Here is today's Blaugust topic:
24. What is your focus/theme/mantra for the year and why? Create and share a notecard for your desk as a reminder.
Actually, my school doesn't have a theme for the year -- it has an aspiration of the month. For the month of August, our aspiration is Commitment:
"A Committed Scholar is responsible, a person of character who lives with integrity, is honest, reliable, and loyal."
And come to think of it, a committed teacher is also a responsible person of character. During my first year of teaching, I definitely want to show that I'm committed to my profession and my students.
The Blaugust prompt asks for a "notecard." Well, here is a sign that all teachers are to post to represent the monthly aspiration. Due to the Disclaimer at the start of the year, the initials of my school have been blacked out:
As Benchmark Testing Week continues, I've seen which students are excelling on the test due to their prior knowledge. One eighth grader in particular is doing very well on the tests. Yesterday, I gave Part Two of my exam, which contains questions from the Functions and Geometry strands of the eighth grade Common Core Standards. The geometry questions were mostly on graphing and transformations -- the cornerstone of eighth grade geometry. I tried to explain what reflections and translations were -- but to my pleasant surprise, this girl had already figured out all of the transformations and graphed them!
As I wrote on the blog earlier, I may attempt to give my top eighth graders some Algebra I -- and in particular, I may do so during the Statistics strand. This girl will be a prime candidate for giving extra Algebra I work. Today, I tell her that if she does well on my Algebra I questions, I will write her a letter of recommendation to her future high school (whichever school that may be) -- to recommend her for Geometry next year.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some students had trouble just with the graphing -- even without trying to translate the figure. This is another issue that I've mentioned on the blog before -- is it a good idea to attempt teaching transformations without graphing? We've seen that it's not really necessary to perform transformations on the coordinate plane, and in fact, some properties of the plane ultimately depend on transformations.
Meanwhile elsewhere on the MTBoS, fellow middle school teacher Fawn Nguyen posted the "seven deadly sins of teaching":
1. Giving extra credit (especially right at the end of the term).
2. Giving timed multiplication drills.
3. Giving out the equation.
4. Teaching from one source.
5. Talking, talking, you're still talking.
6. Keeping up with the Joneses.
7. Being an a-hole.
Sin #2 is similar to something I plan on doing, via my Dren Quizzes. But as Nguyen explains, the problem is the word "timed." She writes that this perpetuates the myth that faster is smarter. I suppose that Sin #3 is avoided by using a progressive text such as the Illinois State text. Of course, I shouldn't be completely dependent on the Illinois State text, lest I commit Sin #4.
Still, Nguyen's "sins to avoid" are things I'll keep in mind as I begin to teach.