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March 2008

Business != School

There’s the big debate about whether schools could, or should, be run like a business. I’ve certainly worked for some businesses that would drive a school into the ground. On the other hand, I’ve experienced some business models that would make a school flourish. A lot of the positive aspects i’ve experienced are embodied at […]

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How I teach 2 step equations.

California 7th Grade standard, Algebra & Functions: 4.1 Solve two-step linear equations and inequalities in one variable1 over the rational numbers, interpret the solution or solutions in the context from which they arose, and verify the reasonableness of the results. This is the introduction to algebra that most kids stumble on. It is fraught with […]

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“Research” Based.

I only knew about the National Math Advisory Panel Report from the blogosphere. But, since I was on vacation, I went ahead and read it. All 120 pages of it. And the one thing that struck me is a peeve I’ve had from my day one as a teacher: They repeatedly called for reliable research. […]

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Stupid Standards

Okay. I don’t hate the standards so much. I hate the way that they’re written1. For example, from the California 7th grade standards: Number Sense 1.2 Add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational numbers (integers, fractions, and terminating decimals) and take positive rational numbers to whole-number powers. Number Sense 2.3 Multiply, divide, and simplify rational numbers […]

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Learning Teams

I’ve mentioned a group that I do lesson planning with. It’s not ad hoc – it’s deliberate. It’s a paid program. There is a lot of garbage out there, but this seems to be the real deal. The project is Pearson’s Learning Teams (additional link). In a lot of ways, it follows the generic product […]

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Add/Subtract Reteach

I had one class of students who never got a grasp on how addition and subtraction works with negative numbers. I can’t blame them much – that was what I was covering during the period that one of their classmates got shot. I obviously didn’t accommodate that as well as I could or should have. […]

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Cross Comments

Today I got two comments within minutes of each other that seem inextricably linked. First: The biggest problem I have is the students who are unwilling to learn. Of course. The students who want to learn are easy. They don’t need teachers, they just need a good text book and enough quiet time to figure […]

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I’m a geek. I admit it. I watch the directors commentary for (some) TV shows. While watching those, I’d keep hearing references to “beats”. As in “this scene leads in nicely to this beat”, or “this beat sets up the rest of the season”. A quick google search leads to the concept of beat sheets. […]

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School Management

So, a while back, Dan brought up classroom management. Then Scott started another comment fest with video examples of unmanaged classrooms. Absences Along the way, in between, I’ve been having discussions with teachers at our school. I mentioned to one of them that I’d been having a lot more class coverages lately1. They told me […]

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Vent #2

So, “pi day” is coming up. (Thanks for the reminder, Ms. H.). I use quotes because March 14 has, aside from some matching digits, nothing to do with pi. There are neither 10 months in a year, nor 100 days in a month, so there is no valid quantitative connection between 3/14 and 3.14. And […]