Sunday, January 31, 2010

Build it and they will come.

Moriah wants to build a web journal where all interested can come together to discuss what Mayor Blomberg is doing to the schools in New York City.

This is worth supporting, even for those of us not directly involved. If it continues, other administrations may get the idea that it is an ok way to deal with schools.

Why is it so difficult to get them to turn things in?

I build into my grading scheme some easy items. They have benefit to the students and they help balance the grade (read: they should raise your grade but they won't if YOU DON'T TURN IT IN).

The students in my school do not believe in deadlines. Deadlines have become useless (are you listening, Mr. Hulk?) because the administration sets a deadline, so we set a deadline with the students. Then 2 weeks later, the administration will make an announcement that they have extended the original deadline.

So, the kids feel that every deadline is flexible.

I entered my grades 3 weeks ago. There was a date which was the last time I can enter the grade easily. And I told them, there is one more deadline where I can fill out paperwork and someone can change the grade. After that, it takes an act of congress to get the grade changed. And since I had hounded, begged, nagged, pleaded, cajoled, nagged to get work for 6 weeks, I was finished.

About 6 students couldn't be bothered - I figure at least 2 will come to me this week and ask about their grade. I cannot do anything now.

So, now I am working on this semester. I gave them a quiz grade for a week's worth of warmup. We do one question a day from an end of course test (to cement their knowledge). The problems are handed to them. They are multiple choice. We go over them. They can copy from their neighbor. It is printed on the warmup when it was due. And yet, I have half.

So, tomorrow, I will be back to asking these seniors to turn papers in.

They do not take ownership of their education on any level.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

How do you work this problem?

I am helping a friend learn math and sometimes he gives me problems I cannot figure out.

This is a discrete problem, permutations and combinations. Anyone able to help me?

Four people are to be selected at random from a group of 4 couples. In how many ways can this be done, given the following conditions:
a) No restrictions
b) The group must have at least one couple.
c) Each couple must be represented in the group.

The answer (according to the book) are 70, 54, 16 and I cannot get any of these, I hate to admit.

Six Word Saturday

Limited resources: who do you save?

I feel sometimes as if I am constantly dealing with Kobayashi Maru problems. If I cannot reach all of the special needs (not special ed, but still) of a class of repeaters, who do I direct my lessons to? WHo will benefit the most and who - because I am one person with other obligations than this one class - do I throw under the bus?

Friday, January 29, 2010

You catch more flies

We met with Denise's mom yesterday and it's a good thing it was after school. I know the woman only brought her daughter to public school for special education services, but she could not have been more contemptuous of public education if we had shown up at her kitchen with a list of rules and regulations.

She insulted the teachers (we are apparently reteaching material already mastered by Denise - but she doesn't know the material). She kept trying to run the meeting and telling us whether or not we were necessary to the process.

As soon as she gets what she wants, she will be pulling her daughter from public school. (Oops, she slipped on that one. Didn't say it outright, but when she announces that Denise will be graduating next year - well, there is only one way it will happen.) So, why doesn't she just pay for the evaluation herself?

Too expensive. So she will waste all of our time jumping though the legal hopes to accommodate her child into public school - then, boom, outta here.

Her child has not gotten as good an education as I would expect. The vocabulary specific to an area (math, science) just is not there.

Isn't there another way?

My students do not like graduated programs (graduated income tax, graduated commision, etc). We were working some today.

"It's too hard"

Then don't do it.

"Isn't there another way?"

Sure, why don't I do it for you. Not.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which Principal is yours?

Which one is yours?

I think Mr. Hulk is #3.


I was called into the resource officer's office - to spell inappropriate so he could finish a report.

How inappropriate!! (Kidding)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Parent to child

(relayed to me by the parent)

Son: What are you going to get me for my 18th birthday?

Mom: A box of trash bags because you are moving the hell out.

And I wonder why they have problems.

What a day

* the sub I had for Funsucker was actually more of a pain than the original: she kept texting on her phone and having borderline conversations with the students. She is about 20 and they know her as a previous student at the high school.

