[MTBoS Blaugust] Last Day before Work

It’s the last day before all teachers have to go back. And I head into school in the afternoon.


I thought I’d be the only one, but I was (pleasantly?) surprised to see a handful of other teachers already back. I met a few more, including the Math Dept chair, and got to work printing/making more posters for my classroom.

Or I would have except that the internet went down for about an hour and a half, so I couldn’t use Google Drive[1] and couldn’t see any of my files to print anything.

Fortunately it came back on and I was able to print the last of my papers, but I’m going to have to wait for someone to laminate[2] them before putting them up, which means back-to-school night (which happens tomorrow!) will involve my classroom being bare unless someone laminates it tomorrow.

Meanwhile I think I’m going to have to convince the math department to even let me allow reassessments in my classroom. I think I’ll make a short list of my top reasons why students should be allowed to reassess on quizzes/tests, which is intricately tied to SBG for me.

  • The parachute graph from this post.
  • By not allowing retakes, we’re saying “all students should learn at the same rate”, which is not true. If you don’t even allow quiz corrections, then we’re saying “don’t worry about the content of this quiz, on the score”.[3]
  • Oh, and the “but they don’t do it at the next level” is bananas. The most important tests you will take allow “retakes”: SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, Medical Boards, Law Bars, Driver’s License, Pilot’s License. Sure, it might cost more money[4], but you can retake it and ignore your previous score.

I’ve got those as my “top 3”. I could find/think of more, but I might not have much time to explain my reasoning and want to get to the core of why I would like students to be allowed to reassess.

Meanwhile I’m reading up on how to do SBG when you’re not allowed to. An encouraging read!

So there’s the list of things I’d like to do to get ready for back-to-school night, but again feel like my hands are tied. Can’t make my room look nice because I can’t use the laminator. Can’t make a syllabus because our principal asked us to wait. Apparently http://www.Remind.com is used widely in our school, so I’m going to wait before I print off 110 of the explanations of how to join, and hopefully only need to write the code up on the board and only print a few sheets for the newer students. So here’s a list of things I’d like to do sometime tomorrow once I get the go-ahead from the various sources.

  • Decorate my room more.
  • Create/print class rules[5].
  • Get http://www.remind.com codes put up somewhere.
  • Be ready to hand out information about Mathcounts.
  • Print off something to encourage parents to help their children “talk more math“[6].
  • Think about what else I want to tell parents and students on a night a week before school starts.

Here’s my room as it is now.


Yay: I got many whiteboards up on the walls. Unfortunately that add no color to the room and it still looks awful. Maybe I can talk about how the desks are arranged and I want the students to do more collaborative work. We’ll see!


[1] After the internet came back on, I turned  “offline mode” on for my classroom computer. I hadn’t thought of this before, but it makes sense that this is a computer-by-computer setting.

[2] Teachers can’t use the laminator.

[3] I heard many of these ideas from Rick Wormeli.

[4] I have so many students this year that I’m thinking of requiring students to bring in a “proof of study/practice” as a “payment” in order to retake a quiz.

[5] Haven’t done this yet as it goes along with the “don’t make a syllabus yet” instructions.

[6] Perhaps I could put that blog up as a QR code. Perhaps I could put up several QR codes while the parents & students are in my room!




Filed under Teaching

2 responses to “[MTBoS Blaugust] Last Day before Work

  1. First of all, I love your blog. thank you for sharing so much. (I confess, kiddos come tomorrow and I need to be making Station signs, and here I am tap, tap, tapping). Love your vertical boards.

    Love that Ts can’t use laminator, cough, cough.

    So some colorful tips, some parent ideas, some kiddo ideas, etc…

    1) Exit ticket first day on color post-its (add to whiteboards and then parents see them!) (or have them posted onto colored construction paper) Ideas: What does community mean to you? What kind of classroom culture do you need to be successful? What does GREAT group work look like?

    2) Get those chillins’ to download Desmos first day. Get parents to download it first night. Show them around. Let them see a marble slide. I JUST learned that Desmos is a calculator. Yup. Hah! It can do 1458/15

    3) Cover them white spaces with a warm-up I call Uncommon Commonalities. Draw two concentric circles for your group of 4. dice them into 4ths. Write your name and something unique about you in one of the quadrants. In the center come up with something you all have in common–can’t be school-related or human related (we all have eyes, not acceptable.)

    4) OH Snap, the kids haven’t come yet!! Get them on Desmos. Make them do exit tickets for their kids to read (or guess whose parent wrote it), Ask them the same dang questions. Have them do their uncommon commalities.

    5) I like your analogy for testing. We allow one retake per semester and it must be preceded by a sit down with T after they think they have done all of the corrections correctly!

    6) Class rules are dicey without by in. Be a good human. Don’t interfere with anyone’s learning including your own? Read http://blog.mrwaddell.net/page/2
    Glenn has one good rule.

    7) Good luck and thanks for all the food for thought!

    • Wow, Amy, thanks a ton for all of your ideas! And thank you for reading through all my random writings. I wish I had seen your comment last night! What’s weird is that the back-to-school night is about a week before students come officially, and it’s more just “meet the teacher, shake their hands, leave” kinda thing. Way less formal than I was thinking ahead of time, but I like all of your ideas so I want to “chew on them” one by one.

      1) Like the post-it-note idea! I actually bought a pocket-organizer, and am in the process of doctoring it up for ticket outs, so I hope to post a picture of that soon. But love the prompts. Would certainly be good the first day if we can’t get to much math, which might happen since it looks like I’ll have <40 minutes per class.

      2) Haha, yeah, my students used to leave Desmos on their phone and go to Google to calculate something. I'd tell them "dude, the calculator is RIGHT THERE!" Unfortunately not all students have that technology, so I want to show Desmos once I've got a better grip on how they should be sharing, what the ratio of tech to kids is in the room, how I can get my hands on a chromebook cart, etc. But once I learn that, we're going!

      3) Cool idea! Reminds me of WODB.ca. I'll put that in the idea bank!

      4) Haha, yeah, would have actually liked to have more time with more parents, but again, very informal, very fast night. Maybe I can talk to principal about next year cause these ideas would have been great!

      5) Interesting idea of sitting down with T first. In my previous classes we did one quiz per week (sometimes more than one standard per quiz!) so they needed a bit more than one per semester. Guess it depends on number of assessments. I'm also worried about being overwhelmed with # of students, so I'm on the lookout for crowd control techniques, especially right before report cards, etc.

      6) Just clicked on the link and I thought I lost my whole reply from above. *whew* That's a really cool read from Glenn. I'll save it and read it before starting on my class expectations stuff. Thanks!

      7) Thank you, again, Amy, for all your thoughts and for spending the time here. I hope that your first day went well and I look forward to hearing about it!!

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