Monthly Archives: June 2015

Crab Rangoon Flatbread #nonmath


Update:  I used this recipe for the crust.  It made about 12 and we topped 8 with recipe below.  Naan/flat bread

I’m a fan of crab rangoons.

This spring while at KCM Conference, we had lunch at Saul Goods.  I ordered Crab Rangoon Flatbread. Yummo.   It hit the spot.  I craved it for weeks until I could make it back to Lexington and get another.

And then I thought…I could make this!  I searched Pinterest and found this link.  I made it a couple of times and this is my version:

1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 can crab meet, drained
3 green onions minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Sprinkle of ginger
2-4 flatbreads, I used store bought.
Italian blend shredded cheese
Sweet Chili Sauce
Several sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
Won ton wrappers

Preheat oven 400°.  Mix first 5 ingredients. Generously spread onto flatbread. Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
Remove from oven.
Place won tons in oven along side flatbread – careful not to burn. When golden remove from oven.  Cool and crumble.

Sprinkle flatbread with chili sauce, cilantro, crumbled won tons.
Cut into slices. Serve warm.


This pic was my second attempt. My wontons got a little brown but still a great little dish!

If you’re out of wontons, my daughter was crumbling white cheddar Gold Fish crackers on hers this evening!


Flip Chart Review


This review tool from Math Teacher Mambo


and this formative assessment/student engagement reminder tool form Stat Teacher


inspired a chat with @druinok & @gwaddellnvhs during spring semester and led to this flip chart review for AP Statistics.


Ours started at bottom right corner and worked up, then over to bottom of left hand side.  That seems weird to me now, but I think my initial idea was to build the flipchart as we go along, adding cards after each completed unit.

We ended up creating ours late in spring, just weeks prior to AP Exam.  We will create them in one setting, then go back and add information as we complete units.

This was a tool several of my students stated was beneficial to them.  A couple even went on to say, they closed their eyes to visual the flip chart on the exam – which helped ensure all steps on a test or specific details on a response.  They only wished we had created them earlier.

Start with cardstock folded in half.  Wow. That’s exciting.


We attached 26-28 index cards.  Tape first card at bottom.


Next card is placed up just enough to leave space for Chapter & Title.  If using lined cards, you can turn upside down and used top line to add Chapter & Title.


If using pens, make sure ink  won’t bleed through.

The idea is not to include every single detail – but quick reminders, mnemonics, anything they struggled with on the assessment.  I encouraged them to spend 10 minutes each day leading up to the exam.

I also like how Math Teacher Mambo created a flipped video for students to know important things to include.

If I get them started earlier, I will encourage them to spend 10 minutes reading through 3 or 4 times per week.

This envelope attached to inside of INB back cover is perfect for storing the Review Flip Chart.


Scrap Paper Pocket INB


I am one of “those” who prefer to keep students on same page of INB.  If you’re not, that’s great, too.

Anyway, the question arose how do you keep everyone on the same page?  Some students take up more space to answer questions or write larger than others.

I teach them how to do extension pages (thanks Megan!) -you can read more here.

You could also begin each unit with a 2 page pocket-directions and post here.


But last spring, we created quick pockets out of scrap paper.  

1.  Start with scrap paper, slightly smaller than width of page and twice as tall as you want your pocket.


2.  Fold it in half, tape down top/back.


3. Tape each side to INB.


4.  Fold work in half and insert into pocket.


5.  Thanks to @druinok, I used her outline & layout with Chapter Essential Questions, vocabulary, Learning Targets and suggested practice all on a half sheet.  I then taped it to top of page so I can quickly flip up to access work stored in pocket.


As always, this may or a not be of help to you, but just another tool available.

Reflecting on the Year #junechallenge 3


wordle 2

As I begin to read through responses to class/teacher evaluation for Algebra 2, most are encouraging.

So much of distress I felt this year was due to outside circumstances – as much as it was within my reach, I tried to keep my classroom going.  But it was difficult and draining at times.

How can I continue to offer a classroom that’s inviting, open-to ideas and encourages students to work through challenging tasks?

1.  There must be a relationship established – I feel it takes several weeks, even months to establish this.  Students must trust that you are there for them.  You must reassure them they matter.  Your actions must confirm your words.

I think of a couple of students in particular this year who pushed back – often in the beginning of the year.  I continually had to remind them they were valued and help them see they were learning.  One in particular lashed out during class and refused to participate in a task they felt was not helpful.  The other refused to work in a group of students because that wasn’t “how she learned math.”

In the end, they both experienced success.  Maybe not at the level the state deems readiness, but such big strides moving their thinking forward and growing their confidence.  Each will experience success in life because they are hard workers and they have seen that failing at a difficult task does not define them as a person, but their response to that failure is what builds them.  It was rewarding to watch them pick up, look for ways to improve and after some more effort, smile at the final result, realizing how far they had traveled as a learner.

Taking time to listen to my learners and their ideas – allow them to know I value their thinking.  I need to consider this while building learning tasks and make sure to allow for time to do this.

2.  There must be variety – routines are important but continuing the exact routines all year long becomes mundane and boring.  For example, I like students having a task to begin class – but I also know that changing some of these up every few weeks keeps their interest peaked a bit.  I’m not sure I will have every single thing listed here, but some of my favorites:

Estimation 180, Counting Circles, Visual Patterns, Would You Rather?, Krypto, Math Dice, Flashbacks, Time-Distance Graphs, StatRat from USAtoday.