* Our grades had to be in a couple of weeks ago but we are given one. more. chance. for the kids to raise their grades. I have had two argue with me that it is too much work (to do what they have been asked to do for months). I just keep telling them: "so don't do it." My grades are already in (remember, as of several weeks ago). If you want a change, this is the non-negotiable price. Guess I have to call home again, because the kids actually think there is a negotiation going on.

* Denise is showing promise. She just doesn't use the vocabulary I am used to. My problem is getting her to acknowlege it isn't MY vocabulary but a normal math vocabulary.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What would you do?

We have about 5 more days to change grades from last semester. I have a boy who did nothing, nada, bupkis. I think I posted about him a while back. We are supposed to put in 60s rather than 0. When I did that he had a (wait for it) 60!

So I didn't.

He is really working this semester. OK, it's been 2 weeks. But he has done more in 2 weeks than he did all of the rest of the year.

A teacher took me aside today to tell me he had been diagnosed as very depressed over Christmas and was/is being treated.

Dilemma: He can't redo the work in 5 days. He could over this semester - at which point I cannot change the grade from the last semester.

Self-esteem is an issue. Passing is obviously better for self esteem than failing.

He hasn't asked for any consideration at all. He knows he failed last semester.

This is not an honors class I am talking about.

Whatever I do I will feel badly about.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

VIP Mom - again

I told you here and here about Denise, homeschooler.

Her mama just sent me a list of things I am to teach her (but she uses incorrect mathematical terms, so that speaks volumes)ASAP. She doesn't know how things are related. Blah blah. This is going to get old quickly.

Since she doesn't understand the order of things - how in the world did she teach for all these years? Ah, yeah, homeschooling and what it means around here.

Mama is used to one student. Denise is used to one teacher. I have a whole passel. And their needs are not less important than Denise's. Since some are 2nd semester Seniors, I would argue their needs are more.

But, I will refrain from comment before I insert the proverbial foot and talk to people with power tomorrow after lunch (when I will have TIME - remember time?) and see what they want to do. I have a lot of questions based on what mama told me.

Lottery money

When Georgia first voted in the lottery, it was with the understanding that it was to be solely used for pre-k and for college scholarships. More and more students are going to college and using HOPE, to the point that it is in danger of running out of money. Now it appears the Governor has buried (in the middle of a 700 page budget) what he intends to do with Lottery funds. Here and here.

I wasn't in favor of the lottery for education because every state I have seen who swore that the funds would only supplement existing education funding cannot resist those lottery funds.

Perdue has pleaded poverty so often, constantly reducing education funding - and now this.

The way he went about it - it's sneaky and underhanded and evil.

Another article I need to read.

chep hors

Apparently you can find this blog by googling "chep hors". I do not even want to know what they were looking for.

co-teaching HA!

In theory, the model we use in our school is co-teaching" two equal teachers. I teach math, I understand the concept of equivalency.

It is not equivalent when one person provides all the material and does 95% of the copying. I am not allowed to call it my room because it is OUR room. Not when I am buying the crap that you cheerfully use and never replenish.

It is not equivalent when you get to decide that there is no need for a meeting (even though you have been told by people with actual power [not me] that you have to arrange to meet with me once a week). And then think I am going to pull something out of the hat that we have not discussed but you suddenly think is the thing to do, with 30 minutes of class left.

It is not equivalent when you talk over me when I am teaching or calling roll. ("Don't interrupt me. I didn't interrupt you. Act like a lady." may be the next thing that I say to you in class.)

79 more days.

rallying cry

Do you think the classrooms are peaceful when the teachers are this upset?

Pretty much says it all.


Am I biased when I believe that a GED is not the same as a high school diploma?

Is this something your students talk about? A lot?

The local 2 year college has classes which help people earn theirs. Just a few years ago, the only option other than staying in school was to go an hour away. Now, you can go up the street. According to a discussion I overheard this week, you take a couple of tests, they determine where you need help. You take a couple of classes and voila! In a few short months you have a GED "and your diploma" and you can move on.

