Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A good night's sleep

For the first time in, well, EVER, I will actually sleep well the night before school starts!  I can't believe it either.  I have been stressing out so much these last 4 days.  The endless list of stupid, time consuming, frustrating and just plain pissing me off situations that have occurred would have typically left me in a foul mood.  It's not worth it.  School is starting tomorrow in 8 hours.  And you know what, every one of those stupid, time consuming, frustrating, and just plain pissing me off situations have all worked out.  But that is NOT was this post is about.  Hooray!  This post is a celebration!!  Double hooray!!

With all that happened, I still needed to plan for my first day.  And when I say plan, I really mean dust off the first day of crap I have for the last 8 or so years, refresh my memory on how many trips it takes to transport A number of adults and C number of children across a fictional river with a boat that only holds one adult or two children.  This boat doesn't exist.  Nor, would any of those children subject themselves to rowing across the river 38 times to bring the lazy adults over.  There are child labor laws, you know.  So why am I forcing my students to dive into this abyss of "fun" math problems just to get them in the mind set of doing math in August?   Well, I decided at 4:30pm, I refuse to cross that river one more time.  PANIC.

I have 15 hours to come up with something else, something more engaging.  So, what do I do at 6pm?  I return to my classroom to straighten up my room and hang the many posters on the bare walls.  There is something very therapeutic about mindlessly hanging posters willy nilly on the walls to allow my brain to grapple with finding a new lesson.  And around 9:15pm after updating my course syllabi, it hit me.   We are talking pancakes tomorrow.  This may cause me to fall flat on my face.  Flat as a pancake on my face.

As you know, I attended the "bestest eva" professional development last week.  And you even ordered the book (see the previous post).  Well in Steve Leinwand's powerpoint slides, he talks about the world record holder for eating pancakes.  Tomorrow my plan is to talk about it.  I'm giving them the details and the details only.  Act 1.  They generate a list of things they want to know.  Then, they somehow arrive at an answer to those questions.  Act 2.  They will then share their answers with the class and how they get those answers.  I hope to see at least 3 different approaches for each question like I hoped for the Barbie Dreamhouse on Christmas when I was a girl.  Act 3.  Homework...  I have a couple of questions in my back pocket I want to know the answer on.  They will answer these for homework provided they didn't come up with those questions on their own.  Sequel.  Bam!  What a way to incorporate my two favorite people into my lesson.  Thanks again Steve Leinwand and Dan Meyer.  ((Has anyone every asked if the the two of you are related?))

I'm going to do this with both my classes.  What?!?!  I will do this with my Algebra 2 students and with my Pre-calculus students.  I don't care these two classes are two years apart in ability.  The two ability levels of the classes may or may not create different answers.  We'll see.  I'm willing to take this risk.  I'm willing to lead my students down an alley way just to see what is there.

At 10pm tonight I had my new lesson plans settled.  I was celebrating.  I had my iPod on loud on the speaker phone with "Oh Yeah" playing.  I couldn't help but dance down the hall as the music echoed in its emptiness.  No more stressing.  Time to go home and get a good night's sleep for the first time ever the night before school starts (right after I blog about my night).

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