Breathe....Work. Sleep. Work More. Sleep Less. The start of any school year for me starts like this. Doesn't matter how many years you have been in the game (for me this is 17), the beginning of the school year always brings about its challenges. The sense of unknown surrounds everything. How much math will they know? Will they get this concept in one day? Can I really accomplish all that? How many parents will I be talking to? Another meeting?
Alongside all that, it's too easy to forget that what we can accomplish with a certain grade in May is way different than what we can accomplish with the new students of that grade level in September. This can lead to a very draining feeling. I mean, we do have to address that pencils are not to be sharpened while others are talking and practice daily that a circle of chairs can be created in under 30 seconds if we put our individual needs aside and look out for the team.
Isn't that exactly what September is about? Revisiting what it means to be on "our" team? Whether for the boys it's their new classmates in section A or B, and for us teachers to remember what it's like to put the mission, values, children and time of school before our own personal needs (don't know about you but the laundry didn't seem to pile up so much in July), transitioning back to the school year is hard on everyone.
But then their is the moment, just before the dust settles, that reminds you why you are here in the first place. And just before I settled in to math journal pages and preview and review problems, it was a bunch of 12/13 year olds that reminded me that this year is going to be one helk of a ride.
GLOBAL MATH LESSON ON HISTOGRAMS
How far can I take the 7th graders? Well I wasn't sure. So I took a lesson on histograms "global" to see what kind of output I would get. Using this link on the 20 poorest countries (I loved it because of the pictures), I asked the boys to find a way to create a histogram with the material that had a minimum of 4 ranges. The boys spent the first 10 minutes just trying to get their heads around the data, which is why instead of traditional "math" homework I had them take a deeper look at the page and I simply asked the following:
Take a look at the data link from today and point out 3 things that really pop out at you or that you learned and didn't know. Write a full sentence for each of them. Please try not to repeat unless you are adding insight.
Please read the edmodo refections. You will be as ready to go global in math class with these boys as I am.
Breathe. I have a feeling it's gonna be a good one, my friends. I guess I will sleep sometime in June:)