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{ Yearly Archives } 2010

Performance Reviews

Some days you couldn’t pay me to quit teaching.

Back to School

Back to School night is in a week. I’m think of, instead of my usual presentation, videoing my kids presenting the information. It’s nervewracking, but I get my best things done by just jumping in and doing, and only worrying later about how much it might suck. I’ve always got the old deck as backup, […]



I am the least organized person on the planet. My office at home looks like a disaster area. Before automatic bill pay, I got those pink envelopes all the time. I don’t think I’ve ever balanced a checkbook. As a teacher, this can be fatal. So I’ve had to learn how to fake it. I’m […]

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One More Thing for Administrators

Do not pretend that making announcements over a PA is a “way of connecting to the students”.

What Teachers Need from Administrators

Scott McLeod has asked a weeks worth of teachers to guest post about what what they need from administrators. I’m not one of them, but it wouldn’t hurt to throw my opinions out there. I’ve been thinking about this a bit, since I am now in my seventh year of teaching, and will have my […]


Thinking about Dirt

Dan recently did an online lesson on a clip from the movie adaptation of Holes. These are some thoughts on how it went for me. The technology/web aspect had plusses & minuses. It would be a lot more work intensive to get this collection of people together without the technology. Having a running list of […]

Next Year’s Number Line

Like most math classrooms, I’ve got a number line. My kids use the hell out of it after we learn about negative numbers, some up to the end of the school year. We’ve got a week and a half left, and the kids are restless. I didn’t like the number line I bought this year, […]

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Teaching to the test, parabola style

Last year, I taught my kids to graph parabolas, and to solve all those drop a ball off of a balcony problems. And they did horrible at it come test time1. I don’t have a complete answer to the word problems yet, but they knocked the graphing questions out of the park. The trick is […]

Factoring, up or otherwise

SamJShah posted about factoring up, and his concerns that it relies on some magic that hides deeper mathematical understanding. I share his concerns about that method. Fortunately, I’ve found a way to do it that builds on prior knowledge, rather than relying on legerdemain. It goes back to teaching binomial multiplication – I rely mostly […]

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How to tell if a teacher is going to be bad on the first day of school

Polled some of my kids today on how they can tell if a teacher is going to be ineffective or not. Without any ordering or filtering, here were some of the first day warnings they had: Angry or mean face Condescending attitude Messy/disorganized classroom(+)[1] Too emotional Yelling (++) Too friendly Too much info too fast […]