First Week Back to School Survival Guide

This is just a survival guide for me to read next year, so I will know what to do, and how to best survive, the first weeks back to school.

Week 0 – Preservice

Waking up early and putting on real clothes is the worst.  But it’s SUPER fun being back and seeing everyone!  It is a busy, busy week.  Do not expect to get too much school work done (or any work at all done) this week.

Week 1 – STUDENTS!

Even though I’ve been teaching forever, I still freak out the night before school officially starts.  I don’t know why, maybe it is the fear of the unknown?  Maybe it is just the death of my summer schedule – getting plenty of sleep, working out whenever I want, shopping, vacations, TV, and reading books?  Most likely I’ve just forgotten how much I love what I do.

Day 1 – It just takes ONE class period for me to be in love (ok, obsessed) with teaching again.  The drama of the night before is forgotten and I look back at myself and laugh (shake my head).  But I’m glad it happened this way, because hopefully I can console my friends who feel this same way and will go back later this month.  Feeling this way before the first day is REAL and TERRIFYING.  But it is also ok, and will hopefully dissolve instantly on Day 1.

The word for this week is SURVIVAL, and maybe DON’T FEEL GUILTY.  No, you will not have time to plan a lesson at school so you will have to do it at night.  Yes, you will have to meet with someone every planning period.  NO, don’t you DARE try to make dinner (I did, it was a disaster).  Take out is your best friend forever.  Don’t feel guilty if you can’t exercise, AT ALL.  It will come later, but not this week.  YES, it is OK to go to bed at 7PM.  As much as you love it, you can’t go from Netflix to 100% people contact without some casualties.  You WILL be crying on Thursday night.  Your family will not understand.  That is ok, because it is normal.  The priority this week is SELF-CARE, or rather, self-preservation. You can’t do ALL of the things this week.

Weekend Interlude – SLEEP, exercise, and be nice to your family so they don’t worry too much about you after your Thursday night breakdown.  Take Saturday off so you will feel human again.  Take Saturday off. Take Saturday off. Take Saturday off.  Sunday, plan like crazy and pick out your clothes for the week (thanks Meg).  Go to bed early.

You’ve got this. You LOVE this, and that will get you through. ❤️

Julie

Add Events from Google Sheets to Google Calendar Automatically from Thom Gibson

If you have a spreadsheet of your assignments for your students, then have all of the assignments automatically added to a Google Calendar, this post is for you!  This post will also help those who have MANY dates they need to enter onto a calendar at one time.

As a mom of three teenaged boys, I have many, many sporting events to attend this fall, 49 in all.  The though of adding ALL of these events to our family calendar was daunting, so I decided that I wanted to try to automate it all.  Yes, this took much longer the first time as I had to figure it all out.  But it was worth it as I’ve since used this method to add other events, en masse, to my google calendar.  So, it has saved me tons of time!  I’m blogging about it so I won’t forget how to do it the NEXT time (lol) and so you can try it too if you want!  I’m a newbie, so I probably won’t be able to answer technical questions if you decide to try it out.

I first tried a Google add on, but the creator was in Paris, so it took me hours to figure it out.  Then Thom Gibson tweeted me, so I used his script and it was much easier!  This is the one I will use from now on. Thank you Thom!  🙂

To learn how to add Google Calendar events from a Google Sheet, watch Thom’s video.

Notes:

  1. Spreadsheet: You will need to copy his Google spreadsheet to get the FormMULE script.
  2. Permissions:  You will need to permit Google to let you use this.  It will say it’s unsafe bc it isn’t a Google Add on.
  3. Date Time:
    1. Be sure your cell is formatted in the Date Time format if it is not an all day event so you can add the start time.  Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 2.27.04 PM
    2. I used the same end time as the start time.
  4. Updates:  There is a way to update it the calendar, but there is a different Update video.

Have fun!

Blog Posts for the First Days of School!

It’s back to school time!!

Here is a compilation of posts that will hopefully help with all of your “Back To School” planning.  I thought that putting them all in one place would be helpful. Happy planning and welcome back to school!

