Friday, 20 January 2017

Sharing: Days in the Lives

This post is again part of the “Explore the Math Twitter Blog O’ Sphere” 2017 initiative. (My first post in the sequence was about a media assignment, my second about trouble with soft skills.) This time, we were asked to read posts by other math educators and then write or compile information - with a shoutout to the “MTBoS Google Search” by John Stevens. (I didn’t put my blogs there, but feel free to correct my thinking.)

I decided to use this opportunity to check in with an initiative that started back in August 2016 - Tina Cardone’s “Day in the Life Book Plan”. Effectively, a team of teachers, all writing up a day in their lives, which could ultimately be compiled together to illustrate what the year of a teacher is like. I signed in to be a cheerleader, and have been meaning to read more, since it’s the sort of thing I would be on board with - if I weren’t taking my year off.

A few warnings: My master list is old, I’m hoping I haven’t missed anyone - if that’s the case, add a link in the comments. For my Canadian readers, know that some schools start in August and run through May (Canada runs September to June). Related, the United States has 180 teaching days (here in Ontario we have 194, with no snow days - if there’s 20 inches of snow forecast, schools are open). And, of course, the US Thanksgiving provides a break in late November, not early October.

For more of this: I discovered I’m not the only one with this roundup (great minds think alike); David Walker (at “Geometry, Common Core Style”) has focussed on the Middle School DITLife Bloggers this week. (Click there, if you’d prefer to see a focus on those grades.) Also, there’s the DITLife Tumblr, where you can see links to posts. With all that in mind, let’s check in on the following blogs, which are in no particular order. If you see something you like, consider clicking through, reading more, and leaving them a message!


1. Kent Haines: The Process Column. (Aug 12th)
This was Kent’s second day of class. As a “get to know you” activity he did math autobiographies, and he says he knows more about his students after that than 4 weeks in for the previous year. (He has a separate post on these.) One of the classes at his school is split in the middle by lunch.

2. Geometry, Common Core Style. (Aug 19th)
This was David’s third day of class, teaching middle school. He played a “Square One” song (“Count On It”), did number patterns, and started seeing some of the social dynamics between students. Did I mention the SQUARE ONE song?! (I’ve used “Change Your Point of View” in Grade 9.)

3. Ottograph Blog. (Aug 23rd)
Alexandra, a 6th grade teacher in Alaska, is doing district-wide in-service before school begins. She finds that she’ll have a class set of iPads this year, attends sessions on data work in Excel plus literacy training, and has an online math book club chat. She’s also a board member for Kodiak Teen Court.

4. Those Who Teach Do More. (Sept 8th)
Thursday was Kit’s first day of class. He took the subway, met a student teacher, dealt with a lack of translation forms, and there was much labelling, ice breaking (including ‘Which One Doesn’t Belong’) and debriefing. He was teaching 6th grade after years of teaching 8th grade; his second day is also included in this post.

5. Function of Reflection. (Sept 8th)
In contrast, this Thursday was not Jake’s first day (his first quarter will end in October). Desmos helped with handling intervals in precalculus class, students self-selected tutoring blocks, and there was both a busy prep and sixth period. It seemed to go better than his Week 3?

6. Drawing on Math. (Sept 14th)
Tina is in her tenth year teaching, and her school has an every-other-day schedule. There’s mention of wait/think time, working with honours students on her prep, tech support, and a fire alarm. Then a staff meeting, to go over Interventions.

7. Reflections of a Type-A Teacher. (Sept 20th)
Kate wakes up before 5:30am that day, whoa. Among other things, she deals with Chromebooks, a fire alarm, a logarithms scavenger hunt, hall duty, and her dog’s obedience class. Note Kate is in her fifth year of high school teaching.

8. Alternative Math. (Sept 26th)
Micaela is the only math teacher at her alternative high school. On this day, she gets five new students - balancing her Algebra class, which has only two today - does discussions in a “community circle”, and handles paperwork on her prep. Her necessary lengthy commute includes a police report, oh no.

9. Run the Numbers. (Sept 30th)
Kevin does a five mile run in the morning. He returns to his classroom on this day after being away on the 29th. There are mini-assessments, remarks on help with autism, and trouble with Windows 10 updating; note Kevin teaches 7th and 8th grades.


10. The Roots of the Equation. (Oct 5th)
James is resuming school this Wednesday, after Rosh Hashanah. He’s carrying too much to bike in to work. His teaching involves a Mathalicious lesson (Sweet Tooth), a formative observation, documentation alignments, then there's some walking with Pokemon Go.

11. Ms. Z’s Mathematical Mess. (Oct 6th)
Dawneen’s entire region was evacuated for Hurricane Matthew, meaning no school for the latter part of this week. She reflects in this post with the DITLife questions about procedures, low morale, literacy and an all-boys class she has.

