Guess Who’s Back?!

Man, I love my job.

That’s the refrain that keeps floating through my head this week as we are FINALLY back at school – yes, I loved my summer, but as soon as students walked back into the building I was ALL IN.

This week has been crazy, as all first weeks are (and it’s not even over), and we have a LOT of new staff this year so it’s seemed even more frenetic as we try to get them all on the same page with how things work here.

Of course, we kicked off the year with another fun video by the staff – welcoming all the students back by reminding them how weird we are. My sister thinks I have too much free time, but this falls under “other duties as assigned” at our school!

This year, I’m taking on the #Teach180 challenge of posting a picture from my classroom every day. I’m really excited because it will push me to make sure I’m doing at least one thing every day worthy of sharing with the world! Hopefully I’m doing that already…but we all know there are those days where it’s just same old, same old. I’m very stoked to get inspiration from others doing the challenge as well – I think I’ve already written down 3 or 4 ideas for activities just in the last two days!

My post yesterday included this activity I did with my advisory students – they each had to write 5 words to describe last school year, and 5 words they wanted to describe THIS school year. I’d like to do it again at the end of the year to see if their words came true.

I’m also going to take the #ObserveMe challenge, because this year is the year of challenges! Or something. We had a district observation challenge last year, and I loved observing other teachers at work all the time. It’s so inspiring to get out of your own room and see what else is happening in your building. So I guess that with me participating in the challenge, I’m hoping other teachers in my building will as well so that I can drop into their classrooms and hang out and get inspired! I’ve decided that my feedback goals for the challenge are going to be: helping students take effective notes, lesson closure, and students’ ability to explain what they’re learning. I’ve seen a few different ways teachers are inviting the feedback, and I’m choosing to put my email and twitter handles on the sign to let the observer choose.


Lots happening already, and I think I have some GREAT groups of students this year. I stayed up too late last night texting my friend who teaches across the state about Depth of Knowledge and Standards Based Grading, my head is just full of all sorts of ideas for this year, and the excitement. It is real.

Good to be back.


Summer 2016!


When you’re a teacher, one of the first things people ask you during the summer months is if you’ve gotten a second job for the summer. Then, when you say you haven’t, they make some comment about all your free time and how nice it must be, a thinly veiled reference to how lazy they think you are. (Or maybe that’s just my mom…)

I am very much an introvert, and as such, my summers are a very much needed time for me to recharge mentally so that I have the appropriate amounts of energy for all of the amazing student and staff interactions during the school year. Not that I haven’t done anything school related all summer – there’s been a lot of productivity too.  But, in addition to revisiting the entire Algebra II curriculum in preparation for teaching it for the first time, keeping up every once in awhile on blog posts and teacher twitter, coming up with new ideas for my classroom, helping prioritize standards/write assessments for Algebra I, and writing/filming a back to school video for Mid City (coming soon!)…I’ve spent a lot of time doing awesome things that I love this summer.

I’ve read 20 books, including being very close to finishing my reread of my childhood favorite series Redwall (I have two books left!) and the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I loved it, please come talk to me about it for extended periods of time if you’ve read it as well!).

I’ve watched more soccer matches than most people probably do in their lives – pretty much all of the Euro 2016 and Copa America Centenario. I’ve spent the last week glued to all-day Olympic coverage because I LOVE THE OLYMPICS.

One of my best friends, Molly, got married in June and our entire friend group except our friend Sam (who had an internship in NYC this summer, but we FaceTimed him into the ceremony) was back together for the wedding weekend. These are my favorite people in the entire world and it was such a good weekend. My friend Morgan designed our very own snapchat geofilters for the reception venue and we ordered 53 crab rangoons at our favorite restaurant and two of my best friends are now married and I got like 10,000 steps on my Fitbit from dancing alone.

In summer 2012, I did math research at Illinois State University with some incredible future math teachers – we had a reunion this summer since Joel was doing the research program again as a practicing teacher and picked back up with a weekend filled with all of our same terrible inside jokes and talking about math and teaching and life. And playing Pokemon Go. A lot.

I spent a lot of time hanging out with my nephew and sister – I often got calls that were just Elijah saying “Yolo! Come over!” (yes, my nephew calls me Yolo.) He’s also obsessed with my cat, so he came to visit Jordy a lot. I went to a wedding with my mom, and had some good friend times with Mid City coworkers who are also great friends.

I took a road trip to Nashville, TN to visit my friend Lari.  We went to the zoo, where I got to PET A KANGAROO, and road tripped down to Birmingham, AL (my first time in the state) to see 5 Seconds of Summer and get caught in a surprise rainstorm. I should mention that I’ve seen 5 Seconds of Summer four times this summer…and am seeing them one more time before students officially start back. They’re my favorite band, okay? Nashville is a lovely city and we ate lots of good food and went for walks by the river and I got to visit a friend from high school who also lives down there.

It’s been a good summer, but with like 5 days to go before teachers report back, and after spending some time in the building last week prepping our back to school video and seeing staff again…I’m ready. I’m ready to see students, and coworkers, and get back to the job I love. There’s been a few emails going around our staff with awesome new ideas for the year, and some changes to our building organization and staff, and it’s gonna be awesome.

I hope everyone has had a great summer as well and is ready to come back with new ideas to share and to make new memories, learn new things and change lives!!!!! I’d love to see some summer wrapup posts from other people, too 🙂