We were supposed to implement Leader in Me this past year.  Again, one of those things that could have a huge impact, yet, if no follow through, it sizzles out.  Which makes me sad.  One quarter, I used Make a Difference Monday.  I copied articles from What Do You Stand for? (Barbara Lewis) – students read, then on a post-it would respond briefly to a prompt I had on the board pertaining to the article, but relating back to their life / choices.

Test-Prep Tuesday was essentially flashbacks to pre-algebra and geometric concepts – intended to help students study for upcoming ACT.

Fast-Five Friday was a flashback of big ideas from the previous week.

Some ideas I want to add for next year:

Graphical Data is presented, but students create the questions.  Understanding data displays is so important – so I hope to build a file of examples to use here.  Now I need a cool, catchy name for this structure.

Function Junction – using the NAGS format, I will give students one of the models, they must fill-in / create the other 3.  Possibly even use a railroad/train format in graphics that connect each model: Numerical/table of values, Algebraic / Equation, Graphical, Sentence / Context description.

Literacy and Vocabulary strategies are important to me.  I feel several of my students struggle with reading and comprehension, so I am hoping to build a structure to help them link new terms to prior knowledge.

3.  Communication with home is vital, yet I continue to fail at doing a good job.  I start with good intentions.  Do parents even know who I am?  Do they know my views on education?  Do they feel I am approachable?  Again, it will be a goal to make positive strides to utilize home as a resource and support.

Summer Reads #Summerlist #junechallenge 2


I totally believe if we wish to instill a love for reading and learning in our students, we must be a model for it.  In class, I often share connections “I read…” – and students pay attention.  Once a group asked how much I actually read – that I was constantly referring to a book, an article or research in our discussions.

I want to sequence / plan lessons effectively – help students develop soft skills that lead to learning and individual growth.  Some of this can be modeled, but some will need to be incorporated into daily routines.

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I wish I could be an effective leader in my department.  Hoping to gather some ideas for our PLC from Tim Kanold’s book.

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Previously read Jo & Steve’s work but revisiting – to reinforce foundational ideas.  I was intrigued by things Pam Weber Harris shared at KCM this spring and look forward to incorporating some ideas into classes as opportunities to let students develop their numeracy.

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A colleague shared how much she enjoyed What if?

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And one of these 2 books just to have some references / ideas to share in AP Statistics next year:

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My colleague made fun of me one morning – talking about my reading choices for summer – how I bring my “math books” to the pool.  If I wait until the school year begins, I may not have time to focus on professional reading.  Don’t worry, professional reading is not my exhaustive list…I begin each day with a devotional-driven book and end each day with simply non-thinking fiction.  I feel its imperative to keep my brain moving with different styles of literature.

Frustration with Class Attendance #junechallenge 1


I have had so many thoughts running through my mind the past 2 weeks – wanting to put them down, yet trying to get through the final days of school.

I struggle with Algebra 2.  It is frustrating to me – SOOOOO much stuff jammed into one course.  I feel there is simply not enough time to really develop true understanding of many concepts.  I try to pick big ideas – focus on enduring skills –  from our curriculum that best suits our students in Room 123 and search for strategies that will best meet their needs, helping to move them forward.

As I look at these students at the beginning of the school year, three are meeting college readiness.  Several fall within the 10-15 ACT score range and majority in the 15-20 range.  Majority are down on math, do not enjoy it and feel there is “only one way to get THE right answer.”

I recall one particular day in class – a student stating, if you don’t get what the teacher said, they move on without you and you’re stuck, set up to fail.

Our goal: to make it accessible, less painful, allow students room to think on their own, discuss their claims / strategies, test one another’s suggestions and move their thinking forward.




A look at 3 years of EOC results shows improving results.  Is it enough?  Not sure, I’ll need to look at our district projections.

The 4th year is hypothetical – 20% of  students missed the next achievement level by 1 question.  1 question.  This is frustrating to have several that close to moving up another step, yet barely miss the mark.  Yet, we’ll celebrate their growth anyway!

I am concerned about this though because I experienced a high level of frustration the last quarter of school.  Added to weeks of snow days, no spring break to make up some time, it seemed our class attendance was the worst in recent years.  In the last 9 weeks prior to EOC testing, there were 33 days instructional time was interrupted – either by scheduling presentations, other state testing, benchmark testing, college visits, competitions, field trips, field trips.  The day prior to EOC testing, there were eight students on a reward trip.

Don’t get me wrong – student life and involvement is imperative – some of these activities are the only reason a few students even make an effort to be at school.  I would never want to take away these opportunities – they deserve the best.  However, I feel that our instructional time is valid, important and needs to be protected in a sense.

I am not a worksheet kind of person.  So much of what we do in Room 123 is hands-on, small groups and class discussions.  Its impossible to capture those same learning experiences when you’re not there. Trying to continue in-depth discussions and learning tasks was merely impossible.   There was no continuity with 7 students out one day and 6 out the next with a different 8 students out on a third day.    I failed because I gave up.

What if I had kept pushing through?  Maybe those  students would have reached their next level.

I’m not trying to whine – I’m looking for strategies – how others handle these same frustrations.  This summer, I intend to find or outline a resource, update an old class blog – something to provide for those students who are absent for whatever reason.  I’ve tried Edmodo (its okay), Class blog (very few students utilized it).  What about evernote?  One Drive notebooks?

So, how do you handle it when a students asks “What did we do?  What did I miss yesterday?”  How do you fill-in  for in class learning tasks for your absent students?