2016 Blogging “re-INITIATION”

I think I can…I know I can.

I, Sahar Khatri resolve to blog in 2016 in order to open my classroom up and share my thoughts with other teachers. I hope to accomplish this goal by participating in the January Blogging Initiation hosted by Explore


You, too, could join in on this exciting adventure. All you have to do is dust off your blog and get ready for the first prompt to arrive January 10th!


A very long day: 11.21.13 #DITLife

A Very Long Commute begins at 6:45 AM and ends around 8:15 AM

I have a long commute. Yes. It. Is. So. Worth. It. Unfortunately that day my communte got a bit longer and I had to take a cab in addition to a bus and train that I already take to work.
School Day Starts 8:30 and I was able to get their on time despite the challenge in the commute that morning. Nothing major, but typical MTA delays.
Advisory: 25 Minutes
The first 25 minutes of our school day begins with an advisory period. I have 13 students in my advisory and once a week we  have “connections” where students can share anything on their mind in a judgement-free zone.  We only share in connections, but do not respond to one another. 
During advisory I also check-in with students regarding various things.  Thursday’s topic was student led conferences (which I hope to blog about at another time).  Essentially we had parent teacher conferences this week and my students were the ones who did majority of the talking. They explained their report card grades, spoke about pieces of work they were proud of, things they need to improve on, and their goals for the next marking period.  Students had a script to help them and then I facilitated their discussion. During advisory we reflected on this and I asked them suggestion for our next student-led conferences.   
One suggestion was: The students shouldn’t lead them anymore -.-
Period 1-3: Teaching
I teach three classes in the morning and they are all co-taught.  Majority of our students are ELLs so my first period class has mostly the advanced/intermediate ELLs and my third period class has beginner ELLs.  My second period class is the ICT class that has 40:60 (??don’t quote me on that ratio) ratio of students with IEPs to general Ed. 
On Thursday, my first and third period classes were working on constructing arguments for the following prompt through either a gallery walk or chalk walk.  
First period did a gallery walk critiquing previously made arguments by filling out a chart on the strong and weak elements of arguments they saw when they went to different stations. Since we had a ceremony the day before, my third period was a day behind, so they first worked on responding to the prompt.
Third period was a challenge since my co-teacher was out sick. I’ve never taught them alone. Managing really wasn’t an issue…not so much anyways. This is my beginner ELL class and I have 4 predominantly spanish speakers and a handful of beginner ELLs with little English fluency. Usually, one of us checks in with them throughout the period and that obviously did not happen.
With second period, I decided to do a review of the distributive property and the order of operations which occurred prior since many of my students in that class needed additional support.  We did these through stations and students responded to different prompts.  
Gallery “walk”
I was observed by my principal and math coach during my second and third period class.  My principal popped in for about 10-15 minutes for each class and was helping some students during my second period class.  The math team later got a shout out at the end of the day for incorporating literacy techniques the students are used to using in their English classes (more on that later….I hope).
Periods 4-6 Meetings, with lunch sprinkled in somewhere
We walk students down to lunch and the meetings begin. 
Period 4:  Tuesdays and Thursday, my math coach comes in. Thursdays mean department inquiry meetings where we look at student work/data. Thursday, we worked on creating groups using data. 
Period 5: I continue speaking to my math coach. Somewhere in between there, I ate lunch since it’s my lunch period. I went across to the corner pizzeria to get a huge slice of pizza. The thing is huge…I wish I had a picture of it. I also organized.   
Period 6: I have a common planning meeting with my math advisor.  We look over some lessons and he gives me some feedback. We plan future lessons. I also use this time to reflect on what he observed in my morning classes.  
Period 7: “Prep”
Period 7 is my prep, but I continue working with my math coach on lesson plans for a bit longer and then had a heart to heart with him with some of my recent stress inducing challenges and he offered some advice. Then, I spent the rest of my prep grading and updating my records. 
My school day officially ends at 3:30 PM and then I start to lose track of time!*
Period 8: Meeting a parent for Student Led Conference
Some of the parents were not able to come for conferences earlier in the week so I scheduled a half hour meeting on Thursday afternoon.  Other days I spend 8th period working with students or prepping for the next day.
Period 9-10: Working with Students
During period 9, I pull a few students out of the extended day program to pray. I have a group of a few Muslim students who approached me wanting to pray in school since we have set timings for praying. The timings are explained at the top here.   So now I pull them during lunch, 9th, and 10th period (if I stay after 3:30, which I do most often than not). I also pray during the day.
My students praying.
I also use this time to work with students. I worked with students on reviewing topics for the quiz the following day. Afterwards I continued grading while another student worked on Math Reflex for his math fact fluency. He started asking me about the students who were just inside the room praying. He also asked me questions about me covering my head, where I am from, and what languages I speak.  I entertained his questions and then had him return his attention to the math program and he worked until it was time for him to go home at 6 PM while I continued to grade some work. 
I went back to my room, put on Pandora organized a little bit and was about to get out around 6:30 when I passed by the library. There was a community meeting happening on the reopening of a new bridge in the Bronx, so I stayed around for 10 minutes to listen in in the update about the project and some of the community concerns.
I got home around 8:30 and had dinner. I had a virtual debrief with my co-teacher since she was out sick and then spent some time with my sister and then finally headed to bed. 
*My school is a part of NYC’s pilot program that extends the hour of the school day until 6 PM. Our students have core classes until 3:30, have snack/supper and then have two additional periods. My day ends at 3:30 (officially, of course).

