Then I Didn’t!

Dear Readers,

I am on a journey that I started July 27th- my 45th birthday! I’m not sure what happened between July 26th & July 27th but within that day I changed. It’s like my mind kicked into overdrive because I turned 45. It’s like my mind told myself that I need to have a mid-life crisis. So, here I am, smack-dab in the middle of my very own mid-life crisis.


What I’m experiencing is new. I don’t know what I want to do, personally. The one plus is that I’ve figured out what I want to do professionally. I’ll talk about that in a later post. What I’d like to talk about is my mid-life crisis. Being in this situation is like my state of mind when I’ve lost something- I had it and I didn’t. That’s how I feel- I was feeling fine, I knew myself, I had most of “it” figured out- then I didn’t.

So, that’s where I am now! I started this blog to explore and reflect on my growth and that’s what I’m doing! I’ll keep you apprised during this journey.

I’m Not Strong Enough

I love this blog/writer; she always seems to express what I’m thinking. I feel as if I could have written this post myself. It’s a bit long but well worth it!

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

Every year I have some kids who break my heart.

It happens as soon as I task them with completing some assignment and they whisper to me with down-turned eyes, “I’m not smart enough.”

And my heart breaks for the broken spirit of the child.

Because the truth is, there are very few kids that are truly not smart enough to understand the math I teach and those are never even in my class.

But I can see how some may conclude they are not smart enough. After all, they see some of their classmates tearing through assignments like a kid at Disney World. They hear others volunteer answers before they have even processed the question. They feel their struggle while they see others’ successes.

But the problem is not that they aren’t smart enough.

Maybe they are not skilled enough, having missed earlier important concepts.

Maybe they are not…

View original post 885 more words

Unlocking a Google Sheet

Dear Readers,

I came up with an ingenious way to either stop students from completing the exit slip (that’s obviously created in Google sheets) or to have them ask for permission to unlock them so they I will know (if I haven’t gotten around to grading them) who hasn’t completed them. Once I know, I can unlock it and the student could then complete the exit slip with lesser credit for the assignment.

Protected Google sheet

“So, what problem did I encounter?,” you ask.

Well, the problem was I didn’t know how to unlock it. One of my students wanted to complete a locked exit slip and I didn’t know how to do it. I even Googled it, to no avail. So, I just started playing with Google sheets until I figured it out. Here’s how I did it:

First, I clicked on locked sheet

Then I clicked on Can edit

The trash can icon appeared in the upper right hand corner so I decided to click on it just to see what would happen.

After I clicked the trash can icon, I pressed Remove & the sheet unlocked.

It was so simple. I hope this helps someone!

Tech Savvy Me!

Dear Readers,

I am officially a Google Classroom user! I am so proud of myself. At this time last year, I didn’t know half the stuff I know now. I cannot believe that I’m this tech savvy. Just one of my many goals that I’m crossing off my list.


  1. Google Classroom
  2. Edmodo
  3. Google Form
  4. Google Docs
  5. Google Sheets
  6. Class Dojo
  7. Pinnacle (Grading system)
  8. Haiku

Back in the Day!

Dear Readers,

I’ve been in serious reflection mode. One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is why I simply refuse to stay happy. Whenever I’m happy for too long, I’ll invariably do something to sabotage myself. Something just came to mind. It happened when I was about 6 or 7. I was on the monkey bars and I was on a roll. I made it almost all the way across. I was beaming from ear to ear. I only had one more bar to go when I fell. I didn’t just do an ordinary, everyday fall. I fell and bruised my ribs. I was so embarrassed. It was in front of most of my classmates. I cried so hard. My mother came to pick me up that day from school because of my injuries.

What happened afterward isn’t the important part. The important part is that I’ve finally gotten to the root of why I don’t like to get too happy. Isn’t it funny how something so seemingly innocuous that happened in our childhood marks us for life?

Well, that’s my reflection for the year! I’m happy that I was just thinking back to the time when I was a kid; the time that marked me for about 40 years. Now I know!

Longer to Plan!

Dear Readers,

Lesson plans are taking longer than it used to to complete. “Why?,” you ask. Well, my plans are more complete and I’ve been more purposeful in all of my planning. My charter school expects to see Checking for Understanding (CFU). We can do that by asking for a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, a 1, 2, 3, or 4 (with 1= I don’t understand at all, 2= I understand a little, 3= I understand it, 4= I understand it and can teach it to someone else). So, I’ve built that into my lesson plan. I sometimes use an Edmodo poll, a Google Form, or a simple 1-4 thumb check. It works really well.

My planning is also taking a little longer because I assess the student’s learning during the whole lesson, which is something I didn’t use to do. This extra planning can take the form of Google Forms and/or sheets. After every concept that I introduce, I have a mini-assessment. I’ve taken to naming them 5 Quick Questions. It’s working like a charm. It’s very helpful because the students know what to expect.

*Update- My students thought that 5 Quick Questions twice a week was too much. So, now I give them the same 5 Quick Questions three times per week and take the best of three.*


While these extra bits of assessment and consistent CFU may be common for someone else, it wasn’t common for me. I now consistently teach rigorous, purposeful lessons and I’ve been able to see a difference in my student’s grades & responses to my lessons. I’m also going to start using Google Classroom next week.

I’ll write more later as I have a little bit more work to complete. By for now!

My Lessons!

During the first week of school, I worked on ice breakers, assessments, & different surveys. One of the surveys I use, that I use every year, is a Multiple Intelligence survey that shows “how” students are smart. The survey gives eight options for “how” students are smart:

multiple intelligence

  • Naturalistic
  • Intrapersonal
  • Interpersonal
  • Musical
  • Logical-Magical
  • Spatial
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic
  • Linguistic

The students really enjoyed this survey.

I was also able to get a writing sample with the “I AM” poem. I also introduced them to my new policies, which I’ll write about later. I got so much done the first week. It was so much that it doesn’t feel like the first week of school.

For the second week of school, I worked on:

  • Executive Functioning Skills
  • S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  • Cognitive Dissonance

cog. diss.

Next week I’ll be working on:

  • Cognitive Dissonance & how to overcome it
  • the student’s disability. They will complete research on one of three disabilities that predominate in the class- A.D.D/A.D.H.D., S.L.D., & Autism.

I’m actually really excited about helping the students learn about their disabilities. I’ll keep you in the know. Bye for now!