Saturday, April 19, 2014

Statistics: Confidence Interval Projects

This year, I had the privilege to teach a non-AP statistics class for high school juniors and seniors who had finished Algebra 2 and were not enrolled in upper level math courses through our local technology center.  As a small high school, our math department offers 10 sections of math: 4 sections of Algebra 1, 3 sections of Geometry, 2 sections of Algebra 2, and 1 section of an advanced math elective.  Last year, the elective was College Algebra.  This year, it is Statistics.  Next year, it will be Trig/Pre-Calculus.  Our local technology center offers Pre-Calculus and AP-Calculus since many of the schools in our area are too small to offer those classes.

I had 5 juniors enrolled in my statistics class this year.  As one of our end-of-year projects, I asked students to ask a question about the population of students (168 students) at Drumright High School.  After getting their questions approved, students had to randomly select 35 students using the random number generator on their calculator and a list of all the students in the school that our school secretary kindly printed off for us.  Next, they found a way to find out how that student would answer their question.

Proof that we are a small school: my students did not have to actually come in contact with all of the students they randomly selected.  For example, one student wanted to know what proportion of DHS students play school-sponsored sports.  After doing his random selection, he could look at the list and instantly know which students were and were not enrolled in athletics.  For those students he was unfamiliar with, a quick question to the rest of the class gave him the information he needed.

The collected data was used to find their p-hat value.  I asked them to make sure the conditions were met to form a confidence interval.  And, I dictated that we would be finding a 95% confidence interval.  If the conditions were met, their task was to find the confidence interval and express their results on a mini-poster.  These posters contain only a summary of their work.  They showed all of their work in detail using the EMCCC model on a separate sheet of notebook paper.

I loved seeing how invested the students were in their projects.  It was great to see them come up with their own questions, generate their own random samples, survey the students, perform the necessary calculations and analysis, and summarize their findings.

This has been my first time ever teaching statistics, so there are definitely a lot of things I would like to change in the future.  But, I'm so glad I got the chance to teach this course this year.  It's been awesome to be able to expose my students to a new field of mathematics!    

Four out of my five students completed the project.  Here are their questions and findings:

What percent of DHS students own an iphone?


What is the proportion of DHS students that have at least one full sibling?


What proportion of DHS students participate in school athletics? 


What percent of DHS students plan on attending college in the near future? 

This one is hard to read because the information was written so small.  

You can be 95% confident that the actual proportion of Drumright students planning to attend college is somewhere between 0.5132 and 0.8268.



Friday, April 18, 2014

Tales from the Battlefront (EOI Testing Day 1)

Snowflakes

Last week, I finally took down the snowflakes that have been decorating my bulletin board for months.  After all, it was post-Spring Break.  It was April.  Leaving them up would be just asking for it to snow.

Apparently, Mother Nature didn't get the memo.  I guess she didn't realize that I took down my snowflakes.  Last weekend, it was 80 degrees.  This Monday, it snowed.  And, I'm not just talking a flurry or two.  It snowed for two-three solid hours!  It melted on contact, but still - snow in mid-April?!?  Craziness!

Just last weekend, I was taking pictures of all the beautiful spring flowers at my parents' house.

Spring Flowers

How did I know it was snowing?  Because I got to watch it snow for hours.  When you're administering a state test from 8:30-11:30 or so, there are only so many things to look at.  I took students by bus to test at our middle school's library, and the back of our lab looked outside.  The snow flurries were a beautiful sight, but I'm ready for the warmer weather to return!  

Can you tell what these are?  

Origami Letters to Students

They are origami, Easter egg colored, letters.  Every January, I have my students celebrate Universal Letter Writing Week.  I've blogged about it before, and it's one of my favorite projects.  I truly believe there is power to a written note.

Since my Algebra 1 students were testing, I decided to write a note to each one of them - all 41 of them.  To make life slightly easier on me, I wrote each letter on a half-sheet of paper.  This made it easier to write a note to fill up the paper, but it made it a tad trickier to fold the note.