Stepping into the Twitter World

A few years back I was very much into the twitter world with a personal account, but then I didn’t have much use for it. Now, I’m back exploring it as Mission #2 of the Exploring MTBoS.  

It’s definitely still overwhelming and fast paced–something that made me leave that world before, but I’m learning to organize and lurk/read/share without losing my sanity .

  • By far the one thing that I am looking forward to are the weekly MSmathchats that happen every Monday at 9 PM. (It was pretty sweet that #msmathchat trended that night as well!) Transcript can be found here. My circle of teacher friends consists of high school teachers and their experiences are vastly different than my day-to-day. Not that I don’t learn or benefit, but it is different. So I’m really looking forward to finding a community that is full of middle school teachers.

Twitter has also opened the windows to many blog posts and bloggers that have quickly been starred, bookmarked, or followed:

I think I'm discovering teacher treasure.
I think I’m discovering teacher treasure.

The hashtags are pretty darn awesome.  #MTBoS is exploding and I’ve found many goodies there. Also treasures have been found in #msmath and #msmathchat, especially around fractions.  

And most importantly there are really awesome tweeples (tweeps? tweeties?) out there! 

So I’m looking forward to my stay in the virtual MTBoS!

Mine, mine, mine!

 Mission #1: What makes my classroom unique?

So the trouble with answering that question is that I co-teach all of my math sections this year with THREE different people so it’s hard to pinpoint one thing that makes my classroom distinctly mine, especially since we have normed many of the practices within our math team. A later post on that. 😀

Here are two things that I do that I feel that are slightly unique to me.

#1: No judgement zone
I haven’t perfected this yet, but I’m trying to give a no-judgement zone vibe in my classroom. I’m turning the tables and letting my students decide, agree, or disagree with the perspectives, solutions, and strategies that others present.

During classroom share outs, I usually put up any and all responses my students give and then throw it back to the students. “Do we agree? disagree? Does anyone want to comment or elaborate?”

It’s still something I am struggling with because:

  • it’s so hard not to judge or make some sort of facial expression.
  • I struggle with the bringing it all back to full circle and make sure that misconceptions have been addressed by the end of the lesson.

#2: The Bowl of Destiny
This feature of my classroom is what I use to cold call on students. They hate it. I love it!


Bowl of Destiny -- each foam stick has a name of a student for cold calling.
Bowl of Destiny — each foam stick has a name of a student for cold calling.

Till next time.