My New #Plickers Solution

I love Plickers. I’ve presented the use of Plickers to my staff and at conferences in Illinois. Recently, I applied to be a Plickers Ambassador and now I am one!

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This fall break, I had an idea about storing Plickers in the classroom. This was always the only bad part about Plickers – they take time for students to pick them up if you store them in your room or if you give them to students some inevitably will lose them. But in my class, the students are all assigned a calculator that I store on the wall. They are very used to grabbing this on their way into class because it’s in a hanging shoe organizer right next to the door. Their calculator number is the same as their Plicker number, so I realized that I could just put both together!

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I printed the Plickers so there were two pages on one and that shrunk them so that they fit right onto the battery cover of a TI-84. I taped them on with packing tape to create a pseudo-lamination.

My students even said this was a great idea! I will admit, these don’t work quite as well as the regular-sized Plickers. I have to usually go across the room one extra time – so I spend an extra 30 seconds to scan but gain so much time figuring out who has and doesn’t have their Plicker!

As a side note, I’m glad to be blogging (and will continue blogging). I have missed sharing things. It’s not really something I get to do at my school anymore. Funny how I move from being a single math teacher in the school to one of 10 and I feel like I’m sharing less. I’m really glad Zach @z_crass posted this to the #MTBoS the other day:

Also his message at the top of his sheet is spot on for me:

If you like to blog and see the value in it but seem to always put it off (like me) join the group and we’ll keep each other accountable!

We all know I only blog when there’s a challenge, so I’m taking this as a challenge. I will post more because it helps me (and maybe some other people, too).

Mes étudiants aiment qu’il n’est plus nécessaire de trouver leurs Plickers!

Pens I Love #MTBoS30

I’m not one of those people that goes crazy in an office supply store, but I do have some pens that I love having.

I used to love the multi-pen, but when all my ink ran out on all of them I saw someone tweet about these erasable pens and I couldn’t handle my excitement! Like my students actually were commenting about how I talked too much about my pens. I make so many mistakes writing but I know color is nice and pencil doesn’t show up well under a document camera, so this was perfect. They also write almost as nice as the Pilot Gel pens (which I got from @numerzgal in the #MTBoS School Supply Swap and also absolutely loved!). I do miss having all my colors in one pen, but the erasing makes up for that loss. I just have to invent the multi-pen with an eraser and I’m all set.

I also started using the Sharpie Highlighters that I got from Reddit Teacher Gifts after my other highlighters ran out and I also love those! However, I do wish they were a little wider.

Yeah, I know I’m the crazy one who posts about pens now.

Je ne suis pas si folle, je le jure!

Classroom Wishlist #MTBoS12days

I’ve been in four classrooms since I started teaching (I have to say my favorite was when I was in a science classroom for a summer), and in each one I’ve always had my own wishlist. It’s like I can’t be satisfied anywhere. Also, as a kid I used to spend hours just drawing out my dream bedroom that in reality would have to be as big as my whole house to fit everything…But now in my current classroom, even though I am really fine with how it is, here’s my wishlist:

  • More room! OR less students/desks that have to be in the room – I have all classes of 15 or below except for my one class of 25 that means I have to have so many more desks than necessary in most classes and then in the big class, we just have no space to move around all the backpacks and kids. OR desks that have detached chairs that are easy to move around
  • More whiteboard space. I love that I have a full wall of windows and another full wall that’s a big bulletin board, but I’d rather have whiteboard space – or a set of big group whiteboards!
  • An interactive white board – I had one at my old school and I really do think it can add a lot to some lessons
  • If no interactive white board, then a projector that projects onto the board – I work with an HDMI hook up to an LCD monitor and it’s ok, but I wish I could go up to the display and point to things or have students come up to it
  • Wall space outside my classroom to display stuff (I could do this but my room is in a cave with the special ed teacher and outside of the cave is the LA teacher’s room so I don’t want to get in her space)
  • Visible storage for supplies that kids can just go for
  • Furnaces that don’t sound like an explosion every time they kick on
  • A plant that’s just as low maintenance as my terrarium but is outside of a bowl (does that exist? I’m thinking like a bigger plant like a tree)
  • Space for students to work sitting on the ground with pillows and lapdesks/clipboards or standing with standing desks
  • One of those cool clocks that has math expressions instead of numbers

Je suis certaine que je peux penser des autres choses, mais ils ne sont pas nécessaires.

My Room

Well I’m a few weeks late (lol that’s funny – I almost posted this just a few weeks late) in doing this, but better late than never. I’ll admit, the desks were in rows for the first few weeks. I had struggled in finding a way to fit 24 in groups with the types of desks that I have and had resorted to rows, but then my principal came along and mentioned some ideas and now we have this. These pictures were taken a few weeks into the school year.

