A Day in the Life…

So the math bloggers are taking a day this week to blog about everything we do all day to give others a window into our lives.  I planned on doing this on a day that was busy, but one where I taught something brillant and my students were perfection.  Fate decided otherwise.  So here is a window into one of the least successful days I have had in a long time.  Hope you enjoy 🙂  Looking back when this was finished, it is insanely long.  Sorry.  But it is the truth.

5:30 Alarm goes off.  Shower, start to get ready.

5:55 My 18 month old (A) decides that now is the perfect time to wake up.  I finish getting ready with her hanging onto my legs and wanting me to pick her up the whole time.  I love every minute of it.

6:15 Wrestle A to the floor to get some clothes on her.  She hates anything that requires her to stop moving.  She is on the go all of the time.

6:25 Into the kitchen to make breakfast for us.  A insists on watching me pour the cereal and the milk into her bowl, so I hold herwith one arm and pour with the other.  I am getting very good at this.  Get her in her seat and eating, make myself a bagel.  Sit down to eat the bagel and A decides she wants fruit with her cereal.  Up for the fruit, sit back down.  A has finished the cereal and wants more.  Up for the cereal, sit back down.  Bagel bite count: 1.

6:40 I up the bagel bite count to 2, but give up on the sitting down since I have to put the rest of her lunch into her bag and get everything ready for my husband to take her to daycare.  I normally take her, but I had a doctor’s appointment.  Put her bag, lunch, blanket, and shoes together on the table.  A decides she wants bowl number 3 of cereal, but we are out of time, so  I pack up a bowl, along with an extra cup of milk, into her bag.  I wipe down A and the table. 

6:50 I put my coat on, A runs to me and I pick her up to say goodbye.  She starts trying to convince my husband that she is leaving with me instead of him by saying “BYE!” repeatedly.  When she realizes this won’t work, she resorts to screaming.  I pass off the screaming child, grab my bags, jump into the car and head to the doctor.

6:56 Arrive at the doctor.  It doesn’t open until 7, but I figure being there when the doors open will help me get in and out fast.  It works.

7:10 On the road to work.  Call my mom since she is on the way to her work too and this is one of the best times to chat.

7:25 Arrive at school.  Check email, respond to the one email that needs attention right away.  Print off the standardized test reports for all 7th grade homerooms along with the assignment I made the night before.  Grab the papers that need copying, the 2 papers I need to bring to the office for my days I will be missing soon for a technology conference and a middle school teaching conference, and also the library book I need to return.  Typically, I try to make copies way in advance, but we ran out of paper and were waiting to get it in.

7:30 Enter the copy room to find a line of teachers, decide to run to the office while I wait.  Turn the papers in, return the library book, decide to grab some extra reams of paper to bring down to our wing.

7:35 Back to the copier, pass another teacher who had been in the copy room who tells me that the copier toner is out.  Enter the copy room to find everything I printed is now so light that it is unreadable.  Go back to the office to see if there is more toner.  It is not in the usual area, so I check with the secretary. 

7:40 Back to the copier.  Install the toner, start some of the copies needed for today.  While those are going, head back to my room to reprint the reports and papers I printed.

7:50 Pick up my copies, head back to my room to organize everything.

8:00 Kids come in the building.  I don’t have kids first hour, but I stand in the hall to greet students.

8:05 Change my whiteboard to update today’s information, make sure that all papers are where they need to be for the day.  Some of the posters from our Village projects had fallen down, so I put them back up.  Look through some other proportion lessons to plan what I want to do next week.  Get work together for a student who is suspended for the rest of the week.  Chat with the assistant principal about plans for some recurring behavior issue students.

8:50 Students come in for the next class (homeroom).  I take attendance, go through and check all vocab books to make sure they are finished, check the vocab lesson with the students.  There are 4 students who need to make up a vocab test, so I do that with them.  When they are finished, we talk as a whole group about some announcements and upcoming important dates.  Last week I had them write letters of gratitude to someone in their lives and then give them to those people.  So they kids reported back to me how the letter giving went.  Our student council rep had a survey to give, so we did that which took us to the end of the period.