Customized Sticky Notes and Stickers!

I love the fun stickers that Sam Shah and Allison Krasnow make for their students!  I haven’t created customized stickers for my students in the past. Instead, I usually make customized sticky notes.  I love using sticky notes because the students can return them to me.  My favorite new sticker that I made is one that students write their name and number (for quick alphabetizing) on, and then I stick it on their group folder.  I love that they are sticky because I can easily re-arrange them when I change groups.

Individual Sticky Notes

Name sticker for group folder.

Group folders are another awesome Sam idea that I keep meaning to blog about! At the beginning of the year I use a “Home Enjoyment” sticky note where I can check off improvements I would like to see in their homework.  I have an, “Oops, I’m tardy!” sticky note, where they write the reason for their tardy on the note.  I also made a “See me after class” sticky that they return to me. Once they return them to me, I stick them onto a page in a binder so I can keep an accurate record. These come in handy for parent meetings. Sticky notes are usually cheaper unless there is a sticker sale, especially when you cut them in half!

I completely forgot to order more sticky notes last year.  But seeing Allison Krasnow’s My Favorite at TMC19, reminded me, and even made me want to order stickers!  I can’t wait to encourage students with these stickers, on their best as well as their worst days.

Here are the sticky notes that I created, and the notes and stickers that I created from Allison (and Sam’s) posts.  The round stickers are 1.5″ because they were cheaper.  I usually shop at Vista Print when they have a sale!  The stickers and notes are so easy to create because Vista Print has so many ready made templates!

Julie

 

My Favorite (Cooking) Things with Recipes!

As a full time teaching mom with three teen boys in sports, I have a few important requirements for dinner.

  • Quick and easy:  I am the worst with meal planning and prep. Before I went back to work, and the kids were into so many sports and activities, I would plan out meals, prepare things in advance, and even make freezer meals sometimes.  I was so together.  Yeah, that is over.
  • Healthy:  I have three teenaged boys who play sports and prefer to eat healthy as much as possible.  So my comfort meals are nice, but need to be sparing.  I need to make healthy meals as often as I can.
  • Quick and easy clean-up:  In addition to sports, and my two oldest are taking four AP classes each next year.  So as much as well all love a good home cooked meal, clean up cannot take forever.  They have too much work at night, and often, so do I .  I want my kids to look forward to a great meal with their family, not dread it because there will be a huge clean up process afterwards.

main_variation_Default_view_1_425x425..jpegSo far, I have found two things that fit all of these requirements, my Staub cast iron skillet and my InstanPot.  I am probably WAY late on the band wagon, but I just discovered “One-Skillet” meals using a high quality enameled cast iron skillet.  And I am telling you, I AM IN LOVE.  Busy teacher moms, you need this Staub Skillet.  You can sear your meat, throw on some veggies, and then throw it in the oven to finish cooking!  It is a time saving game changer.  I love this skillet because it was easy to use and clean up, thanks to the enameled coating.  But what made me love it even more was that my entire family loved this really simple (and healthy) meal!  OK, I know I sound like an infomercial, but busy teaching moms need help.  And if I can make a dinner in 10 minutes of “work time” I am in!  I got my 10″ skillet from Sur La Table, and they even have free shipping right now!  A 10″ skillet will fit four large chicken breasts.  But that isn’t enough for my family, and I love left-overs, so I just ordered a second 10″ skillet.

Cost of two 10″ skillets = Cost of one 12″skillet

7180ANtxfGL._SX569_.jpgMy other favorite thing is the InstaPot.  It makes soft boiled eggs in under 10 minutes.  I steam fresh green beans in it.  And most recently, I cooked perfect brown rice in it.  Tonight my son was so disappointed that I didn’t make white rice like he has at school, until he tasted it!  And it was so easy.  I put my recipe below.

I’ve only tried two recipes in my skillet, but my family raved about how great it was so I had to share!  I would love more recipes if you have a favorite!