Bundles of encouraging letters to hand out right before state testing

I didn't time the project exactly, but it took me between 4-5 hours to write and fold and address and pick out stickers to place on each letter.  I watched live tornado coverage, a special on the Boston Marathon Bombing, The Amazing Race, The Good Wife, and an episode of M*A*S*H in the time it took me to write a note to each student.  By the end of my marathon writing session, my hand was about to fall off!  I had to alternate between writing letters and folding letters since they used different muscles.  (I also shouldn't have waited to write these Sunday night for Monday morning's test!)

Since I would only be administering the test to one group of students, I wanted to be able to give a pep talk to all of my students right before they tested.  I've yet to master the art of cloning myself to be in three places at once, so I decided to write letters that could be handed out by the test administrator right before they tested.  This allowed me to be there and encourage them without physically being there.

After all, who doesn't like to receive a letter?  I know I love getting letters and mail.  I got the sweetest letter from a student earlier this month.  It's now hanging on my wall as a daily reminder.  I doubt my students realize this, but I keep all the letters they write me.  When I'm having a bad day, it's an awesome thing to be able to be reminded of the positive difference you have made in the lives of your students.  So many of them wrote me letters in January.  It was time for me to write letters in return.    

Letter From A Student
(I love that she's a freshman, and she's already thinking about coming to visit me after she graduates!)
My students LOVED the letters!  Earlier this semester, I posted about how I felt convicted to write more notes to my students.  I had the best of intentions, but life soon got busy.  And, my never-ending to-do list became my priority.  Most students were shocked to see that I had written them a letter.  You mean, you wrote this?  Of course, they wanted to know if all the letters said the same thing.  No, I wrote you each a personal letter.  Though, some were a lot more personalized than others.  To the student who had to reschedule getting their driving pemit to take their EOI, I ended the letter with "Good luck on your test today!  I know you'd rather be taking your driving test, but I'm confident that you are going to rock your EOI today!"  To the student who thought it would be funny to throw a cricket at me back at the beginning of the year, I wrote, "I've enjoyed having you in class this year.  But, I'm still not sure if I've entirely forgiven you for the cricket incident!  :)"

Note to self: when a student tells you that they ate cricket pizza at the state fair, don't mention that you hate crickets.  Two of your freshman boys will fill an empty water bottle with bugs.  You will get an e-mail from the science teacher warning you about said water bottle.  You will think to yourself, it's okay.  I know the bugs are coming.  They're in a water bottle.  These boys think they are going to scare me.  But, it's going to be okay.  The bugs are in plastic.  They can't hurt me in plastic.  (Can you tell I HATE bugs?!?)  When they come in your room at lunch, you will remain calm.  And, you'll stay calm until the lid comes off the water bottle.  One minute, you're sitting at your computer, minding your own business.  The next minute, there is a cricket in your face.  Then, it's in your lap.  Then, you're standing up.  You're screaming and hysterical.  The students eating lunch in your classroom find this whole thing hilarious.  You are being videotaped as you threaten the student that he better remove the crickets from your room if he wants to remain living.  He eventually acquiesces.  The bugs are rebottled.  The bottle and the freshman boys leave your room.  The video is dubbed as hilarious and shown by this one student to every other student in the school who will take the time to watch their math teacher scream and go into a tizzy over a cricket.  You hope that the video doesn't get posted on the Internet.  After all, you did threaten the student.  But, then again, he did shove a cricket in your face and drop it on your lap.  Later in the year, you will laugh at this incident.  But, it will take a while.    

As I wrote the letters, it became clear to me that there were a number of students that I never formed that personal connection with this year.  And, that's sad.  Their letters were kinda generic, and they could tell.  To all my students, their letters contained a variant of the following: "Good luck on your Algebra 1 EOI today!  You've worked hard this year, and I am positive that you are going to rock this test!  Take your time on the test.  Answer every single question!  Pay special attention to your positives and negatives!  Check and double check your work!  I've enjoyed having you in class this year.  Now, go and show this test who's boss!"  For some students, I would add reminders of things they often struggled with.  For example, I have a few students who have a terrible time remembering the formula for point-slope form.  So, I added a reminder of that in their letter.

