit it hurts to see them in pain.  It is not fair that they have to experience this loss at such a young age.    But what helps is talking to them ... and seeing our little community rally around this family.  It is awesome.

He was supposed to stop by for a visit before heading back to the Air Force Academy ... he questioned me with each piece of Air Force flair I had (that my kid was given by a recruiter).  And now each of those pieces feel tied to him.  He forced me to clean my desk completely every couple of weeks.  He liked to stick around and talk about whatever was going on in his life or just shoot the breeze.  He passed his AP Exam and has a star on my wall with his name on it.  I just realized that the geologic time line up in my room may have been from his group during his freshmen year.  I will always picture him sitting near my desk with his mischievous grin ...

And though we cry, and the tears will still come sometimes when we least expect it, he would not want us to be sad.  He would want us to support his family, get our acts together, accomplish all we can, help those we can, and take comfort that he died doing what he loved.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Teacher Retreat!

In addition to being a rockstar teacher, a not-so consistent blogger, wife, mom, sister, and daughter, I am also a Director with Pampered Chef.  I only bring this up because I just got back from a leadership retreat.  As with all new events I was apprehensive.  But it was awesome.  And I now wish that teachers had something available to them that was so informative, uplifting, fun, and revitalizing.  There were about 25 of us in 5 suites.  We took up one floor and had one suite one floor up.

We had two outside speakers, but most of the sessions were led from within the group.  We had break out sessions.  We had an assigned dinner dinner group.  We had 2 small group sessions.  We took turns cooking for the group.  We each paid for the rooms, and a small portion of the food.  We each had assigned items to bring (drink for the group, ingredient for a recipe, and a snack for the group).

We filled out forms ahead of time as to what we needed from the retreat.  We had a scavenger hunt, a craft project, a guessing game about the other participants, gifts on our pillows, and a secret admirer.  We had a expert panel from within the group, we had some therapy, and we had a lot of laughter.  Enough that we need to be able to be as loud as we want!

Would you want to come to our teacher retreat (if we can figure out how to make it work)?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Blogging Challenge

I have been challenged to write every day.  Why would I take that challenge on?  Because I love this blog.  There is so much I would like to share and reflect on, but I am often pulled in so many directions that I forget what amazing things I wanted to write about.  I figure even if I can't publish a post every day, at least I am doing better than I was.  So, get ready.  We are about to get silly, get real and get random.

I am going to write about activities in classes, my composition book of memories, losing a student, what to do when you have a sub, December Spirit days, gifts to students and gifts from students, the proper way to spend winter break … and everything else I think of!


Now, any ideas what I should write about?  I have a few ideas, but if you like our little blog and want to hear something specific comment below and let us know.