Do I Dare?


Do I dare to wander into blogging?

I’ve failed (twice) at starting and keeping a blog, but after CAMT 2013 and EdCamp Ft Worth, I am INSPIRED.

Inspired to throw lesson plans I’ve created out the window.

To FLIP my class, to jump feet first (with Twitter support) into PBL, take a stab at sort-of-but-not-really SBG? All while working on Interactive Notebooks? (And for my district friends… how does this all fit into VESTED?) yikes!

I’m trying to plan out and see what it would all look like in my classroom.  Students watch 5-10 minute video 1-3 times per week at home.  Fill in interactive notebook-y activity while watching, or at beginning of class next day. 1-2 times per week, students would take 10 question scaffolded quiz over our “Readiness” TEKS (the super important ones) and they could also take that time to re-take any previous quizzes to show improvement. Then they would have time to work on some sort of project to extend their learning. 


I keep teetering between “Oh my gosh, I’m so in over my head” and “If I just do it all at once it will completely and totally revolutionize my classroom and teaching”

I think the thing that is worrying me the most is the PBL part of this “revolution” I’m comfortable with interactive notebooks, excited about flipping class (SO easy with and the “SBG” isn’t too wild (I hate to even use that to describe what I’m doing because it is so NOT SBG, but its the closest I will come to it and the best way to describe it)


So, I’m going to be brave and post this to twitter.. please be nice and don’t tell me I’m crazy. I know I am and I think I want to be crazy this year! If it doesn’t work, it won’t work and I’ll stop and re-think what I’m doing. 

Excited and Nervous,

Mrs. Morrison

How to recharge after a challenging day…


4) You had a particularly tough day at school (and it’s not a Friday), enough to make you question and test your devotion to teaching. What would you do that evening to get going again the next morning?

Not going to lie. I let myself cry! Only from when I am in my car and away from the school and only until I get home.  Once I am home it is DONE.

Once I get home, I push all thoughts of school out of my head.  Tomorrow will be a new day! I might make a nice, healthy (or really unhealthy) dinner, watch a good TV show or movie, and just spend time with my hubby.  When I get back to school in the morning, I stay positive while reflecting on what went wrong the day before. I will ask myself a few questions:

  1. What could I have done differently?
  2. How could I have responded differently?
  3. What do I need to do to repair any relationships that may have been damaged?
  4. Who can I get some advice from so that this situation does not happen/happens differently next time?


Then I go on teaching that day in a positive way!


This may all be silly to some people, but as long as I stay positive and reflective, my worst days become a learning experience and I can move on without hurt feelings or a damaged view.



Ready for school to start tomorrow!!! Hoping I can remember to do all of this on my worst days!  (I know I’m not perfect and some days I get really negative, but hoping that happens less often this year!)


Good luck and best teaching to everyone starting school this week!!! …. and everyone else I guess 😉

Advisory… or Power Hour!


EDIT: after reading some of the other #MSSunFun blogs, I’m not sure what we do is technically “advisory”, but I will share my thoughts anyway 🙂


Our advisory period is called Power Hour and is more of a study hall.

It consists of a large handful of things:

  • Pledges (US and Texas) and Moment of Silence
  • Announcements from our student leadership group
  • Channel One news program
  • Silent Sustained Reading
  • Make-Up Work and Homework Study Hall
  • Other lessons (bullying, organization, high school prep, etc)


In the past, I’ve seen a lot of these Power Hours get very rowdy! Kids start hanging out in the hallway, wandering the halls, loud, and not on task.  I’ve decided I’m going to lay down the law this year.  If you are not working on an assignment, you are reading silently!


We start the year with expectations, code of conduct and dress code overview, and setting up the binder that every student is required to carry (almost AVID like.. which I LOVE!).  Then we will move on to lessons, like what is expected to graduate from high school, study skills, organizational skills, and other types of social/study skill lessons.  These lessons were created by our staff during a PD afternoon this week and I’m excited that while students are starting into classes and do not have make up work or homework yet, we will have a structured activity/lesson to keep the peace.


