Obligatory Pi Day Post

It’s Pi Day, Pi Day, gotta get down on Pi Day! Partyin’ partyin’ YEAH! *record scratch*


I didn’t see you there…

Weeeeeeeelllllll this is embarrassing…

Since you’re here, I guess I’ll go ahead and give you the obligatory post about Pi Day since I am a Math teacher after all.

What is Pi?

Pi is an irrational number, that means it has a decimal sequence that goes on forever without a repeating pattern. Since it never has a repeating pattern, and continues on forever, it’s impossible to find the exact value for Pi. Most people are taught to use 3.14 as an estimate, which is why today March 14 is considered Pi day, unless you’re European, then today is 14 March and it doesn’t really work out…

ANYWAY Pi isn’t actually 3.14 and it’s not 3 and it’s really not 22/7 and it is NEVER the square root of 10 (lookin’ at you Dad!!!!).

To find the exact value of Pi, you have to take the circumference of a circle and divide it by the diameter.

Or you could take the area of a circle and divide it by the radius squared.

Or you could take the volume of a sphere and multiply it by 3/4 and then divide by the radius cubed.

Or you could use cylinders and cone and their volume and surface area but I don’t feel like typing those out…

Pretty much you have to have a circle to find pi!

Happy Pi Day!!!!!!!



First thing: What are Plickers?!?!?!

A Plicker is a student specific QR Code that is used to answer multiple choices questions. The teacher controls the question being asked with the app on his/her smart phone, and then scans across the room with the phone to collect student answers.

Plickers.com has pre-made QR Codes that can be printed for free from their website. They come in different sized packages with a minimum of 40 unique cards. Just print out each card, and assign each of your students a number.

From the website you can upload questions and create your classes. To gather students responses though, you do have to download the app onto your smartphone or tablet. For students to answer they have to turn their QR Code a different direction with the answer choice they want facing up.


The “1” on each of the corners means that this is the QR Code for whomever is student #1 in your class, probably Austin Adams. Since the “B” is at the top of the QR Code, Austin is indicating that he thinks the answer to the question is “B”. All you have to do now is have the app open on your phone and scan it across the classroom and collect your answers! Answers are saved online and you can look at the reports anytime.


Go to www.plickers.com to create your classes and download your QR Codes

What I like:

  • You can create multiple different classes and assign each student their own Plicker number to gather data
  • You can upload your own questions and move between which question that you are displaying from the app
  • As you are scanning the class, student names will pop up and change to green if they got it right or red if they got the question wrong
  • All responses are saved online and reports can be generated to look at later
  • When you print out the QR Codes they come two to a page to save on paper (because we all know how quickly schools run out of paper)

How I use it:

In my ideal classroom, I would introduce Plickers on day 1. I would have printed out each code and have it glued to a folder for each student. I would have a few “Getting to Know You” questions made up to demonstrate how to use Plickers. After about a week or so of using Plickers to answer random questions, I would take the folders and fill them with sample questions from whatever standardized test you guys use (for me, it’s the STAAR Test). Each day I would have students show their work and practice strategies in their folders, but instead of having to individually grade each folder I would use Plickers to gather responses as an Exit Ticket.

Training Day

So yesterday I was at a Region 4 training to learn about classroom management. I would have to say that it was a bit of a let down. I don’t feel that they helped educate me on solutions to problems. They told us how to make an action plan, but the spreadsheet they gave us to make it on was difficult to follow and understand. The presenter was pretty good, he is still working in different classrooms with behavioral problem children so he did know what he was talking about. He made sure that we knew he is still in the classroom, which helped make him credible, so I understand why he did it. The biggest downfall of the training was this woman who was sitting at the same table as me. She was just so negative, and she talked through the whole thing. Every time that we had a moment to discuss she would dominate the conversation and pretty much deny our experiences with student behavior. If I was at a different table I probably would have had a much better time… 😦

Open House

So Open House was last night, and for the most part, it was a huge waste of time. I had 4 parents show up: one was in my intervention class that I only see for about 35-40 minutes a day, and the other three were angels. In middle school I don’t really see the point of having Open House twice a year.


My Plan

So I think I finally figured out how I want to do this. I want to kind like my daily musings from Monday-Friday, which will be under the tag “A Day in the Life Of…”. Then for really bad days where I just want to complain or I’ll go insane will be under the tag “Ranting and Raving for Sanity”. Which I guess leaves the weekend for me to post reviews about educational websites that I’ve perused that will be under various different tags. I do also want to start doing some book reviews over the many teaching books that I’ve read (LOL) and I want to write out some lesson plans for activities that I’ve created.

Lots of ideas!

So today we were taking a practice STAAR test, and after we were finished we were just kind of stuck with the students. Which was awful. They didn’t want to be in the room any more. I didn’t want to be in the room anymore. But we’re all stuck together. So what evs.

I did get a chance to get out of the room a bit today for an ARD. That was actually a really good meeting. The parents were there, they were actually involved in the student’s educational career. They were educated about their child’s disability. They were awesome!

So overall a pretty good day.

I’m Here

If you don’t already know, my grandfather passed away on Friday. I’ve had many students and coworkers ask me how I’m doing during this time, and my go to response has just been “I’m here.” It’s not good, it’s not bad; but I’m here. I’m in the one place that makes me feel normal, where I have some semblance of control. It just is…

Friday was a difficult day at work, there was a school performance for Black History Month, so the classes were shortened, and the schedule was rearranged for some reason. Naturally the students hear this as “Hey, you shouldn’t be expected to do anything in your classes today, so just be wild and obnoxious”.

My first class that I had was being their normal selves, except for one kid who was being so worse than he usually is, and then he was refusing to go work in another teacher’s room, and I lost it with him. I yelled that my grandfather had died that morning and I didn’t have to be here, but that I was here because I just wanted something normal that day.

