Math = Love: Piles of Paper

Friday, May 6, 2016

Piles of Paper

It's been a weird school day so far.  It's the last Friday of the year.  Monday will be our last full day of school, and Tuesday will be a half day with half of the morning taken up by an awards assembly.  More students than I can count have decided it's not even worth coming to school anymore.  Or, they came to school, realized hardly anyone was here, and decided to go back home.  It doesn't help that the seniors have declared today "senior skip day."  Oh, and I can't forget the students who are out of class to help move our high school classrooms to the middle school for next year.

I printed off a word search to keep the handful of students I have in each class period occupied.  Every word in the puzzle starts with an E.  Yes, I'm mean like that.  Yesterday, when most of the school was gone for baseball regionals and a biology field trip, we played Sara VanDerWerf's 5x5 game.  While my students have been word searching, I've been keeping busy.  Cleaning out my inbox.  Making a summer to-do-list.  Working on my action research project that's due on Sunday.

I'm surrounded by stacks of paper, and I think I'm starting to understand how some of my students feel.  I've got stacks of journal articles I printed off as potential sources for my research paper.  I've got another pile of old rough drafts of my research project.  I *think* I can get rid of these, but something is telling me to hold on to them until I graduate.  Then, there are the stacks of pre-tests, questionnaires, permission slips, post-tests, retention-tests, and other paperwork generated by doing research.  Oh, and I can't forget the sample papers and pages and pages of tips on writing from my professors.

Do you know what I want to do more than anything else?

#1 Graduate with my master's degree.

#2 Print off my final research project and bind it using the Arc System from Staples (a new obsession of mine).

#3 Admire the product of almost two years of hard work.

#4 Throw away all the piles of paper collected in the process of writing this paper.

Occasionally, I will have students who will talk about how they can't wait until the school year is over so they can throw away their interactive notebooks or set them on fire or destroy them in some other way that makes me want to fall to my knees and cry.  (Not all students feel this way, of course.  I have other students who take their notebooks with them to college.  I have students who claim their notebook is a prized possession, and they are going to keep it in their hope chest.)  I've never understood their desire to destroy their notebook.  Until now.

Grad school has been an interesting journey.  I wouldn't describe it as "fun."  It has been a lot of hard work and long hours (and will continue to be so for the next week)!  It wouldn't say it revolutionized my teaching practice.  But, it did force me to look more critically at what I do in the classroom.  It taught me how to design and carry out a research project.  I read scholarly journal articles and published research that I probably wouldn't have ever taken a glance at before.  Grad school has stretched me, and I'm thankful for that.  I'm also thankful it's nearly over!          


  1. I am envious. We still have three weeks of school. We just finished our first round of EOC testing (Algebra I, Biology, and US History) and next week for some reason we are taking the voluntary Algebra II and English III EOC tests. My students are none to happy and actually neither am I. I didn't hear of taking these tests until March and though my teaching wouldn't have changed much there would have been more comprehensive style questions on my assessments all year long.

    I have three more weeks to long for next August when I finally (after three years away) I get to teach Algebra I again! Good luck to you on your research paper and have a fun and productive summer!

  2. Why are you moving to the middle school next year?

  3. I would be interested in purchasing a students INB from you if they are willing to part with it after the school year instead of burning it. I am considering INB in my classroom for next year and would love to have one to use as a guide.

  4. I appreciate your insight on the master's program. I've got 5 classes left. I would agree that it isn't necessarily revolutionary, but does force you to assess your teaching methods. Good luck finishing up the research project! It's nice to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

  5. I teach in a small group and so I have the same kids each year. I tell the kids I'll give them bonus points if they save their notebooks from the previous year so they don't burn them. :-)

  6. I had a student from last year come in to borrow an old INB to help her study for the SAT because she lost hers. I was slightly offended that she lost it but also ecstatic that she thought it was a helpful study tool so I gave her one. Haha.

    1. Yay for students realizing INBs are useful!

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