**Disclaimer: At the current time many posters have fallen off the wall and I haven’t found the time to put them back up. I also have a huge pile of stuff (styrofoam cups, Barbie dolls, extra supplies, a calendar poster) that is behind my desk and have put some stuff up on that bulletin board but I have a lot more to put up. I keep saying it will happen this week and then all of a sudden it’s Friday and I’m leaving…

 As you can see, many posters from Math = Love. That is an LCD monitor on the wall. There used to be a projector but I guess they replaced them all recently with the monitors. Some days I hate it, some days I love it. Almost every day I am missing my interactive white board, though.
  I am incapable of writing in a straight line. And the bottom clock has been replaced by a digital clock. Neither clock worked, and they tried to give me multiple analog clocks but they wouldn’t stay in time or work for more than a day. My room was cursed. So now I have a digital clock that you can’t see unless you’re at a certain angle, but at least it tells time.

   Each desk has its own white board and one desk out of four has a box of markers and rags/erasers. I don’t really know if this is the best way – they get kicked out of those holders all the time and put back in the wrong desk (as you can see from the empty one at the bottom). Still trying to figure that out, but we use them fairly often and I thought this was better than handing them out each time. I may just make a pile somewhere on the side of the room if I get too annoyed.

Outside windows

My room looks out to the only entrance into the school parking lot and is also one of two rooms you can see when you’re coming down the street from the north. So I had to add my flair of school spirit. I also thought that they were blue lights when I found them in my parent’s basement, which would go well with the school colors, but they’re actually teal, which just looks green. But that’s ok.

Je survis maintenant, mais j’espère que, un jour, je vais avoir un peu de temps libre.

My Classroom

I spent a lot of time looking at blogs last summer to help get my classroom looking as awesome as it could be. I have a small room with bright blue walls. My first year, I covered almost every inch of the walls with quote posters because I thought the blue was a little overbearing. This year, I embraced the blue a little more. A lot of the posters are printed from Math = Love and other sites. I do share this room with the geometry teacher but she really doesn’t take up a lot of the wall space. Descriptions are above each photo.

Wall 1:

  • YET: On the first day, my students claimed I had “yeet” on my wall…had to correct multiple students who came into my classroom for the first time throughout the year. :-/ But my principal did ask about it after my first observation and liked that I encouraged the use of that word. I didn’t let students put idk in responses – they at least had to say idky.
  • Star Bulletin Board: On the first day, students write a goal they have for 6th grade on a star and put it on the wall. At the end of the year, I remind them of that goal and they reflect on why they met it or didn’t. Next year, if I do it again, I will put the words “Anything’s Possible” across the top.
  • Math Practices Bulletin Board: In the first week students looked at a CC Standard for Mathematical Practice and made a poster of it. It’s hard to see but I did try to refer to their posters somewhat often.
  • A few anchor charts the kids made on fraction and decimal operations – I will try to get more student work/anchor charts up on the wall next year.
  • Supplies are behind the cabinet doors and the checkered shower curtain

Wall 2:

  • On chalkboard (I discovered chalkboard paint this year and it is amazing):
    • Date – written as an expression
    • Focus Question
    • Quote of the Week
    • Daily Agenda
    • Daily Work Page Titles
    • Vocabulary for the day
  • On whiteboard: Homework and upcoming events
  • Another set of the CC Standards for Mathematical Practice (now that I type this I notice the redundancy)

Wall 3:

  • Problem Solving Tips from Math = Love
  • Student-made factor pairs in area models (also helps fight the glare from the windows on the Promethean Board)
  • Lots of student drawings behind my desk – the ovals are all different kinds of pi that a student made for me for Pi Day
  • Student portfolio bins: Students cleaned out binders every unit but kept all Daily Work and Assessments in their portfolio. I’d like to make this an actual portfolio of their work next year instead of just a stuffed folder of everything they did that they never look back on again.
  • Math Symbols poster that I found in my room when I got there

Wall 4:

  • Geometry: She put up the shapes posters to help her class but my classes also liked trying to see if they could understand parts of the posters in our area and perimeter unit.
  • Unit Goals
  • Calendar
  • Challenge of the Week – need to find a better place for this
  • Word Wall – loved this this year! Students could always look back and be reminded of the vocab they learned or to see if there were words they missed when they were absent.
  • Back table for supplies and forms

My tables are also in groups of four. Sometimes I wished I had singular desks so we could move around a little easier and I think the tables are a little bigger than they need to be. With a small room like mine, it is hard to get around most of the time. But I do like that the tables encourage partner work and talk. Also, if I have more than 26 students in one class (very possible) I will have to rethink my desk arrangement.

Ma salle de classe est ma maison, et je l’adore.