Student Unit Reflections #MTBoS30

In my school, there is a “Portfolio” that students need to graduate. I don’t really know much about what it was before, but this year was the first year that students had 5% of their class grade based on a “Portfolio Reflection”. Students were to reflect on their progress in class and pick at least one item each semester that demonstrates their growth in that class.

First semester, pretty much every teacher had students do this at the end of the semester on top of all their studying for finals and it was a bit of a mess. I had already been doing a unit reflection and got comments from students like, “We do a lot of reflections in this class!” and “Which reflection do I have to do?” So I asked my principal and he agreed that my unit reflections satisfied the Portfolio Reflection piece as long as I make some modifications.

So, for second semester I changed up a few questions to make them more aligned with the portfolio requirement and also made them each worth 5% of the points in the unit (next year: grade setup with categories instead of total points). Occasionally, I would ask additional questions specific to the unit. One time I asked Kate Nowak’s “What is 1 radian?” and “What is 1 degree?” and that was real fun watching them squirm 🙂 I asked another time “What would you tell a new student to help them remember the quadratic formula?” I didn’t grade these very hard – students pretty much got full credit if they answered all the questions in complete sentences.

Here’s an example of one of my reflections: Algebra II Trig Unit Reflection

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I do like having a reflection piece and have especially liked having students write about math in complete sentences. Because it’s hard for them. But it’s good for them. I plan to continue this next year.

C’est important de réfléchir dans chaque classe, à mon avis.

Quizizz Homework #MTBoS30

Yes, another post about Quizizz. I forgot about the homework feature for Quizizz! It’s just another reason why it’s awesome.

So we all know that sub plans are the worst. Like why is it harder to be sick at home as a teacher than it is to be sick at school? But one great sub plan option is Quizizz homework!

This is one of the things I left for my Algebra II class when I was gone at an AP Workshop:

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You can set it to be open for however long you want and see the results in the same way as a regular Quizizz. It’s a great way for the students to be engaged and actually doing something useful when you have a sub.

I’ve also just had one posted in Google Classroom as extra review if we didn’t get time to do it in class! Students still did it because it shows you the answers and they could come into class the next day and ask about any that stumped them. I haven’t assigned it for actual homework yet because I know that I had some students in each class that didn’t have access to the internet at home, but it’s always a possibility.

Peut-être je suis trop obsédée par Quizizz…

Remind #MTBoS30

I’m still curious on the best way to use Remind for class. I was only able to get one class to fully sign up – my Calculus class that had only 8 students. The problem is that anyone that has AT&T (myself included) doesn’t get any service in the school, so I couldn’t get students to all sign up at school. Not that all of them would, anyway. But some did choose to get email notifications or get the app on their phone for notifications.

I used Remind primarily to tell students to not forget to study for tomorrow’s quiz/test or that a big project was due tomorrow. Sometimes I’d send out something about a homework problem. I also used it for National Honor Society to remind them to do something or ask them to check something.

At the beginning of the year I had the chat feature turned off because I thought it was a little creepy and thought the kids would abuse it. Later I turned it on because our school started doing Academic Detentions. So another teacher said she did this and it helped me – If I had a big assignment and Johnny hadn’t turned it in and it was already a few days late, I would sent a chat message to Johnny saying something like “If I don’t get assignment X from you by Friday, you will be receiving an Academic Detention”. I only had to give two Academic Detentions all year! It was also great to be able to communicate with my National Honor Society officers quickly when I needed to know something. Now I think about the chat feature like this – I am totally fine with students sending me emails and I’ll respond to them at all hours of the day, so what’s different about this chat feature on Remind? Students check their phone much more than their email, and no students ever complained.

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What do you use Remind for?

Je ne sais pas la meilleure raison pour utiliser Remind.

Calculator Check Out #MTBoS30

At the start of the year, I was given 5 TI-82s and 4 TI-83s to use as a class set. The other math teacher at my school had about the same for her classroom. When my principal came in to see my first observation, he noticed that that was a problem. My students were never asked to have their own calculators since middle school, so very few had more than a TI-30X. I guess students used to be able to check out calculators from the library but that wasn’t happening anymore. So my principal used a grant to get us some TI-84s right before second semester started! He got us 33 TI-84s and we still had 34 TI-83s and 20 TI-82s that worked that we could split. The Physics teacher also asked if he could have some. I put my class set into one of these shoe organizer things to keep track of my class set and none got lost! The other math teacher only lost 3 from her maternity leave between the two subs, so I’d call that a minor success!

