It Sounds Crazy When I Say It Aloud…

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…but it works for me. I always feel like at any given moment I have a billion thoughts flowing through my head at one time!!  I am so distracted by my own thoughts I often have several unfinished projects or tasks or books or hairstyles or folded clothes or whatever. 

So to help me focus I use prayer and lists. 

Lists like these:


have kept me sane throughout the summer. 

Functioning without a dinner menu wasn’t possible for me this summer either:


So I’ve already developed 4 different menus for the school year: 


And it’s not just my personal life in which I need mental organization. 

I need different calendars for the different aspects of my professional life:


And I like to have, if not all, majority of my resources in one easy to get to place. That’s why I developed this over the summer.  It’s a flexbook textbook created using ck12.org. It’s my own personal one-stop shop of concept development tasks, practice activities and center activities. My hope is, as the school year rolls through, I can just pull tasks and activities from here to implement in my classroom. I did this so I won’t have to scramble for ideas during the heat of the moment. I thought carefully and purposefully about everything I placed into the flexbook, ensuring I chose items that were meaningful, engaging and met the level of the standards. 

When I tell people about it, it sounds crazy and overwhelming. The truth is, as thoughts came to me, I was able to insert it into my flexbook and ease my mind and eliminate unnecessary thoughts. This actually made it better for me because while I was spending time with my family, I didn’t have to think about school stuff. I was able to be present in each moment. Even better, it’s less work I’ll have to do as the year begins because the hard work is done. 

If You Build It They Will Learn

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I haven’t used a textbook since I taught 5th grade, that was over 5 years ago. I’ve become accustomed to engaging students in tasks in which they can develop an understanding of the concept, have discussions about the mathematics and have their misconceptions brought to the surface. I was never able to create those moments when I used a textbook for my math instruction.

Next school year, I’m leaving my comfortable world of frameworks, Exemplars, Van de Walle and resources of that nature. I’ll be entering back into the textbook world, in a new arena, middle school. One could be tempted to just fall in line with the status quo. Only that would go against everything I’ve come to believe in as far as math instruction.

My decision, make a flexbook textbook to use for my math instruction in 7th grade. With the flexbook, I can pull together various resources which will allow for students to develop the understanding of the concepts, have meaningful math discussions and allow their misconceptions to come to the surface. I’ve begun pulling tasks from Georgia Department of Education’s math frameworks for 7th grade, as well as problems from Exemplar’s program. I want to pull in as much as I can in order to have enough materials for differentiation and dare I say, homework (which is a whole other monster in my head).

If you’re reading this and have any suggestions for resources I can pull into my flexbook, please share in the comments of this post or contact me @MrsJeniseSexton. My flexbook textbook is not yet published so it cannot be viewed at http://www.ck12.org. It’s currently titled Conceptual Mathematics- 7th Grade by Jenise Sexton.

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