Here’s a rundown of a typical day of teaching in my second year. It’s definitely a bit smoother than first year, but I still feel like I’m constantly revising stuff along the way.

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Wednesday, January 13th

5:15am -“Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy…” Not really… It’s more like the alarm rings and I slowly pull myself out of a warm bed into a cold morning, then get ready.

5:30am- Breakfast. I always drink a glass of milk to start the day right.

5:50am- Start the car to warm up in the -10º F windchill. Scrap off the windshield.

6:00am- Drive to work. I blasted Mayer Hawthorne because I was feeling in the mood for some soulful Motown revival music this morning.

6:50am- Another day at school begins. I power up my technology (laptop, project, IWB pen) and all of the software I need for the day. I post the cryptic class agendas for the day on the front board. By cryptic, I mean I used phrases like”Crowdsource” to indicate sharing the IWB pen to complete examples and “Scavenger Hunt” to mean checking answers for a practice page. I check email, throw together bellwork (a balance puzzle), and tweaking some examples for my general classes.

7:45am- Students enter the building. I stand in the hallway to say good morning, talk with a couple coworkers, and chat with some students from last year who decided to visit.

7:55am- First block. We started the day with bellwork and a homework circle. Since we explored algebraic expressions yesterday and wrote numerical expressions on Monday, I made today’s examples crowdsourced. Students took turns writing algebraic expressions from words with the occasional interjection from me to clarify ideas, promote using coefficients, or compare the meaning of an expression to a written phrase. Halfway through the 80 minute block, students take a stretch break and I print the examples students just completed on the board. From a series of music cues, students return to seats, get out spirals, collect a copy of the notes, and attach the page into spirals. After asking for expectations and explaining for the next activity, students work with partners on a practice page for writing algebraic expressions. Partners move about the room to find solutions I hid in various places in the room. Students collect homework during the last 5 minutes of the day, I ask blind survey questions, and everyone gets a high five on the way out the door.

9:23am- Second block. Same as first period, but we had a couple minutes to include trivia for the day.

10:46am- Study hall. I take care of some grading, help students as needed, and get absent students caught up with assignments and notebook pages.

11:36am- Lunch. I write part of my daily reflection and enter some grades since I have practice after school. I chill for a bit listening to music and reading some posts in Feedly.

12:10pm- Fifth block accelerated math. We practice transitioning to groups because we haven’t used that cue in a while. Students talked me through solving 2 step equations yesterday to introduce the idea, so I knew they needed practice today. After a couple examples just to make sure everyone had the idea, students transitioned to groups to work on solving equations. Students set expectations for the activity, I modeled the expectations, then I passed out the envelopes containing the equations. I circulated throughout the class and I spent about 5 minutes with each group to informally assess student understanding. Before I knew it, I looked at the clock and it was time to close things for the day. With only about 8 minutes left, I gave students a chance to start homework.

1:35pm- Plan. Today was a content area meeting, so I met with other 6th grade math teachers to discuss sequence and scope for the next unit. I also finished my daily reflection, tweaked my SMART Notebook files for tomorrow, graded some makeup assignments, and entered some grades.

2:55pm- School’s dismissed for the day. I take a brief break to relax before I grab my clipboard before heading to basketball practice.

3:10pm- Basketball practice. I’m helping out the head coach this season to get the hang of coaching basketball (I only coached track last spring). Most of the drills and plays are new for both me and the players, but it’s nice to have something out of my wheelhouse to learn.

5:00pm- Practice ends.

5:15pm- I check my email one last time, review my plans for tomorrow (again), and pack up to head home surprisingly early!

5:30pm- Drive home. I remembered on the way I have a second-year teacher training tomorrow evening.

6:15pm – Get home and eat dinner. I check Twitter and my personal email, too.

7:30pm- Take a shower.

8:00pm- Write this post.

9:30pm- Go to sleep!

“Crowdsourcing!” Love it! I like to know more about how the students set the expectations for each activity.

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Sometimes it’s just a matter of students recalling how we’ve done stuff in the past, but other times it’s students setting the number of people in a group, how they can move about the room, where they should complete problems (spiral, scratch paper, etc.), volume level, and types of conversations I should hear. Since students are in a routine, most of the time answers are the same; however, sometimes students change it up in ways that work (after I ask them to promise me they’ll make groups of 4-5 work for a gallery walk, etc.). Thanks for the comment!

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While cruising around Feedly I came across this post. It’s good to see I’m not the only one that uses a cryptic class agenda. Although my objectives are clearly stated I tend to limit my own writing with class agendas. I use wording that lends itself to students being curious to what exactly a “technology activity/stakeholder meeting/Writing Expo” means. Thanks for sharing!

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Exactly! When other teachers in my school see my agenda, they ask why I used such unusual statements. I always tell them math class is like a movie. By telling students exactly what we’re going to do, we tell them the plot, conflict, and resolution before the opening credits roll! We need to keep the curiosity alive. Thanks for the the comment!

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