My schedule once we get rolling with make up work will go as follows:

  1. Pledges and Moment of Silence – 3 minutes
  2. Announcements – 2 to 5 minutes
  3. Channel One News – 5 to 10 minutes (use news discussion as needed!)
  4. Silent Sustained reading – 15 minutes
  5. Make Up Work/Homework – 15 to 20 minutes
  6. Structured Lesson/Activity – 10 minutes


I’m really looking forward to getting to know this group of kids and to help them do better in their lives academically, socially, and globally.

Before the Craziness Starts….


I am writing this as a part of the NEW BLOGGER Initiative.  Not such a new blogger, but I’m so bad at blogging, that if I have the #MSSunFun blog prompt and this one, that is TWO per WEEK! 🙂

And so it begins… two posts per week (at least until the CRAZY of PD begins tomorrow and kids a week from tomorrow)

 If you want to join up, check out MathTwitterBlogosphere and write a post with the following topics and link up with this Google Doc!

1. Goal for the first week of school:

Take care of myself! Eat healthy, workout, spend time with hubby, and soothe my tired feet. I’m nervous, but so excited for the first week! I know it will go well, so I just want to focus on taking care of myself.

2. Blog Name and Why I’m blogging:

Math With Morrison. Kind of an obvious name… Kind of boring, but I like it, except that its too long for twitter 😦

I’m blogging because I get SO many ideas from other bloggers that I want to share some of my ideas.  I also want to be able to get help from a huge virtual PLC when I’m struggling with management, or how to teach a concept!

3. Two things differently this year, how to implement them/get the buy-in, and why?

Math notebooks — our whole department is going to be using them and we are going to use a lot of foldables.  Hopefully that helps with the buy-in! I did decide (with help from someone, who were you!?) that I will only grade Table of Contents as long as it is neat.  If not, I check your whole notebook.   I think that makes it a bit easier for the kids AND for me.

Mountain Math — this will be my bellwork/Do Now/whatever you call it.  Every day. Every week. If you have MM, I have a better looking sheet for it that includes a space for a writing response every Friday.  I think after a couple weeks, the students will think that it is “easy” when in reality, they are doing SO much good practice for state assessments over concepts that we may only spend a day or two covering.  If you are interested, click here for their website.  I have the General Math, but I really want the Pre-Algebra or Algebra one for after state assessments.  At just under $80, I think its a great resource!!!

4.  Respond:

(Picture of Graphing Calculators)

Not sure what I was supposed to do here, but I do love graphing calculators ❤

5. Picture of something you’re proud of, explain what it means to you:

This actually isn’t my classroom.  It is my mom’s! She is beginning her first full year as I begin my second full year.  I am SO SO proud of her for following her dream to become a teacher! I helped her decorate this weekend and it was so much fun. The organization of the math manipulatives under the green buckets makes me think about how organized my room is right now and how I want it to stay that way ALL YEAR 🙂

6. One of my favorite topics/units/concepts to teach is Order of Operations!  Why is it my favorite? I think it is such a fun thing to teach and you get so many “AHA!” moments with the kids.  There are so many fun games and foldables and interactive things to help get the students to learn! I just made a math boggle game for my Promethean Board and I’m SO excited to use that this year, even if I only get one day to teach it 😦



I really enjoyed writing this!  Very reflective and lots of thinking about what I want to do this year  🙂 Thanks for setting this up!!!


Tour and Goals


Frustrated…… WordPress is sketching out. Third time’s a charm?

Blogging about my classroom and goals today with MS Sun Fun

(Couldn’t get the logo to work so I’ll link that way!)

Here is my first wall (door on the left!) Homemade number line to match my room 🙂 Objectives and Activities get written far left of white board. 

Close up of bulletin boards: CHAMPs and May I? board: (May I get out of seat, may I sharpen pencil, etc) and CHAMPs board not quite finished 🙂

School News and MATH stations boards:

Next is my Word Wall (boring until we start using it!)