We split up the calculators but there were some TI-83s and TI-82 left over after we had a class set for each of us. With the extra ones, I made a calculator check out form for students that wanted to take them home. I used the Add-On “CheckItOut” and it is incredible! I put the link to the form on my website and had kids fill it out when they were checking them out so it was easy to see who had what calculator. And they all came back by the end of the year! Woo! The librarian was impressed.

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Maintenant nous devrons simplement trouver les trois calculatrices manquantes!

Guardian Contact Log #MTBoS30

I forgot who I got this idea from and I’m really sorry about that, but I have really liked the guardian contact log that I used this year.

I created a Google Form to use whenever I contacted a parent. My attendance/gradebook system doesn’t have one, as far as I can tell. I wish my school had something like at my last school where you could see all parent contact for a specific student in the gradebook system.

I like that I can search for a student in the spreadsheet that’s created and see everything I’ve communicated in one place. It was also nice to be able to share this with my principal so he could see my communication for my Danielson rating.

I did not include my Weekly Summaries in this because they were done by the students, and it just would have taken too long to enter all those in. Next year, I want to personally communicate more with parents. A teacher at my old school suggested to me once that I call one home every day. I might try one from each class every other week (that’s six contacts every other week). Just another goal to add to the list for next year!

Quelquefois les chose les plus importantes ne sont pas faites. Où est le temps?

LiveJournal Throwback #MTBoS30

I never had a Live Journal but I’ve still done plenty of these. Always fun.

A- Age: 24
B- Biggest fear: Forgetting something really big
C- Current time: 3:22
D- Drink you last had: Water
E- Every day starts with: Shower
F- Favorite song: Waiting by Green Day
G- Ghosts, are they real? Sure, Maybe, don’t think about it too much
H- Hometown: Highland Park, IL
I- In love with: Music
J- Jealous of: People that get to meet my favorite bands
K- killed someone?: Um no…
L- Last time you cried?: Two weeks ago at my boyfriend’s last band concert
M- Middle name: Wrae
N- Number of siblings: 1
O- One wish: That I could be in a rock band with the members of all my favorite rock bands
P- Person you last called: Mom
Q- Question you’re always asked: Are you really a teacher? Or a high schooler?
R- Reason to smile: It’s summer and that means no setting the alarm!
S- Song last sang: Fallout by Marianas Trench
T- Time you woke up: 8:30 because it’s summer!
U- Underwear color: Grey
V- Vacation destination: France
W- Worst habit: Cracking all my knuckles
Y- Your favorite food: Pad-see-ew or Pho or Sushi (or really most non-spicy Asian foods)
X- X-Rays you’ve had: teeth, left pinky
Z- Zodiac sign: Gemini

Quelques questions ici étaient très difficiles!

Using Popsicle Sticks #MTBoS30

So this year I attempted to use popsicle sticks in my classes.


I say attempted because it only was good sometimes and I have better plans for them next year.

I was using them because I read Dylan Wiliam’s Embedded Formative Assessment and it had a part about using popsicle sticks for participation. Using them should keep students engaged, help you hear from every student, creates a safe environment for admitting if you don’t know something, and help the teacher gauge understanding. There are other benefits that Wiliam discusses in Embedded Formative Assessment and Embedding Formative Assessment, which I am in the process of reading. I also read Sam Shah’s post about using them. I really think it’s a great idea for the classroom

I had a few issues with it this year that I will fix for next year:

  • I had students make their own popsicle sticks. Showing their creativity from day 1. However, this made some of them really noticeable, even from afar. Students would notice that I was picking a specific one (or not picking their own) and they could turn off for a few minutes. Next year, just write the name so none stand our.
  • I wasn’t consistent on when I would use the sticks vs. letting students raise hands vs. students just shouting out their thoughts. I like Wiliam’s idea “No hands up, except to ask a question”. I need to be consistent with it and train my students well at the beginning of the year.
  • I didn’t make it clear why I was doing it. This was an issue with a lot of the things I did this year. My students were used to very different things in the classroom. I feel like I could have avoided a good amount of resistance if I just gave students my reasoning. Maybe. It’s worth a try.

J’étais timide en lycée. Mais peut-être j’aurais été plus à l’aise si mes profs avaient utilisé cette idée.