I really can't believe this school year is almost over. Our high stakes testing starts Tuesday. I'm actually looking forward to the math tests. I find teaching the grade level math core to all kids a more straightforward and easy endeavor than teaching reading and writing. It's less messy and the year-end tests, I believe, are much more indicative of what the students have learned all year. I think this is the first time I've discussed math instruction on this blog, but if you know me in real life, you already know---I love math, and I really love teaching math. Growing up with amazing math instruction (at home) and then getting an incredible physics teacher in high school were two of the reasons I decided to become a teacher myself. Teaching math, for me, is the kind of work where my instincts take over and I just get totally immersed and know where to go next, both with the whole class and with individual kids.
In December I wrote a Donors Choose proposal for $500 of math manipulatives, and it was funded this month. My new proposal is for book sets for Literature Circles.
Here's a very cool tool my brother found for math teachers or mathematicians at any level:
Wolfram Demonstrations Project. You have to download the player first, and then when you download the open source math visualization files you can interact with them.
I am hitting my wall in writing workshop right now. I don't know how to keep it going for another six weeks. My mind is already on next year and I just don't have the energy left to pull off a strong memoir unit. I'm tempted to just let all the good work we've done this year be enough. Hopefully I'll find a way to keep it going. I've been trying to come up with ways to let a poetry compilation be our memoirs, but I don't know how to stay ahead of that game. I had some lofty ambitions of several things to pull together this weekend, but instead I worked in the yard and read and rested.
Oh yeah, the main reason my lamp oil is running so low is because we just finished our annual Shakespeare production. The sixth graders put on A Midsummer Night's Dream. It's such a wonderful, magical thing---putting on a play like this, but it also takes a ton of work. By the way, one of the reasons I've really come to enjoy blogging is because I know I can say things like I've said in this post, especially about the work it takes to pull off a decent student theater production, and there will be teachers out there who UNDERSTAND. It feels so nice to be understood.
A final slice of goodness: Kadir Nelson wrote me back!