Post-It Parking Lot

Hey, everyone!  I just wanted to take a moment to share a learning environment strategy that I’ve used this past week (successfully, I might add). It is called Post-It Parking Lot.

The Post-It Parking Lot is a place for students to share ideas that they have learned. When they realize they have gained new knowledge, they jot down the new knowledge on a Post-It note, and place it in their assigned square in the “parking lot.” The “parking lot” is on a bulletin board near the front of the classroom, so they can easily see it and access it. The best part of this practice is that it makes students think: “What am I learning right now?

The first day that the Post-It Parking Lot was up, students were adding 4, 5, 6, even 10 Post-Its to their parking spaces! I was a little fearful that their notes would start to fall off, or weigh the paper-lot down, so I’ve since limited each student to 2-3 Post-Its for now. I know some of you may think, “You shouldn’t limit the students’ thinking like that!” That was my initial thought, too. But now, instead of sharing every little detail, students are prioritizing the information that they are receiving, and their desire to learn more information throughout the day has heightened! I couldn’t ask for more!!

Now, I didn’t invent this idea so I can’t take credit for it. In fact, I think I originally saw this idea on Pinterest. I decided to adapt it to my classroom and my students love it! I hope you’ll give it a try in your learning environments to see what your students are learning, too.

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The Ramblings of a Teacher on Spring Break…

Spring break is supposed to be a time of rejuvenation and relaxation. For me, it is a time for all of my thoughts, originally suppressed due to a busy schedule, to resurface, causing an explosion of ideas, concerns and epiphanies. Instead of spending my spring break blogging about each individual topic, I thought I would combine all of my intertwining thoughts (some about education, some not) into one blog. Enjoy!

Becoming a Better Teacher

About 12 months ago, I made the decision to step outside the classroom for awhile and focus on building a math website. My goal was simple: to spend this year focusing my passion for content (K-8 math) and my teaching strengths on helping other teachers and students. Little did I know, that would be the least important thing I would be doing this past year.

The most important thing that I did was get connected. Prior to beginning ThatMathLady.Com last year, I had never used Twitter for professional purposes. So, instead of spending my time stalking celebrities, I decided to join the realm of other connected educators out there. It didn’t take too long before I found myself joining in on many Twitter conversations and collaborating with other educators world wide! Now, I have a PLN of 300 awesome and inspiring educators who I learn from EVERY DAY! I have been introduced to new ways of implementing technology in my lessons. I have been exposed to progressive ideas about learning and best practices in the classroom. And I have discovered some amazing tools that will revolutionize the way I teach in the future (Kidblog, Edmodo, Claco, Screencast, Evernote, Sophia, Flipped Learning Network, etc.)

What does this have to do with becoming a better teacher? Well, in order to get better, my PLN has taught me that I still have a lot of learning to do! And you better believe that I plan on staying connected and learning each and every day.

Twitter Chats

Where do I do most of my learning on Twitter? Mostly from weekly chats. Here is a short list of the ones I regularly participate in:

  • #NCed (Tuesdays, 8-9 pm)
  • #SatChat (Saturdays, 7:30-8:30 am)
  • #TLAP (Mondays/Thursdays, 8-9 pm & Sundays, 7:30 pm)
  • #edchat

I do want to mention that there are many other (education) chat groups out there…many, MANY more, in fact! Let me know if you are looking for a chat that fits your discipline (or if you are just wondering how to chat on Twitter) and I will be more than happy to help you get started!

March Madness Mayhem

I. Love. March Madness. I’m not sure what I love more about it…competing with others in the scientific dumb-luck art of “bracketology” or the good ole Cinderella stories of heartbreaking upsets and heroic tales of the underdog.

In the past, I have been notorious for having strong brackets. Well, like many of you reading this, my brackets did not hold up this year. However, the funny part about this is I could not care less because two of my favorite teams are in the Final Four! FINAL FOUR, BABY! FINAL FOUR!!

Somehow, Wichita State (Go Shockers!) upset The Ohio State to advance, and Michigan (Go Blue!) triumphed over Kansas. (KU, in all honesty, is my true favorite. I almost always have the Jayhawks going to the Championship and winning it all at the Big Dance…and I had them winning it all again this year.)

Despite a shockingly busted bracket, I’ve never been more excited for the final weekend of March Madness basketball!

Missing the Classroom

As I mentioned before, I haven’t had a classroom to call my own for this past school year.  That hasn’t stopped me from teaching, though. I have subbed and found other teachers who have welcomed me into their worlds to voluntarily work with their students. But you know how that old saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Ain’t that the truth!! Now that my website is up and running, I can’t wait to step back into the classroom!

Running

Like the third topic, this last one is not really related to teaching, but it is something that I am personally passionate about. I began running in races when I was 4 years old (my first race was the 1/4-mile Teddy Bear Trot in Flint, MI.)  I have run in many races since then, including a couple half-marathons (I will be running my third, the Divas Half-Marathon in a few weeks!) Well, I have a milestone birthday coming up next year, and so I decided it is time to register for my first full marathon. Eek!

I wanted to run my first marathon in a relatively flat location (a.k.a beach) and at a place I had never traveled before. Since the Outer Banks of North Carolina fits that description, that is where I have signed up! I can’t wait to make this dream become a reality!

Baseball Season Is Here

I snagged a photo with Thomas Jefferson before the Nationals game last summer.

Finally!! Longest off-season ever!

My husband and I have already planned our 2013 MLB park road trip. We will be visiting at least 4 new stadiums this year, making our grand total at least 21 active MLB parks! (That’s pretty impressive for having been together just 3 years!)

Our MLB park trips have taken us to some fabulous cities around the U.S. (and Canada!), including Washington D.C., Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco. I can’t wait for this year’s trip!

 

 

Well, I think that is enough rambling for now. Whew! All this thinking has worn me out, and Spring Break is almost over! I better soak up these last three days of time off, because June won’t be here for quite some time!

Happy Mathing!