Monday, September 30, 2013

Post-Test Processing

What do you do when some students show mastery of content on a test and others demonstrate little to no understanding of what you have been teaching for the last month?  As a social studies teacher, I have found that this scenario is common in my classroom.  I cannot just move on to the next unit when some of my kids have not demonstrated that they have met our learning goals.  This is where my Post Test Processing activity comes in.

Besides the test question corrections, this activity also gives students the opportunity to self-assess their studying efforts and reflect on what part(s) of the test they most struggled with.  I also get some pretty creative thoughts in the Open Mic section! :)

Are there any post-test activities you do with your students?

-Mrs. K

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cooking with Fractions

Seventh Grade is officially done with their first project in my class, Cooking with Fractions. This was by far my favorite project I have ever had students complete because it so clearly was applicable to their lives. The project had students find a recipe that had six ingredients and at least four measurements of which two were mixed numbers. They then took this recipe and found how much of each ingredient they would need to make one serving and sixteen servings.

Students had three days in class to work on their project. They had access to Chromebooks to find recipes and create a spreadsheet of which their final values were recorded. Students also used that time to write all work down on loose leaf to turn in. The example below is of one of my students who did an amazing job labeling, showing work, and organizing how the information was laid out.

The best part though was having students bring in the food for the recipe they had been working on. This was optional as a fun end to the unit. Each student had a permission form signed saying they could eat the food and if they had any allergies. My students, or maybe their parents, are incredible cooks! We had brownies, cupcakes, cookies, dips, pies, dirt cups, rolls, and more. I was so full at the end of the day I could barely move! Not only did I love the project, but so did the students. They were so excited to be able to bring something into share and get to try others food. Plus they saw the real-world connection, they understood that math can be used in real-life and how important it is. I was so happy with how the project turned out, I cannot wait to do it again next year!

-Ms. H

Friday, September 13, 2013

7-12 Perks

With week two finishing up (TGIF people), I would like to pat myself on the back a little bit.  Eight days of school and 132 names mastered!  That would be first names only, but the last names are slowly learned as I continue to update my gradebook.  Go me!

This is the first year I am working at a 7-12 school.  I have previously taught at a 9-12 high school, a 5-8 middle school, and a K-12 school (the one in Alaska).  I am beginning to dig the 7-12 situation for a few reasons:

  • One class to prep for.  This comes in handy when you are working on a MEd as well.
  • I am teaching middle school students (my favorite) but get to be involved in high school activities, such as homecoming contents, varsity athletics, and spirit week fun.  Love it!
  • I am part of both the 7th grade team of teachers AND the 7-12 social studies department.  This kind of rocks :)

I do miss visiting the “littles” at my K-12 school.  Small Eskimo children are just about the cutest thing in this world.  I can see myself teaching K-6 students in the future as I work toward becoming a licensed reading specialist (this was a choice inspired my struggling readers in Alaska. So glad I decided to pursue Reading and Literacy Education).  But for now, I am loving my 7-12 perks :)

Have a great weekend!  What will you be doing?  I will be heading to a high school football game tonight in support of my husband (also a teacher and a coach).  Friday Night Lights!  

Mr. K in action!

-Mrs. K

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Proud Election Week!

Week 4, I can’t believe I am almost a month into school! The first tests are almost here and projects are due this coming week; we are officially back in business. Along with the tests, sports, service projects, and clubs are also beginning. Last week my school held Student Council elections. I am the faculty member in charge of facilitating Student Council which proved to be a busy week as students campaigned with posters, handed out plenty of stickers, and ended the week with inspiring  speeches. One of my favorite ways to get to know my students is by leading clubs that my students have taken a passionate interest in.

I am impressed how responsible my middle school students are. I was very proud of the results when I tallied up the votes and saw who my students had elected. Naturally, I was worried it would result in a popularity contest rather than an election of who would best represent the student body. However, my students that were elected will all do a great job representing our school. I cannot wait to get started with our first meeting and to appreciate the many ideas and projects the students come up with.

Working with my students outside of academic classes has propelled me to get to know my students and their interests. I’m most proud when my students take on a leadership role and have discussions that don’t normally occur in math class. They never cease to amaze me with their new ideas and projects that they choose to undertake. Addressing the dress code with administration and encouraging kindness throughout the school are examples of my students’ willingness to contribute. Their ideas for raising money for the club have also impressed me. I am so grateful for the opportunity to take on this role with my students.

How do you get a chance to know your students outside of class? Do your students make you as proud as mine make me?

-Ms. H

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Connecting with Kids

My first week of school is quickly wrapping up.  I haven’t taught just middle school level students in a few years, and I am starting to remember the following:
  • I will not get to sit down during the day.  Not once.
  • I need to invest in shoes with better support.
  • If you want students to be quiet, just ask them to stop flirting. Magic!
  • Saying something ten times is never enough...I am going to lose my voice.
  • Exit slip post-it notes that read: “Mrs. K is awesome” make me smile!

I want to share two things that my kiddos LOVED this week:
1) Duck Dynasty Poster.  This sits right over my computer in my desk/teacher area.  I stopped counting how many times my students asked me about it and then proceeded to tell me how often they watch the show, who their favorite bearded man is, and Uncle Si cracks them up.  It definitely is a winner in the classroom decor department and has been a great way to start non-school related conversations with my kids.  Is Duck Dynasty just a favorite in rural areas?

2) The Kid President and his Pep Talk.  I showed this to students on the second day of school.  They were laughing so hard!  

How can you not smile when you see this video?  This led into a cooperative learning group activity:

How can we make our classroom more awesome?
The Kid President asked us, “What will YOU create to make the world more awesome?”  Today, we are going to work in our cooperative learning groups to brainstorm how we can make our classroom more awesome!
Task:  Come up with a list of 5 to 7 actions that describe what you (as students in social studies class) can each do every day to make our classroom an AWESOME place of hard work, learning, kindness, and fun! (Example: one person talks at a time while everyone else listens).  Write your answers on the front and back of this paper.

My students came up with some great ideas that I am going to post in our class along with a picture of the Kid President.  They cannot wait to watch another Kid President video next week!

How did you connect with your kids this week?

-Mrs. K