Recipes

Basically, don’t make skillet cooking hard.  Season and sear the meat, remove the meat from skillet, put liquid of your choice in skillet to get the seared stuff unstuck from the skillet, put meat back in, top with fresh veggies if desired, then transfer to the oven to finish.  You can add your seasonings, extras (GARLIC!), and liquid. I recommend wine, but you could also use broth.

Skillet Garlic Lemon Chicken

  1.  Season chicken.  I used garlic salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (for some spice).
  2. Heat some olive oil in the pan and then sear it, for about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove the meat and add some liquid to get the stuff in the pan loose and in your sauce!  I probably use half a cup of wine, and about half a lemon. This will bubble up so beautifully, and you can whisk up all of the stuff in the pan.
  4. Optional:  Add more stuff, like garlic or herbs! I press at least 3 bulbs of fresh garlic into my bubbling broth.  Garlic cooks fast and you don’t want it to burn!  So as soon as it starts sizzling, turn off the heat.
  5. Put the chicken back in the skillet, and then add chopped veggies on top!  I then sprayed them with Olive Oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.

So, the entire meal is in the oven and I have 10-15 minutes to chill before dinner.  And then clean up is ONE skillet!  Rice goes really well with this, so I cooked some in the InstaPot.  And I sometimes make a salad.

Perfect Brown Rice in the InstaPot

Warning:  Is is really not “Instant” rice.  It will still take at least 30 minutes to cook the rice in a pressure cooker, 10 minutes to come to pressure, 15 minutes to cook, 5 minutes to release pressure.  So plan accordingly.  It’s not really much quicker, however it’s just worth it because it is low maintenance and comes out perfectly every time.  

  1. Use equal parts rice to liquid. Too much liquid will make your rice mushy (yes, this happened to me the first time).  I used chicken broth instead of water because it makes the rice very flavorful.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  3. Once it finishes, let the InstaPot release the pressure naturally.
  4. Season it how you like.  My kids like some butter in their rice, but it doesn’t take much!

Creamy Cilantro Chicken

I also have to include this recipe, Easy One Skillet Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken, as my son loved it!  I used reduced fat sour cream and it still made the most incredible sauce!

Again, I am sure that I am the only one who is not already making one-skillet meals!  So please let me know if you have a great one!

Julie

 

Blog in August to Participate in the Virtual Conference on Mathematical Flavors!

The amazing Sam Shah has created a virtual math conference for the month of August and he would love to feature your blog post!  To participate, write a blog post that answers the prompt below and submit it from now until August 27th.  You can read more about the details and even get blogging ideas on Sam’s Blog.  Once submitted, your blogpost will be featured with the keynote blogs of the week from Ben Orlin, Annie Perkins, Rebecka Peterson, Dan Meyer, Robert Q Berry III, Matt Enlow, Michael Pershan, Lybrya Kebab, and Tracy Zager.

The prompt that you will blog about is:

How does your class move the needle on what your kids think about the doing of math, or what counts as math, or what math feels like, or who can do math?

Your teaching practice has an impact on how your kids think about mathematics. Our classrooms are little bubbles and while kids are sitting in them, they are picking up all kinds of signals about mathematics. You might have students leaving a year with you thinking mathematics is collaborative, or that it requires taking risks, or that it is hard but hard is okay. We all have our own unique flavor of mathematics that we are imparting to students through how we orchestrate our classes day in and day out.” – Sam J Shah

Click here to read more about the virtual conference!

Weekly Keynotes and Deadlines

  • To be featured on Week 1 with Ben Orlin and Annie Perkins, submit your blogpost by noon on July 30th
  • To be featured on Week 2 with Rebecka Peterson and Dan Meyer, submit your blogpost by noon on August 6th
  • To be featured on Week 3 with Robert Q Berry III and Matt Enlow, submit your blogpost by noon on August 13th
  • To be featured on Week 4 with Michael Pershan and Lybrya Kebreab, submit your blogpost by noon on August 20th
  • To be featured on Week 5 with Tracy Zager, submit your blogpost by noon on August 27th

Happy Blogging!  I would love to see your blog post at the conference!

