Sunday, October 6, 2013

MtBoS:What Makes My Classroom Uniquely Amy-ish

Ha! I am one of those veteran teachers that Sam Shah was referring to when he said, If you feel like you aren’t awesome at teaching, welcome to the club. If you feel constantly like everything else you see out there is better, welcome to the club. I love you Sam!

Ack, I am even an emptynester
this year for the first time and don't even have a pipeline to popular culture. I doubt my students give a rip that I saw a 2 year old movie about a pharmacist obsessed with Woody Allen at the Jewish Film Festival, or Foyle's War on PBS, or what the latest Economist has to say on Freakonomics Radio.

But, AND here I am trying to share what I know and get better. That's the thing, right, 28 years and I can do better, get better, learn how new minds think and what gifts you all bring to the table.

I am not the teacher who invents fancy new dances like the Dishwasher and Gravity, I don't play the guitar, (I used to beat the crap out my football players doing pull-ups (not chin-ups) until I broke my arm last summer), AND what I do have is SPUNK. I can be 50 and still be S.P.U.N.K.Y. One of my new students commented, "you are optimistic aren't you?" Yup, yup, I am. I am so sure you can do this thing, because I did, I have and believe you me, you are better than I am because I am pretty confident you didn't have to go through what I did to get here. (and thank goodness for that...living on my own from age 14-15...not what I would wish for any teenager.) I never, ever, sit down. That's my schtick and I am sticking to it.


I do want to share with you a super fun activity that occurred in my Geometry class the other day.

I gave each group of four students a statement. (Thanks to Julie Reulbach for the inspiration). (I love you too, Julie!) I always give the students some way to assign tasks like materials getter, writer, speaker, time keeper, by having them figure out little details, like who has the most pets, who lives farthest from school, who has the youngest sibling, who has the "most expensive" first name (118 for Gustavo),etc...That is something I think makes my classroom "mine."

The students needed to write the statement as a conditional statement, decide whether or not it was true, and draw or explain how they knew what they knew.They did this on whiteboards.

We had the best conversations. Are three collinear points always coplanar? Are all right triangles congruent? Etc...And here is the twist. REVISION! Pick one, take it home, make it yours, and make it better! Rewrite the whole darn thing, especially if you don't agree with the conclusion, and for fun, I added, write the converse, inverse, and contrapositive and determine whether or not each of those statements was true or false. If I had stuck to the "lesson schedule," I would never had the wherewithall to extend the activity into homework that has some nice chewy bits.

Happy Fall Everyone! and Thank you for welcoming me into your MTBoS. You are the best.

5 comments:

  1. This sounds great! And it reminds me of how we start our unit on proof - students will likely disagree on some statements, so we need some way to establish what is actually true. Hello, reason for deductive logic!

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    Replies
    1. Laura,
      Thanks so much for dropping in. It has been about 5 years since I taught Geometry and I determined to be more engaging and demanding of logic and sound reasoning.

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  2. Love the revision. You're reinforcing the idea that all of the work could be improved, from the strongest to the weakest. It sounds like you had strong conversation as well - especially when they are the ones asking the questions!

    And good for you for staying nimble, and changing your plan mid class. You make it sound easy, but I know how hard it is to make that decision. ...but I think I recently heard someone refer to a "lesson plan" as an oxymoron. Thanks for sharing this.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nat,

      Will have to remember that oxymoron line, it is totally me. Your classroom seems so dynamic and engaging! Lovely!
      Thanks for stopping in.

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  3. Hi Amy!
    I am writing to you on behalf of RoboNET. We have lately discovered your blog and were really impressed with your creative ideas for teaching.

    We are the authors of a RoboCAMP educational platform that offers courses for children aged 6-13. Since we have just started selling our product in the US, we are looking for feedback from our users. Because of your wonderful teaching ideas presented on your blog, we would be really excited to hear your opinion. Therefore we would like to offer you our product for free in return for your feedback.
    You can check out our offer at www.robocamp.eu
    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Anna Wirecka (awirecka@robocamp.eu)

    ReplyDelete