9:40 Walk a student who has lost hallway privileges to his next class.  Back to my room for the first math class of the day.  Complete our Estimation 180.  Talk to the kids about missing assignments.  Have students glue in notes while I pass back papers.  Go over papers that I passed back.  Go over some common core practice problems. 

Up until this point, this is a typical day.  Nothing out of the ordinary or so bad about this, just busy.  Here is where the real fun starts.

10:10 The lesson I had planned for the day was taken from a website I hadn’t used before, but I had heard amazing things about.  Start the lesson and I hear crickets.  This is by far one of the worst thing I have ever attempted to teach.  It is so bad that I can’t even make the kids finish this horribleness.  So the kids rip these papers out of their notebooks and we do a preview of tomorrow’s lesson instead.

11:00 Homerooms- Same kids as earlier, but different format.  6 students greet me at the door needing to leave and find other classrooms to work with other teachers.  The rest of the students get to work in my room.  I hand my iPad to a student to practice some of the games.  My small group that is supposed to come in during this time never showed up, so I have to go track them down.

11:35 Lunch- walk student from before down to lunch, stop to the bathroom on the way back.  Back to my room to make a phone call.  Try to figure out what to do with my next class being that I can’t do the earlier planned lesson with them.  Go to the room we eat lunch in to gobble down my food in 10 minutes.

12:05 Next math class comes in, same beginning to the previous math class.  Intro the lesson I was planning on teaching tomorrow.  Explain what they need to do, have students get started only to have them all stare at their papers like I gave the instructions in a different language.  Walk around and try to help a few students, but it is clear I need to bring the whole group together.  Get everyone’s attention, go over a few examples from the page.  Look around to see that most of the students haven’t even done the examples I just went over as a whole group.  Walk around to each individual to show them what they need to do while everyone else sits and stares at the ceiling. 

1:25 Let these kids out while trying to plan what to do with the next class being that classes #1 and 2 were major fails.  When all but one student are out, talk to the special ed teacher about what changes can be made for tomorrow to get things back on track.  Student who is still in there is refusing to do what his one on on para is asking him to do, I decide to let that continue in the room to attempt to show him that he doesn’t just get out of doing something because class is over.  Keep my next class in the hallway for the next 10 minutes and talk to them about what we are going to do.  Into the classroom for the same beginning things as the first classes.  Change what I did from class #1 and #2 to attempt to rescue some sort of anything positive from the day.  Feel a minimal amount of success.

2:45 Homerooms again.  First 5 minutes are spent putting out minor fires of where kids need to be and why they need to be there.  Finally get the kids where they need to be and attempt to show a CNN student news episode.  It won’t load.  I tried many many times. 

3:15 Dismissal.  Let the kids go, get my stuff on and hurry outside with my student who can’t be in the halls.  Get him on his way and put out several more fires.  Make sure everyone else is where they need to be.

3:35 Most kids are gone, head inside.

3:45 Pack things up and head to daycare.

4:05 Pick up A, drive home, get her a snack, check on dinner in the crockpot.  Use the bathroom for the second time since school started.

4:45 Get the rest of dinner together.

5:15 A decides she can’t wait for my husband to come home to eat her dinner, so I get her started.  He comes home soon after and we eat.

6:00 Clean everything up from dinner.  Pack my lunch and A’s lunch for tomorrow.  Try to play with A while cleaning up some of the toy explosion.

7:15 A’s bedtime, immediately after I head downstairs to begin working.

8:00  Today’s a bit unusual in that I am spending much more time blogging than I usually do.  Normally it is work the whole time from her bedtime until mine.   I should be done by…

8:30 Back to work to figure out where to head from here being that I did tomorrow’s lesson in one class and it was horrible and the other classes did complete randomness.  Make a plan for how to modify the lesson I had originally expected to do so that it can be worthwhile.

9:45 Pack up my work bag for tomorrow.  Stop at the deep freezer downstairs to pull out what food A will need for lunch and dinner tomorrow (She has major allergies so I make all of her food)  Pick up anything else that wasn’t cleaned up earlier.

10:30 Collapse into bed.



