# The Big Push

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I don’t remember ever coming back from Spring Break to find myself in the end-of-year countdown (the inevitable result of teaching in a Regents-focused school).  On the one hand, WOW!  On the other hand – OH NO!  I could have used another restorative few days on this vacation, but I could also use some more time to teach the kiddies.

I am jumping in to the #MTBoS30 Challenge posed by Anne Schwartz.  I’m not at all certain I’ll make it to 30 posts this month, but I want to write more, and this event will definitely go along way towards that.  And, in order to maintain focus, I’m going to take Tina’s cue and use some prompts as an organizing tool.

1. What motivated you the most today?

I had 2 great motivators today.  I’ve been good to myself this break and done very little work for school other than reading, so preparing for the week ahead with an eye towards
the coming month was the order of the day. But my one of my motivations was to keep the pre-break energy in my Geometry class alive.  We are in the middle (more like 3/4) of a unit on 3-dimensional figures, one of the best I’ve put together in a long time.  In the past, this topic always gets short shrift, coming at the tail end of the year. But the class I’m teaching now is not Regents-driven, so I have taken my time.  We began with Supply Cabinet (I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time!), and explored Surface Area through the use of nets.  (I’ve subscribed to Mathspad and it’s been well worth it in just the first month.)  Our
study of volume included creating prisms from Play-Doh, and physically demonstrating how the volume of a pyramid relates to the volume of a prism. The kids were so jazzed by all this that they applied the same energy to paper-and-pencil problem solving; the success in hands-on activities bought a lot of willingness to do more traditional work.  Believe it or not, this is my 8th period class on the Friday before break.

This week poses several challenges. First of all, AP exams will be taking place in different pockets throughout the school.  Second, what 16-year-old is enthusiastic about returning from Spring Break?  And finally, report cards will be distributed on Tuesday.  There will be some disgruntled children – although I’m pretty sure no one is in denial about their performance; there shouldn’t be any big surprises.

So we will refresh our understanding of how to find volume and surface area tomorrow before launching into the unit performance task, Spiky Door, which I am proudly ‘borrowing’ from Kate Nowak (who borrowed it from someone else) and Lisa Bejarano.  I can’t wait!  And since I’m blogging every day (theoretically) you will definitely see some pictures.

I’m working hard in those classes to really ‘see’ the different students, and to the best of my ability, meet as many of their needs as I can.  I wish I was better at this, but I feel good about setting specific goals for myself as a teacher around my higher need students, rather than pushing blame onto them.

My other big motivator is a personal goal – to sew every day, or as many days as I can possibly manage it. I’ve been a quilter for a long time, but the last 10 years – since I began teaching – have seen a predictable drop-off in my productivity, which now tends to be limited to vacations and the summer. Well, no more. I’ve got a stash of fabric just waiting to be cut up and sewn back together, and I’ve got some wonderful friends with whom I enjoy doing just that. One of my long term projects is a Dear Jane quilt. It’s 13 rows with 13 blocks, so I’ve got quite a ways to go. But here’s my start. Gotta go finish #7.

The Original Quilt

See you tomorrow!