Saturday, October 25, 2014

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

This week was Spirit Week at Clover Middle! To say the least...Team 8<3 was on it!
I sent a reminder to my kiddos throughout the weekend to remind them of the upcoming Spirit Days and encouraged them all to participate. Needless to say...we did :) Here's a little recap of our week:

Monday was Camo Day. This day correlated with doing "acts of kindness" secretively. It was great for this city girl. Yes, I had to borrow a camo shirt from my sister-in-law; this girl owns no camo. It was great seeing all my kiddos dressed in disguise! 

Tuesday was Tie-Day Day. This day correlated to spreading Peace throughout the school. It's been awhile since I've worn Tie-Day, so yes, I ended up purchasing a special shirt for the day! Team 8<3 was definitely colorful for the day! 

Wednesday was Unity Day where all students wore blue. This was important because blue represented standing up and against bullying in school. Therefore, we were all united together against bullying.

Finally, Thursday (our last day of the week) was College Day. This day correlated with students setting goals for themselves, and encouraging each other to reach those goals. 
Overall it was a week filled with Spirit! Team 8<3 showed a great representation overall and really participated! We could not have been more proud of our little team :)

As far as Math goes, we did a lot of review in preparation for our two tests on Thursday (10.23). Both Pre-Algebra and Algebra had tests on patterns and sequences, and lines of best fit respectively. So, I'm excited to share what we have coming up in the next few weeks as we begin our new chapters. 
Until next time... :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

End of Quarter Check In

Can you believe it's already close to the end of the 1st nine weeks? I mean seriously?! We have been in school for almost a full quarter already! My kiddos got their interim report about two weeks ago now, and my grades are due for report cards in only about two weeks! This is absolutely crazy!

So, needless to say, I thought it was about time for a check-in on what we've been up to. This is my first year teaching only one subject, and I have to say, it's fabulous! My schedule begins with planning until about ten in the morning. Then I have an Algebra and PreAlgebra class for an hour each, before lunch, followed by my Academy class, and ending the day with another PreAlgebra and Algebra class again for an hour a piece. My days fly by! I mean it's October for goodness sake!

Currently in Algebra we have moved into our actual Algebra curriculum. No more review for these kiddos! We have done the overview of function families; everything from linear, quadratic, exponential, and absolute value functions, and are now moving into really analyzing and understanding linear functions. To begin the overall unit, we started our lessons by reviewing scatter plots and what it takes to make a scatter plot. One of my colleagues, Allison Stanford, who recently moved back to the Clover area from a brief year in Mississippi, shared her idea for reviewing scatterplots. Students each get a shoe to color and decorate as their representation on a classroom graph. I gave students their shoe template on a Friday after they finished their last review test. Over the weekend students were to color and decorate their shoe, find out their shoe size, and their height. All students were told to measure their shoe size in men's sizes, and get their heights in inches.

The graph after students established the independent and dependent quantities.
On Monday students came in, and in their groups, created a quick sketch of a scatterplot to represent their small group of three or four. Students had to decide the independent and dependent variable, their quantities, and then plot themselves, as dots, on their sketch. After all groups had sketched their group graph, we began plotting the points on a larger classroom graph that I had created on the wall before beginning class.
Students plotting their shoes on the classroom sized graph.
After the graph was complete, and all students had plotted their shoes, we analyzed the graph in terms of it's characteristics. We reviewed the terms surrounding graphs such as independent and dependent variables (and why they were those quantities), outliers, increasing or decreasing trends, and associations. This lesson then lead into the discussion of lines of best fit to represent the data. This was a great lesson to use to get students thinking about, if we were to draw a line through the shoe plots, how would we represent all the data that was presented. Students really understood how to analyze lines of best fit as we began writing the equations for the lines later in the week!

The final graph after 3rd period plotted their points. 

For my PreAlgebra crew we are beginning our lessons into functions as well. However, instead of beginning with scatterplots and lines of best fit, we begin our overall unit with sequences and patterns. The idea is to relate functions as ongoing patterns and that sequences will fit into the equations that we can write for linear functions. Students were also seated in groups to begin, and were given two sequences from our Carnegie text. Students were given manipulatives that they could work with to demonstrate and continue the given sequence. Sequences ranged from building toothpick houses, to building block stairs, beaded necklaces, and penny pyramids. After students created their sequence using their manipulatives, they could then answer the questions in their text about the term numbers, patterns, and overlying question.
Students working together, with their manipulatives and iPads to determine their sequences.

After students finished their sequences, they took pictures and uploaded their patterns to our My Big Campus group in order to present their findings to their classmates. Students really enjoyed being able to work with their hands, create their sequences using manipulatives, and then present their unique versions of sequences to their peers.