The students in my testing session thanked me for the letters right away.  I could really tell that my gesture meant a lot to them.  Others who had other testing sessions hunted me down later in the day to tell me how much they appreciated the note.  One student stopped by my room and said, "I didn't think I was going to be able to pass my EOI, then I read the letter you wrote me.  And, I knew that I could pass the test after reading it.  Thanks for the letter!"  Then, the same student thanked me again when his class period came around.  My kiddos deserve to know how proud I am of them!  And, I need to make an effort to tell them that more often!  Letters truly do make a difference!

I also treated my kiddos to peppermints and a last minute pep-talk before the test.

Pre-Test Peppermints
Maybe pep-talk isn't the best description for what went down before we started testing.  I explained that a standardized test means standardized instructions.  Once I start reading out of the green book, I can't deviate from the script.  So, anything they want to know or discuss has to happen well before the book is opened and anything is passed out.  Take your time.  This is not a timed test.  Do not leave any questions blank.  If you leave a question blank, I will kill you.  Yes, I threatened my students, but I did it out of love.  Apparently, I threaten my students quite frequently.  Deal with it.  A few students asked last minute math questions.  What's point-slope form again?  How do I know if I should use an open circle or a closed circle?

I could tell that they were stressed.  Algebra 1 is their first high-stakes standardized test.  The state of Oklahoma says that they must pass the Algebra 1 test to graduate.  They've been taking standardized tests since third grade, but this is the first one that really and truly counts.  Though, if they can't get a driver's license without passing their 8th grade reading test.  So, that's a pretty important test for them, too.  I was stressed, too, but I tried to hide it.  I'm not sure how great of a job I did of that.  

Since I was administering a test all morning, my morning classes had to report to the gym.  They were excited for this, but after a week of testing, hanging out in the gym has lots its appeal.  



Earlier this week, I wrote that pass rates don't tell the whole story.  So, I'm going to share my Algebra 1 pass rate this year, and then I'm going to try to share the amazing stories that the pass rate doesn't communicate.

I have 26 regular education and 15 special education students in 3 sections of Algebra 1.  All of my regular education students tested on Monday.  Some of my special education students have tested, and others won't test until next week.  What I'm about to write applies only to my regular education students.  I have yet to get scores for my special education students.  I teach in a school district that does not have the manpower or resources to offer remediation classes.  Every 9th grader is automatically enrolled in Algebra 1.  There is no Remedial Algebra 1.  There is no Honors Algebra 1.  We have no Pre-AP classes.  There is no Pre-Algebra.  There is no Algebra Concepts.  There is no extra Math Lab.  We simply have Algebra 1.  If a student failed 8th grade math, they take Algebra 1.  If they made a 100% in 8th grade math, they still take Algebra 1.  If a student isn't prepared for Algebra 1, there's no class to send them to.  They get to stay.  If I could change things at my school, this would be among the first of my changes.    

22 out of 26 passed.  Of course the math teacher in me has to convert that to a percent.  85% of my students passed.  Last year, 90% of my regular education students passed.  So. that hurts.  One student missed passing by one question.  One more question right would have changed his label from "Limited Knowledge" to "Proficient."  That hurts.  Another student who didn't pass missed 9 weeks of school.  Still, I feel like I could have and should have done more to help her.

One of my students who didn't pass was the one I was hoping more than anybody else would pass.  She moved into the district part-way through the year last year.  She was in my Algebra 1 class.  She tried to follow along with what we were doing, but she was so far behind that she never could quite catch up.  She scored "unsatisfactory" on the EOI, answering only a fourth of the questions correctly.  This year, she retook Algebra 1.  She had our other math teacher for the first semester, but she ended up transferring into my class second semester.  She still struggled greatly, but I could see glimpses of understanding.  She worked hard. She asked a ton of questions.  And, she decided, I think, to take charge of her own learning.  When we were reviewing point-slope form, she would ask for more and more practice questions.  The expression on her face when she got the equation correct was PRICELESS!  I can remember thinking, "This is why I teach.  These moments are the reason why I put up with all the not-so-nice things that come with teaching."

