Intro to Math Week

The first week of regular classes was an “Intro to Math” for all 4 groups.

Day 1: Syllabus (boring) & growth mindset (inspiring!)

Day 2: Establish group norms & introduction to Pentominoes

Day 3: Pentominoes Task

For their first collaborative challenge, each group had to come up with as many different ways to form a 5×5 square using Pentominoes.


Between the 4 classes, the students came up with 193 distinct ways to form the squares! I’m very impressed with their teamwork and problem-solving skills so far.

To wrap up their work in groups & introduce an element of individual accountability, I gave them an independent reflection that is a little bit more abstract. We didn’t finish that in class last week so we’ll go back to it on Monday.

As classes get into full swing I’m very quickly realizing that:

1. I do NOT have enough time to cover everything! At our school, every Tuesday is a field studies day, plus students all either do service learning or an internship on Fridays. Classes are already only 50 minutes long, but on Thursdays they’re 30 minutes because of the school meeting & P.E. (I’m teaching yoga!). The schedule is awesome and the students get lots of valuable experiences they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to have, but it’s a huge challenge for an integrated curriculum.
2. Teaching 4 totally new classes is going to be really difficult. Most of the material I have taught before, but in a different order, or a different way, and certainly to different groups of students. I alternate between being REALLY EXCITED about trying new stuff and REALLY OVERWHELMED at how much work I have to do on a constant basis.

I hope everyone else has started off the school year well!