Sunday, December 27, 2009


At the close of this class I see the skills and knowledge that I have acquired and I am given renewed energy in revamping my classroom to support a more technologically saavy group of future citizens.

This course has opened my eyes to the versatility of technology. Students are capable of so much withing the forum of computers, more so than they would be utilizing traditional educational equipment such as textbooks and notepads. I have become very interested in the logistics involved with wikis and blogs and how they work in the classroom. I have seen from fellow teachers the advantages of recordings, group collaborating on the internet, and various other techniques of technology.

I believe the best way to acquire further knowledge is by experimenting with these skills we have learned about in our classes. I also believe that in order to stay current in this field of knowledge, we as teachers must constantly peruse new techniques and programs. This would be especially easy in the form of conferences and symposiums.

I hope to successfully incorporate a long-term blog system in my classroom (and possibly the school) to promote a positive learning envirnment where students may voice concerns, stressors, and constructive advice to one another under guided supervision. I also hope to incoporate a wiki to put our existing "math journals" on the internet which may also serve as a study guide. Both of these projects will take quite a bit of time to set up and edit via trial and error.

The blog will be quickest to incorporate and will involve the guidance counselor and administration. I will use my homeroom class as the jumping off point where I can develop rubrics, discuss responsiblities and etiquette, as well as judge the effectiveness of the assignments.

The wikis will need careful planning as is always required for a collaborative effort. These, too, will require rubrics, thoughtful dissection of duties, and example work.

Overall, the initial care and effort required for these projects will be outweighed by the potential for true interactive learning.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love Christmas, but there is something about Thanksgiving that is so much more. Its more family driven than gift-driven. I'm not one of those individuals that thinks that every holiday is consumer driven, but it does get hectic from time to time. I love Thanksgiving because its about contributing to a dinner with a dish, a conversation topic, a laugh, just your personality at the table, its all a great celebration of appreciating those people who are real and true around you.

Even though Thanksgiving was smaller this year, it helped to appreciate those people who were missing. I missed the Wickersham side of Kate's family, mainly because they are so different from us, and the combination keeps Thanksgiving...spicy. I missed my MD family...I miss my MD family a lot. If I could be in two places at once I definitely would. I'm still working on that teleportation thing :)

Happy Thanksgiving to the Family I have and the Family I adopted in to my life, you are stuck with me now HAHAHA! I hope everyone had a wonderful, thoughtful, and thankful weekend. I did.

Photo: My family is the best family! Mia and her Puppa.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Partnership for the 21st Century Skills"

Analyzing the following website proved troublesome:

You can tell right away that this website is designed by someone in the business world. It kind of made me laugh, actually. For teachers, websites need to have neon signs, blinking graphics, or video to get any attention to to the lack of time we can contribute to research during the day. My first thought was "This website is definitely designed for someone sitting at their desks in a quiet room typing emails."

This being said, the idea behind this program is very exciting. I'm not sure exactly how much collaboration is happening between business personnel and teachers. I don't see a list of contributors, but why haven't we thought of this before? We have Vo-Tech schools that connect vocations to schools, why not connect all schools to the work world?

My worry is that, as with many educational policies, this technology push will begin with little input from a large, diverse portion of teachers. We know more than any other groups of professionals the diverse population we will be dealing with and what accommodations/restrictions need to be put in place with such a policy. What do we expect of students who have limited English Proficiency? What about students with IEPs (Gifted and Special Education)?

I am glad that PA is not taking on this initiative just yet. It shows good judgement to wait and see what the underlying objectives are (which does exist when talking about combining business with education).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Diary of a Math Genius

I wanted to show everyone how well my students are working in their "Math Diaries" that we recieved from Check out some of these wonderful samples!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Sorry to all who commented on my posts. All were very important and thoughtful. I was trying to figure out a way to use blogs and also regulate what comments could be posted. As you can see, I was playing with the monitoring items on this blog site. (Thinking ahead to when I try it in the classroom!) SO, I just figured out how to accept your comments just now. In the future I will be more prompt in accepting your comments.

Thanks for giving me the learning curve!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Using Blogs in the Classroom

I actually want to incorporate blogs in my classroom due to the fact that it will encourage reading and reviewing of peer work. I find in my school, students often write things without rereading to make sure it makes sense. I wonder if having it posted to the internet would encourage the students to make sure their words are understood.

