I got up this morning with trepidation because my son was sick with the stomach bug a day ago and it seems to have spread through every other family quickly. I’m just waiting to get sick.
I head off to school a bit later than usual. At the inservice yesterday I heard about blended learning with stations, so I wanted to try it. That mean getting lots of different resources together in a short amount of time.
Students start streaming in and I have stations ready for ELT (like a bonus period — 5th period today) but none else. Fortunately I have planing 1st and 2nd period, but 2nd period is CFIP (meeting where we show we’re growing as teachers) so I really only have 1st period planning.
During ELT time the counselor comes in and lets me know that a student left our school suddenly. I’m sad to see him go even though he’s currently my most difficult student to reach. My feelings are mixed and I’m able to convey sorrow to the counselor with honesty despite a part of me thinking how much easier my day and my job became (upon reflection I’ve decided it’s only slightly easier).
10:20, 3rd period, Merit 8th Grade Math
Student rejoice at being asked to do the warm-up “in their head” (every other week this year they’ve had to write down the warm-ups). We do Estimation 180 every Wednesday and this week is estimating the length of Charlotte’s Web followed by To Kill a Mockingbird. Upon reflection, that’s a great opportunity to talk about the books a bit, but we’re too busy.
After the warm-up, I explain the stations: (1) Quiz Corrections, for students who didn’t do well on Friday’s quiz, (2) Watch some KA videos to review for Friday’s Test, and (3) work independently on the study guide.
I assign the students to stations randomly, except for the Quiz Corrections station.
After half of the class time passes, we rotated stations and instead of a “Quiz Correction” station, I had a “Go over the study guide” station.
11:10, 4th period, Honors 8th Grade Math
We’re nearly a month ahead of merit at this point so we’re doing geometry transformations. After a good presentation last week about STEM, I decided to have the students try their hand at some programming, which includes some transformations (mostly translation and rotation, but it also includes lengths and angle measurements, so I feel good about what I’m doing!)
Stations in this class include: (1) Working with Mr. Newman to learn about dilations, (2) Practicing Dilations (this station didn’t really happen because I didn’t find the materials by the time class started!), and (3) Programming through code.org.
In theory one third of the students were at each station. In reality, just over two thirds of the class did programming through code.org and one third worked with me.
12:00, 5th period, Algebra
The stations in this class were a continuation from the morning, so I worked with ~8 students to teach them completing the square within an equation, a third of the students did the Desmos Penny Circle activity and a third of the students practiced completing the square.
We rotated half-way through the class and few of the students who were ahead got to work on their HW in TenMarks.
I have opened up my classroom every day for students to come in and ask questions. I had 3 students in there and a discussion about politics opened up. I mostly ignored it because (1) I’m still unsure of what the boundary is with students and politics and (2) I had a lot of work to do in getting the students for 6th and 7th period placed into stations.
1:23, 6th period, Honors 8th Grade Math
Just as with 4th period, they enjoyed the programming as well, and the students did even better in the small group on dilations (I had explained it twice before, so I was getting better at explaining dilations).
2:13, 7th period, Merit 8th Grade Math
For some reason, nearly half the class needed to finish or take the quiz from Friday, so that became it’s own station. Unfortunately most of the students took the entire period to finish, and I still had behavior issues in the small group that was left over. To give an example, one student in particular was tardy, stepped outside of the class through the door that leads to outside the school, walked into the door that leads into another teacher’s classroom and walked into that teacher’s room as she was teaching, and also left class with 5 minutes left in the school day. Oh, and I email this student’s mother every day and last week was mostly positive reviews. Fortunately I was able to verbally redirect him every time, but that’s more verbal redirections than I care to give to a single student in a single day.
The end of the day school bell rings. I start the after school checklist:
- Put HW on remind.com
- Make sure I put in attendance (I didn’t all day…)
- Check to see if I have to give out any PBIS steps (discipline)
- Email student 1’s parents
- Email student 2’s parents
- Email student 3’s parents
- Email student 4’s parents
- Email student 5’s parents (yes, I do all 5 every day!)
- Plug in HW grades (none today because of the weekend)
- Enter tutoring list (this is for the ELT time)
- Take a picture of the notes and the agenda and put them on Google Classroom
- Make one good phone call home (I have to remind myself that I enjoy making these phone calls, and that parents enjoy hearing good things about their children)
- Collect the Ticket Outs (I didn’t do any today–I really should have because I’m trying to do blended learning!)
- Write up tomorrow’s Daily Agenda on the wall
This checklist takes me about an hour and a half, depending on how much cleaning up I have to do today.
I notice an reminder email to write this DITL blog post (I’ve forgotten the past 2 months entries!). I sit down for 30 minutes to type this up.
It’s now 5:00 and I need to do some more grades before I leave. I usually go home around 6:00 but I want to get home sooner today because a friend is coming over to visit with us after dinner and my wife’s parents return late tonight so I want to be home to help her clean up the house a little.
Successes from Today
I think the stations went well, and I especially liked teaching in small groups.
My positive phone call home was on a voicemail, but it was for a girl who worked really hard who’s hit or miss.
We also moved faster in Algebra than I had expected, so we can get deeper with some of the quadratic stuff, which is exciting.
Room for improvement for Today
I was unable to reach the one student in 7th period (sent an email home) and the students taking the quiz were talking way too much. I was tutoring with my back to a majority of the class and I was better during 3rd period about having my back to the wall so I could see everyone, so I just need to be more aware of that. I’m also exhausted by 7th period (and I empathize with all the students who are, too!), so maybe I just need to pace myself better throughout the day.