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Category Archives: Uncategorized

On Reading

I was observing another teacher’s classroom a few weeks ago. They were studying forms of government — anarchy, theocracy, monarchy, democracy, … The discussions that flowed in that class were nothing like what we get in mine. After all, how excited can students get discussing how the discriminant in the quadratic formula determines the number [...]

Noticing the Pens

“Mister, where do you get your pens?” someone asked. Later that day, another student asked the same thing. They’ve seen me using these for some time, now. When I’m at the document camera writing guided notes, I use colors to emphasize where things come from — to show what’s being substituted where. And I use them [...]

Turning in the Extra Credit Problems

A student of mine had been struggling. He knew it, and he would come in for help during tutorials. He asked good questions. He tried hard. I sent some links to Khan Academy to give him additional background and practice. Since then, he’s been more comfortable with the material, and his grades have been inching [...]

That Was Interesting

It was Friday. We were studying how to solve systems of equations with three variables by substitution. And we had finished the lesson 10 minutes early. I was bushed. (I had been sick earlier in the week and was still fighting it off. My voice had barely lasted.) I stopped writing at the document camera and [...]

Being Mean

I was disappointed with all the zeros in my grade book — a lot of homework never turned in. So I stood in front of the class and gave them a lecture. “Don’t ask me, ‘Mister, how can I improve my grade?’” I said, “when you can see as well as I can that you’re [...]

Welcome to Leave

Usually at this time of year, our rain barrels are just beginning to fill up — replenishing from the brutality of summer. But this year they’ve been full for many weeks. That’s when the rains started. The Farmers’ Market: Poor Ben. He is the director/manager of the Sunset Valley Farmers’ Market. They have had dismal, rainy [...]

Organizing the Notebooks

Class was over. The students were leaving the room. I had been standing by the door. So I was walking the other way.  One of the students was standing at the baskets containing their composition notebooks. She was muttering under her breath, which didn’t register with me at first, but then I looked at the baskets. [...]

On Acorns

The Burr Oak across the street is laden with huge acorns. Quercus Macrocarpa. But they are still a bit green. It will take good timing to get a few before they drop. Last year not one of them on the ground was any good. So I’ve got my eyes on that tree. And the acorns are [...]

A Long Friday

It was a long day. Full-periods working on function transformations with the kids. A pep rally after classes before the kids began filing out of the school. Some after-school tutoring to a student who has been working hard to keep up and to understand. Grabbing something to eat before heading to the football stadium for [...]

Lausbub

“You’re a silly goose,” someone in the back of the room chimed in when another student answered a question I had asked. “Hey, silly goose: that’s what I used to call my son when he was young,” I said. They looked at me. I stood there for a second, weighing whether or not I could [...]