∆ Jackson

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 29 2013

Cheesyness, Culture, and Calculators

The summer is nearing its end!  I can’t believe it…and I also can’t believe how excited I am.  I mean, when I think really hard about it, I get sad because I like being with the puppies all day and its so nice to sleep in.  Not to mention the fact that I am able to keep the house clean, run errands whenever I need to, and cook nice dinner on a regular basis…these are all things that I will miss.  But above all that, I am just super excited to meet my new students for this year and get started on making science awesome.  Because, let me tell you, I have so many ideas…..

First of all, check out this post from my other blog in which I compiled tons of really nerdy and awesome science shirts that I would like to buy and wear to class, especially on days which I teach lessons relevant to their message.  They are super cheesy and will only reinforce the fact that my students think I am a total nerd, which is awesome and pretty much my goal.  So, if you need a gift idea for the next year, get me one of these shirts (just check to make sure I haven’t bought it yet first).  : )

Second of all, I attended the most awesome science learning team session on every Monday in July in which we learned about how to make science more relevant to your students and their communities.  We talked about having one main question or event or phenomenon to focus your entire unit around so that each lesson ties back into this one question or event.  If I’ve thoroughly confused you, check out this example.   It’s such a simple, yet amazing, idea and I have already planned my first unit like this.  I’m so excited.

Third, I’ve been working on my classroom culture, which has been really fun for me.  I think I have a more realistic idea of what I want for my students this year, not because my ideas last year were bad, but because I have a better idea of who my students are and where they are coming from.  I’ve decided that my goal is to create a classroom culture of confidence, courage, compassion, and creativity.  (Notice how they are all “c” words?  That was an accident, but I’m going to leverage it.  AND it inspired the title of today’s blog post.)  The basic vision is this:

Students leave my classroom with the confidence to follow their dreams; the courage to fail, get up, and try again; the compassion to support and love others; and the creativity to think critically and solve problems.

And I was inspired by this image:

So, I’m really excited to see how this pans out and see how my students react to it and see if we can’t have a more positive vibe going in room 116 this year.

Which brings me to… New year, new stuff!!  And most importantly, new CALCULATORS!  New is a relative word since I never had old calculators…  Anyway, I set up an Adopt a Classroom fundraiser to help raise money to buy a class set of calculators for my room.  At the end of last year, Office Depot donated $30 to me and I was able to buy 3 solar-powered scientific calculators.  But, I knew I needed a class set.  I can just imagine how much more stress-free my life will be if I don’t have to worry about students having their phones out as calculators during tests.  And how quickly we will be able to go through a set of problems if each student can complete their own calculations, no excuses!  So, I set a goal of $220 so I could buy 22 more calculators and have a class set of 25.

When I met my goal, I was so excited and went to buy my calculators, only to find that Office Depot is no longer a vendor on Adopt a Classroom and Office Max (the new vendor) does not have the same calculators.  The comparable calculators on Office Max are about $6 more.  I was sad.  But I shouldn’t have worried a moment, because I have such amazing friends and family and the donations just kept coming in!  I exceed my goal by a couple hundred dollars, meaning that I now have enough to buy a class set of even the more expensive calculators.  I am blessed.  Thank you to everyone who contributed!

So, here is to starting off the year strong.  Full of lots of cheesyness, great culture, and brand new calculators!

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Hey, we didn’t get to contribute to the calculator dream– how did we miss that? Make sure you let us know about the next fundraiser! Cioci

  2. Hi, veroskk. Thanks for your post! And, just wanted you to know it inspired some thoughts from us: http://smartstrengths.com/resilience-character-seeing-schools-as-a-collection-of-classrooms/

  3. Phoebe Ashley

    Just wanted to say this post sounds so upbeat and positive it is Contagious hehehe

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