As is custom, we gathered for our evening review session a few days before our Regents. We had a lovely night and almost every student was available to attend. In prior years, I’ve tried really hard to coordinate a date, surveying and checking in and we’ve never really found the perfect date. This year, I had only one available evening so I ran with the one that worked for me and hoped it could work for the kids.
I recruited my husband for pizza and ice cream (two deliveries because we couldn’t risk melting) and came up with what I thought was a fun game for us. In prior years, we’ve gone over an exam students have done already, or we’ve taken an exam in real-time. This year I’m rolling two classes into one review session in a room without enough desks for us. Sure, I could have done what we usually do and even met in a different space, but I wanted to integrate something different into the evening. They would need some time to connect with kids they are not in class with, and the game would foster that.
The rules were simple. There were two giant piles of problems and an answer key. Students received 1 point for each correct problem as well as an opportunity to shoot a free throw outside to get a second point. For each fully correct page of 4-7 problems, they would get a 3-point shot opportunity. As I checked their answers, they would put stickers on the correct ones. We had “The Masks” for the roll of mask stickers I had and “The Irish” for the roll of St. Patrick’s Day stickers. The competition was fierce and the kids grouped into two teams of 11. We had an hour of feverish problem solving, followed by pizza and basketball. We had to change our rules – they had SO many points from math problems and we were light on basketballs so we made it 1 shot for every 4 points earned in math. After basketball (spoiler alert – we aren’t all that great at free throws and 3-pointers – I guess I should have done layups), we headed inside for more.
In the second half, the kids settled in and the pace slowed, but the math seemed more intense. I received more interest in what was missed and less frenzy to complete. Kids got more comfortable with their partners, and some lost steam. 2 hours is a long while on a Monday evening. We wrapped up with our ice cream bars outside. I made Scott pick up a lot of varieties so there was a bit of choice paralysis at the start. Kids hung out with their friends before scattering home by foot, car and, bike.
The 8th grade students all set goals for themselves for 2020 that are featured on one of our giant bulletin boards at school. Many of our students have set academic goals and a lot have set personal goals. Check out the picture to see your child’s goal? Don’t see one for your child? All students were invited to participate, but some struggled to decide on something to focus on. I am so proud of them for setting their sights high. Click on the picture to see a larger view. I listed off some of the goals below the picture. Continue reading “2020 Goals”→
I adore seeing the costumes kids come to school in on Halloween. We always spend just a few minutes snapping some pictures of each class. Our Halloween in math is limited to a Halloween activity that supports what we’re doing in class. After a brief lesson focus finishing up work from the day prior we moved into our Halloween part of the day.
In Algebra our focus was a graphing picture that reinforced domain and range; a topic that we’re discussing. A lot of different pieces of lines will ultimately come together to form a pumpkin face. That pumpkin face comes together with coloring based on the areas of the shapes formed. In Math 8 we used translations and reflections to draw a pumpkin face graph. Continue reading “Halloween 2019”→
I record all my fitness on Strava. Last week I noticed they had a contest – miles for pizza. The more you run the more free pizza you get from a pizza shop in the NYC area. Hmm … we haven’t been to NYC in awhile. Maybe we can plan a trip. Soon I had planned out a trip that would cost a fair amount of money to get my FREE pizza. No trip. No pizza. My common sense kicked in.
Still, Spirit week was coming up in our school. Some kids get really into it, but it is hard to get a critical mass of kids to really jump in with two feet. What about a little contest? I decided to offer the math class with the highest percentage of participation a sweet treat on the Monday after Spirit week ends. We had some great spirit in the 8th grade. I wasn’t so sure if my contest had anything to do with anything until kids started reminding me to count, take the picture and until one student said, “I’m only doing this for the contest.” Yup, that’s what I needed to hear.
Sometimes contests are important because life’s just more fun when you join in. We all need a nudge from time to time!!
It is official! Our 7th graders have all been interviewed. A group of students met with me every other Wednesday during lunch to share a little bit about themselves. We talked about their favorite things from 7th grade, shared some sports and hobbies and chose words to describe our personalities. Our time ends with enjoying a sweet treat before heading back for recess. These little write-ups have been on display in the 2nd floor hallway for the year. The first half of the grade was complete by the new year and the 2nd half of the grade just finished. Continue reading “7th Grade Interviews”→
The 7th graders showed some great Halloween spirit this year by dressing in some fabulous costumes. In Math 7 we enjoyed Halloween by playing spooky music as we worked and enjoying a game of Trasketball, courtesy of Carlos and his 5th grade teacher Ms. Kempski. Early in the year Carlos explained this game to me. “We do math problems and when we get them right we get to wad up the paper and try to get a basket by throwing them in a bin.” I went to his teacher and asked about it. She shared its name and told me to check it out online. I didn’t but went by Carlos’ description and her info and adapted it for the day. Here’s how we played.
I played Halloween music and had the kids roam the classroom. Whenever the music stopped they had to partner with the closest person. I did this a few times to let them get their energy out and enjoy the wandering time. Then, once partnered they created addition problems for integers. Partner A made a problem for partner B. Partner B solved it on their paper and Partner A checked it using the calculator (we’re learning both how to do these problems on paper and how to do them with a calculator so this activity worked on both). If partner B gets it right they get to take one of the extra papers from our Module 1 stuff (destined for recycling) and toss it into one of 3 basketball “hoops” wrapped in Halloween lights. There were one point toss points and 2 point toss points. Prizes for beating your partner: bragging rights! The kids had fun with it and I can see a lot of other opportunities to use a version of this. I did get a short video from period 9 which is probably why I forgot to take their picture!
In Pre-Algebra we had Nico’s mom, Nana come in to work with us while we did an activity about income tax. The kids assumed Halloween jobs like “Dracula’s Dentist” and they calculated the income taxes that they’d be charged based on their salary. This was tricky work and started to lead us down a big conversation path. If only we had time for debate in math!! The kids had a good time with this and we appreciated Nana spending her morning with us. A bonus – she even dressed up!! This one day activity kicked off our unit on percents and percent equations.
I forgot to take a picture in period 9. I was SO bummed!! Here are pictures of the rest of the kids in costume.
Our year long project of interviewing all 7th graders is complete. Check out our pictures of our hallway! I enjoyed the opportunity to dine with small groups of kids and learn a bit more about everyone. These will be in the hallway on the 2nd floor until mid-June if you would like to see them in person! Continue reading “7th Grade Interviews Complete (2018)”→
We had our 2nd school spirit week right before our holiday break. The first time the Student Council ran a spirit week, our team decided to host a party after school for the students who chose to dress up for at least 4 of the 5 days as a way to promote spirit with our 7th graders. The teachers kept track of kids dressed up, and students received an invitation to the party. We enjoyed cake, chips, cookies, cider and played games in the library at the first party.
For this spirit week we followed the same plan. The only difference? We’d be eating gingerbread house and all the other things. Every year my family makes a house and who better to eat it than the 7th graders? (This year it was a brownstone. Many kids were curious about how it was made, how long it took etc. Read about it here) Continue reading “School Spirit Party (2018)”→