His mother did this. The family is pushing him to do this. It would be easier than my ridiculously watered down math classes. I mean it is 4 and half months til the end of the year, and you can have a GED in 3 months.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Six Word Saturday

New semester, new problems, new hope.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
(Robert Burns)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Man, we're not in Kansas anymore

New kid has been homeschooled her whole life. She complained to her mother that I didn't teach because of the behavior problems.

I asked her mom WHAT behavior problems. I wasn't lecturing because I am trying to get everyone to take notes on what I taught the first semester. My class has doubled in size.

Her comment: Three of the boys were cussing and I kept having to deal with it (Watch your mouth).

The boys are black and use the N word liberally in their discussions (I take offense) as well as every curse word you can think of in less than normal conversation. If I wrote them up for the profanity (not counting the N word) I would never see them. So I spend most of my time trying to make them see that most people do not talk that way.

If this is "behavior problems" I cannot wait to see her reaction to some of the other things I have seen in class at this school:
* students piercing their own lips and ears during class
* knock down fights that you cannot stop or separate
* students deciding they are done and walking out
* dip (this is the South - I mean tobacco not chip and)
* followed by spitting - on the floor, trashcan, out the window, wherever
* alcohol (this was in class)
* and the proverbial "pants on the ground" (which has included my seeing parts of anatomy that I don't want to)

(I have mentioned that you get reprimanded if you write up "too many")

I am sure there is more - the child isn't ready for prime-time.

Helicopter parents and VIP parents

It isn't exactly VIP - but, you know those people at a restaurant who show up late without a reservation and expect that they should be seated first because it's Mama's birthday? I have a new student with a parent like that.

Denise has been homeschooled her whole life. Not she is 16 and they are looking at SATs and whatnot coming down the pike. So, they enroll her at her first public school as a sophomore.

They want a LD diagnosis with reading issues so that she gets extended time on testing.

And they want it now.
She's been in public school 1 week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Curmudgeon has done a whole series on Highly Ineffective Management. We have our own examples.

Mr. Hulk fired the football coach last week. No one knows whether he will be allowed to teach after this school year at our school (well, maybe he knows). But nothing has been said to the other football coaches (do you KNOW how many there are?) or the other teachers. Instead it festers.

Does Mr. Hulk think it will go away? In this day of blogs, it hit the community blog the day after it happened.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A kvetch here, a kvetch there

* I am trying to teach in my class, and I stop to ask the kids to stop talking while I am talking, start teaching again and have to stop because Funsucker is calling out to various kids about something completely unrelated to what I am teaching. In case there was a doubt, I am in the front of the room, talking and writing on the board and she is walking around the back of the room.

Jeesh, do you think there is any disrespect going on?

(I also mentioned in the teaching that part had been taught on Friday because I heard Funsucker teach it.)

* One of my problem students mentioned he was living on his own. I mentioned if he wanted to save money, he might want to share an apartment with a friend of his (whom I also knew was living on his own). Turns out, they are sharing an apartment, so maybe this is good.

* I got 27 emails from a mother over the weekend from the mother of a kid I taught last year, who failed half of the classes last semester because he didn't turn things in. I made some suggestions - and get emails back (where does he turn this in; he needs to borrow art supplies; oh, he just found 10 pieces of work people were looking for...)

Yes, I know why the kids I teach have problems.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The first step is the hardest

Most people don't know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don't get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life. (Brian Andreas)

A rising tide lifts all boats (anon)

A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for. (William Shedd)

Funsucker - yeah, I know

I will have to continue to post about her.

Call it an obsession, call it petty. As long as she is in my sphere of influence, raining on my parade, it is either blog about her here or alienate my friends and family.

Bitch or blow - I either let it out or explode over something petty.

I will always tag the complaints so you can avoid them if you want to and I will try to have enough of a life that I can write about other things.

Truth hurts

The habits/qualities that you find the most irritable in other people are the things you don't like about yourself.

I find Funsucker to be a caricature of myself.

Not exactly, but I see in her the things - exaggerated - that I have worked hard to eliminate.