Next, my desk wall:

Up close of my “You will need…”  You can just see crates peeking out of the bottom.  They will keep notebooks and folders in a file in the crate, then look at this board to see what they need to have to be ready for class.

Student supply area:

My desk 🙂

Bookshelf behind my desk.   Quite possibly my FAVORITE thing. So pretty and organized.  Extra supplies up top and The numbered tubs are for each unit.  They will hold games and cards for stations.

The bookshelf has changed a bit because of a new pretty that I made 🙂

Close up:

 (Thanks Ladybug’s Teacher Files for the template!!!)

 In its new (blurry) home:

Continuing around to the front wall:

The red hanging file has actually already moved to the student supply bookshelf to hold papers for math notebooking.

The pretty blue file folders on the left my sister and I made with duct tape (thanks Elisabeth for helping!!!) and the side of the file cabinet holds my birthday chart:

and my summer project: Mountain Math board!

Lastly, my reading corner and door:

Oh wait, those two are my MOM’s classroom.  I just spent something like 17 hours in it this weekend, so it started to feel like my room 😛




Blogging and Tweeting more often! Blogging at least two times per month.

Working out and eating healthy again


Coming up with fun ways to teach math!

Binder organization by unit that I started last year


Going to bed so late! I need sleep

Getting behind in planning.  TOO many times last year it was 8:15 and I didn’t know what I was going to be doing at 9:00 when students showed up.

Notebooking? I need HELP!


We are starting to do interactive notebooks this year. And I am nervous!!!

I tried them last year and it was a serious DISASTER. Seriously. Used them for about 3 weeks until pages started falling out, students moving in and out and in and out, notebooks were unorganized, etc etc. I finally just gave up and would print/copy pages.

This year, I get ONE box of paper for the semester.  While I could buy more paper, I’d like to be conservative and just use the one box for my 100-150 students. So, I need to use notebooks and use them well. 

While I can’t offer up much advice, I have lots of questions and would really appreciate any help y’all can give me!


1. adhesive! What do you use to glue things into notebooks? Tape? Glue? White glue or stick glue? This was my biggest annoyance last year with pages falling out and it is what I think led me to just giving up!

2. Setting them up, I’m so excited to read everyone else’s blogs to get help with this! I know personally, I need to take it slow and just start with one thing at a time. First week will be table of contents, then maybe vocabulary, then add other things in as we go.

3. Grading? Do you grade them on their notebooks or not? I’m thinking quick rubric. Grade once every 2-3 weeks.

4. What kind of notebooks do you use? I am going to have to use plain spirals this year as we did not request a specific math notebook for our kids, so I am going to have to use notebooks from my stock pile. I want to try composition and graph paper this year with a couple kids and see what they prefer and what I like the best as well.

5. Frequency. Are yours used every day, most days, or just a few times per unit? I only have enough notebooks for one per student for the whole year and I cannot request students to buy other than what is already on their supply list.  I think I’m going to have them put all foldables and notes in the notebooks.  All classwork and homework will be on loose-leaf and in their binder.  Those pages will be pulled out, stapled, and put into their file folder each 6 week grading period.  Vocabulary will be on loose-leaf in a brad folder.


Anything else you can think of? Bad post on my part, but I just have no experience with notebooking and am still trying to plan out mine for this year.


Thanks 🙂 🙂

Math Boggle


I am SO excited for this game that I made in about 5 minutes for my Promethean Board.


The way this will work is that I hit (or have a student hit) the little play button on each square.   Once that is done it may look like this:

The students will use PEMDAS (Order of Operations) to create an equation (should it be expression?…. probably!) that results in the larger two digit number to the right.  Pretty much the only rule is that the next number you use has to touch the previous number (up, down, left, right, diagaonally).  The students get points based on how many numbers they use, plus a bonus if they include parentheses. 