Unit Rates Performance Task

So our admin is having us create performance tasks for our kids to get them used to solving these types of problems so that when the common core assessments are in place they won’t be totally shocked by them.  If you haven’t checked out the smarter balanced website yet, I would suggest doing it.  They have a ton of example problems.  I started today having the kids work on some of these to get them used to the wording and format.  But back to the performance task.  So our admin has asked us to prepare one performance task and give it to the kids, then we will report back on how it went.  Since we are working on unit rates right now, I created one around this topic.  My kids started today, but will finish them tomorrow.

Here is what I am having them do:  They are planning a BBQ themed party during winter break.  I gave them a list of 20 party goers and their food orders.  They had to figure out how much food is needed for the party, find the unit rates for the different foods, find out how many packages/containers they would need to buy, and find their total, making sure they stayed within budget.  I was really nervous to have the kids do this, because there were many parts that needed to be done.  I haven’t graded them yet, but what I do know is that when I asked one of my classes (my lowest class) how it went, several of them exclaimed, “AWESOME!”  Wow.  Ok.  I asked them why it was so awesome, and they said things like, “because it made sense” and “because you told us how to do everything we needed to do, then we just had to do it”.  I’m not sure if it was the set up, or the real world application, but I really don’t feel like the response would be the same had I given them a list of unit rate problems to solve.

I will warn you, if you do this problem, please be prepared for questions such as this:

When you say how many hamburgers and buns, do we take the number of hamburgers and multiply it by 2?

Do we count buns twice, one for the top bun and one for the bottom bun?

Do hamburger and hot dog buns come together in a package?

Ahhhh, middle school.

Unit Rates Performance Task


Unit Rates

On Friday, we did some work with unit rates.  I had the kids cut out ads from the newspaper.


Then they glued the ads into their notebooks:


Then they found the unit rate for each of their items.

Students then FINALLY got to do my #made4math from a few weeks ago- scratch offs.  They LOVED doing this and it made them so much more concerned about checking their answers instead of not caring a moving on. 

Equivalent Ratios

Phew!  I have loved working on the If the World Were a Village projects, but I am so not a project- lovin’ gal!  By the end of the unit, Iwas so ready to get back to a regular activity with a little more structure.  I will take pictures of the final produts and tell you how we finished up the projects as soon as I grade them.

So today, I did an activity where students had to match up equivalent ratios, then write some of their own ratios.


After my first class, I thought it was pretty successful, but then my second class had absolutely no clue where to even start.  I directed them to the ratio 1/2 since most students are most familiar with that number as a fraction and can easily give answers.  The problem is that they were so stuck on making the 1 into a 2, so when I asked why something like 3/6 was equivalent, they would just say “3 is half of 6” instead of recognizing the relationship between the 1/2 and the 3/6.  So then when they saw something like 2/5, and they couldn’t make 2 into 5 by multiplying by a whole number, they had no idea where to start to find an equivalent ratio.  I stopped the activity and did some whole class explanation, but I am going to need to go back and make a new plan for tomorrow.

Equivalent Ratios

On another note, I got an iPad for my room this week!  I am so excited to jump in and see what can be done with it.  If you have any awesome ideas for proportions, I need some ideas!

Even more If the World Were a Village Stuff

I feel like I have been away from the blog for so long, but we really haven’t been doing anything new.  My kids have been working so hard on their awesome If the World Were a Village projects.  They/I have been loving them, but we are to the point that we are ready to be done and move on to something else.

Some of the things the kids have been doing with the data from the book:

Making graphs


Solving proportions to convert the data from the book to actual real world numbers, and how many students would be in our own classroom:


Doing scale drawings:

Making pictographs using Microsoft Excel:


Changing the data to fit inside one person, converting fractions, decimals, and percents, estimating area of irregular figures, and coloring sections to represent the percents:


Students will then put everything on a poster to display everything they have done.  I have been getting great feedback from them.

I was also so excited that David J. Smith, author of the book, was kind enough to answer questions my students had for him.  They seriously screamed when I said he had written back with the answers.  We are also working right now to set up a Skype visit, and I am so excited for my kids!