Temper. She pitches a fit when she doesn't get her way and runs and tells the administration to get you in trouble. I have worked hard to control the temper I know I have. The fact that I am still married to the person I married decades ago says he is either really patient (not) or I am somewhat successful.

Listening. She doesn't listen to what anyone says. She is so busy thinking about her reply, that she doesn't hear your answer. I take notes during most meetings just to keep my mind from wandering.

Control. Oh, this is a biggie. She wants it her way. I want it right, which I suppose is my way. I watch her do things almost right. In the scheme of things, it will not matter. But it grates. Go back to the not listening and temper, and this is something I will have to back off on to get through this year. A friend said, she wants to be the general ed teacher - let her teach. Do the other things in the time she is trying to explain concepts. That is so hard for me to do. I want to butt in and FIX it.

I watched her teach something in 2 distinct steps that I do in one. With the other teachers, we would have laughed, explained you get the same answer but here is another way to do it. With her, I let it be. I think she is creating more work for everyone, but she isn't flexible.

Pride. We both have it. I pride myself in being able to explain things to people. She wants it known that she has equal or better qualifications to teach this. Then why does she refuse to work any of the worksheets and share HER answers on the board ("I don't do that"). Really.

Her skill, she tells me, is editing. My skill (I don't say) is filtering through a lot of things and finding a solution. My skill (I don't say) is in explaining in as many different ways as is necessary so that the person finally understands it. My skill (I don't say) is in creating.

I have always known I was intelligent. I don't think I really understood until I took the gifted certification. It wasn't the first unit or even the second, but somewhere in reading the characteristics of the gifted versus high achieving versus average - I got it. And I could SEE the difference and understand a lot about my life and that of my family. Because I live in a nest of gifted souls.

I'm not bragging. It is a part of me the same as my hair and eye color. I don't always do with it what I should, but it is a part of me.

It is that intelligence which will allow me to see the forest for the trees and get through this year. It is that intelligence which will figure out a way for her to be happy so she leaves me alone. And it is that intelligence which will figure out a way to make this work for the kids.

Now, if I can use the intelligence to harness the pride, temper and ego - I will survive.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reinforcing what you want

The administration says that they want a more rigorous program.

The administration tells us we have to let the students recover work they fail because people learn at different speeds.

The administration calls teachers in if they fail more than 15% of their students.

The students know all of this.

We had a teacher who wasn't exciting or hip. He failed a large number, although he did allow recovery. He lectured (teacher led) rather than engaging the students in student led lessons. He drilled - and drilled. His pass rate on state tests was 70% where other teachers had closer to 50%.

He was repeatedly lectured about his failure rate in his class.

He left this past week.

You reinforce those things that you want. Ours is so focused on the immediate AYP that they cannot see the dropout rate that will happen soon when new curriculum hits. Or, we dumb the program down even more.

I can't make it any easier

I can't make it any easier, kids. Please help a little.

Semester started this past week. On the first day, I decided to do something differently: ask them to write a paragraph about themselves and a paragraph about what they wanted from the course.

It was 100 if they did it, 0 if they didn't

At least one student in each class would say "this is so we start the semester with 100?"

The overall average is 45. It's 74 if I only look at the ones who were in class. I enter 0 if I don't have the assignment, whether you are there or not. It is easier to figure who owes me work.

More than 25 people can't be bothered to write two little paragraphs?


Birthday money

At Olderthandirt HS they do something that I haven't seen in the surrounding areas. I don't know if it is specific to the culture or the economics of this area.

When a student has a birthday, his friends give him (or her) money which is then pinned to the clothing of the birthday person. One of my students talked about going to a rehearsal dinner for a wedding on his birthday and passing a hat and collecting money.

It is only one ethnic group that does this.

My children (different culture and economics and school) take birthday presents to their close friends - but I have never seen this money thing before.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I have a student who has told me "Technically it wasn't skipping - I was doing Mrs. X's work in the library." and "Technically it wasn't cheating" (She didn't explain that one.)

I want to tell her "Technically you aren't failing this class. We've just deferred you passing it." Possibly forever.


I'm not sure how to teach students when there are no consequences.

