Sunday, January 17, 2016

#EXPLOREMTBOS2016 A Day in the Life

A day in the life ... Thursday, January 14, 2016

5:45 am ... my husband's alarm goes off.  That's my cue to snuggle down deeper for another 30 minutes.

6:15 am ... it's my turn to get up ... I crawl out of my warm cocoon and head to the shower.

6:40 am ... I'm dressed and my husband is delivering my coffee to my favorite chair.  I have a favorite recliner where I pull my thoughts together in the morning.

  • I read a devotional thought or two - I've subscribed to a couple of devotionals that challenge me.  On this morning I read from the Henri Nouwen devotional, "Our minds are always active. We analyze, reflect, daydream, or dream. There is not a moment during the day or night when we are not thinking. You might say our thinking is "unceasing." ... we can convert our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer by making our inner monologue into a continuing dialogue with our God, who is the source of all love."  Unceasing prayer is a goal!
  • I check the family's latest postings in Facebook to keep up with those that are miles away.
  • I check school email so I'm not blindsided when I arrive ... and review the day's plans.
7:15 am ... Time to fix a small breakfast and pack my lunch.  I typically toast a waffle, spread it with almond butter and munch on it while I prepare my lunch.  I like to take hummus, crackers, apples, and sometimes nuts, dried fruit, jerky for lunch.  It's simple, snack-like, and easy to put together.

7:35 am ... today is special - a colleague is picking me up; we are going to the school play together in the evening so we decided to car pool.  I keep an eye on the driveway while I finish getting ready for school.

8:10 am ... we arrive at school after a short drive ... and conversation about our latest challenges at school.  She has some issues with students; I had a parent email the night before that gave me pause. 

This morning I don't usually have tutoring but a couple of students stop by for help.  One just needs a quiet place to finish up her homework.  Another one needs technical help with his blog.  In between helping these few students, I boot up my computer, to check students' work completed online and to enter grades.

9:05 a.m. ... I have a PLC meeting first period of this day.  (We are on an A/B schedule; four periods a day; three of the are teaching periods; one is either conference or PLC meeting).  Our PLC meeting is next door in the team leader's classroom.  The team leader checks in with us to be sure we are all set to start the next unit on Friday.  That unit is planned, ready to go.  The focus of this meeting is the unit that starts in a couple of weeks.  We review assessment questions written by the district cadre.  Seven to 10 of those questions will be on our unit test.  We examine the content of the questions, the skills required, the TEKS addressed, and discuss how those questions are similar to ones we used last year.  After reviewing the assessment questions, we talk about the best way to outline the unit - how to sequence the topics.  We also review the calendar.  The pre-ap classes are expected to complete the unit in 6 days, and on-level in 7 days.  The unit is on applications of rational functions.  Students will need to solve rational equations, and use those skills in a variety of problems like work, travel, and planning events problems.  After we outline the skills, we divide up the work.  My assignment is to write additional assessment questions specifically for our pre-ap classes.  We supplement the district assessment questions with five to 10 of our own.  Our meeting breaks up with about 25 minutes to spare in the period.  I go back to my room to set up the classroom for today's "big" quiz and independent assignment.

10:35 a.m. ... Period 2 ... students enter, we chat a minute or two.  I take attendance.  I also teach a mini-lesson on simplifying rational expressions.  Students have had lessons and practice on factoring.  Now they just need to learn that you can cancel factors not terms.  I demonstrate with just a few examples.  The focus of our day is a "big" quiz wrapping up a mini unit on polynomials - a few topics that we could not squeeze into the first semester.  Since students will finish the quiz at different times, I have prepared an independent assignment for after the quiz on simplifying rational expressions.  I used a Google Form, embedded a couple of videos, and several practice questions.  As students finish up their quiz, they access the form on their laptops, and work on simplifying rational expressions.  This is pre-work for our unit on the characteristics of rational functions.

12:13 p.m. ... Lunch ... I snack and grade quizzes.  It's quiet.  I relax a bit, brew a cup of hot tea.

1:00 p.m. ... Period 3 ... same as period 2

2:30 p.m. ... Period 4 ... same as period 2

4:10 p.m. ... bell rings and I straighten up my desk.  I finished grading most quizzes of the day as students were working.  I feel good about the results.  I also peeked at the results of their work on the  Google form and they are doing well with the algebraic fractions.  I notice that I need to discuss how to factor out a negative one for factors that are opposites.

4:20 p.m. ... My colleague and I are excited.  We don't have afternoon tutorials.  We are headed out early ... headed out to dinner together and the school play.  This is not a typical day!

6:40 p.m. ... we arrive at the performing arts center.  This is a huge production of Mary Poppins.  As we review the list of actors and supporting cast, we realize that between the two of us we have taught 2/3 of the cast.

7:00 p.m. ... the lights go down, the curtains go up ... and oh my!  I knew our kids were talented and that the play would be good, BUT who knew it would be a-maz-ing!  I'm serious!  The singing was phenomenal!  The orchestra terrific.  The theater staff had secured permission to have a "flying" Mary Poppins.  The dancing was intricate!  WOW!  

10:30 p.m. ... we greet students in the lobby, offer hugs and congratulations.  Students are beaming - they love that we came to their play and they are proud of their accomplishments - rightfully so! I knew these kids were particularly strong math students but they are outstanding actors!  

11:00 p.m. ... I'm home, exhausted.  I review the plans for the next day to reassure myself that everything is in place.  The next day we will use two teacher-made activities on Desmos to introduce rational functions.  I'm feeling good about those ... and so, I can relax and slip into bed!

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