Sunday, January 15, 2017

DITLife January 12, 2017 (Thursday)

Another busy day in the books!

Started out the day getting math kits together for the family math night I have planned for next Thursday and emailing local community groups that are participating in the night.  Had to organize the dice and the cards and get the correct amount of materials to each kit and set aside for each game that the families will play that night.  I'm very excited about this family math night this year as I believe all families are going to walk away with a wealth of materials and ideas to incorporate math games at home!

Had to cover kindergarten morning duty this morning which is always so much fun and entertaining.  The kids wanted me to read a book, which I was happy to do, except they chose a book that had no words!  Coming up with a story on the spot was hard, but a lot of fun.

I then had a brief conversation with a vendor for an online math program that my school has been considering for a while.  Seemed good, but expensive for sure.  

I spent an hour in first grade trying to get some of her high-flyers up and running on the online math program we have at our school.  It's a pretty neat program that has no words and scaffolds the work based on the kids levels.  These four kids needed something challenging and I'm hopeful this program will do the trick.  Check it out here if you want more information.  

After my time in first grade, I went to second grade to help out with a skip counting lesson.  This turned into me taking a few of the students to help them finish the mid year benchmark assessment.  I had a lot of fun with these kids because they have very unique personalities and I thoroughly enjoy listening to them think about math and talk about how much they love math!

I spent the rest of my day preparing materials for the online benchmark testing I would be administering the following week.  We just started giving our benchmarks online for grades 3, 4, and 5 this year and it hasn't been the smoothest transition.  There are lots of kinks in the software and it's quite a process to even get logged in, so I needed to prepare some instruction sheets for every grade level.  This time of the year is always a struggle for me personally and professionally because I am so anti-benchmark testing, and especially the way these tests are designed, however, it's a requirement and I have to do it.  Even though I have a pretty direct role in creating these assessments, I know and fully admit that they are subpar and the data from them aren't used for the intended purposes.  It's a constant struggle all teachers have to deal with: delivering instruction or assessments that they don't agree with but are mandated by their districts and/or states. 

I spend the afternoon doing a few Uber rides.  Yes, I started driving for Uber to try to make a little bit of money on the side.  It's proving to be a ton of fun and pretty good money too!  Another joy of being a teacher, never having enough money!  

I participated in a Twitter chat at 7pm EST.  I think this is  one of the only Twitter chats that actually starts at a reasonable hour so I could participate and then go to bed.  Normally they start at 9pm, and I'm usually sound asleep by then. 

The topic of this chat was blended learning and using the ST Math learning platform which I mentioned above.  It was a great 7 question conversation and I found lots of new educators to follow. 

So there it is...a day in the life of me.  Let's see what February holds for me.

And now the questions....

1) Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day.  Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming.  When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of?  What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?
I'm so glad I walked into the second grade classroom. It turns out she needed some help with a lot of different things and also needed a break to use the bathroom. I think my timing was perfect and I'm glad I could help out. I'm wondering if my decision to let the kids in first grade onto the math program. I know the teacher and parents had requested it, but I'm nervous that since it was only for four of them, that the rest of the class is going to get jealous and want in too. I also don't know if it's truly going to be challenging enough for them. Only time will tell.

2) Every person’s life is full of highs and lows.  Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher.  What are you looking forward to?  What has been a challenge for you lately?
I'm really looking forward to getting back to instructional coaching. I had been out for 2 months post-surgery and now I'm finally back and getting into the groove. I have benchmark testing to get through next week, but then my schedule opens up again and I can start coaching again. However, a massive struggle lately has been getting teachers to want to work with me. There are a few who have "drunk the koolaid" so to speak and find me as an invaluable resource. I adore these teachers, but as I mentioned, they are a FEW. There's still a majority of the school who wants nothing to do with me and when I walk into their rooms they say, "What do you want". I struggle every day with whether or not I'm valuable or useful to this school, and whether people even want me there. Am I making any impact? Are teachers responsive to what my vision is for math instruction? It's so hard, and extremely isolating at the same time. I've definitely been struggling with my worth lately.

3) We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is.  As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students.  Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.
I've got some emails thanking me for the work I've put into Family Math Night that remind me how awesome the people are that I get to work with. They took time out of their day to acknowledge my work and it really meant a lot. I made sure to personally thank those teachers for thanking me.

4) Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year. What have you been doing to work toward your goal?  How do you feel you are doing?
I've wanted to do more coaching this year, and I'm working on it. It was very hard to be out for those 2 months as I feel like just as I was getting into the swing of it, I had to hit pause. I just put together a mini-PD for my teachers around one of my professional goals and I'm very excited to start sharing that work and see if it will go anywhere.

5) What else happened this month that you would like to share?

I came back from my 2 month recovery right after the winter break and had pneumonia!! So then after being out for 2 months, I had to miss 2 more days (should've been more to be honest) to recover from pneumonia. I'm finally starting to feel better now, thank goodness!!


  1. Interesting to get the perspective of a math coach here! Glad you've made it back after your surgery, I can't believe you had to deal with pneumonia too, sheesh. I hope your Family Math Night went well last week, sounds like a great initiative. Too bad about the testing... I suppose there's parts of every job that one doesn't enjoy, but it's more of an issue here, when it affects children. Do what you can, and all the best with your efforts overall; I'm sure you're making an impact, it's just these things can be gradual, over time.

    FYI, I’ve linked/summarized this particular post in my DITLife roundup; let me know if that’s a problem. (

    1. Thank you for your comment Gregory! The math night was a huge success, I may even blog about it soon! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my blog, and to include it in your DITLife roundup! Thanks so much, I'll keep doing what I can do and know that in the end I will have some impact!