Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ending the Year on a High Note 2012

During a conversation with one of my close friends at the beginning of this school year,  we discussed how we would go "out" of teaching either by retiring or by making a career move.  We decided that we would approach each year as if it were our last and that we would make sure to make it our best year.  We made a sort of a pact that we would make sure to go out on a high note no matter what.
I am a huge Seinfeld fan so I have shared a video of George Costanza going out on a high note...
George Costanza Leaving on a High Note

Shortly after that conversation, we had to endure the daily countdown of days left in the school year recited from a teacher who was looking forward to retirement.  I can appreciate the anticipation, but hearing the count at lunch everyday got on my nerves a bit.  Being a math teacher, I figured a good way to quiet my colleague would be to give the count of days I have left which was quite large for a number of reasons one being my 6 year old son (5 at the time) and me having to send him to college and have the funds to do so.  The number I so boldly shared at lunch made everyone laugh and did not silence the countdown at all.

An educational blogger who has influenced me greatly this past year wrote a bit about cruising at the end of the school year: Josh Stumpenhorst - Cruise Control
Even though our state testing took place a month ago I decided to end my school year on a high note and not hit the cruise control button.

Last year I was inspired by Dan Meyer.  I combined what I learned from him with the need to prove to my husband that I could utilize a smart phone in my teaching and created "Real Life Mathematics Connections" for my students.  Connecting Math to My Life  I took pictures of the mundane activities my family and I did on the weekends and it morphed into the link above.  In the process, I was banned from taking pictures in our local supermarket until I had a chat with the manager and pleaded for my math students.  I now have permission to use my smart phone camera if I "check in" when I enter the store.

The link requires many more blog posts describing the process etc... it was also the impetus for the end of the year project  I assigned this year: What Does Math Have to do With It?  I made the decision to be vague in the description of what I wanted my students to do.  They created math blogs using blogger at the beginning of the year and I had them write about their passion.  My intent was to have students make periodic math connections to their passion.  It did not work out that way for a variety of reasons (again to be discussed in a future blog post).  I did get some interesting work from my students What Does Math Have to do With It?  I am not pretending that  this is stellar work.  This is a first attempt at students connecting math to their passion or interest and some of the examples I have included hit the mark and others are not close.  The important thing is that I have 120 or so student samples that will help me make this project more meaningful for my future students.

Check out the links and student work and let me know what you think!

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