We have had a great, wonderful, fantastic, amazing start to the year and I could not be more impressed with how hard my students are working. They are doing a great job! They come into class everyday ready to learn, enjoy math, and learn new skills. We are off to a great start and I can't wait to see, and share, what our year has in store! Until next time... :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Three Day Wrap Up

The first three days of school are over...and they were FANTASTIC. I want to take a quick moment (yes, and a quick blog) to brag about my wonderful kiddos for a minute. I can honestly say that Team 8<3 has the absolute, most sweetest kids. I haven't heard so many "yes ma'am," "no, ma'am," "please and thank yous" in a really long time. I have many helpers within every class. I think I've had a total of two-to-three students ask if they can help me with anything within every class. I am so impressed with their polite-ness and well-mannered behavior. I am looking forward to a great year with the amazing students.

Ok, now to share some of the fun things we got to do this week, in three days, around all the rules and procedures that my kiddos were bombarded with. I stole this super cute idea for Identity Grids to use within my Academy class. You can find a picture of my boy-heavy Academy class here...and not to mention my only girl left me for our EBN (Eagle Broadcating Network). So, I am in a room with 9 boys everyday for an hour. I have to say, they keep me on my toes and definitely keep the laughing going. They absolutely loved this Identity Grid and really put their best into their grids. They came out wonderfully and I can't wait to hang them throughout the room and hallways.

I even joined in on the fun and made myself an Identity Grid.

I also forgot to make a special post about the great group of girls that I got to hang out with the couple of days before school workdays started. My old students (from 6th grade at Cramerton Middle School) and my old athletes (from basketball and softball) let me know that they were playing volleyball near me. So, of course, since school hadn't started yet, I had to go see them. They made me so proud and I felt like a proud, little, momma bear watching them. They are a wonderful group of girls who I could not be more proud of. I look forward to watching them work their way through high school, both in the classroom and on the athletic fields.

With the first three days down, I am recharging my batteries this weekend and getting to spend some time with my parents (who are in town from Stafford, VA). We have a Charlotte Knights game planned and it should be a great time. But I can honestly say that I am super excited about getting back to my kiddos on Monday and getting this year rolling. Until next time... :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

End of Summer...Beginning of Greatness!

It's that time of the year again. It's time to get back into the swing of things in terms of the school year. My school year got back into the swing this past Wednesday; a week ago. We've been back at Clover Middle for a whole week now! We got a start with some "pump-up" meetings to get teachers excited to be back in school with the students we love. I walked into the building super excited about being back at the job that I absolutely love and enjoy going to everyday, and the videos helped all the teachers get on that same level :)

We were able to introduce and recognize our 20...yes, that's right...20 newbies within the school. We have new teachers everywhere! Every position from sixth grade to eighth, special education to athletic director, cafeteria manager to technology assistant! We spent the beginning of our meetings welcoming our newbies and giving them goody bags of Clover awesomeness. I am excited to get to know everyone and learn their fabulous skills and talents. I know they all will have so much to offer our staff, and most importantly, students.

After meeting our newbies, we headed over as a school to our district convocation. This was a fabulous performance! Convocation began by giving teachers, as they entered, a program and a three-in-one tool. This was a glow-stick/flashlight/pen. In a teacher mind...can you say fabulous? Everyone loved it! As teachers got settled into their seats for the convocation, the Clover High School Band and dance team did an amazing performance. They sounded great! They played about four songs, one of which was of course the Clover High School fight song. It was a wonderful experience to get up as a district and sing along.  
**Go Eagles!**

Following the band and dance performance, the Clover School District Teacher of the Year was recognized. It was wonderful to recognize a fabulous teacher within the district and award her talents. After hearing all the wonderful things that were accomplished as a district during the 2013-2014 school year, we were reintroduced to two Clover School District alumni who came to join us as we start our year. We met Ashley Bridges, who is doing wonderful work and making the district proud through her career at ABC. Her speech was wonderful and really hit home with a lot of the staff members I work with who also grew up through the district. She really seemed to relate with many of my colleagues. It was definitely a nice family atmosphere that was created.

To end convocation we were able to hear the chorus groups from Clover Middle and Oakridge Middle come together. They sang "We are the World" and even encouraged us to use our glow-sticks that we received walking into the auditorium. It was a great experience and the students did a wonderful job. 

After an Italian lunch provided by the district, we ended our first workday (already a week ago!) with a faculty meeting to make sure everyone was on the same page beginning our school year. Our next two workdays (last Thursday and Friday) were covered in meetings revolving TEAM procedures, Math curriculum, team planning, and technology implementation. These workdays flew by to say the least! 