As a math teacher, I would love to incorporate blogs as a ticket out, or as a reflective homework assignment. We are always encouraging students to write out their thoughts even in such a number-based subject area. I think this will help students' connect the skills we learn to our school's themes each semester. Currently our school is focusing on "Global Awareness." What better way to understand this concept than to have them on the "world wide web" experiencing people around them and diverse and divergent thinking.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Conflicting Messages

We have had an inservice because of the Election today. One of the things that prompted a heated discussion is the importance of in depth learning versus the scope and sequence and making sure we were on time with the topics discussed. Whether or not we are aware of it, there does seem to be a conflicting message here. As teachers, at least in our school system, there seems to be chasm between what we actually are accomplishing and what we are told we must do. I myself have had quite a few struggles with what is relavent to the students and what I MUST teach and when I must teach it. I have been spending extra time making sure students understand a certain topic and due to that I have lost speed on my scope and sequence. I am now a month behind with certain classes. Does this mean I am failing at my job, or succeeding?

Monday, October 26, 2009

I recieved my materials from! I didn't think we'd be able to raise enough money, but now I get to use the composition books they sent to make the "Diary of a Math Genius" notebooks I've been thinking up. I hope I'll be able to post pictures of them soon. I'm hoping these notebooks will help especially my ELL students where visual is SO important. Thanks! And thanks to everyone for donating money to the cause!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

BING! The lightbulb effect!

I have been agonizing over a particular class I have been having trouble getting to retain the mathwork I have been teaching. I even spent almost a week trying to get these kids to learn how to measure in inches (down to the sixteenth of an inch, ugh!). Today we were learning about frequency tables and after the THIRD explanation and example I did (I do try!) I finally had the moment. One of my students was staring at his paper hoping it would talk to him and....HAHA I GET IT! He shouted out. It was the greatest interruption a teacher could have. Finally a break through. It may be one kid...but that's one difference I made.

Now to get thirty more lightbulbs to go off!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

I wanted to focus on the 5 Rs and T that Dr. Garcia spoke on in our DVD collection.

Five Rs:


As far as the respect feature of Dr. Garcia's speech I begin to realize more and more how delicate this portion of education is. The high expectations everyone talk about need to be very clear. I feel that sometimes educators (including myself) need to watch that we aren't looking for these or any students to NOT FAIL, but rather to have them SUCCEED. There is such a small difference, but the difference projected onto these students is huge. We often in our school not only talk about expectation, but making it measurable. I think this is an excellent way to make sure we don't underestimate students.

And of course, being reasonable is always hard when you are in a classroom with so many students. Being reasonable takes a lot more thought than we recognize. In the moment when teachers are not sure what is going to be the best thing for an ELL student being reasonable is very difficult. I think this is one of the hardest pieces to accomplish consistently.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


As I am looking at the CREDE standards, one of them does seem to stick out as one that has become very difficult for me as a math teacher. It is hard to incorporate literacy practice within my classroom consistently. Aside from having students read and interpret the direction for their work in their books and on tests, there is not a whole lot of reading going on! I feel that if I were to have students participate more in word problems and interpreting their meaning this might be more helpful. A lot of times these problems are at frustration level for the students. I will have to keep in mind that I should create simpler problems of my own that relate more to them. This of course becomes difficult from time to time with the added time it takes to "recreate the wheel" each year to make more culturally responsive problems. I feel due to the fast paced level in which our world changes, sometimes these simple techniques can become daunting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Techniques for CREDE standards

I was looking at our textbook, 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners today (at lunch) for anything I already use that I thought had been effective. I first noticed Chapter 2 where it gets into Visual Scaffolding. I immediately had to laugh. I remember last year when we were getting into angles (acute, obtuse, and right angles) how ridiculous we all looked in my class playing "simon says." Since academic language is something that the students sometimes don't have words for in their own native language this was a fun way to get some association without using Spanish words in my class. The kids loved it and it also goes along with the CREDE standards, especially number one: Teachers and Students working together and number two: developing literacy across the curriculum. Academic language is such an imperative part of getting these students to move from proximal development to independence.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This week we have been looking into the CREDE Standards (a research and development project). The following are the 5 standards that teachers should strive to accomplish in their lesson planning and lessons for students who are English Language Learners (ELL):

1. Teachers and students should be working together (discussion foster's learning!)
2. Teachers should develop literacy practice across the curriculum.
3. Academics should connect to students' lives.
4. Teachers should engage students with challenging lessons.
5. Lessons should emphasize DIALOGUE : ) over LECTURE : (

Remember we are using these strategies to get these English Language Learners from "Total Assistance" to "Proximal Development" to independence.

Thank you Dr. Roland Tharp for these clean guidelines to focus instruction for this budding group of students in our society!