Day 166: Portfolio Grading

Today is the first day of presentations. They go decently, though I’m wishing that I had been a bit more thoughtful with some of the groups. Two students are surprise absent, though one of them manages to deliver her snacks before her appointment.

I do some pre-grading on Tuesday. We try to grade the rest of the portfolios.  I also remember that I have 22 advisees instead of 18 from last year or 19 (though really fewer when we did portfolios) from 2 years ago.

The janitor kicks us out at 7, which is reasonable.

Current dilemmas:

  • Show advisees their grades tomorrow, which always causes feelings?
  • Do station presentations (where groups present to each other) or have groups stand up and present in front of the class? Presenting in front of the class makes me nervous, management-wise and stations get kiddos to talk to each other so much…

Picture: Grading station from today. This year’s innovation? Get the kiddos to put their binders in a box

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Day 135: The One With Two Reference Angles

One week to go before spring break. But who’s counting? Certainly not me. Certainly not the kiddos.

More Right Triangle Trig this week as we barrel towards our unit exam and spring break. We’re back into a routine of doing problems in class, which feels a little less crazy than trying to go outside to measure the school.

Photo: The Challenge Problem With Two Reference AnglesTwo Reference AnglesDon’t let the wording fool you; this was a problem that everyone did. Kiddos seemed to struggle with it and the idea that there can be 2 reference angles. They also struggled quite a bit with how the ratio changes with the angle. Most kiddos figured out that the sine of one angle was the same as the cosine of the other angle in the triangle, but often couldn’t explain why or point to the corresponding angles in the diagram.

That being said, most students did eventually find the distance of the ramp. In one of many questionable teacher moves, I ended up giving the 2nd challenge (an inverse sine problem, which students seem to find easier) first, which gave students a little bit of confidence.

Related but Unrelated

Graded the rest of the picture projects this weekend. Nearly ended in me being a babbling mess amidst other math teachers. And yes, these are the projects from, uh, a month ago. Students seemed to recognize them when they got them back, which is good.

I am now about to grade as many homeworks as I can in hopes of getting printed progress reports to students tomorrow. I want them to be aware of grades, but am also worrying that we are pushing them to thinking about grades instead of knowledge. Sigh.

Where I’m At and Where I Need To Be

Things I’m thinking about these days:

Trying to stay on top of grading. I feel like I’m behind on grading. Students keep asking about their grades (which are not quite up to date). And I feel like every day I don’t hand back a graded quiz, homework or project is a day where the feedback becomes less timely and less helpful. That being said, I have a solid block of grading time ahead of me tonight and I know which quizzes/projects and classes to prioritize. I also try and grade with other teacher friends to keep me on track (though admittedly, I spent this time planning today, which leads me to…)

Trying to stay on top of planning: Fortunately, this unit (area) is based on a unit that my curriculum partner inherited from another (fantastic) teacher two years ago (we are writing/revising this 2-year curriculum as we go). So while we’re still planning day-to-day, we have a stronger sense of what we’re doing. We’re about to plan a reciprocal teaching day (her students teach mine and vice versa) and a unit project, which shouldn’t be as intense as the previous unit, but should still be engaging (I hope). I’m trying to be better about fleshing out day-to-day lesson plans. This helps me think better on my feet and helps me better connect what we’re doing now to what we will be doing in a few days.


Fortunately, I am not trying to balance elephants.

Language Support: I go back and forth on how I’m doing in this area. Sometimes I think I’m oversupporting students in their native language (either by speaking to them in Spanish or putting them next to a student who can translate) and sometimes I think most of the struggles in class are due to a lack of language support. I think I’m finding a balance and I know which students I can push and where. At the very least, I am expecting them to be able to say important vocabulary words and numbers in English. (for context, my entire school is English Language Learners)

Metaphors: There are so many metaphors for the stage of the first year that I’m at now. The math teacher in me tries to relate everything to whether the graph of how I feel is concave up or down (I think the second derivative is positive now). I may have texted a friend that the honeymoon between my students and me was over, but we’re comfortable putting our feet up on the table and eating cold pizza. I think the best description is from a fellow first year teacher who said that he had struggled for a few weeks and although he didn’t quite have everything under control, he felt like he could see where he and his classroom needed to be in a few months. Which I think is a good description of where I feel like I’m at, too.