“Of” and “And” feel left out…

So, there are quite a few #180blogs on the internet. The idea is that you post a photo a day from your classroom. I’m…a bit behind on mine (no surprise). So here’s an obligatory black-and-white-down-the-hall photo from the first day of school (Day 1):


and a photo from today’s geometry lesson (Day 68):


After I explained that Corresponding Parts of Congruent Triangles are Congruent (CPCTC for short), one of our students objected, saying that “of” and “are” felt left out of the acronym. Another student voiced support for this idea during lunch. CPoCTaC?

More photos to be filled in, piecewise…

Texting Won’t Get You Credit in Math Class

Written for A Day in the Life of an Educator, explained here (Tina’s blog, Drawing on Math) and here (Sam Shah’s blog, Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere).

Note: I’m a student teacher, so I only do about half the things certified teachers do.

For context, I work at a comprehensive, urban, public high school. We’re on a block schedule with each class running about an hour and a half. I student teach in 3 Geometry courses, meaning that the lead teacher (he’s certified and awesome for letting me basically invade his classroom) is almost always there in case of fires. (We haven’t had any fires yet)

Here’s last Friday, November 16th.

5:45: Wake up, 15 minutes before the alarm goes off. I’ve found myself waking up early recently, almost to the point where I’ll do it on weekends, too.

5:50: Boil water for coffee, hop into the shower. I’m up a bit early, so I let myself shower a bit longer.

6:30: Pack bag, pour coffee, microwave bagel bites (my current breakfast of choice)

6:50: Walk to the bus. The 6:58 bus gets me to school earlier than necessary while the 7:14 bus is pretty crowded, so I aim for the 7:06 bus.

7:30: Unlock door to classroom. Prep agenda and homework calendar for today (Friday is the 2nd half of a block day, so our agenda is mostly the same). 

7:35: Use bathroom. My lead teacher and I are usually both in the classroom, so I have the luxury of being able to use the bathroom whenever I need to, but I still try not to leave the classroom if I don’t have to.

7:40: Return to classroom. Sometimes, students arrive as early as 7:45. Some of them are looking for extra help, most of them just want a place to sit. No one comes early today.

8:03: Warning bell rings. School starts at 8:10, so students get a warning bell to tell them when class is about to start. It used to ring at 8:05, but now rings at 8:03 for unknown reasons.

8:10: Main bell rings. Our first class today is 4th period (yay block scheduling), which is the main class with which I work. We start with a homework check (the same thing we do everyday, Pinky): students review their homework with their groups. They can ask their groups questions about problems they don’t understand and review  answers. As this happens, I grade their homework (out of 10 points) for completion. Most students are at a 6 or 7. Students continue to trickle in.

8:25: We move onto Triangle Congruence Shortcuts. Students use transparencies of angles and sides (the lengths of some angles and sides are given, some not) to figure out if they can prove triangle congruence using just this information. Other teachers have mentioned that their students had trouble with this activity, so we model the first one for them on the document camera. We’re able to clarify most confusion in the modeling or when we circulate amongst the groups. As groups work through each shortcut, we ask the Reporter/Recorder from each group to record whether they think the given shortcut proves triangle congruence on the board.

9:05: As students finish, we have them work on the Triangles and Quadrilaterals posters they began on Wednesday. Students are exploring certain properties of both shapes (how many triangles can you make with 3 given angles? How many quadrilaterlas can you make with 4 given angles? etc).

9:10: We debrief the Triangle Congruence Shortcuts with the whole class. We’re mostly in agreement on which shortcuts work, except for one. I call a member of each group to the document cam to have them show us why the shortcut in question did or didn’t work. We’re able to resolve it (though I suspect my explanation is not as strong as it could have been).

9:15: As part of a graduate course I’m taking, I’m supposed to give a formative assessment to students so that both they and I can get a sense of where they are and what they need to learn or improve. This formative assessment will be a 3 problem exit ticket about triangle congruence shortcuts. The exit ticket format is not new to students, but…

9:30:…the rubric is. After students finish their exit tickets, I put a copy of a rubric I’ve created on the document camera. I ask them to review and score their exit tickets and then answer 3 reflection questions. Initially, I had planned to have students write the ranking they would give themselves on the ticket, but we decide it’s easier for them to circle the appropriate ranking on the rubric itself. The guiding questions I wrote on the rubric go mostly ignored. I’ll just have to do a better job integrating them into the next rubric.

9:38: I begin to hand out homework. Ordinarily, I would give students more time, but the rubric ran over. 

9:43: Bell rings. We’ll finish looking at the rubric on Monday. Fifth period is our prep period. My lead teacher and I talk about what we’ll do on Monday. I look over the exit ticket and edit a paper that’s due for a different graduate course at 5pm. 

11:21: Lunch. Some students come in to make up absences. I remind one of them (who is texting) that she needs to do math work to get credit. Another one breezes through the math homework that’s due on Tuesday. I check in with students from time to time, but they seem to have things under control.

12:06: Sixth period is our Common Prep Time – all the teachers in our grade team meet to share information, plan, and figure out how to support students who need more support. Today, there’s an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting for a student who I don’t have, so I stay and work on that 5pm paper.

1:20: The other student teachers and I have a practicum at a neighboring school, so we walk over. We’re generally late (since the class begins right as 6th period ends and we’ll try and stay as late as possible), so recently we’ve been making an effort to arrive on time.

1:45: Practicum, specific to urban education. We debrief a prior session we had and make some preparations for visits we’ll be having in the future. We’re also working on a service learning project at our school, which has been tricky for us. We do some planning.

3:15: Practicum ends. I head to a nearby cafe to finish off the paper. It’s a rough draft of work we’ve already done, so it’s not too much work.

5:00: Submit paper. Walk home. Hello weekend.