She worked hard during the EOI.  She took her time.  She did everything I asked her to do.  When her score came up on the screen at the end of the test, she covered it with her hands because she was too afraid to look.  I pulled her hands back to take a peek; I was ready to congratulate her on passing.  The number on the screen made my heart sink.  She had gotten just under half the questions right.  The screen said "Limited Knowledge." She was oh so close to passing.  Yes, I share in her disappointment.  But, more than that, I am incredibly proud of her.  Our instinct is to look at the score and say she failed.  We should be looking at the fact that her score almost doubled in one year.  Doubled!  That's something we should be jumping up and down about.  That deserves to be celebrated!  

Instead of looking at my pass rate, I will picture the face of my student who went from Unsatisfactory to Limited Knowledge in one year.  I think about another student who scored Unsatisfactory on her 8th grade math test.  This week, she surprised herself by scoring Advanced on her Algebra 1 EOI.  That calls for a happy dance!  Her hard work paid off big time!  This student and I started out the year as enemies.  It was a hassle to get her to do anything.  She would much rather talk to her friends and play on her phone than do algebra.  And, we battled over this daily.  She made it clear that she didn't think she was good at math, and apparently I wasn't a very good teacher because she still didn't understand.  I bit my tongue and held back words so many times.  Then, something happened, and she started participating.  She started asking questions.  She changed seats to get away from people who distracted her.  She started pairing up with the students who excelled in class.  Instead of copying their work, she would pick their brains and ask for help.  Our relationship took a complete 180.  When I would unsuccessfully try to quiet the class (something I'm working on!), she would yell at the class to be quiet so we could learn.  Somehow, they would always listen to her.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard her say, "Guys!  We're trying to learn!"  And, learn she did!  (She also had my back when other students would say not so nice things about me.  "Ms. Hagan, someone said you were a snob, but I stood up for you and told them that you were not a snob!"  I kinda doubt that my students even really know what it means to be a snob...)  Though, she still makes it clear that my jokes are NOT funny.  That itself is funny because I have her sister in Algebra 2, and her sister thinks my jokes are hilarious!  I also can't help but picture the three students who scored Limited Knowledge on their 8th grade math test and pulled off a Proficient this year in Algebra 1.  They worked hard this year, and they passed.  I'm so happy for them!  And, I can't forget the six students who scored Proficient in 8th grade math and scored Advanced in Algebra 1.  Growth happens when you push students beyond what they think is possible.

It's been a year with a lot of success stories.  My freshman have matured so much over the course of this year.  I was worried earlier this year that I hadn't made the type of connections with them that I made with my freshman last year.  But, the connections and relationships came.

I'm already looking forward to next year.  I'm thinking about things to change.  Things to keep.  Things to do differently.  Things to stop doing altogether.  As the rest of the year winds to a close (less than a month left!), I'll be sure to blog about my reflections and ideas for next year.

Thanks for reading this!  And, thanks for giving me an opportunity to share the stories behind the testing.  It means a lot to me.  My students are more than the label given to them by the test, and, as a teacher, I am more than my pass rate.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Off to Battle...

Since I started teaching at Drumright, there has been this poem written on the chalk board in the teacher's lounge.  One can't help but look at it while making copies.  I've googled phrases from it and found nothing, so I'm guessing it's an original poem.

Teaching Poem

My school starts state testing Monday.  And, my Algebra 1 students will be the first students to test.  I actually asked for Algebra 1 to test first.  That sounds like an insane thing to do, but once testing starts, it is possible to go a week or more without seeing certain students.  I wanted there to be as little time as possible for students to forget what we have learned between the last time I see them and the time they test.

