Friday, August 22, 2014

My Classroom Set Up, Workout Buddies, Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake


I was told by my department chair a few weeks ago that she had both good news and bad news. The bad news was that I was changing classrooms. I had just moved classrooms two years ago, and I worked hard at the beginning of the summer to finally get the feng-shui right in the room for next year. So I was kind of bummed. The good news was that I was moving to a much bigger room, the room that used to be the Math Lab (a place where math students go to get extra help, staffed by a math teacher every period of the day). This was going to be great because last year, my students were very squished in my classroom. The math club that I am faculty advisor for, Mu Alpha Theta, has been growing exponentially since we started the club here three years ago. There have been many days where there were not enough desks for students in the club, and we meet weekly. So I was very excited, but I had a lot of work to do, as the Math Lab was filled with books, cabinets, and tons of supplies that were outdated and abandoned.

My friends in the department helped me for what seemed like hours to move necessary items to the new Math Lab, and to discard or find new homes for the many items that have been sitting in there for years. Even after that was all done, I was very overwhelmed. There is a lot to do to make a classroom feel like "home."

I began by hanging up art work and poems from several students that I have collected from over the years. Here are some examples:

These pictures came from this assignment:


This is a view of the entire wall where I hung most of the art work. There were also some very good conic art drawings, but they did not fair well when when I removed them. I will take pictures this year and post them at a later date. I have gotten so many interesting projects over the years, and I do remember which student made them. The math sneakers have been hanging in my classroom for close to a decade! Also, can you see that I'm a Jersey Girl originally?

Now to other parts of the room. Ahhh, the couch. Boy do my students love the couch. It was in our garage at home, and I tried to sell it. No one would buy I brought it to school and all the students vie for it...I do not let them sit on it before class...only after school or when we have a break from our block period, because otherwise the students do not want to get up! It is cute how much they love the stuffed animals. Kids can feel like kids again when they are working so hard to become adult-like in their high school classes.

The cubbies are left over from the old Math Lab, and they are awesome. I can see kids coming in after school to complete their homework here. My math club won these awards from our three years of competition in Mu Alpha Theta...we need an awards case! We have to find a place in the school to showcase them.

This will be our club wall when we go to events. We have a historian who takes pictures. Last year we won 2nd place in our digital scrapbook at States, and it was our first time ever going! I will blog about this wonderful group of kids at a later date.

This was the idea that I posted in l last week's blog. Students had to find parent functions around school or their home and take a picture. Next year, I will ask them to name the parent function as well. This well help them, I hope, to recognize the parent functions more easily when we learn them. 

To the left is a poster of NCTM calendar problems, and to the right are posters that I just love.

I made the "Everything is going to be OK" poster on I saw something very similar in a restaurant near my house, and I thought, wow, wouldn't it be great for the students who stress to see that every day. My friend Dave made fun of the overuse of all the polka dot boarder...I did overdo it. You don't see it, but I had polka dot letters that I bought, too, that I took down...oh well. That was a waste of $12. Hopefully a friend will use it. 

My husband was away for the first week of school and sent roses...that was a big and awesome surprise. And yes, of COURSE I had to buy the π decal for my Mac. I bought it here. (BTW did you know if you hit alt-p on the Mac keyboard you get π?) 

 Can you figure out this puzzle? I put a up a plexer puzzle every day and will try to post it on twitter under my handle @lisaqt314. This one is "Welcome Back"

And I don't tell students the date...ever. They have to figure it out...and kids who are hanging in my room after school will put the next one up for the day...they love to make them harder than I would!

This is my prize box. It's where I keep prizes that I give to students for creative thinking. A student made the box for me. Usually I put snacks or interesting erasers in the box. Sometimes the prize is to sit on the couch for a class period.

No body puts baby in a corner. At Back To School Night, parents always notice this. Love Dirty Dancing!

My seniors write where their names and where they are going to college when they get accepted. This is kind of a big deal! The board fills up quickly second semester, and the whole board gets filled.

I stole this from Pinterest. I love it. 

And from the outside...notice the little blue flag that says "math geek." Got that at a T-cubed conference in Las Vegas this past spring.

My clock. I love when I teach the unit circle and kids say, "Oh so that's what that clock was all about!!!"

I am looking forward to an amazing year. I met the kids twice so far and they are an amazing group of kids!


I try to work out at least 4 times a week. It may not always happen, and sometimes it happens more times. But it is definitely hard for me to do during the school week. This is why I think it is really important to have a workout buddy and a good workout program. My workout buddy is Liz, and we try to work out at least twice a week together after school.

This is our first week of school, and we needed to kill it. So we did a workout from Kayla Itsines,  an awesome blog, twitter, and instagram workout enthusiast. All you need is weights, a medicine ball (I just used weights), a mat, and two benches. Sometimes you can use chairs for the benches. Kayla promises a bikini body in 12 weeks. Her workout is HARD! But I can tell you that you feel fantastic when done! And it only lasts 28 minutes! Liz and I projecting her workout (it is a download that is about $69 USD) on the SmartBoard, and we were sweating like crazy. And afterwards, the endorphins kicked in, and together we felt like we could conquer our brand new 1:1 school design as well as our spanking new Whipple Hill grade program.

Find a work out buddy or buddies. You push each other when the other one does not feel like working out...and I promise you will feel better after...and even if you really do not feel like working out, just go for a walk. You will both talk through ideas and things that are bothering you and will feel better emotionally and physically. Just do it!


Yes, I work out, but I also eat. And I LOVE peanut butter. I think I have it at least once a day. I have worked at camps that are peanut-free, and it was difficult for me to last more than a few days. I have made this Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake from Bird on a Cake recipe (of course found on Pinterest) twice and have not been disappointed either time.

I made it below once for my son and niece, who have birthdays three days apart, and for my husband who is nicknamed "Mookie" by our nieces. As one niece (who is 20 years old) used to say when she was 2 years old, "Umma Umma!!" (= Yum!!)

Have a great week!


Richard Byrne said...

Love the chocolate & peanut butter cake! That's what I want for my birthday :)

Cynthia said...

I'm so impressed by your blog! I can tell that you're a fantastic teacher - I could have used more like you in HHS, especially when I was struggling with math. Give me a call the next time you're coming to Jersey and we can bake one of your scrumptious recipes! �� Go Rutgers!!

Lisa Winer said...

:) it is delicious!

Lisa Winer said...

Thanks, Cynthia!! xoxoxoxoox you are so sweet