Julie Reulbach

THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE OF MATHEMATICAL FLAVORS.png

“Teacher Leader, You Are Enough” Keynote, #TMC18

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be asked to give a keynote to the most brilliant and innovative math educators in this county, and beyond.

Of course I started it out as a pep rally (thanks Courtney and Sam), because that is who I truly am.  My friends know me.  TMC is NOT your typical math teacher conference!  But then, I had to get serious, because I am very passionate about teaching, and I wanted to share what has been on my heart.  However, I did not expect to make teachers cry.  And I did not expect that their powerful responses to my talk would make me cry.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 1.59.01 PMIMG_3006

To all of the teachers out there, please remember that even on your worst days, YOU ARE ENOUGH.  Also, please don’t disappear, we need you.  We all need each other.

IMG_2992I can mail you a sticker if you want one.  Or, you can print it out using the png file.

Watch the entire Teacher Leader keynote on YouTube.

Thank you to Lisa Henry for that hilarious (and surprise) bio!  Thank you to everyone who took and shared pictures!  And a special thanks to everyone who helped me prepare.  ❤

Love, Julie

 

 

YOU ARE ENOUGH Stickers!

I taped all of the stickers to the chairs during the FIRST morning session of TMC.  Yes, they were there the entire time folks!  

 

I’ve had many requests for the stickers that I taped under the chairs for my keynote.  I will happily mail you stickers!  But my life is pretty crazy, so I will need some help from you!  To get the stickers, please send me a self-addressed stamped envelope with the number of stickers you want.  It is $1 for 2 stickers.  I also have to order more stickers, so it will be a couple of weeks before I can get them and mail them out.  

  1. You will need TWO envelopes and a stamp.
  2. Snail mail me:
    1. An envelope that is self-addressed (has your address on it).
    2. Please put a stamp on it. I have like 3 stamps in my house.
    3. Yes, you will put your stamped envelope inside the envelope you are mailing to me.
  3. Include $1.00 and I will mail you 2 stickers.  If you want more, just add more money!  $1 for every 2 stickers is what Sticker Mule charges me.  🙂
  4. I didn’t want to put my mailing address on my blog, so please Go to this form and fill it out to get my mailing address.

Or, you can print it out using the png file.

My #TMC18 Sticker Story

IMG_2753 2.jpg

200+ chairs is NO JOKE people, and I knew it would take me a while.  My friends offered to help me tape them to the chairs after everyone had left for the day.  But, the evening activities started up pretty soon after TMC ended each day so I was worried I would not have time.  I taped the stickers to the chairs on Thursday morning, during the first morning session.  I wasn’t able to finish them all because people kept coming in to use the ladies restroom and I didn’t want to get caught!  So, thankfully Mattie Baker helped me finish it up after lunch.  Thank you Mattie!

 

I was sad to miss my morning session however.  The morning sessions go deep and are such an amazing time to connect with new people.  This is my first time missing the morning session, and I realized that I did not connect with as many new people as I usually do. I was also a little crazy from stress at the beginning of the week, so I don’t know if I would have been able to focus in a morning session anyway as they can get pretty involved.  But I do know one thing, I will never miss another morning session if I am at TMC!

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 8.32.02 AM

I owe a giant thank you to Sam Shah!  After listening to my speech back in June, it was his great idea to make the stickers from my slides and then do the entire Oprah give-away!

I am so much better because of my brilliant educator friends!

JNhU5Tt.gif

It takes a village. ❤

Julie Reulbach, @jreulbach

** I used Sticker Mule to buy my stickers and they were awesome! They texted me a preview picture of my sticker for approval before printing them, and then texted me when they were shipping.  I also got them 2 days faster than they said they would arrive! They just sent me a $10 coupon if you want to use it!

Teaching CPM? Join Our Working Group

The first CPM meeting is September 5th, register here!

My favorite session at the #TMC18 conference was the CPM Flex session that we had at the end of the day Saturday.  (The Flex session is an open hour on the last day of the conference where anyone can propose and hold an impromptu session.)  The CPM session evolved from meeting teachers who were also using CPM in other sessions.  Once we discovered we were teaching CPM, discussions ensued, and it was obvious that we needed focused time together to brainstorm and discuss our experiences.  Our discussions were incredible, and we all decided that they must continue throughout the school year!