I am fighting a "war of numbers, letters, and EOI scores."  As panic and dread start to set in on my part, I have to remind myself that I've done my very best.  As my mother often tells me, "If you've done your best, that's all you can do."  I can't tell you how many times she repeated that to me when I was in high school and college.  And, it didn't stop after I walked across that stage and received my diploma.  She still has to remind me that if I've given my best, then there's nothing more that I can do.  Stressing over what may or may not happen after that is just torturing yourself.

I've done my best.  I've taught my heart out this year.  And, I certainly hope my test scores reflect that.

Last year, 12/12 (100%) of my Algebra 2 students passed their EOI exam.
Last year, 35/41 (85%) of my Algebra 1 students passed their EOI exam.

I fear that this year's scores will compare poorly to last year's scores.  There is no doubt in my mind that my Algebra 2 pass rate this year will drop severely.  But, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.  Oh, I'm sure some people will look at it and think that I dropped the ball, that I didn't do my job this year.  But, a pass rate doesn't tell the whole story.  Our math program is slowly improving after being neglected for many years.  We had a 167% increase in the number of students taking Algebra 2 in one year.  That's major.  Major.  That means more students are passing Algebra 1 and Geometry.  Yes, many have struggled this year.  They've struggled greatly.  Probably over half of my Algebra 2 students lack a strong Algebra 1 foundation.  I can't do anything about the past, though.  I wasn't here then, and the math program lacked rigor.  The Algebra 2 pass rate before I came here hovered between 39 and 43 percent.

More and more, I'm realizing that test scores don't tell the whole story.  Pass rates don't tell the whole story.  They are simply part of the story.  The EOI is a battle.  But, it isn't the war.  The war is greater than a single test.  What is the war?  Getting students to graduate?  Is that my end-goal?  Shouldn't it be something loftier?  Preparing them for higher education?  College and career readiness?  Creating productive citizens?  In college, one of our assignments was to write our Philosophy of Education.  Looking back over mine, it seems all over the place.  I wrote about habits of mind, encouraging teamwork, inspiring lifelong learning, character development, and how teaching should be like teaching a living language.  Now that I've taught for almost two years, maybe it's time I revisit my Philosophy of Education.  What exactly am I trying to do?  Am I actually doing it?  Alas, I'll have to find time for that later.  For the next two weeks, my focus is on a battle, not the war.
  
   

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Things Teenagers Say - Volume 10

Check out previous versions of Things Teenagers Say here:

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6 | Volume 7 | Volume 8 | Volume 9

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What starts with an m, ends with an h, and makes children cry?  
Math

One of my Algebra 2 students came up with this joke on his own.  I didn't find it very amusing, but I could tell by the laughing that the rest of my class could relate.  If I remember correctly, this was said on our first day of polynomial long division...

--

Mentally, I'm in the 2020's.  But, physically, I'm in 2014.

--

I killed the cat, and I don't know how to fix it.  Help!

--

You've got to follow the rule of math: Please excuse my something something something.

--


My graph is so cute!  

Best thing to hear from a student during a test!

--

My arteries hurt because of you.

--

Some of my ellipses look like drunken, squished soldiers.

--

You're weird, Ms. Hagan.  But, that's okay.  I love weird teachers.  Weird teachers are more fun.

--

Can you smell the number nine?

Yes, yes I can.  Now what did I just agree to?!?

--

Student: It smells like burning wood in here.
Me: What?
Student: Sometimes I set pencils on fire in my bedroom, and your classroom smells exactly like that.

I don't even want to know!

--

Me: I need a week off.
Student: Why?  So you can spend it with your cats?

And, for the record, I still don't own a single cat.  I have no clue where my students got the idea that I'm a crazy cat lady!  

--

Tomorrow, I'm going to have the X-Box flu.

So, that's what they call it nowadays when your parents call you in sick when you're not...

--

Me: What does the word linear remind you of?
Student: My mom.
Me: Why would the word linear make you think of your mom?
Student: My mom gave birth to me.  Everything makes me think of her.

--

Somewhere along the way, I started putting lines through my z's without realizing it.

