one thing that happens in my classroom that makes it distinctly mine Explore #MTBoS week 1

Standard

Oops. Late to week 1 challenge.  But here goes.

  I didn’t really think I had anything, until I posted in FB and some former students replied…with things they thought made my classroom unique.

1. Different Word Please is my non-threatening way of redirecting student comments.  My standard is “shut-up” anything beyond this phrase will get you a “different word please.”  I began using this during my first years of teaching when it was common for several of my students to use profanity.  I simply explained I found it offensive and asked that they choose a DWP.  It grew into something more.  Now its for anything negative toward another person/classmate.  I want my students to realize the power our words can carry.  I want them to be aware of how what they say and how they say it can makes others feel. 

Side note: I have also been using @misscalcul8’s “Say 2 Nice Things” when a student says something negative about themselves or others.

2.  Cloud of Kindness was shared by a colleague in my first years of teaching.  I explain to students they may have an issue with a classmate but ‘the issue’ should be checked at the door when entering my classroom…there’s a Cloud of Kindness – we are all on the same team, working toward a common goal while in my classroom.  Sometimes, I have to wave that cloud over a student’s head if they are having a grumpy day.  It seems so ridiculous, their eye roll and snarl often ends up in laughter…it lightens the mood, if only for a moment.

3. Bob Garvey songs…check him out at MathMadness.  I cannot remember my first experiences with his songs, but I purchased my cassettes (yes, its been that long ago) and have several favorites I have used through the years. 

Adding fractions, draw a tee-pee…

X=-b plus or minus radical b^2 minus 4ac (clap clap clap clap) all over 2a

-b over 2a is the x-value of the vertex, now substitute this in your function, and you’ll find the y-value next…

Y=mx +b to the tune of ymca!

There are many others, but these are probably the ones I hear about most from students.

4. Don’t date until you’re 23.  Why? Because your brains aren’t fully developed until early 20s…(and it will save you a lot of heartache and drama). Ha.

I strive to make my classroom a safe place to learn.  I want students to know I genuinely care about them.  I love them. I claim them as mine, even years after they’ve gone.

As far as my teaching style, I prefer the hands-on, data collection, discovery/inquiry, let the students answer their own questions, do-my-best to give them an out-of-this-clasroom use of what we’re doing/learning.  But I suppose most classrooms are very similar in that way.  Aren’t they?

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5 responses »

  1. Most math classrooms are not similar to what you are describing. I often feel like I am swimming upstream around other math teachers. They want to just teach a few rules and let the students practice. I never see “inquiry” or “hands-on” lessons coming from them. It saddens me that students are not able to participate in this type of learning. When I went through the teacher prep program that I attended 5 years ago, all our mentor teachers were the type who told me to, “never smile until Christmas”. They did not focus on the things you mentioned. I have had to learn and try those things on my own.

  2. I agree–most math classrooms don’t look like that. I think I just assumed they must, especially because so many teachers at my previous school (where I had the least experience) did. When everyone started making such a huge deal about CCSS and how it would totally change how I teach because my classroom looks nothing at all like that, I was confused until I realized that many people’s classroom really does look nothing like that, and shifting from rules and rote practice to actual learning would be a huge change.

    I have the most seniority at my new school (this is our fourth year open, so we have a lot of inexperienced teachers), and I’ve really been trying to help push some of our new teachers to think of teaching in a much richer way.

  3. You know I’ve been following you for a while. I often wish I had a math teacher just like you when I was in high school.
    I only have 1 rule in my classroom, “We have to be nice to each other.” Everything else falls under that.

  4. Your classroom sounds great, it seems like a safe environment to learn and teach in! The cloud is so funny, I am sure it lightens the mood when you remind the students. Thanks for sharing what makes the classroom yours!

  5. I like the don’t date until your 23 one and I think I’ll start using Different Word Please – I normally pretend to mis-hear – ‘I’m sure you said sugar rather than anything else’.

    Inquiry based learning is awesome and I’m glad you’re on that one! In the UK, we’ve had years of big focus on making sure we had a Mathematically rich curriculum with problem solving central to it but our current administration seems bent on bringing us back to rote learning – sad times! Still, we fight the good fight.

    Thanks for sharing!

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