CPM Working Document

Our one hour flex session was incredible, and it went by too fast.  We all shared our successes, concerns, and ideas for improvements for next year on a CPM Working Google Doc.  I loved brainstorming with other educators who were using the same curriculum that I was.  The CPM Working Document is viewable to anyone.  **If you would like to collaborate with us, leave a reply to comment on the document with your email address and I will add you.

CPM Monthly Virtual Meetings

Typing on the document was great, but our conversations were even better.  We decided that we would like to meet virtually once a month, to talk with each other and update the working document together.  We will meet the first Wednesday night of the month, at 9PM EST.  Our first meeting is September 5th, sign up here!  I will update this post with more information once I know it, and then also post it on Twitter.  If you want, sign-up to receive info here:  CPM Sign-Up

I’m so excited to connect with an learn from other CPM teachers this year!

 

About CPM

I loved using CPM this year. For my entire teaching career, I have not had a good curriculum to teach with.  Sometimes I didn’t even have a textbook.  So, with the help of the #MTBoS, I created (and “borrowed”) all of my material.  This was enjoyable, as I loved creating the material for each day, but it was also exhausting, and at times, overwhelming. I’m at a larger school now, and working with other teachers across multiple subjects, so we needed a curriculum that we could all use.  I was very happy when I found CPM two years ago, as many of the activities in their Algebra 2 book were things I was already doing.  However, the CPM activities are written very well, with better scaffolding and questioning.  And, CPM included things I wanted to do, like spiraling homework.  It was also rated, scoring all greens, on EdReports.  So we decided to try it out.

Before using CPM, I never realized the importance of a cohesive, comprehensive curriculum (note: not a textbook series).   The CPM series threads together concepts from chapter to chapter, always including past material and going deeper each time.  It is really enjoyable to experience it unfold throughout the year.  Additionally, concepts are taught in a consistent way, with consistent ideas and terminology, in subsequent subjects.   No longer do I hear, “That is not the way that Mrs. X taught it last year”.  This consistency has allowed students to build on their previous learning, instead of feeling like they are learning entirely new and different math each year.

 

 

 

Algebra 1, Here I Come!

I just found out that I will be teaching Algebra 1 in addition to Algebra 2 next year! I haven’t taught Algebra 1 since I first started teaching, many years ago. I taught an advanced pre-algebra class four years ago at my last school, and have taught algebra 2 for the past four years. So I’m excited to finally complete the series!

I will be teaching Algebra 1 to a small class of 9th graders. We use CPM for most of the classes in my high school but won’t use it for Algebra 1. Algebra 1 is also taught in our 8th grade, so I will be have the Glencoe Algebra 1, 2018 that the middle school selected.

I will definitely use Standards Based Grading as I tried it for the first time last year and LOVED it. I would love to start working on everything Algebra 1 now, but I have a crazy summer. I’m currently on family vacation and then I am taking my son to CA later this week for summer camp. I also have the Desmos Fellowship and Twitter Math Camp. I was asked to be a keynote speaker this year at TMC, so much of my brain power and extra time is devoted to writing my speech. However, curriculum is my first love so I can’t stop my wheels from spinning about all of the things I plan to do in Algebra 1 this year!

I’ve already reached out on Twitter to build up my Algebra 1 PLN. I created an Algebra 1 teacher list on Twitter if anyone wants to subscribe to it. If you have Tweetdeck, you can create a column of teachers from the list, so you can follow their tweets all in one place.  I plan on frequenting the Algebra 1 chat (#Alg1chat) , Sunday’s at 9PM EST, once I get back from TMC.

I can wait to have so much fun with Algebra 1 this year. I plan on using groups, Desmos, Algebra Tiles, Number Talks, debate, whiteboards, tons of games and activities, and CPM, IM (Open Up Resources) and Mathalicious. I hope to blog about my adventure as it unfolds this year! I hope you will join me!