Monday and Tuesday, of this week, were both regular workdays that teachers were able to work in their classroom and prepare for the kiddos that arrived today (Wednesday). Monday night we had our open house and got to welcome students, and parents, into our rooms for the first time. I made some small changes to my room this year in preparation for only teaching one subject (Math: Pre-Algebra and Algebra). I began by enhancing my reading corner. Needless to say....all I'm missing is the sand for my beach space ;) My newly updated bulletin board will continue to look at data of test scores as we make our way throughout the school year. I plan on graphing class averages as we take tests in hopes of understanding how classes are doing, not only in the material, but also against other classes in hopes that they are all reaching the same level. 

Open house and the workdays were great. However, I was super excited when I actually got to see my kiddos today! Our first day of FABULOUS! I could not be more excited about the wonderful group of students we have on Team 8<3 this year. We are definitely a team with heart! Our kids were super sweet today, very helpful, eager to learn, and looking forward to a great year. Of course today was simply "Hi, my name is..." and "This year we will..." But it was a great one! We even got a little Jenga action in today during Academy class. We used this PDF as a way to get to know each other and play a fun relaxing game. It was the tallest tower I've seen in awhile. It was 27 levels high! The kids did awesome with it and really enjoyed it. It was a great day (have I said this enough?) and I can not wait to see what these wonderful kiddos are capable of this year. Until next time.... :)


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Full-Time Math-Time

I can not believe the summer is quickly...maybe a little too quickly...coming to an end. It's the end of July (beginning of August) and I am currently getting back into the swing of things. Starting to get new ideas flowing, plans in the work for this upcoming year, and of course a full week of Math collaboration! #WhoopWhoop The middle school Math teachers got together this week at the District Office to collaborate, plan, and overall just do some work.

We started the week thinking about what our students did wonderfully-awesome on this school year, what we felt we, as teachers, had to revisit multiple times throughout the year, or even what the students would need revisited in their next course, and finally what was in our text that we did not cover...or new pieces of our curriculum that we have to implement this upcoming year. This sparked great conversation between the grade levels. We saw multiple ideas and topics that were needing to be "revisited" across the board. We also discovered that what students may not have understood or struggled with in sixth grade...the students eventually got it by the end of eighth grade. That was super exciting for all grade levels :)

To end day one, we got some time to think about our own curriculum and pacing in each grade level. As an eighth grade team we focused on Algebra first. We actually got to use the time and tackle our entire pacing guide for the 2014-2015 school year. We basically rocked it! Not to mention we were able to work through the curriculum faster this upcoming year then we did this previous year. Yay for being able to review more at the end of the year before those dreaded state tests. ;)


To work through day two and three we worked on understanding more of our Mathia component that correlates to our textbook in the classroom. We, as an eighth grade Clover math team, got to use Mathia this past year during our Academy time. We were able to take our students once a week to the computer lab and give them approximately forty minutes to work through the program. For our explore time during day two we were able to further look into Mathia, create our own custom module (with the help of our fabulous Carnegie supporter Megan Friedlander...she's basically the best thing ever), and even get our classrooms set up and ready to go. We also got to talk to Mr. Courtwright (our principal) about getting to take our kids this year to the lab twice a week; yay double time :)

To finish our fourth day at our Math planning we were able to focus on our Pre-Algebra pacing guide, using our Carnegie textbooks, and looking into where our Mathia personalized curriculum and method would fit in. It was fabulous to get the opportunity to work for four straight days of total "math-driven" discussions! I loved it to say the least :) I am so looking forward to using the information, pacing, and unique-ness that we discovered and talked about within the upcoming school year. It's early August and I have to say I am looking forward to this school year. Zack, my hubby, and I are off to Washington, D.C. to visit my parents this week.  Then it's back to school for this girl! It has been a great summer just enjoying our time together and not having anything to worry about. I have to say that I am excited to see my parents this week, but I am also excited to see my kiddos for the next school year.We are going to go enjoy our last week of summer vacation and then it's time to beast this upcoming school year! Let's do this 2014-2015 :)

Until next time.... :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

MBC : Summer Learning!

Well it's official...It's SUMMERTIME!! Whoop Whoop!!

And for the first time in 5 years of teaching...and 5 years of being with my teacher husband... We have absolutely NOTHING to do! Neither of us is working on a Masters Degree, no wedding to plan, no extra programs being taken through school...NOTHING. This is going to be interesting :)

To start the summer, my wonderful hubby, Zack, was still in North Carolina finishing up their school year. (They got out on the 10th..followed by three workdays). Needless to say...I needed to find something to keep myself busy while being home alone. The great thing is Clover School District is offering a wide-range of courses and classes to help prepare teachers for the upcoming 1-to-1 iPad program that is being rolled out next school year. Sooo I found a class that I was super interested in and enrolled in it before Zack started his summer vacation also.

