Steal this Teacher’s AWESOME Plan to Track Bullying

Teacher goals. Every few months, this post pops up in my newsfeed or email, and I think its about time I share it with others. I’m also sharing a free pdf at the bottom of this post!math

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

  • Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
  • Who doesn’t even know who to request?
  • Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
  • Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

via Share This With All the Schools, Please » Momastery.

Super inspiring right? Here’s the great thing. I’ve created a quick and easy to use pdf to help you analyze this information quickly. I find when I have a worksheet for something like this, it’s easier to quickly look over the material. The faster I can determine who needs attention, the more time I have to reach out to them and help guide them.

I created the pdf to be cut into fourths. Each quarter of a page looks like the above image and should make it easy to identify. I only included 3 spots for people to sit near because most often, my students work in groups of four. Having them choose 4 students confused them when I tried doing this last year.

Each week, copy this onto different colored paper. I keep them from week to week in a file to reference. It’s useful to have sorted by student for parent conferences. When I need to meet with a parent, I can quickly look at the student’s seat requests, which reveals a lot more than you’d think.

I also track the information on two of my blank grade sheets, and keep that in a separate file to easily track changes. Each time a students is requested as a seat partner, I put a tally in their box for the week. When a student has several tally marks one week, and significantly less (or in some cases, none) the following, I know that I need to call home and check on the student, and I’ll set up a quiet conference with the student at the beginning of the next week to check in with them and see if everything is alright.

Keeping an eye on the whole student becomes a lot easier with this amazing method! Hope this helps you out!

The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story

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Act One

Introduce the central conflict of your story/task clearly, visually, viscerally, using as few words as possible.

Act Two

The protagonist/student overcomes obstacles, looks for resources, and develops new tools.

Act Three

Resolve the conflict and set up a sequel/extension.

Check out the full article here: dy/dan » The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story.

Rubik’s Cubes Are My Life

Rubik’s Cubes are my life.

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As a child, I had a box full of Rubik’s Cubes: the traditional ones, cheap souvenir versions, and even some variants on the cube. Though I had no clue what they were about at the time, I was fascinated by the way the colored squares moved. I would sit and twist them into puzzling patterns until I was able to get one side solved. Eventually, the cubes were placed in storage and forgotten.

imagesDuring the summer after high school, I was at Saint Mary’s College for orientation when I met my best friend; he was holding a Rubik’s Cube, twisting the little cubes, trying to solve it. I sat next to him, and we discussed how the squares moved around the cube. This moment reignited my interest in the cube, and when I saw a Rubik’s Cube at the store a few days later, I bought a new one. Since I didn’t know how to solve it, discovering its mysteries became my goal.

The first time that I solved the cube, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a stroke of luck. But when I was able to solve it again, I realized I was beginning to understand, and I created new challenges. Visualizing a pattern in my head, I was able to take the cube from an unsolved state to a patterned state.

By the time summer ended, I considered myself competent in the language of the cube, and it became a source of comfort for me throughout college. When I needed to center myself, I would pick up the cube and solve it. I understood how it moved, and had control of it. I got it. It became my “interesting fact” and my “party trick”.

My relationship with the cube stayed this way until my Topology class. It was then that I realized just how applicable to mathematics the cube was. I realized that there were many mathematical secrets hidden in my interactions with the cube. From algorithms, to spacial awareness, to graph theory, this cube emanated mathematics.

I began to read mathematical articles about this cube, which led me to consider graduate school for math. As the deadlines approached, I realized I wasn’t ready for that step yet. I needed to do something else first, so I joined the Lasallian Volunteers, a religious organization that works with the De La Salle Christian Brothers to serve the poor. This experience took me from my home in California, a state where I had spent my entire life, and placed me in New York City. I packed up my bags, grabbed my Rubik’s Cube, and headed to the unknown.

I became a volunteer at a Lasallian, inner-city boys high school. For the first month or so, I struggled to connect with my students. There were a few students who would come to me for their tutoring needs, but most avoided talking to me until something happened. One day, my rubik’s cube was sitting on my desk, and a student picked it up.

He asked me if I could solve it. Nodding, I held my hand out, and, within three minutes, I had solved the cube and placed it back in his hand. After that, students began to stop by to chat and get help on their homework.

Most of my students struggle with math. It’s understandable, especially once you realize that math is a different language, much like the movements of the Rubik’s Cube. I loved tutoring them and teaching them about one of my passions. There was one student, though, who just didn’t get it.

One day, he and I started to work on the Rubik’s Cube, and eventually he got used to the movements. Now, he can solve it on his own. The Rubik’s Cube keeps him quiet during his classes, and now when we go over math, we talk about the steps in terms of the steps to solving a Rubik’s Cube.Professors_cube

Eventually, I moved up from my traditional Rubik’s Cube. The really impressive one that I have is my Professor’s cube (the 5x5x5 version).

It really wows my students and brings a little more of a challenge into my world. I sat for almost a week when I first got it and challenged myself to figure it out without “cheating.” I didn’t want to look up how to do it, even though there were times where I was really tempted. I remember the moment I solved it, and the pride and happiness that I felt. I wish I could share that feeling with others. That sense of accomplishment still greets me anytime I solve this cube.

Still, there are times when I pull out the traditional cube, sit back, and make the colors dance around the surface.

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Day 16: Dream Job

Day 16 of the 31 Day Blog Challenge: Dream Job

For now, I have my dream job. I want to be a teacher. I’ve wanted to teach since I was a little girl, and I’m doing just that. I’m teaching Middle School Math for grades 6, 7, and 8, and ELA and Religion to 8th graders (my homeroom!).

This year, we’re using a new curriculum across the boards. Yep. Across the boards. We’re switching to Singapore Math (which I learned isn’t really a thing. Singapore Math is US math taught in a different way). We’ll be using the Math In Focus textbooks for anyone who is interested. We also have a new ELA curriculum. So basically, this year will be really exciting. And crazy.

But I’m still happy that this is my job. Because I love my students, I love my coworkers, and I love the school.

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Teacher Appreciation Week 2012

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This week is a week that we often overlook. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week.

As children, we don’t always show our teachers the appreciation that they deserve. We take from them, and complain about them, and whine about tests. Sometimes, we do our homework and work hard in their classes. Sometimes, we forget that there is a quiz in class, or to read ahead.

Teachers work really hard for each and every one of us. They do their best not to play favorites, and they try to reach out to all of their students. They stay on top of technology to teach us in interesting and different ways. They fight for our successes. They cry when we fail.

Teachers love us. Frustrating or the perfect student, it doesn’t really matter in the eyes of a teacher. They want the same thing from each one of us.

Teachers are the people who can really reach out and change our lives. It’s the little things they do, from putting a sticker or a star on top of an essay, to bringing in a movie as a treat for the class, that makes a difference in the eyes of their students. The little things are the things that change us.

It’s having the teacher take an extra ten minutes out of their day at the end to sit and talk with you that helps you. It’s the teacher knowing somethings wrong, even if you don’t.

These people are overlooked so often, and I ask you to reach out to any teacher, current or past, and thank them for what they have done for you. If you think they haven’t done anything for you yet, thank them anyway. One day, you’ll look back and be glad you did, because in 5, 10, maybe 15 years, you’ll see that they did, in fact, help you.