Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Texas Math TEKS Training

All of you Texas teachers out there, let me encourage you to attend the new Math TEKS training that most ESCs are turning around now. It is jammed packed with information and includes some great documents for helping understand the changes and challenges that we will be facing! However, be prepared it is a lot to take in. I got home yesterday afternoon after the 2nd day and crashed because I was so much on overload. The thoughts I have in my brain revolve around the new curriculum focal points for math that are a big thing in this training. There are 3-4 main focal points for grades K-8. These are the big ideas that all of the standards fit into somehow. They show the connections between all of the areas and are very different from the 6 domains that we have had in the past.

 As for me in my 3rd grade realm, these 4 focal points are 1. understanding and applying place value and properties of operations to solve problems involving addition and subtraction of whole numbers; 2. solving problems with multiplication and division within 100; 3. understanding fractions as numbers and representing equivalent fractions; and 4. describing characteristics of 2-D and 3-D geometric figures including measurable attributes. The one big change thing that I noticed in 3rd grade was the focus on understanding fractions throughout the TEKS. Fractions give many of our students trouble throughout school and for some students on into college. I truly believe that this change will help our students in the long run. I am excited about those changes. The interesting thing to me though that went away is all of the probability in elementary school. Students will not do probability until 7th grade now.

 While these changes interest me, the one big part that I am hearing the most grumbling about are the Financial Literacy TEKS that are now included in each grade level. I understand the need to educate our students on managing money and so forth, but I fear how well my students will truly understand some of the things in the 3rd grade standards. For example, how in the world am I going to get my students to understand the relationship between availability and scarcity of resources and the impact it has on cost. These are very abstract concepts that many adults don't truly understand. Soap box warning: how in the world are we going to show our students how to be financially responsible when our government does not operate with financial literacy... Ok, stepping off my soap box. Many students will not see these traits at home, and I am not sure they will understand where they will fit in the "real world" when this is not the norm outside of school. I will be working to figure out how to address these standards best, and I will be sure to share my thoughts when I get my head around them, but as for now if you have any ideas, please let me know!

In other news, my principal texted me this morning to share the following picture of my classroom. They are finally getting to start reconstruction after our F1 tornado 3.5 days before school let out.
Do you like my new sunroof??? This is a real test of patience for me. I am the teacher who usually has my room almost done by this time of year. As I have been stalking the last few days I have seen some of you waiting anxiously for the go ahead, and my go ahead will probably not come until mid-August. I too am waiting anxiously, but thanks to the laws that regard construction in schools, we have had to wait for the bid process. I am not sure yet the extent of work that will still have to be done in my room, but time will tell and until then I am using my energy to get things done at home.

 I decided to finally ask my husband about doing a remake on our Master Suite. It has been the same since I bought the house 6 years ago. Even when he moved in 2 years ago when we got married, all we did was change out the bed for his king size. We went to Home Depot tonight and I showed him what I had in mind and we picked up paint chips. The decisions have been made on paint and design, and I am excited about getting my paint on the rest of the week. I have to have it done by Sunday as I am leaving to go to a full week of training out of town on Monday morning. This is my 2nd anniversary present and I am in love :). I will post some before and after shots when I get it all done - it will be the most bold room in my whole house. Right now most of the house is tan, and well, I am ready for a change!

 I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

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