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It Was a Good Day...

Taking a line out of Ice Cube's lyrics, 'Today was a good day'. Well, honestly it's been a pretty good couple of days as of late...and I hope it continues.

This year I am teaching 5 classes of AP, and one geometry support class. Actually, my AP courses have converted into dual-credit credit courses with a 4-year University a couple hours away. That has created a whole new approach for me in my teaching as the district is covering 2/3 of the cost of the course for the students, so for just a little bit more than the cost of an AP exam, students can eliminate the stress associated with a one-day high stakes test and instead get the grade earned in the class over the course of the entire year. So my 2 sections of statistics, 2 sections of Calculus AB, and one new section of Calculus BC all the on this format.

Because we can take a little bit more time now, I am really working on developing topics a bit deeper now and trying to get students to interact with the mathematics…
Recent posts

Calculus Discoveries

Okay, this #MTBoSBlaugust thing is going to make me write, and I'm going to commit to it this year!

This past year, I was one of several teachers in our building that piloted our high school's move into Standards-Based Grading, or Grading for Learning (GfL) as we're calling it.  You can read more about my initial planning on this whole process here, as I really only intended to try it out in my AP Calculus AB course.  I also presented on my journey at our Wisconsin Math Council State Math Conference last May, and you can view the slides here.

I had originally planned to revamp the structure of my calculus course from the onset as AP scores were falling steadily over the previous 4-5 years, and it seemed that students just weren't grasping the material as readily as well compared to a decade earlier.  So, that was my impetus for a total overhaul and a more integrated and spiraled approach to the topics.  Since I was overhauling everything anyways, and I knew we were swi…

Summer Plans

Well, the Summer of 2017 is almost 2/3 done, and it has been very productive.  My son did 4 hours of summer enrichment classes (STEM, video production, engineering) for the first 4.5 weeks of summer, so that was 4 hours of work time I got each day while he was at school.  I had one main goal for this time that I got to work:  entirely revamp my AP Calculus class; I haven't been happy with how I've had the class structured the past couple years, and student success has been inconsistent, at best, in my eyes.  I needed to change.
This coming year will be my 18th year of teaching, and my 17th year of teaching AP Calculus (I was out of the classroom during the 2015-16 school year in a district instructional coaching role).  In that time, I've had some tremendous successes with my students, but it's getting farther and farther away.  I haven't been able to place a finger on it fully, but it just seems that over the past 8-10 years, we've struggled more and more to …

Curve Ball

Well, it's probably good that I never got around to writing that last blog post I was talking about; things took a drastic change for me a couple weeks ago.

I am entering my 17th year in my district, but after a year out of the classroom and in a district instructional coaching role, I'm back in the classroom.  This was totally my decision, and I'm ecstatic I made it; however, there are many parts where it feels like my first year all over again.

Up until two weeks ago, I was going to be a +1 in the department and most likely moving from open room to open room on a sweet cart.  My courseload was going to be two sections of Algebra 1, two sections of geometry, and I was going to team teach two other sections with some of the younger staff.  I was excited, and even better yet, we had a great mindset within the department and we were going to tackle SBG...together!

We had met at times over the summer to map out our objectives, and then gather them under four larger domains/t…

Time for a Reboot

My summer has been consumed with one overarching goal: bring a standards focus into our high school math curriculum.  Since it looks like I'll be teaching Algebra 1 and Geometry in my return to the classroom (after teaching AP Calculus and AP Statistics before I left a year ago), I have tried to have a laser focus on aligning standards to what we assess and thus, what we will be teaching.  Since early May, I have been combing through the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) and working to align what is expected in an Algebra 1 and Geometry course with what we actually teach.  Boy, has that been fun!Once the school year ended, I had the opportunity to attend the FIRST Conference in Fond du Lac, WI in early June with some colleagues of mine and saw an AMAZING lineup of educators: Myron Dueck, Dylan Wiliam, Ken O'Connor, Todd Whitaker, Jay McTighe, Tom Guskey, Richard Cash, Lee Ann Jung; the list goes on and on.  One thing the conference reaffirmed for me and my c…

New Name, New Outlook, Same Guy

Well, I've decided to try blogging again.  I decided to ditch my old other blog as it was originally set up to be co-written by myself and my team teacher in our combined AP Calculus / AP Physics class.  Well, that class no longer exists, and my buddy is no longer at our high school.  Sad.

So...yeah.

As for me, I'm in a bit of a transition and trying to get back into the classroom.  My intention for this blog is to attend to it weekly beginning this summer and document my journey back into the classroom...whatever it is going to look like.

I've been given a second chance; I intend to make the most of it!