Interactive Notebooks…

I have attempted interactive notebooks with my resource class to some limited success… I have shamelessly stolen from Math Equals LoveMs. Dyer’s ClassMegan Hayes-Golding, and a few others. I do think my kids have taken more notes than previous classes and everything is theoretically in the same place for each student. I have not graded their notebooks as I used them as a surrogate textbook. I have allowed students to use these notebooks on quizzes and some other assessments as I accommodated their needs. At just over 100 pages listed on the table of contents my notebook doesn’t close anymore.

I had high hopes for some origami applications… that was a bust. We can’t follow instructions under the document camera. The origami paper I bought was not white on one side but was colored on both which, I suspect, hindered our ability to see folds. Whenever I had a new fold or new page type I would stand in front of the room and show them how to make the next foldable. This worked better than the document camera… probably in part as it is easier for me to ensure we are all following along.

I created very few original documents and mostly used stuff from others or stuff I had previously and just reduced to half sheets. The few things I did create I’ll post. Our school is using GRASP to progress monitor. Students have to type in their GTID to log-in, which most of them don’t know, so I created a page for log-in info to keep in their notebooks, which you can find here. I created I can statements for the modules of Georgia Foundations of Algebra and a list of the standards with check boxes for indicating coverage, all of which can be found here. All of these are word or google docs.





Vocabulary and Rabbit Trails…

I was reading Math = Love’s post regarding Algebra 2 and she had a discussion going about reviewing… So I posed the following “So… I teach resource math, co-teach and ESOL sheltered math. Every time I try to reuse a review activity from the previous unit, my kids start “not that again” unless it’s Kahoot but Kahoot only works (for me) for DOK 1 (basic recall) questions. I spoke to a reading teacher about teaching vocabulary and I feel like I have tried everything in 6 years (Frayer models, student created flashcards, teacher created flashcards, discretely teach vocab after the word appears, teach vocab as the word appears in our work, all with weekly cumulative vocab tests) her suggestion was to never do the same vocab activity in a 9 weeks. Is vocab a different part of the brain? Is that why I struggle so much? Thoughts? Other suggestions?”

Vocabulary kills my population, you can’t find the domain if you don’t know what domain means and while these questions are DOK 1 for the most part I still am frustrated by such a “simple” issue being the reason their grades … suck. (I couldn’t think of a better word.) Vocab is just an albatross for my kids and it frustrates me to no end that they refuse to study their vocab.

I find myself falling down the rabbit hole so often lately, especially when working on the dissertation… I find a decent article and then I look up an hour later, I’m reading part of a source that cited a source that was in the original document and I still haven’t finished reading what I started. A friend sent me this video on procrastination, he knows me well… and I was like maybe this random conglomeration of thoughts will become something… or maybe just maybe I’ll learn something… 🙂

So any suggestions about teaching math vocabulary would be welcome!!



It’s been two weeks or so since Thanksgiving break and I created these proportional coloring sheets right before the break and have been meaning to post them since then… Proportional Coloring Sheet

Taking a break always reminds me why I teach. The kids are so funny when we get back. “Did you miss me?” “What did you do all week without me?” “Did you go shopping Black Friday?” They truly want the adults in their lives to engage with them almost constantly. It still blows my mind and humbles me greatly…

The computer I’m on hates me and refuses to let me download anything so I can upload to wordpress, so no cool pics tonight.

I do have grand plans for the Interactive Notebooks however… I can’t wait to get those going for Spring semester.

One of THOSE days…

StressImage link

Have you ever had just one of those days? The one where your planning gets taken up by something irrelevant to you at that moment, some training or somebody needed coverage… So you go in to class feeling exhausted before you start… and one of your students makes some comment that isn’t appropriate but not necessarily discipline worthy and you decide to investigate… and wind up learning something completely heartbreaking… Something that NO teenager should ever have to deal with… and you just can’t get your grove back after that… The chocolate doesn’t help, the griping at the “water cooler” doesn’t help, the reading blog posts doesn’t help and all YOU wanted to do today was teach, just teach your content, in your room to your kids, all of whom you love in their own way. Today was that day for me.

