Monday, May 22, 2017

With Love,

Y’all. We got Algebra EOC scores in. And here is the email I got to send to parents last night:

“This is going to be my favorite email I send all year. We have received our EOC scores back from the state of Texas. I am astounded by the scores! Each one of your children tells a tale of growth in their own individual right, and I want to celebrate each of them!! There are now three categories that your student’s score falls into – passing (41% – 61%), meets grade level (63% to 78%), and mastery of grade level (80% to 100%). I am very proud to say that each category dramatically improved from last year!!! They had an overall passing percentage of 98.7%!! Here are a few highlights:

· Not passing with a score of 30% last year, to passing and almost doubling their score to 59% this year!!
· Not passing with a score of 38% last year, to not only passing.. but meets grade level with a 63% this year!!
· Passing by 5 questions with a 55% last year, to mastery of grade level with an 80%!! 
· Jumping from 7th grade math to Algebra, to not only pass.. but meet grade level with a 72%!!
I am probably the most proud of the increase of mastery of grade level. Last year, only five students received this rating. This year, twenty-two students received this rating!! An increase from 6.4% to 28.6%!!! 

There are so many stories to be celebrated!! I am beaming with pride. Your student’s hard work paid off!! Their growth this year has been incredible!!”

Then, I put out my class evaluation and am getting responses in. Here are some of my favorite answers!

What is your favorite memory from class?
·      I'll never forget how you loved to use pretty and wacky fonts on everything.
·      All of the fun learning that I got to do with my friends and you. I'll always remember how you were so happy on the first day. I'll remember how we organized the TEKS on the first or second day, and I had hardly any idea what some of them were. I'll remember being excited for math class. And I'll remember you and how you tried to connect with all of us in your best way.
·      Being able to say "Oh, that was easy!" to something that looks complicated, or finding out new things on the calculators!
·      When I learned who you were. I knew you would be a good teacher.

What is one goal you have accomplished this year?
·      To atleast get really good at one lesson which I did.
·      To become stronger and be able to fully understand equations.
·      I was very proud of myself because I made sure I would come to tutoring after school and even on the Saturdays so I think that was one goal I accomplished knowing that I tried.
·      Learning what a parabola is! (Though I'm not sure that was ever a goal, but I was always curious as to how that worked)
·      increasing my brain copacity!
·      One of my goals was to learn new ways to solve problems.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a student entering my class next year?
·      I would tell them: "It's okay to ask for help. You don't have to do it on your own, and your classmates or Mrs.Sheridan can help you. You aren't alone, math can be difficult sometimes, but you'll find it's easier with peers.
·      "She might be a little tough but it's what is best and she is a great teacher but you can not give up keep trying because it will be better for you in the long run.
·      it's called a learning opportunity but it is not an option
·      Be patient, it all makes sense in the end.
·      don't let anything get in the way of your learning
·      I'd say do the learning opportunities because they help a lot with exposure to the content.
·      To focus, do the learning opportunities, take the reassesments, and take notes.

Before I leave the school forever, I want you to know:
·      Mrs Sheridan you were honestly one of the best teachers I had. You have really good style for a teacher too!! Love those Tory Burches! You're a good teacher
·      That I am thankful for your teaching and I hope that I have other great teachers like you in the future. (Your class is pretty LIT by the way)
·      That I just want to thank you for pushing me to do my best anf not giving up on me. You are a great teacher!!!
·      You did a great job of making sure we kept up all our work and you were very respectful to all of us. Keep up the good work!!
·      I like cheese.
·      Thank you for helping us and willing to come on Saturdays so we could pass STAAR. This math class was a little of the struggle but I'm glad that we both got through it and none of us couldn't do it without you:)))
·      Math is HARD how do you do it? Other than that the around-the-rooms stations were always really really fun. Thank you for teaching me these math skills that I will forget over the summer! (The forget over the summer part is a joke did you laugh?)
·      That this was the best and funnest math class I ever took.
·      I enjoyed having Mrs. Sheridan as a teacher, even though Algebra was one of the hardest class ever.
·      That I appriciate all the time she has spent encouraging me and helping me grow as an algebra student.
·      Dear Mrs.Sheridan, I want you to know that you are very much appreciated. You did a great job coming to a new school and taking on this wild group that is the class of 2021. If I were you, I would've gone insane by now, but you've done a great job at handling us. And not only that, but also while keeping us in check, you made strong relationships with your students. You let people open their eyes and see that math doesn't always have to be "UGH", but that it can be a blast. What you did this year was a hard feat, I'm sure, but you did it. Within a school year, you made everyone's school life better, and I thank you for that. I'm going to miss you, and I wish I could steal you away to take with me as I move into high school. You are amazing, keep teaching in your wonderful ways, don't lose your spirit and passion! With love, 

