#DITL Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

6:00 Wake up and  get pretty.

7:42 Arrive at school and drop off my lunch in the home ec room so I won't have to walk all the way to the office. Head to my room to get my cooler and race to the cafeteria to fill it with ice and water. (Students aren't allowed to bring food or drinks so we provide water in our rooms.)

1st hour- We are finishing six problems on the right side of our INB about parallel and perpendicular slope. Students seem to be taking each problem in stride and doing well. Glad I already have the next activity prepared....although it takes the majority of the class period to finish those six problems. Now students get out dry erase markers to practice on the desk while we play a game of trashketball. Two problems later and the class is already over.

2nd hour- Students are finishing a handout from yesterday to prepare for a quiz over reciprocal functions. Everyone starts and finishes at different times and I wait for everyone to be finished before starting the next activity. We are making an almost-fortune-teller-cootie-catcher for our INB notes on quadrantal angles. Why does it take 8 upperclassmen 40 years to cut and fold a piece of paper? Even following my verbal directions, with the picture on the board, and my completed example, students still mess up and have to start over. Never give up teaching students to follow directions! We don't even have time to start writing in them before class ends. :(

3rd hour- Algebra I has a quiz today over finding intercepts and graphing horizontal and vertical lines. For practice, all I made was a boring worksheet of 12 problems. I remember an idea from someone's blog post about a buried treasure powerpoint game that I downloaded. Every slide has ships on them and students get to a click a ship to find the treasure. I tell students they get one click after I have checked each set of 4 problems. The winner gets a baby butterfinger. I spend the rest of the class period bouncing back and forth across the room to check answers- I don't even have time to print out an answer key. Students are HIGHLY engaged. As they finish, they start gathering around the board, waiting for the next person to click, in expectation of who might actually find the treasure. It's adorable. I stop the class and handout the quiz. I probably burned more calories traversing the room than I did all day.

4th hour- Almost scripted word for word...thanks for the dry run first hour. I have a class full of boys and basketball players who expect to be awesome at trashketball. It's a very humbling game. All students in each team have to agree on their answer so a lot of good discussion is happening. We also get done with only two problems. Crazy how consistent(ly slow) I can be.

5th hour- Students are finishing a quiz while I make an answer key for the study guide they are about to take. I cleaned out a binder last week that I thought I didn't need so there went a few answer keys. The last page I'm getting all wrong answers but students are starting the study guide and need my help while I'm feeling anxious about the last page. Luckily, nobody gets that far by the end of the class period.

Lunch- The bell rings at 12:10 which means I get down to my food around 12:15 and then have to be back in my classroom and ready to go by 12:30. The healthy lunch plans are  joke at our school and the teachers are having a fit over what is served while I eat the leftovers my mom saved for me. I've been trying to convince these people for two years to just bring their lunch every day...

6th hour-My rowdiest class is finishing the quadratic formula and are taking a quiz today. I put one problem on the board for them to review first. As I'm walking around, the levels range between not knowing the first step, not knowing which numbers are a. b. and c and students who finish the whole problem independently. After the quiz it's time to start the dreaded........word problems!!!!!! It takes forever for students to fold two pieces of paper in half and tape them in their notebook. I give a lecture about how these problems are hard, now is the time to focus, stop playing and distracting others....We finish one problem and class is over.

7th hour- My class of five is taking a quiz over simplifying rational expressions. We just finished trig identities so I feel like this is going to be a piece of cake. By the time we finish reviewing so that they feel prepared, there is only 15 minutes left of class. There are 6 problems and only 1 actually complete the quiz. To be continued. Literally.

8th hour- It's my plan period but I have to sub. I bring the class to my room since no plans were left and they play on chrome books and talk while I grade papers and get things ready to copy.

3:20 It's time for cheerleading practice. There is also an after school BETA club meeting to prepare for state competitions in March. Since my whole squad is in BETA club, we split up time between the two. I'm excited that I will get to go home early.

4:00 Practice is over and I have more papers to grade and copies to make so I don't have to take anything home.

5:15 I guess I won't be going home early...

6:00-10:00 I need to make an answer key but I messed up on it so many times already that I'm too tired and unmotivated to do it. I dread it all night and end up not doing it. I finished walking to get my 12,000+ steps in, I pack my school bag for the next day, and do some scripture journaling.

11:00 I decide to go to bed 'early.'

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?

Every day I am worried that my pacing is so far from ideal but I balance in the tension between pacing and giving my students enough time to process and practice. When some students tell me I move too fast, I almost cry with frustration. I'm on unit 3 or 4 in every class with anywhere from 10-12 units on my pacing guide. I'm lucky to do 6 units all year long.

I am proud of how often I ask students to tell me what is different about each new problem and how often I ask them to explain why and how.

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 looking forward to my three day weekend and my upcoming Unit Circle project in trig. Even though we've just had a two week Christmas Break I'm praying for a snow day on Friday so I can have a four day weekend.

A challenge for me lately has been trying to decide a focus for growth this year. I am feeling pretty basic and like I'm at the peak of my math abilities. I want to work on the things that have the most impact on student learning, but how do I decide what those are?

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 heard a girl in the hallway call another girl a fat b*****. A few minutes later she came to return my pencil and I pulled her aside and told her I heard her. I told her that as a female, we should never call other female's that word since so many men already do. She nodded and went in the room. That may not be my best response but it was off the top of my head. She walked out and said, "Ms. Miller I am really sorry." That was a moment we wouldn't normally have shared.

Overall, I am having some really funny and interesting conversations with almost every class on a regular basis. We have inside jokes and favorite memes and I just feel really open and close with the majority of the students.

4) Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year. What is a goal you have for the year?

Reread More Good Questions and work on questioning skills, make answers keys beforehand, continue my work life balance, and blog more often!


  1. Great that you got the students so highly engaged in there, seemingly for most of the day. (As to paper, well, at least it wasn't origami?) It's nice that you got some things done while subbing too, I tend to find myself a bit on edge in those situations. As to the steps, WOW, I only tend to get half that much when at school, kudos. Good call on talking to that girl too, not sure how I would have dealt with it. All the best with your blogging.

    FYI, I’ve linked/summarized this particular post in my DITLife roundup; let me know if that’s a problem. (https://mathiex.blogspot.ca/2017/01/sharing-days-in-lives.html)

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