Another convert.  I started putting lines through my z's because of my 8th grade Algebra 1 teacher.  Now, students are putting lines through their z's because of me!  

--

Student: I was explaining the quadratic formula to my family.
Me: Oh, and what did they think?
Student: Their brains were hurting just like mine.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

STEM Day 2014

The day before Spring Break, I had the privilege of taking a group of students to STEM Day, a morning of science, math, and engineering competitions at Central Tech, our local regional technology center.  This was my first year to attend because I ended up having to miss it last year due to the stomach bug.  

STEM Day Registration

There were written math tests in Middle School Math, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Advanced Math.  Students could also enter a Paper Airplane Competition, Scientific Problem Solving Competition, or Ping Pong Launcher Competition.

STEM Day

Almost 800 students were in attendance!

Just a small portion of the students in attendance

Tables were set up by local colleges and groups to entertain the students who were not competing at the moment.

There were dry ice cheese balls that I did not try.  It was fun to watch kids try to eat them with their mouths open to let the steam escape!  

Frozen Cheese Balls

Students could try their hand at operating a robotic arm.  It was harder than it looked!

Robotic Arm Trainer

Robotic cars were on display.

Robotic Car

This Vortex Cannon could shoot smoke rings across the room.  Very cool! 
Vortex Cannon


I'm not sure what this was called, but students stood on a special plate and touched the large ball while it charged.  Then, if they placed their hand near the small ball, it would force it to move.  


Here are some of the airplanes that my students ended up creating for the paper airplane contest.  Students were given 10 minutes to create an airplane out of 3-20 sheets of paper and 3 paper clips.  Students were not allowed to cut or tear the paper in any way.  
Paper Airplane Competition



Paper Airplane Competition


Mini rockets were constructed out of straws and paper.

Straw Rockets

All in all, it was a fun and informative morning.  Only one student ended up taking home a medal, but I'm thankful that my students were able to have this experience.  As a school that offers very little in the way of upper level math and science courses, this may be the only exposure that some of my students get to the world of STEM.  Plus, it was a great way for my students to see the opportunities they have to explore STEM careers through our local tech center.  


Monday, April 7, 2014

Punk Rocker Chick

Have you ever wondered, "Hey, what would Ms. Hagan look like if she was a punk rocker chick?"  Yeah, me neither.  But, apparently one of my students has wondered that.

So, I present to you: Ms. Hagan, Punk Rocker Chick.



I tell you, teaching high school is NEVER dull!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Even More Classroom Inspiration

So, I'm pretty sure if I hadn't learned anything new from #edcampTULSA, it would have still been worth it to attend just for the opportunity to snoop around other teachers' classrooms to see what they are up to.  I've posted about the math and science specific ideas I plan on stealing.  Today, I'm posting pictures of more general ideas I'm thinking about incorporating in my own classroom.

My first experience with a parking lot in the classroom was at an OGAP conference last summer.  Every table was given pads of sticky notes.  And, we were told that we could post any questions, comments, or concerns that we had on the parking lot.  And, the coordinators would make sure that they were covered or taken care of.  I don't think anybody used it at all.  That doesn't make it a good idea at all.

Parking Lot Poster

One of my main goals for this summer is to work on my classroom management strategies.  I'm going to be really honest.  Classroom management is probably my weakest area in the classroom.  I need to make some major changes.  I went into teaching assuming that high school students were capable of knowing when it was appropriate and inappropriate to do certain things.  For example, when I'm working a problem out on the SMART Board, it is inappropriate to have a conversation with your neighbor.  But, you wouldn't know that by looking at my students.  I'm getting sick and tired of hearing myself say "You should not be talking right now.  You should not be talking right now."  After two years, I've learned that going in without a plan does not lend to a well-managed classroom.  So, next year is going to be different.  I'm finally seeing the importance of procedures and everything else that I read about before I started teaching.

I'm thinking that if I can train my students to use the parking lot from the very beginning of the school year, it could be very beneficial.  It's going to take training and practice, though.

