Wednesday, September 11, 2013

do you edmodo?

Well school is in full swing and I have so much to post about our ISNs.  I made a last minute decision to do an ISN for my Ever Day Math class so I am now juggling 3 ISNs along with a new prep.  Nothing like really letting your cup overflow, right?

The other teachers in my CLT (our grade level math group) decided last year before I moved down to 7th grade to do a flipped classroom.  I have heard lots of great things about a flipped classroom but do not feel comforable with the movie making aspect to do it on my own.  THANKFULLY one of the other teachers is in grad school to be a TRT and has taken the lead.

We are using edmodo as our platform and all I can say is L.O.V.E.  The students love it, I love it and it uses mathtype!  What else could you ask for?

For my pre-algebra kids we are uploading our videos there and having them answer polls.  For my Algebra 1 kids right now all I am using it for is to assign homework.  Once we get to graphing it might be harder to assign homework this way but I really like it so far.  The major positive is that I can see exactly if they are getting the questions right or wrong with out hand grading and without relying on them to tell me they got it wrong. One major negative (the kids can really call you out if you miss-code something or enter the wrong answer).

Do you use edomdo?  If so how are you using it?  Any suggestions? 

And if you wanna connect.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Along with implementing SBG our school is becoming a PBIS school.  Why just change one thing when you can change EVERYTHING right?

I am really into PBIS and am totally on board with everything it stands for.  I have always had trouble telling students what not to do as it just creates a negative environment and a challenge for those students who like to push the envelope.   

When I was student teaching my cooperating teacher gave me a simple verbal cue that I could not live without and that totally aligns with PBIS.  When the class is a bit out of control you find that one student who is doing what you asked and verbally thank them.  Then as the students notice others being praised they model that behavior and shortly you have everyone doing what you want! Its an amazing tool and you NEVER have to raise your voice. In fact you'll find yourself smiling though the WHOLE thing!

To foster a positive environment my IT collaborate with the other 7th grade ITs to come up with our 5Ps.  A simple way to show our expectations and keep them the same for those few students who are cross team.

Here are all the posters I came up with that are now hanging all over our house (that is what we call the pod of classrooms reserved for each grade).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

oh me oh my oh SBG

I cannot even believe it is August 29.  I have been back at school for 6 (school) days and I feel like I am still under water.

It was non-stop Professional development and meetings until yesterday afternoon when we finally got some free classroom time. 

On top of moving in to my new classroom, I was moving into a new home.  (poor timing to be sure!) so the blog has fallen to the BACK BACK burner.

The year has gotten to a busy but wonderful start.  I have a brand new CLT (my fellow math 7 teachers) and a new IT (interdisciplinary team).  I was a bit nervous about moving down from 8th grade but has had a great experience thus far!

This year I am implementing SBG in both my Math 7 (pre algebra) and my Algebra 1 class.  To help with this I have created I can statements for each unit that the students can reference.  My idea is for this to be the first page of each unit.  They will glue it on the right side and on the left side they will list what they know (in green), what they know they have heard but don't know remember (in yellow) and what they have NO IDEA about (in red).

Here are the math 7 files for quarter 1

here are the algebra 1 files for quarter 1 

Here is the stoplight I am handing out for the first unit.  I will make it available for students who want to use it for other units, but will encourage them to just write in the specific color.

Just one more day before I meet my students!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

count down

With only 4 days left until I report back my mind is SPINNING with all the things I had hoped to get done over summer and finished.

For the past two years my school's administration has been pushing differentiation, only their idea is very different from what I learned in grad school and what I imagine happening in my classroom.  At one meeting we were told as math teachers to split our classrooms into halves and teach different lessons one at level and then one below level for the lower kids (I do not co-teach, and am usually the only adult in the room with 23-28 middleschoolers).  I cannot wrap my head around positives that would come from this as the students would be very quick to recognize what level they where put into.

I have spent all summer searching the internet, reading blogs, reading professional articles, and have come up with ZERO on how to successfully implement this idea in my classroom.

Additionally, I have spent hours coming up with activities and formative assessment ideas to offer extension and anchor activities for those who get it and am hoping to then spend small group time with those who are struggling.  I am taking @iisanumber what to do with early finishers and problem of the week post and tweaking them to work in my classroom.

I created these fun posters and plan to dedicate a whole bulletin board to this idea.

I am really lucky that at our admin building we have some great poster printers, so i used thoses to print these out very large.  I think that if you take them to like a kinkos you can get them made too.

I have not come up with how I am going to grade the problem of the week, but I am hoping that if I start the year off eliminating the students expectation of a grade for all work I will be able to create a classroom where knowledge is the expectation not the bi-product and students (and hopefully their parents) will not need that 100% on each paper turned in to feel good about their work.  If I can create this type of learning community then there will be no need to hand out grades for everything!!!

At the same time our county has placed very rigid demands on our grading, what can be graded, and there is an unspoken rule that no one should ever receive a grade under a 50 whether they attempt the assignment/activity or not. I personally have mixed feelings about the zero and struggle a lot with my personal belief to use it or not.

There have been mentions of SBG but no direction on how to do it or what would be acceptable.  I am toying with the idea of handing out 1, 2, 3 or 4 for most things and only grading on a percentage scale sumative assessments.  Making anything under a 2 a mandatory re-do.  The only thing about this is I am not sure how to hold the students responsible for the re-do.  How do you handle it?  I wold love ANY and all suggestions!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

starting out

Writing my first blog post is a bit like starting my first day as a teacher two years ago.  I know what I want the rest of this blog to look like but I'm not quite sure how to start out.  Luckily, unlike my middle school students, most of you will not just stare back at me with blank faces until seizing the perfect moment to act up.  

I guess I'll introduce myself and why I have decided to blog.

I am starting my third school year as middle school math teacher.  We don't go back until the 21st of August so I do not know my classes yet.  I will be in the 7th grade hall most likely teaching 7th grade algebra and possible a Math 7 or two.

This will be my second year teaching algebra and if I have a Math 7 class or two my first year doing that.

My goal for this blog is to interact with the much larger professional community out there by sharing my lessons and ideas and using those lessons and ideas posted by others!

I am most eager to post to made4math monday
and give back for all the AWESOME things I have borrowed over the past year

and join a few of the twitter chats!  you can follow me at @annemarie_hugh  

Last year was my first venture into using a ISN or interactive student notebook.  Most members of my PLC were not into the idea and by December I had relinquished to just gluing workbook pages into our 5-star notebook.  I rebounded around April but overall am not happy with how it turned out.

This year I am following many of the recommendations I have seen in the blogasphere and using a composition notebook that will ONLY hold their notes and synthesis.

AND being the type A obsessive person I am, I went head and made a mock ISN over the summer to keep me on track!  (pictures to follow!)

I am very excited for this new adventure!