Other Teacher Feature #1

     Yesterday I wrote about an interesting little social experiment that I was conducting. <--That actually sounds way more formal that it really is. Honestly, I was just surprised to see how much teachers really enjoy being noticed for their hard work. Who would have thunk it?
     When I started this blog, a mere 12 posts ago, I was simultaneously excited and worried. Excited to have an outlet for writing and sharing, but worried that I would soon run out of things to write and share. So, I turned my eye toward things that other teachers in my school were doing that were really worth noticing. I didn't have to go very far. I teach second grade, but share my hallway with some 4th and 5th grade classes. The class just two doors down had some really awesome math displays hanging on their bulletin board. Here's the first picture that grabbed my attention:
Who can resist a number line-mouth sock monkey?

     As I stood in the hallway snapping pictures of these displays, I realized that I should probably tell my neighbor why I was going all paparazzi on her bulletin board. As so often is the case, this teacher and I chat occasionally, but being on different teams means we're not especially close. When I told her how much I liked her bulletin board, I saw a different look on her face than I usually did in casual conversation. It was that special little spark teachers can spot a mile away - that moment when you make a real connection with someone. Usually it's with a student, but here I was seeing it on the face of another teacher. She really seemed especially pleased that the work of her students was being noticed and appreciated. She offered up some details about the project and shared that she had even more of them inside. It was really nice to have an old-school teacher conversation about the things that matter, in this case a really cool math project. It was a stark contrast to the all too familiar new wave of teacher talk that centers around contract negotiations, test specs and school reform. After I explained that I'd started a blog and would like to share this idea, she graciously gave her permission.
     A few days later, when she asked if it was on the blog yet, my initial feelings were validated. She really was appreciative that I had taken the time to notice the projects and then gone one step further by telling her so. She was excited to be recognized. Spreading the sunny stuff around for a change felt good! I had a similar experience with another teacher, which I'll save for "Other Teacher Feature #2" and it really got me thinking about how much we, as teachers, spend so much time praising our students and not nearly enough time praising each other. And it feels good to get praised, darn it! So, without further ado, I present to you: The Amazing Technicolor Math Projects from Teacher 1's class!

   (Like the snazzy build up?)  Of course, the thing that caught my eye was that brilliant art work was hanging outside an intermediate math class. Although it makes perfect sense to do so, unfortunately, art and math are a rare partnership these days. When I stopped to examine the work closer, I saw that beyond just being eye-catching, it represented real understanding of some pretty abstract math concepts:

Kids worked together to create a paper quilt
wherein each square contained a math vocabulary word and an illustration to demonstrate its meaning. Obviously, this is a culminating activity after many months of study, but I can even see this being done on a smaller scale after each unit. Take it one step further and save each one those to compile into a book and you have an instant picture book of math facts that will serve the kids better than any last minute kill and drill test prep.

To me, this is the epitome of engagement. This teacher found a great way to provide a meaningful review of math concepts and vocabulary in preparation for our state's standardized test, and all it took was a piece of chart paper and some crayons. Pre-printed materials have their place, but what do you think is going to make more of an impact? 

   Test prep never looked so good... 
thanks Other Teacher #1 for allowing me to share! 
Keep on coloring :)


  1. I love this! It's such a great activity... and it's such a great idea to do a "teacher feature"! I had a similar experience with a colleague last week. She had a really cute fraction activity displayed, and I told her how much I loved it. I also mentioned that I took photos to keep in an idea file, and then there was that spark! It's nice to be able to make someone else's day in some way! Even if it's something small like admiring student work samples! :)


  2. I really enjoy reading your blog Sunny Days! You write with a very natural flow and I love your idea of showcasing some other teachers work at your school :)


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