Four things made my day today:
First of all, my district switched things up by replacing my smart slate with an iPad. Now when I want to write on the board, I can see what I am writing. Nice. At the same time, writing has become more difficult because I am very particular about what writing should feel like. I NEED to have a precise writing tool, and I NEED to rest my hand on the surface while I am writing. Monday I went home feeling stressed about a lot of things (most are better now). Of all things, not being able to write comfortably was really irritating me. Plus I was first-day-of-first-full-week-of-school exhausted. And grumpy.
My husband loaned me this stylus, and I am a fan. It writes as smoothly as a pen, with all of the precision. I sketched some graphs in class today, and all the points landed right where I wanted them to land. It is expensive, but I am happy with it (so far anyway, it may be too soon to tell). I already owned its less expensive little brother, and that guy doesn't work well at all. They look the same, but the cheaper one skips constantly. I am hoping to continue a long and happy friendship with this new stylus. I gave hubby the other one. He's the best.
Then there is the issue of NEEDING to rest my hand on the iPad. I dug around my house and I found this glove with missing fingertips. It works perfectly. It protects my palm from the screen while keeping my fingers free to use the touch screen. I don't even care that I look like a dork wearing a glove in my classroom in August. Maybe I will buy one in every color and match them to my outfits. It will be the new math teacher vogue.
I really enjoyed this little ice breaker from Dan Meyer. I love that it combines mathematical thinking with a get-to-know-you element. I walked around the room and kids were asking each other how many siblings they had, how many pets they had . . . how often they brush their teeth. The only problem I had was when the number of students in a class was not divisible by four. I learned not to allow a group of three. It makes the task WAY too easy. I ended up making groups of 5 and adding an extra dot in the middle, which provided an interesting additional challenge. Then I started thinking about making a page with multiple configurations of dots. (Or have students place the dots themselves before they get the instructions?) So many options! Maybe next time . . .
Finally, I found these birthday stickers in the dollar spot at Target, and I have been handing them out on birthdays. A senior boy immediately put it on his shirt and today he told me how useful it was because, "You WANT everyone to know its your birthday, but you don't want to go around telling them it's your birthday". That made me smile.