Days -4 and -3: The One with the Before and Afters (and the PB&J)

We’re halfway through our planning week, which is hard to imagine. We’ve gotten into grade level teams, we’re beginning to figure out our roles on our teams and we’ve planned a bit of next week’s orientation (given the large number of newcomers at our school, we spend the first two days of school orienting students to expectations, school values, groupwork and other things that our school holds dear). Curriculum Partner and I also turned in a draft (our third revision) of our scope and sequence, which outlines the standards and content we aspire to cover this year as well as the academic and language skills we hope to teach.

Photo #1: The Desks: Before and After

Tables: Before and AfterCurriculum Partner and I both realized we had extra tables in our rooms since furniture was shuffled around due to summer floor waxing. I didn’t realize this until quite a bit into the week, which makes me question how well I really know my classroom. I also realized last year that the trapezoidal tables in my room, which a colleague at another school refers to as “totally grad school-like” (paraphrased; they meant it in a positive way) were a bit too big, making it hard for students to talk to each and work together, hard for me to circulate, and easier for students to distract each other. So I randomly shoved everything into my room (Tuesday photo; above) and have mostly arranged rectangular tables (in the more crowded part of the room) to my liking. This brings back memories of freshman year in college when Roommate and I rearranged our furniture on a pretty much weekly basis.

Photo #2: The Number Line: Before and After

Number Line: Before and After
There’s a number line in my room from last year, but the screen that I use for my projector (which I use most days) covers it. I’ve also noticed that students are sometimes confused by negative numbers (especially with adding and subtracting) and by the way we say our numbers in English (eg “negative five” versus “cinco negativo” in Spanish, where the adjectives come last). Curriculum Partner and I have theories on how this affects students’ understanding of expressions with adding and subtracting negative numbers and my hope is that the new number line (featuring both numbers and words) will help remedy this. #MathTeacherProblem: I printed the numbers too big, but was (somewhat) able to fix this by putting the negative numbers to one side of the corner and the positive numbers on the other side. I do worry that students will now assume that zero is a positive number. Veamos.

Photo 3: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Party Butter Jelly Time
A former colleague (who I trust immensely) was always amused when I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich basically every day for two and a half years (budget, yo). I may or may not have texted them this photo of the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the 2014-2015 school year. For reasons I don’t entirely understand, this picture has become relatively popular on Instagram. Go figure.

Questions for the Floor:

  • Given that I’m probably about 60% done setting up my room, how far along do you think I’ll be by 4pm Friday? (I’ve been known to go backwards at times, unfortunately)
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