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Oct 14 2010

Top Ten Things I Learned From Teaching

Failure Makes Me Learn. I have privileges I’m not aware of. I can be a good teacher. I love learning. People are usually good. Kids can all learn. Teachers are awesome people. There is no such thing as a perfect administration. Kids love finding out personal details. Teaching is about relationships. Teaching is a science…

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Oct 14 2010

Why can’t I keep cleaning?

My room at school. My room at home. My life in boxes. All these days are is packing and saying goodbye to people I love. And I’m excited about graduate school. And I’m excited about my new job with TFA. But I’m overwhelmed. As if I’m maybe doing too much all at once. Why am…

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Oct 14 2010

Top Ten Favorite Math Websites

When I realize that I can rattle off a list like this off the top of my head it makes me realize that I did in fact learn something in the past four years. Verizon Wireless Commercial Cynthia Lanius Penny Problem, Koch Snowflake and Infinite Series Problems with a Point Top Ten Best Math Jokes…

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Oct 14 2010

My project is better than your project!

Today my Geometry students presented their awesome projects which explained how to measure the field at our school with trigonometry and a cross staff. All of them had invented a different way to do it and some were shockingly close to the correct answer of 330 feet from baseball diamond to baseball diamond. I was…

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There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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Today we participated in student-led discussions on controversial current issues during our flex period. My group discussed abortion and had a great, respectful and interesting discussion. This was the fourth or fifth community conversation of the year and I find that the really interesting conversations happen during fifth period when everyone returns from their respective…

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May 21 2010

Hi students! Are you reading my blog?

My fellow teacher just came to my room and asked if she could speak to me privately for a moment. I felt like I was being called down the principal’s office but it turns out she had overhead some student talking about reading my blog. Luckily I love my job, think my kids are great…

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Meeting Alan Schoenfeld and hearing about his work spending three years analyzing one hour of video trying to really understand what math teachers do might be inspiring me to excessive reflection. I keep wondering about what kids are thinking, what I am thinking and what types of mental processes are they actually using to solve…

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May 09 2010

Thank You Mom!

Even if today wasn’t mother’s day I would still owe my mom a huge thank you for all of her help cutting mathematical stencils for my students this week. My kids LOVED their geometry t-shirts and it was mainly because my mom did such a fantastic job designing the project and teaching them how to…

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May 07 2010

Appreciating Teaching Week

Despite my excitement for graduate school, this week gave me a serious case of teaching nostalgia. It all started with my random assignment to an art field trip on Change of Pace day last week and ended with a 20 hour paint all over my room math art project. On change of pace day we…

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One of my most interesting students spent his free-period chatting about math education with me today. He’s very willing to tell me exactly what he doesn’t like about math books, math class and certain students approaches to mathematics. Today we discussed another student who he thought had a silly approach to math. She tries to…

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Apr 22 2010

What can you teach a teacher?

I believe that you can’t tell students how to do math. They will try to memorize instead of understand and will forget it later when faced with a new situation. And if they don’t understand almost everything will seem like a new situation. You must give them a well-engineered learning environment, push them just enough,…

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I’m vowing to spend the precious time I have left teaching observing other teacher’s classrooms. When I’m observing I have the luxury of really focusing on how students are approaching a problem and asking them about their thinking without worrying about the other students who are waiting to talk to me. Today I sat with…

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Apr 21 2010

Infinitely Thin Cucumber Salad

We were literally eating Calculus problems today. And running around with knives. And it got a little out of control. And perhaps I let these things happen because my teacher soul has never been good at discipline. I started the morning at Safeway trying to buy food that looked like you could form it by…

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I just picked a graduate program for a PhD in math education. I’ve never made such a big decision before or had to know myself and my interests so thoroughly. I choose a program I didn’t expect. A party school in the desert. Arizona State. And it’s scary because I chose based on my best…

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Some amazing things have happened in the last month or two. I feel like my chances to really grown and explore as a teacher are running out and I have so much left to learn. When I haven’t written in a long time I always struggle to start the post, wondering what do I write…

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Apr 13 2010

Joining the math wars!

TFA alumni happy hour this evening served as a catalyst for the idea to try to infiltrate local meetings of “Where’s the Math?” Where’s the Math is a local group headed by Cliff Mass that is leading a misguided attempt to remove all inquiry based math or reform math from the Seattle schools. They recently…

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Apr 10 2010

Relentless Pursuit

Shame. Fear. Grief. Deep unhealed wounds. What is left of my TFA experience inside my body? I’m reading Relentless Pursuit, a story about four TFA teachers at Locke High School. I’ve never read a story that was my life. I taught at Locke. For 5 weeks at least. I didn’t fully appreciate the violence, the…

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My geometry students have actually started asking to find out about what we are learning in Calculus class. It all started when I realized(thank you Randi Engle) that showing my students how geometry would be useful in real world Calculus problems might increases their ability to transfer knowledge to new situations. I’d already been showing…

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As I was riding home from school today the middle school principal at my school commented that I always have such great ideas at faculty meetings. I told her “I love coming up with ideas, and I’d be happy to share more.” We had an interesting discussion about formative assessment and teachers hanging on to…

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There was definitely a clearly thought out pedagogical reason for having all of my students walking around the classroom marked with post its indicating whether or not they would “die” of an infectious disease. It was either that or geometric proofs with algebraic properties for an entire 65 minutes. I know it’s traditional but I…

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Today in Geometry Class I started it off with a quick round of “do you want to see what we did in Calculus today?” Before I erase the board I try to point out to them any instance where we are using algebra or geometric formulas to solve something. Today we used the area of…

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Feb 19 2010

Geometer’s Sketchpad and Integration

I thought a lot about lesson design today. Our school enrolled in Key Curriculum Press’s service which provides pre-made Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP) lessons with worksheets. The one we did today allowed the students to change the limits of integration graphically by changing the amount of area under a curve that is calculated. As they drag…

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Today we had the second in a round of community conversations designed to help our school have discussions about race and privilege. In the first rounds students led conversations about identity that centered around family traditions, food, culture and holidays. Today we split into affinity groups based on race and discussed the benefits and challenges…

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I’m teaching Geometric Proof. And it’s hard. Some kids understand what I’m talking about when I mention making a list of reasons that prove something. They totally understand when I say, don’t use what you are trying to prove as one of your reasons. Don’t jump to conclusions about something that would be true if…

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About this Blog

Learning more about life than math…

Region
Las Vegas Valley
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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