Last night, I posted a picture of my newest “me” purchase, detailing my uncurbed excitement for manipulatives and ultimately showcasing my nerd stripes. Am I okay with that? Certainly!
Whenever I tell someone I teach 7th grade, they cringe and offer me condolences such as, “What an awful grade! You must be a saint.” For the record, I most assuredly am not a saint but I do love teaching 7th grade. It is true, 7th graders are a unique breed. They’re in that awkward stage in life where they still get excited over the simple things but are beginning to get the “too cool” syndrome. You know, the “too cool for coloring,” “too cool for singing in class,” but I’m not “too cool to laugh at Mrs. B confessing her nerdiness because deep down I know I’m a nerd too.” Nerd has such an awful connotation in secondary school. In fact, to some it’s the worst insult. Not in my class. From the very first week of school I talk about how being a nerd just means you’re passionate about something. I confess to them (in utter sincerity) that I’m a math nerd, a cheer nerd and a movie nerd. Then I ask students to volunteer what they’re nerds about. After a few seconds of awkward, unassured silence, the first brave individual slowly raises their hand and avows, “I’m a nerd about…” That first confession unlocks a floodgate of “I’m a nerd about…” affirmations and soon the word “nerd” ceases to have negative power in my room. Instead, it’s a status symbol my kids and I wear proudly.
Today, I stumbled across another math-nerd guilty pleasure. @ktenkely blogged in iLearn Technology about Brown Sharpie: Mathematical Cartoons inspired by Sharpie Fumes. I love a good math cartoon… because honestly, in a lot of classrooms there’s nothing humorous about math. @ktenkely goes on to describe creative ways teachers could implement Brown Sharpie cartoons in the classroom, which I will probably do for our geometry unit! A few of my favorites are below.
These would be good for 7th Grade:
These make me giggle…
And then there are some that are completely over my head:
I survived my first year teaching.
… and I LOVED it!
Every new teacher has these naive dreams of taking over the world, becoming the best teacher possible and creating new and engaging ways for students to learn their content. I am and was no exception. Call it perfectionism, call it insanity but I have always set lofty goals for myself much like the aforementioned ones. Perhaps my personal philosophy runs parallel with the cliche, “shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” In particular, one goal of mine was to maintain contact with the web2.0 community, share my trials and tribulations and expand my horizons. As evidenced by the year-long hiatus between blog entries, I failed miserably. In fact, my “shot” to the social-media moon landed feebly two feet in front of me. No landing in the stars for this girl. Oh well. As Scarlett would say, “After all, tomorrow is another day!” After all, this year is another year. I can confidently say, for better or worse, this upcoming year will be very different from last year: I’m going to take those things I did well this year and expand them; I’ll attempt to stay true to some of those goals I wasn’t able to accomplish last year; and I will incorporate more inquiry-based, critical thinking activities based on meaning not doing.
Rather than surviving teaching by merely doing what’s been done before, I am taking teaching into my own hands. My lessons could lead to chaos or comprehension, prove successful or foolish. But if I don’t try, I’ll never find out the results. The next few blog entries will discuss some of the changes I’m making, how it’s upheaving a well-created classroom structure and how I’m struggling anticipating and responding to student reactions.
The training wheels are off.
My Classroom (Version 1.0)
My school opened for business today and I got my first glimpse at my classroom. I LOVE IT! I never expected it to be so big, in good condition and with so much storage. I guess I’m used to the tiny, well-loved classrooms of my alma mater. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. Caution: This is after my first day… so expect a lot of bare space. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment… I’d greatly appreciate it!
Here's the front view of my room. I'll have a nice, new interactive white board that goes in the center. I'm not quite sure what to put on the cork board... birthdays? procedures?? We'll see. See my desks? I want to group them in threes or fours to promote multi-level ability grouping and cooperative learning but hate how two students have to hop over their shoulder partner to get in their seat. Any ideas? I tried pinwheeling the desks, but one students back will always be facing the front of the room... and that's a no-no.
Side view. Look! I have a WINDOW! I am beyond excited for this bright feature. I'm also not convinced this is the best place for my calculators... any ideas?
My desk! I'm not fond of how close that pod of desks is to me... it's just enough room for me to walk behind them. What do you think? That little table to the right of my desk will most likely house each classes copies for the week. We'll see. My mentor had a great idea for copies: use a vertical magazine holder to separate each classes' papers.
Back wall. I have two bookcases (now full of all my future student textbooks) and a really nice locking closet with drawers and hangers! The center table houses paper trays for student homework and supplies (hole punch, stapler, tape, etc). I'm thinking I'll put either the student of the month poster above the table or an example of homework headings. To the right of the second bookcase are two square cork boards. One of them will have absent work folders posted along with procedures. Don't know what I'll do for the second one.
Not too shabby for a couple of hours work. Look forward to getting those walls decorated :)