Sunday, August 21, 2016

Getting Kicked by the 10-day Count Concept

Week 2 sure has been interesting…  They are balancing classes and continued to do so until Friday, which was the official 10 day count to determine if we are understaffed or overstaffed.  The balance act has definitely not been showing slope zero on the teeter-totter if you know what I mean.

Monday 8/15:  1st period is underway, and we are doing pairs-work review with a learning check for the quiz on Wednesday.  1st period started at 8:20am, and suddenly at 8:35am my colleague and Accelerated Algebra 1 team member appears in my doorway with a panicked look on his face asking to talk to me.  Out in the hall he informs me that 2 our Accel classes have been switched and that I now have 1st period planning.  Did I want him to take the students with him today or start with them tomorrow, and he will keep his 3rd period students the same for the day.

Ummm, WHAT???

I kept the 1st period students.  I was heartbroken.  I spent a week getting to know them with name tents and student auto-biographies, and we were definitely in a rhythm.  Telling them at the end of the period was the hardest thing I have had to do yet this year; none of us were happy.   My colleague is an excellent teacher, and I know they will be in good hands, but they are already transitioning to high school let alone having to get used to another class/teacher.

During 3rd planning that day, I read my emails, and I realized that the email about the switch was sent to my colleague and myself at 8:23am that morning; 3 minutes into when that class was supposed to have started.   No student had gotten a schedule change formally, they let us handle it and walk the students to their new classrooms; maybe that was a more personal way to handle it…

Tuesday 8/16:  I got my new 3rd period class, and they are awesome too, but they were sure stunned that day when they heard the news and had to come up to my room.  It is a smaller class, so we are getting to know each other quickly, but it took a couple of days to settle in.  In the switch, the students became worried that they had missed information pertinent to the quiz on Wednesday, but they did well on their first quiz, which I was relieved to see.

All of the week, the support Algebra 1 class has been a behavioral struggle as well as an instructional challenge.  I had to drop my opening of the period with Number Talks or Would you Rather? Because we do not have the behavior enough in a rhythm to get through it.  Most of it stems from the fact that the group consists of students with different teachers for their core Algebra 1 content classes, and all teachers teaching differently and at a different pace.  As an Algebra 1 team of all new teachers to the school, we are trying to work on this, but it is proving to be a slow process given all of us going through the transition of a new school.  As lead on the team, that is my biggest goal for week 3 – to get us more coordinated in our intentions and outcomes.  

As far as the support class, this also is a new experience for me as I have always taught support classes for a 2-hour block where I was their sole teacher for the core content and the support to go along with it.    I honestly believe that is a better system for the students, and as I have talked about in earlier blogs this month, success was found by all.  Still, there must be a way, so I will be looking to the MTBoS for suggestions.

So, the resulting chaos from the events of the past week along with a medical procedure I had done this past Saturday and had to prep for on Friday have kept me from the blogging keyboard for the past week.  I wish I could have produced more for Blaugust, but at least I am still writing.

I am hoping this week will settle down a little more.  Tonight I developed a couple of activities for my Algebra 1 classes this week to strengthen their skills in Order of Operations and Expression Writing as they head into a test on Friday.   I also have a pairs activity for Accelerated Algebra that I cannot wait to hear them talk about on Tuesday as they prepare for their 2nd quiz.   The support class I have to re-engage in somehow…

AND…  My laminater finally showed up from back order on Saturday morning, so who cannot love that!!!

Until next time.


  1. You are a TROOPER for riding the waves of the 10 day count and math support. Our 10 day count is Thursday and I'm worried they'll drop a bunch of our truant kiddos. Hoping your math support class goes smoothly - getting everyone coordinated sounds like a great first step. Also HOORAY for laminators!

  2. Thank you! It is definitely a work in progress with the support class, but hopefully we can find a medium. I started laminating things tonight-it was so therapeutic!