12. M Brunner Math. (Oct 17th)
Mariam arrives at school early to offer help (having forgotten her lunch at home), restructures lessons to accommodate, discusses with colleagues, and sets up for an activity in the science lab. Also, she needs to work online for over three hours that evening.

13. Hazel-Eyed Math Nut. (Oct 26th)
Tara starts her day at school with a parent meeting. She’s recently acquired two new classes, 8 weeks into the school year. This particular day includes grading, polynomials, and (eventually) a 30 minute break with her family for dinner.

14. [Slightly] Skewed. (Nov 4th)
Hannah’s Friday was a Professional Development day, because their quarter had just ended. She helped lead PD discussion on productive struggle, there was talk of grade distributions, then she spent the afternoon grading the unit exams students had done earlier that week.

15. Busy Miss Beebe. (Nov 7th)
Brianne has her clock correctly set for Daylight Savings, but her body was awake before 4:30am. She put together SMART Notebook files for the week, taught a geometry course she developed, then had hall duty, and a faculty meeting. Watch for mention of a principal “learning walk”.

16. Pythagoras was a Nerd. (Nov 16th)
Mattie has to put together a packet for his International Baccalaureate (IB) class today. Said day includes re-creating slides, planning team work on polynomials, trying not to rush. See his reflection at the end for some fallout from the recent US election.

17. Mathematical Musings by MathTeacher24. (Nov 21st)
Leigh arrives at school realizing she needs to create a test by 2pm, and her day is already quite full (a bit like Mattie, above). She manages it, going a bit “old school”, and still has the energy to be part of chorale after classes. Read to the end for her postscript on retesting.

18. Hilbert’s Hotel. (Nov 22nd)
Jonathan blogs here before Thanksgiving, meaning it’s a two day week. There’s a number of benchmark tests, extra tutoring at lunch, and then after school, a “Mathcount” activity and parent emails (among other things). Should one measure based on cars left in the parking lot?


19. My Random Ah-hA Moments. (Nov 28th)
Bernadette had trouble sleeping prior to this return after Thanksgiving. She explains how Infinity, her “Elf on the Shelf” will provide questions of the day, there’s a 3-act task on sugar in soda, and she has to prepare for a substitute on the following day. Like Kent (above), she also has a period split in pieces by lunch.

20. 8 is My Lucky Number. (Dec 8th)
Jennifer goes through a typical Thursday. There’s an ALICE (intruder) drill, a new class contract to handle disruptive behaviour, extra help provided after school, and a run at the end of the day (contrast Kevin who ran in the morning). Her Christmas tree is up; mine wouldn’t be.

21. Math by the Mountain. (Dec 9th)
Audrey’s school district closed schools on this Friday, for the third day in a row, due to the snow and ice storm on the mountain. So she worked on activities and flowcharts for upcoming units, then got out of the house for the first time since Tuesday afternoon, to visit her parents.

22. Math yes you can (Dec 16th)
Kathy’s last day before Christmas Break. Students drop off cards for her (she teaches younger grades), they make origami cards for support staff, there’s a party in the music room, and after the students leave, she decides to bring their scale drawing projects home for grading over the break.

23. Her Mathness. (Dec 21st)
Wendy has three days until Christmas Break. Within her post, she’s embedded a Task in Scribd. She was visited by a student on her prep, and an illustrated task project had students including bad math jokes for her. She also does private tutoring.

24. Lazy 0ch0. (Dec 24th)
Brian’s first day of Christmas Break is also Christmas Eve. He does some morning reading (and considers math-themed books for his students), uses old newspapers to wrap gifts, reflects on a post-observation meeting with his principal... and references the hospital Emergency Room.

25. Miss Calcul8. (Jan 10th, 2017)
Elissa is the only math teacher, teaching at her alma mater. Cutting and folding turns out to be a challenge for many students, her lunch is quick, subbing takes over her plan period, and there’s more to do after school. 12,000+ steps, I’m impressed.

26. Math State of Mind. (Jan 12th, 2017)
Jen is a math coach, see an earlier DITLife post for how she had to leave for major surgery last year. She spent this day covering kindergarten duty, getting math kits together, helping with a 2nd grade skip counting lesson, and participating in a Twitter chat. Also, Uber.


That’s all I’ve got; if you know of more, feel free to link out to them in the comments. If you’re real keen, you could also read my DITLife Posts from prior years; I usually subvert them with quizzes or odd narratives. Oh, and one last message to the WRITERS of all those posts - well done! And even if you fell out of the blogging habit after a few posts, it’s never too late to jump back in.

I think that’s everything, let me know if something was unclear. I appreciate you reading, consider coming back to my blog again, or checking out my other writing projects!

-My personified math comic last posted “Dressing Down” on Monday.

-My time travel serial last posted “Connecting” on Friday.

-My “Not Teaching Year” weekly chronicle on this blog continues tomorrow.

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