Ah, the first 3 day weekend of the year! I know it's only been two weeks of school so far, but it already feels super nice to have an extra day off. Things are always so hectic and packed at the beginning of the year, and this time has been no different.
Now that September has begun, it sure is nice of RaceTrac to offer a card for teachers to get a free coffee or soda every day. My friends back in Dallas ISD tell me they never received one, and that doesn't surprise me, unfortunately. But looking on Twitter with the hashtag #teachertracfanatic -- it looks like lots of teachers in other districts have.
We hosted curriculum night in the school cafeteria Thursday evening. I always get really nervous speaking in front of a group of adults, while I could talk to a sea of students without batting an eye. I talked about bringing dry snacks and said that if fruits were wet, they should try not to be so wet. I can only hope the parents were laughing WITH me and not AT me.
I gave out the first challenge question of the year - and the first for this new group. It's a word problem for homework assigned Monday and due Friday. The problem itself was pretty simple, but I really emphasized the correct use of steps, including drawing a picture and writing a complete answer sentence. Not all submissions were 100% perfect, but the results were better than I could have expected, with only TWO out of my 55 kids not turning anything in, and less than 8 submissions missing a step.
I also gave the first note card quiz of the year, so some of the first kids got to see that I'm not bluffing when I say I will take points off for not showing work, regardless of whether the answer is correct or not. I also learned that I might be taking a little bit for granted, having had the same group of kids for the past two years and them being used to my expectations. One of my questions asked for the place value of a certain digit in a certain number. The kids knew that they had to use a place value chart to receive full credit, and while most of them had a wonderful chart with the digit in exactly the right place, a LOT of them forgot to actually write the answer along with it.
And finally, tell me if this conversation sounds familiar to any of you...
Me: OK, now that we've completed all of the steps and gotten our answer, please raise your hand if there's something you don't understand about any of these steps or something you need us to go over again. Are there any questions?
Student: When are we going to the library?
Me: Are there any questions about the math problem we just went over???