Clover is also encouraging teachers and students to use the My Big Campus platform as a means of communication and work submission throughout the upcoming school year. I enrolled for the "Basics" course. I have had a little interaction with the site...but never really gotten the chance to use it as a main source within my classroom. So, bright and early on my Summer day...I went to the high school and got myself ready for an exciting learning session...

To begin the session we went over all the wonderfull-ness that we were going to cover throughout our session. Needless to say it was ALOT! I was beyond excited. Having never really worked with the platform, I was really excited to see all of the different things that it was capable of. We started with a little tour of the actual website and program before learning how to make our own personalized profiles; Check Mine Out! Now, through my Math group and curriculum leader, Christie Reid, I had already taken care of this step and felt pretty comfortable!

After getting our profiles covered, we moved into understanding the various perks of My Big Campus. We looked into EduTalk (basically a Twitter on just My Big Campus), We looked at the Drive (basically a Google Drive on My Big Campus where you can hold documents, pictures, videos, etc.), We looked at the Calendar (and how you can share it with groups, attach activities, etc.), and We looked at the Library (where other teachers, educators, school-fanatics can put bundles together of lessons, activities, videos, and other wonderful goodness!).

Lastly for our morning session we looked into how to create Groups. This is where I went a little crazy. I have MAJOR ideas for using this platform within my classroom this year...Especially in the 1-to-1 iPad greatness! I made a few...understatement...groups. Teaching only Math next year (Whoop Whoop) I made a Pre-Algebra and Algebra group, then made a group for my Academy class, made a group of my 8-3 Team, and of course had a Math-Department group for our school and an 8th-Grade Math group for the district. Yeaa...This might get overwhelming ;)


This was the overall jest of what was covered throughout our morning session. The instructor is leading several other classes throughout the summer covering Communication, SchoolWork, Library, and the Drive. I plan on covering these courses to as my husband does his "man-things" around the house and in the yard this summer. So of course....I'll keep you posted. I think this is going to be a great learning experience for both myself and my students. I think My Big Campus is really going to help organize and provide some structure for the communication between myself and my students; as well as, the use of iPads within the classroom!

So, until I enroll for my next course...I'll be cheering on #USMNT in their World Cup appearances! #USAUSAUSA

Until next time.... :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is It Really Over?

Well....this year flew by. I think that statement is even an understatement about how fast this year went by! They say every year goes by quicker; especially when you're new or when you're having fun :) However, I'm not sure a school year could, or can, get any quicker then what my 8th graders and myself experienced this year. To start the day Mrs. Reed, my teammie, and I decided to get a quick shot of our dress up! This was the one and only day you would catch us in dresses and heels!

Today was our final day with students...I know super sad :( We had our "Moving-On Ceremony" this morning in our district auditorium. This ceremony awarded the 8th graders for making it through the middle school years and congratulated students on becoming high school students. It was a fabulous ceremony put on by a wonderful Mrs. Ammons and many of our 8th grade students. We began our ceremony by having parents rise until all 8th grade students entered for the special event. Three students then presented the flags of the United States and South Carolina before we were led in the pledge of allegiance and national anthem by students and our 8th grade chorus. We were then welcomed to the ceremony and given a reflection of the year by two more students before teams began to call individuals up, across the stage, and to receive their certificate. We were the last team to go, being team 8-3 and by my opinion the best, and I got the privileged of calling my students' names. I was super nervous of totally butchering some names....but needless to say, I did pretty good! Only had one student smile and shake her head no when I stumbled across her middle name :) Whoops!

After the ceremony, students, parents, and teachers, attended a small reception in the cafeteria. We were offered punch, lemonade, water, and cookies. It was put on by our P.T.O. and was very nice for the newly named high schoolers! I did get the chance to snap a few selfies with some students and athletes before they all cleared out for the day, and the year.




I have to say that I will miss this team. Not only is it emotional every year when school gets out for the summer, but this was my first 8th grade group. It was my first class at Clover Middle School. It was my first 8th grade class. It was my first Math and Science class. It was my first class in South Carolina. It was a lot of firsts for me this year, but I have to say I don't think I could have picked a better group of students to spend them with! This group, as with all my students and classes, will have a special place in my heart. :) (Ok, that's enough sappy memories!)

As a final note leading into summer, I'd like to share a video in hopes that some students are helped throughout their summer away from school. I don't think the video needs any introduction other's Kid President and he's up to helping other kids again and doing a fabulous job at it:

Of course I'll be busy this summer. Getting professional development credits, organizing my room, and just basically trying to become the most amazing 8th Grade Math teacher ever. Soo...needless to say I'll keep you updated... Until then.... :)