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Silent Sunday

Sun, 19 May 2024, 11:07 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

Horse Mint blossom


Card and Cookies

Sat, 18 May 2024, 02:40 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

The teaching is done. Has been for the better part of a week as [some of] the kids have been working on a review packet. Finals start Monday. 

As an extra source of inspiration and a boost to get them across the finish line, I will hand out the usual Oreos as they work on the test. And as a token of thanks, I will continue my tradition and hand out approximately 160 cards to thank them for being in my class.

The cards are hand-drawn but copied on the copier. And they are hand-colored, including a different function in the graph of the cover of each card. And they are hand-signed, including a left-hander’s checkmark that some of them have joyfully complained about all year long.

Although some of the cards will be left on the tables when the students are gone, in my experience there won’t be many.

One thing I can say with absolute certainty: no Oreos will remain.

Leisure Reading

Wed, 15 May 2024, 09:23 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

The students are reviewing for their Algebra 2 final exam. All week, they’re reviewing. Every day, all week, they’re reviewing.

For some of them, there’s nothing left to do after they’ve finished the 59 problems on the review packet. Many of them have finished. There are three more days of this left. Hence…

My father would be proud.

I’m not good at math

Tue, 14 May 2024, 10:05 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

“I’m not good at math,” she said as I posed a question to the class.

“Nope,” I said. “None of that.” 

“Ok,” she said, looking down at her scratch paper.

“Hold up,” she said to herself after a minute. “I need to discuss this with my brain.” And she proceeded to work some more.

And then she got it, coming to the whiteboard to show everyone her work.

Do you want a picture?

Wed, 8 May 2024, 11:54 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

The test was over. Everyone was done. She turned to me.

“Mister, do you want a picture of a cat?” she asked.

“Let’s see.”

She showed it to me.

“Yes!” I said. “Let’s tape it to the gallery.”

Silent Sunday

Sun, 5 May 2024, 03:00 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License


Silver Linings

Sun, 28 Apr 2024, 02:25 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

The first Walnut branch that fell last night scared the living daylights out of Izzy. She hasn’t whine-barked like that since the duplex fire in the alley years ago. Then a second branch fell early this morning. But with some assisted inspection all was well with her, and how could all not be well with me — with Corona loppers and Felco hand shears. 

I will leave the sawing to another day.

In the meantime, we’ve got some new calibrated kindling piles prepping for fall.

Silver linings.

(Not So) Silent Sunday

Sun, 28 Apr 2024, 08:23 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

(not so) #silentsunday

On Sharing and Giving

Sat, 27 Apr 2024, 06:01 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

The Apple trees have been laden with juvenile fruit for a couple weeks.

The weekend’s winds have done the hard work of lightening the load. Many have fallen to the ground. We look forward to the remainder with great anticipation.

Maybe this year, we think. But of course the squirrels have other ideas.

After several years of this, we have resigned ourselves to giving away the bounty. Because with squirrels, there is no share. There is only give.

Getting / Not-Getting the Points

Fri, 26 Apr 2024, 10:04 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

He and she sat across the table from each other in the middle of the room. When I looked over, she quickly glanced up with that look. You know it. The look where you know something is going on.

Earlier he had handed in his extra credit work for a test they were taking. And then a few moments later, he returned to the hand-in box to retrieve it. Now he was looking at his work closely, comparing it to something she had pushed across the table.

He pulled a clean sheet of paper from the scratch paper pile and began writing, carefully looking at her paper and then writing on his. He did this repeatedly with the back-and-forth, reading-writing action familiar to teachers when an assignment is due.

“Oliver?” He looked up but was silent.

“Are you redoing it?”


There was no hint of remorse. As if this were normal. As if it were the way we do things, which of course it is not. 

“But you can’t redo it … not after you’ve looked at someone else’s work.”

He gave me a puzzled look and sat motionless.

“Just turn in the first one,” I said, which he did, sliding her sheet back across the table, which she quickly folded up and put in her backpack.

Neither of them will get the points.

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