And the class goes silent.

And the kid starts to argue with me.

And the class starts to yell at him to just shut up and go.

And he starts to argue with the class.

And one of my other students gets up and pushes him out of the classroom and closes the door behind him.

I will forever be thankful to that kid who shall remain nameless, because I know he knows what loss is. A few years ago his father died suddenly, and now he pretends that his parents are just divorced, so that way the other boys don’t pick on him for not having a father.

Trust me, I am in no way comparing my loss to his, or my struggle with what he goes through everyday.

The point I’m trying to make is that loss unites us. Many of my coworkers have come and said nice things in the hall way, given me a hug, anything to let me know that they’re here for me, and I’ll appreciate that more than they could ever know.

And a special thank you to one of the teachers who started the same time I did and sent this wonderful email:

Good morning,

I wanted to tell you before, but I didn’t want you be reminded constantly. However, I’m sorry that you lost a loved one. That’s always hard. I’ll never feel exactly the same way you do now, but it was hard to lose my Nana in college. Just know that the healing will come in time and the memories will always be vivid. Enjoy remembering the good times 🙂

Bless your family,

So this is for you Teddy. You never gave up on me. You encouraged me every step of the way through school. You were so proud of me when I joined the long line of teachers that came from our family. I’m going to miss you so much, and I know one day I’ll see you again in Heaven,  but for now I’m Here.

Harrell “Teddy” McRae

September 28, 1937 – February 24, 2017

My First Sale!!!!

With the Oscars being last night, I just wanted to make a post about my own little award that I earned recently:

This is a follow up to my Teachers Pay Teachers post. Today I made my first sale!!!!!

I’m so excited!!! I really needed a boost today, so thank you to whomever is the new proud owner of a Sampling Foldable!

If you want to check it out:


My Kids Bank

This year I wanted to try something new with my students. Over the summer I was part of a book chat and we were reading Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith. One of the things that he wrote about was teaching students about financial literacy, and I got inspired since it’s also part of the 8th grade curriculum. Like so many others before me I decided that I was going to go above and beyond and teach my students about rent, bills, income, and budgeting. 

My Plan:

  1. Have students earn income by turning in assignments and being on time to class
  2. Charge students rent for their desks
  3. Fine students for eating, swearing, littering and writing on desks
  4. Have a class store where I provide chips, drinks and other things for students to spend money on
  5. I would print money to pay my students with, which means that I have to buy paper and ink, which means that I would have to spend money to make fake money, and expect students to keep up with it all and realizing this made me want to quit teaching and school hadn’t even started yet.

Obviously if I was going to implement my plan I wasn’t going to spend all my money on colored paper. I decided to search online to see if there was an online banking solution, and to my relief there is!

What I like:

  • You can have individual accounts for your students
  • You, as the banker, can make deposits and withdrawals from each account
  • There is a setting for earning interest
  • You can edit multiple accounts at one time
  • You can print bank statements for each account

Teachers Pay Teachers

As an Aggie, I’ve had it drilled into my head that you do not “lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do”, but as a teacher, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that we’re just elaborating, collaborating and borrowing.

“Ms. Jones made this activity, but it doesn’t cover all that I want it to, let me make it a little better!”

“Hey Ms. Smith, this resource book costs $10, and has some really good stuff in it, do you want to split the cost and we can share it?”

“Oh wow! This resource book is really good, but you paid how much for it?!?!?! Oh can I borrow it for a few minutes to make some copies? I only want this page, not the whole book.”

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it, so there is absolutely no reason to judge a fellow teacher for doing it!

In comes Teachers Pay Teachers

I’ve been wanting to make a post about this site for the longest time, but I have had no real experience with the site, UNTIL NOW!

Think of a huge flea market, where there are teachers from all around the world displaying activities and lesson plans that they have come up with. They have books that they have written, there are foldables as far as the eye can see, projects, rubrics, interactive journals galore! The best part, is that you have access to this market, and you can get there without even having to put on reals pants while you sit on the couch this Saturday stressing about what you’re going to teach Monday morning (because again, we’ve all been there).

What I Like:

  • can search assignments by subject, grade, and price
  • once you download something it saves it so you don’t have to keep an extra copy from year to year
  • they update you if a product you bought changes
  • free to join
  • free* to sell (*they do collect a fee, or you can make a professional account with a yearly fee)
  • if you find a teacher who has amazing stuff you can follow them and get to their stuff faster

What I DON’T Like

  • My first sale was for a $2.00 foldable, I only got $0.90 of that

I have a few things for sale if you want to check them out, or view my freebies!

Interactive Math Glossary

So I went to a PD last week and it was for online Math resources for 8th grade. Well, the website that I want to share with you guys works for any subject or grade level, so long as you’re in Texas, that is.

Okay so right now, open up a new tab and go to www.texasgateway.org

  1. Click the blue Sign Up button on the top right
  2. Enter your Name, district info, and email
  3. I think you might have to go to your email and confirm the address, and then you’re good!

Once you’ve created your account, click on search at the top. On the left side there’s some boxes that you can check to narrow down your search to grade level and subject area. Select Math, and as long as you teach K-8, then what I want you to find will work for you!

You are going to be looking for the Interactive Math Glossary. Click the link, and on the right there’s a green plus sign that says “Add to list” do that and add it to your favorites. When you click on “Dashboard” at the top right later, it’ll be there waiting for you. You are going to have to click on the blue “Interactive Math Glossary” link that will open the glossary in a new tab. But once you’re there feel free to search around and click the list of words on the left.

 I love, love, love the interactive glossary, because it has a definition, key characteristics, an example and a non-example. Sometimes there are even some quick videos put in there to help explain things (hence the interactive).

Have some fun with it, play around, and let your students know about it!