Aw. "With love"... I make it a point to end every Friday with telling my students I love them. So yes, "with love" is the how and the why behind my days with 13/14 year olds and algebra. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How To: Meal Plan

Meal Planning. This is something I have always done. Probably because I learned by watching my mom and grandmother do the same thing while I was growing up. But my meal planning has evolved from when it was just me in my apartment. Now I have a husband to think about, and I’m sure it will evolve again once we have tiny people who eat real food too. So, before we get started, please know that this is entirely adaptable to fit your needs! But I thought it would be fun to document exactly how I meal plan for our needs each week.

Here are our goals for grocery shopping:
·      Spend an average of $100 a week on groceries
·      For me: Eat Gluten Free

1. Check out the ads – The two main stores I shop at are Tom Thumb and Sprouts. However, Kroger is the store I pass on my way home from school. I prefer to do my shopping on Sunday afternoon (after my nap), but if that doesn’t work, then most of the time it’s Monday after school.

**Bonus tip – Did you know that Sprouts honors both weeks coupons on Wednesdays?! 2 weeks on one day!!!

I look at the specials and will make notes on the back of my grocery list of items that are on sale – pork or shrimp, asparagus or bell peppers, etc.

2. Next up is recipes. I look through my pantry to see what’s left in the house from previous weeks. Then I go to my resources. Here are my main resources in my house:

The Grilling Book – I registered for this baby for our wedding. The recipes in here are phenomenal and perfect for summer!!

Cast Iron Casseroles – My newest addition from my mom at Christmas. The recipes in here are easily adaptable for gluten free and who doesn’t love the cast iron!

Southern Living/Mama Kay’s Recipe Book – I like the challenge of changing these recipes to be gluten free. These are our “special treat” recipes, or Trav shot a duck and I need a new idea for how to cook it!

Taste of Heaven – My best kept secret that I’ve mentioned several times before. Recipes from our “60 and over” group at church! Casseroles and dips and desserts and more!!

I look for recipes that include the sale items. Then, I think about crossover ingredients.. for instance I could use green onions in “Monday’s recipe” and “Thursday’s recipe.”

**Bonus tip – Look for sides to turn into full meals. One of the cast iron sides was asparagus and artichoke gratin.. I added slices of ham steak to make it into one full meal!

3. Make Your Grocery List. The one and only way to have a true list is this wonderful all out of pad. It hangs on the side of our refrigerator and Trav can mark something when he is out of something he wants. I also mark things as the week goes and it helps me remember I need something like right now... we need toilet paper and butter. 

4. Grocery Shop. Now you’re ready to head to the store! I love marking things off my list as I shop. Do I buy things that are not on my list? Of course, I will buy a few of the sale items to stick in the freezer to keep for future recipes! Once I finish it’s like a game to see how close I am to $100. I keep a running tally in my head (call me a math teacher!).. I know if I spent $130 the previous week, my total should be around $70.  And if I can toot my horn… most of the time, I am pretty spot on!!

And then, I go home and feel accomplished and ready for delicious meals during the week! What are your additions or adaptations for when you meal plan?