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January 2008

Scientific Notation: Nitty Gritty

Part two went way better than I had any right to expect to. These are low performing 8th graders. Theoretically, they’ve been over exponent rules before. I had maybe 3 kids in all my classes who could even remember the word exponent two days ago. So when I gave them this handout, some of the […]

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Liveblogging a (almost) fight

I was cleaning up, getting ready to head home, when I heard a commotion outside my room. I’m right next to the PE area, and there were about 200-250 kids out there in that typical whirlpooling action. I moved in, looking for the center, asking the kids I knew to move away and break it […]


Student Survey

I spent the weekend catching up on grades (I should have a handle on this now, right), and so my lesson plan for monday was weak. However, I’ve got a lot of students doing poorly, and they’re going into a must succeed semester (In middle school, the most important one to them is the last […]

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I hate the union

They’re at every school. At least, they’re at every school I’ve ever taught at. They’re the teachers who hide behind the union, who every time we discuss some way of maybe improving something find an objection by quoting some obscure part of the contract that protects us from having to do that. I got cornered […]


Scientific Notation Intro

End of the semester – quarterly assessments are over, but there’s one topic to teach them left, even though it won’t get onto this semester’s grades. I thought I’d give dan’s advice a try: build the worksheet first. This is what I came up with. It’s a short day – I think after a warmup […]

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Math : History :: Construction : Gardening

I was talking to Ms. L, a history teacher: “You teach like you’re working in a garden. You’ll plant a seed one place, pull a weed in another place. You’ll prune something one day, and the next day you’ll water something completely different.” “Yup,” she said, “I just putter around, doing a little bit here, […]

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The problem with abstraction.

My biggest problem as a math teacher? I’m not sure anyone agrees on what math really is. Even among math teachers and coaches, I’m not sure I can get agreement. Forget it if we need to include parents and administrators. Last week, I was talking to an administrator about math instruction (They’re planning on getting […]

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Whoops. I did it. I busted out the “politics” tag. So, I suppose it’s worth mentioning that the school I’m at is one of the low performing schools targeted by Mayor Villaraigosa’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. As things go along I’ll make note of how they’re going. I could try to be impartial, but […]


Points of view

Searching around for info on my school district, it appears that this story is making the rounds on some local conservative politics blogs. I’m not quite sure what to make of it. As a matter of fact, I’m at this moment substituting in a 7th grade classroom at a school that perfectly matches the demographic […]

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Ahhh. That class that was driving me nuts? As much as I hated doing it, as much as it felt like a failure in my ability to develop connections with the kids, all the documenting and phone calling and consequences have finally paid off. At least for one day. But it actually felt like a […]