So, my example below would score 7 points for using 4 numbers, but 2 more for using parentheses for a total of 9 points.

6 x 8 + (2+8) = 58

I’m not sure how I will use this in class, but maybe as a last 5 minutes activity after its been introduced? Highest point score (SHOWING WORK!) wins a ticket (or homework pass, or restroom pass, etc etc whatever reward you want). Or as a fast finisher activity?

I just loved this idea from many many elementary classrooms using word Boggle and wanted to use it to fit my middle school math classroom. This could be differentiated SO easily.  You could require some students to only come up with a one digit number, challenge GT students to a three digit number. 


What do y’all think? Any additions? Changes?

Don’t know how to share a flipchart file, but if anyone knows, clue me in and I’ll share this and convert it to SMART file and share that as well 😉

August Currently…




Just got home a couple hours ago and I am SO behind on things I wanted to get done before I started In-Service tomorrow (two days this week, four days next week!) This will be the only thing I get done tonight so that I can get some sleep!!


My back to school MUST HAVES are organization.  Wait til I post my classroom photos! I’m SO excited about how organized I got this year, PLUS I just joined the bandwagon and bought a 22-drawer organizer, so that will be made this week too!!!

Next would be the CHAMPs book. I am starting to use this system this year and I am very excited to see how it all progresses 🙂

Lastly, a great team. I am so excited to be back at the school I was at for a semester right after I graduated.  This math team is SO much fun and I am very excited to start planning on Wednesday with them!


Okay, quick, but I’m off to bed!!

First Day of School


We are still about 3 1/2 weeks out, but I am already furiously planning for school! My classroom is set up mostly, I have most of my documents ready to go, just needing printed and copied. 

One thing that I’ve done the last two years and have felt like its crashed and burned both years, is the student survey.  In the last two years, I’ve done paper surveys, collected them, flipped through the information and then shoved them into a drawer or file only to throw away around Christmas. 


Not this year! I wanted to do a survey online and be able to look at the results. I played with a few different sites before deciding to use Google Forms (I ❤ Google!)

Here is the link of what I came up with:

 Welcome to 8th grade math!

I’m very excited about this and if you have any suggestions of questions to add, I’d love them!!!

Another thing that I am excited about using for the first week of school is my book of rules/procedures.

Here’s a link to my booklet in my TPT store.  I have very few things in there, but this will be free.

Procedural Handbook

I will go through these procedures, rules, and guidelines the first week/two weeks of school and then have this as a resource in my classroom to refer to myself, or to guide students to read through when they are struggling to remember my expectations.


The only other things I will be doing the first week of school are introducing our daily Do Now (I’m using Mountain Math!), pretesting my students (our new state test STAAR was introduced last year and we did not get nearly as much data as we usually do), and just settling them in for a crazy awesome year!

I am SO excited for this year. I’m at an amazing school with amazing people and I’m so excited to teach 8th grade even though its a make or break year, I’m not super nervous, just excited!!!

Okay, maybe I suck at this blogging thing….


So, its only been hmm… 11 months ish since I last posted, but this has some good pre-Pinterest era things, so I’m leaving it up and just continuing on.


I’m really going to try to get into blogging this year. Now that I have a FULL year under my belt and I’m back HOME in the district that I graduated from, student taught in, and the school that I got my first job in, I’m feeling pretty good about this year.  In addition, I’ve had all summer to PLAN because I knew what I would be teaching this fall since May.  Last year I found out first week of August, and before that, I got my job the week after Thanksgiving and started the week after New Year’s.



To Do List for blogging:

– First Day/Week #mssunfun link up!

– Classroom Tour

– Math Boggle

– 22 Drawer Organizer Post (after I finish it!)


I’m really hoping to get into blogging now that more MS math teachers are bloggin and I’m not lost among the super cute elementary things. Also, Pinterest helps to make blogs more viewable (?) and I hope I won’t feel like I’m chattering away to myself anymore!


See you around 🙂