A Day in the life of a Math Teacher


Tuesday, January 12th 2016

4:30 am: Wake up before my alarm and turn it off.

5:00 am: grade in my pj’s

6:00 am: Still dark out,  10 degrees F, Run 6 miles with my 2 standard poodles.

7:00 am: Quick! Shower, dressed, feed the dogs, get to school!

8:00 am: Staff meeting (Kid Talk)

8:45 am: Programming class students setting up their accounts with Globaloria. The introduction part is a little tedious – setting up a blog, creating an about me page…students are eager to start programming.

10:00 am: Geometry class – Taco cart project!  Students did taco cart on the first day of the semester. It is a great pre-assessment of their problem solving skills & experience applying the Pythagorean Theorem. The project part is for them to find the fastest path to the taco cart and then write a paragraph on what they did, how they did it, how they decided they were correct, etc. Similar to the Math Forum POW’s.

11:45 am: Lunch time – Google Hangout with Globaloria in order to complete the PD portion of the programming software we will be using.

12:30 pm: Puma period – On Tuesdays, students can go to any class to get help. I had about 10 students who missed a class at some point last week, they sat in groups by missed assignment, and I ran between groups answering questions. There were other stragglers in my room using the laptops. One student completing a math online credit recovery and she asks for help with each question. I try to do a quick mini lesson on solving equations with her.

1:15 pm: Planning period – Now I have a minute to eat. Finalize my plan for Intro to programming next period. Upload assignments onto Google Classroom. Put together plans for my classes tomorrow. Remember I haven’t graded programs from last class, log in to CodeHS and see that I have about 30 programs to grade and provide feedback. I also notice that one student was programming at midnight last night for fun. Awesome!

2:45 pm: Intro to Programming – I lean heavily on CodeHS for this class. Since we are still in the initial part of this class, students are having fun completing the introductory programs and they are all moving at their own pace. I want them to feel free to progress quickly, but I am not sure what I will do when some are very far ahead of others. It’s a good problem. I’ll figure something out.

4:05 pm: School ends. I clean up, make copies for tomorrow, respond to a few emails, chat with some students and leave within an hour.

5:00 pm: Home. Walk the dogs. Make Dinner. Clean up.

8:00 pm: sleep


This blog post is part of the Explore MTBoS Blogging Initiative. Please join in!

My “Explore The MTBoS” Homework

I have been avoiding posting because I feel like I have to share THE BEST open ended problem. I am positive that about 2 hours after writing this post, I’ll think of one that I like better, and I’ll be mad at myself. But I said that I would do this, so I’m doing this!

One of my favorites for an entry level algebra or geometry unit on proportions / similarity is this:

“The human body is extremely proportional. Your task is to determine the length of the Statue of Liberty’s torch arm as compared to her nose. Her nose is 4 feet 6 inches. Use your nose and arm measurements to calculate what the measurement of the statue’s arm should be.

Once you have calculated this measurement, find the real length of the Statue of Liberty’s right arm. If your calculation is very different from the actual length, then check your work. Explain possible reasons why your solution is not the exact same as the actual arm length.”

That’s all I tell them. If they ask for help, I ask how many noses they have in their arm. They look mad, then confused, then they get to work. It’s simple, but not really what I would define as open ended since there really is one correct answer. But I do love it!

Another favorite is a task from the Mathematics Assessment Project: Patchwork . It’s a non-linear pattern, but it is presented in a way that students can visualize how the pattern is growing and usually after much struggle they develop a formula that works. Then the fun part is I get to employ the procedure described in the 5 Practices book and allow an opportunity for students to determine that their formulas are equivalent.

Later we develop a formula for the number of diagonals in a polygon and students relate it back to their work with the Patchwork problem.

Thanks Sam, for your rant. I needed that extra rant to get myself to post something!