One of those days where you are soul weary before lunch. So I went a read a blog post… something to cheer me up right? Wrong… I completely agreed with the premise but the solutions provided were all trite and things I learned in my teacher prep program from people who had never taught K-12. NOT helping!!! Teaching can be such a lonely profession sometimes… Yeah I was in a building with 600 other people but I couldn’t connect because I was so disconnected from the day. I was so wrapped up in what I had learned that I couldn’t care about the fact that I have new responsibilities or that I had car duty in the rain. I just couldn’t care about the trivial stuff.

It’s those days that I remember why I’m still in the classroom… That I remember that I do this job for my students… each and every one of them… I’m here, fighting the good fight, because I care about kids. Truly, deeply, madly care about kids. ‘Cause they are AWESOME. Not to mention that even when I was zoned out and struggling today my kids still made me laugh, still made me connect to math, still made me give them all I had. So even though today was ROUGH, I can feed my students’ minds.


This stuff is AWESOME… and scary.. a bit at least… I just watched a talk from K12 Online Conference by @karlyb on the subject and I’m inspired yet again. (Random side note, I have been working in public education waaaaayyyy toooooo long… Karlyb teaches at a private school and her kids use Sketchnotes to digest sermons… My legal mind still freaks on religion in schools sometimes… even though it’s perfectly okay for private school kids… I digress.)

Karen uses Apple products which is awesome… but I don’t have those … so I’m still on the search for a decent stylus that works with my Dell touch screen at home and then… the on-the-go device, I still have to find one of those and some drawing apps that work with it… I followed my usual rabbit trail and got to this interview of Mike Rohde which especially inspired me. He and Karen both said this is about Facts not art and you just need to jump in… so I think I’ll be doing that soon.  🙂 When I quit procrastinating … 😀

There’s always the sketchnote army to inspire me when I get really bogged down.

The One Reason I Quit Teaching

I … there are no words. Just this truth “Teachers shouldn’t be leaving the profession because they care too much about children.”



September means apples, bulletin boards, foliage, name tags, a new class and everything else about going back-to-school! After over thirty years of starting the fall in a classroom, as a student or teacher, I decided to take a break this year. I taught for thirteen years all over Oregon, and it was not an easy decision to take a year off from teaching. We moved from Oregon to Texas and I knew that now was the time to step back. It’s now been two months since school started for the rest of my world, and I have had time reflect upon the decision to change careers. I can now articulate the many things I miss about teaching and the one thing that I do not.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. There were moments when I saw myself as a lawyer, a rodeo cowgirl, a photojournalist, a…

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These are few of my favorite things…

We all have our favorite items that we love to teach with… Here are some of my latest..


Which I found at my favorite shopping location… Amazon.

They look like this on the desk.


ewwww… that’s an ugly pic… Probably because I cropped the photo and tried to get the entire number line… As you can barely see is -20 to 20. The Desk Tape is a STICKER that comes on a roll with a backing so you pull them off the roll, pull off the backing and stick down on the desk. My kids have written on them with pencil and pulled up the corners of one tape but I love them!! They were exactly what I was looking for in a number line. The tape is about an inch wide and oh I don’t know 2.5 feet long or so (disclaimer – I did not measure them…).

I love these boxes for holding papers…


I have no idea where I got these but I saw something similar this weekend on Amazon… In fact I think that is exactly the product… They do come flat and you do have to assemble them but they have survived several years of holding papers in my classroom. After three or so years, they looked pretty grimy from random pencil shavings being dumped in them but they function exactly as I need them to, as a place to put paper in my classroom that I need to do something with… I don’t carry the boxes around, I pull the papers out and stick those in my bag… You know the one, the giant teacher purse that holds everything from my lunch to student work to the latest scheme I’m working on… 🙂