If I am going to have more procedures, I am going to need to find a way to communicate those procedures to my students.  I liked this procedure sign that I found in one classroom.

Classroom Procedure Poster Reminder
I liked these Book / Brain / Beyond posters that I saw posted in several classrooms.  I know I need to ask my students to do a lot more tasks involving #2 and #3.  

Book / Brain / Beyond Posters

I have a box of these clear plastic dry erase pockets in my cabinet.  I used them a lot last year, but this year I've been using double sided dry erase boards that my school purchased for me.  I liked the idea of storing papers in these pockets for student access.  This teacher used the pocket to hold talent show applications.  But, I could store anything in them.  Since they are see-through, students could easily see what they were accessing.
Using Dry Erase Pockets for Organization

Outside one classroom, the teacher had a frame that invited students to ask them about their college experiences at Oklahoma State University and The University of Tulsa.  As a Tulsa grad myself, I was excited to see someone else repping the Golden Hurricanes.  It made me realize, though, that I'm not quite sure I've ever asked my students to ask me about my college experience.  I've got a couple of TU flags hanging my classroom, and I'll gladly answer questions.  But, I've never really sought out their questions.  I teach in a community where the majority of our students do not go on to higher education.  Some do, and hopefully more will in the future.  In the mean time, I need to make sure that my students know that I am more than willing to sit down with them and talk about what college is like.

College Display

In one classroom, I saw a teacher use baseball card holder pages to display senior pictures.  I thought this was a brilliant idea!  Of course, it's not quite feasible for my classroom and situation.  In two years of teaching, I've been given one senior picture.  ONE.  Maybe I'll be able to collect this many senior pictures by the time I retire...

Senior Picture Display
For the past two years, I've had all of my students turn their papers into the same tray.  Next year, I think I'm finally going to make trays for each class.  This should save me time and frustration in grading.  Now, I just have to find a place in my classroom to put six different trays.  This should be interesting...
Turn In Trays by Hour
I'm going to be honest.  I'm not sure what this teacher used this pocket chart for.  But, it definitely caught my eye.  I'm posting this more as a reminder to myself to use the pocket charts I bought last summer at Target.  Actually, I need to figure out what I even did with the pocket charts.  I haven't used them at all.  If anyone has any great ideas for using pocket charts, please share!

Pocket Chart
I'm also starting to think about how I want to grid my dry erase board next year.  I've taught for two years and done it two different ways so far.  I kind of like the idea of showing a whole week at once.  But, I've never done it this way.  And, I'm not sure if it would make it harder or easier to maintain.
Assignment Grid Board
I think I posted a similar version of this bulletin board yesterday.  This one features a day of the week on each folder, though.  I can see myself using this for either absent work or extra handouts.

File Folders on Bulletin Board
Isn't this bulletin board adorable?  The teacher took a picture of each class period that she teaches.  Every week, she selects a student from each class to fill out a survey about themselves.  Their answers are displayed next to the picture of that class inside a picture frame.  The board is labeled as Gents and Ladies.  I'm thinking of doing this next year to replace my Star Students Board.
Gents and Ladies Bulletin Board
I'm also in love with this turn in tray.  It's just a cardboard cover for a stacking paper tray.  But, it prevents students from retrieving papers after turning them in or looking at other people's papers.  Plus, I love that the make-up papers have to go in a separate tray.  I'm thinking about changing my policy on late work for next year, so having a dedicated tray for that would be especially useful!


Paper Turn In Tray

Outside of each classroom, each teacher posts what book they are reading, what book they just read, and what book they want to read.  I would love to see this happen at my school.  What would happen if I just made these signs and hung them up outside each classroom?  Do you think teachers would just start using them?  It couldn't hurt, right???

Classroom Reading Poster
I saw these "Time to be Kind" clocks in several classrooms.  One of these clocks was distributed to every teacher to post in their classroom.  I'm thinking that this could be a student council initiative next year.  We could have a week that focused on random acts of kindness.  And, these could be posted around the school as a reminder.
Time to be Kind Clock