A dozen or so of the kids I teach didn't come to their final. This was a couple in each class. Only a few still passed the class with a 0 for the exam. As near as I can tell (or, rather, as I have been told) only one had a valid reason (death of someone close).

What am I supposed to do with the rest? Let them take the final if/when they show up. No academic penalty. And, since the posting window is closed, I will need to calculate their grade manually (not a problem: I teach math) and post it manually.(This cannot be done at my computer since I have no rights. It has to be done in Mr. Hulk's room. After I make an appointment and wait for him, since he NEVER is available when he tells you to be there)

So what bloody incentive is there for anyone to do their work remotely on time?

The only person being punished is me.

And even though some are sped, and 2 are in Funsucker's class, I know that it will not be Funsucker who deals with any of this.

We are being told to get the graduation rate up, the test scores up and cater to their every whim. These kids think they are adults. They think that they can dictate how high school goes and that they will get out of it what they need. I don't see how.


I am still drowning with no help from my co-teachers. Two of them will help in the classroom (with discipline, teaching), one is still a thorn in my side. She is one of those people who delights in pointing out your faults to other people.

No one does any of the other stuff associated with teaching. Grading papers, copying, taking roll, creating material to use (even creating crossword puzzles when it was one of them that suggested it and pointed out how to).

A friend suggested that since Funsucker wants to teach, let her. Spend the time doing all of the other stuff and helping.

Funsucker does things in itty bitty steps. To calculate overtime pay, multiply the rate times the overtime amount. Then multiply this times the time. Since these kids cannot understand that you don't round til the end (I said it in one class ten times) the answer they get is not the answer I get.

More steps means more opportunity for error.

I did learn something last week. Funsucker wants to be a general ed teacher. They switched an English sped (special ed) teacher to general ed last year, so she thinks she will get it. Since there are very few (less than 5) math sped teachers in this county for high school, it isn't likely to happen. And this is a person who doesn't handle frustration well.


Six Word Saturday

Help Haiti: send money . . . and prayers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's not nice to mess with a teacher at the end of exams

I usually have a great deal of patience. But at the end of this week, dragging kids to pass (I'll come back to that later) - well, it's not the time to tailgate me on the way home. Especially if the name and phone number of your company is on the side of your vehicle.

I called and pointed out (very calmly, I thought) that it doesn't necessarily give the best image of your company if your driver tailgates me and, when I pull over, tailgates the next guy.

I got my failure rate down to 10%, all refused to do the work I had offered them over the past MONTH so that they could pass. Most also didn't even come to take the exam. That one I don't understand.

I stayed after school to help two of these pass - neither showed up in my room.

My failure list has now been turned in. New semester starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


What do you consider to be the MAIN concepts of Algebra 1?

I have
* solving equations
* graphing (slope intercept, intercepts, plot points)
* manipulating equations (changing an equation from one form to another)
* evaluating expressions
* formulas (using a formula to solve a problem, like converting from centigrade to fahrenheit)

What do you think should be added to that list?

She still bugs me; I made a student cry; life is good

* It took 20 minutes today for Funsucker to answer the simple question "How many are you taking with you?" so I could count out exams. I asked it a dozen times. The answer was 8 - I guess it takes 20 minutes to count to 8. This was 20 minutes that all of the students could have spent taking the exam.

* I have tried to get along with her. I feel like a person in a horrible marriage who will do ANYTHING to get along with the other person. I have lost all respect for myself.

* Last fall a person in my low level class cried and told me she would never pass my my class. Yesterday she not only passed the exam she earned an A in the class! When I told her that, she cried (happy tears this time).

* Grades are coming in. Not looking good for Mr. Ego.

Moral vs ethical

One of my low level students only works when he has to. He is charismatic, so when he doesn't work, he brings 4 or 5 down with him.

He earned a 25 on my exam. They were allowed to work together, but he hadn't done the review (he had an A in the course, no worry). Obviously, the ones who chose to work with him fared badly as well.

If I lower one of his test grades, he'd have a B in the course and be motivated in the second semester (maybe) to work harder and pass, since the state test is in the 2nd semester. If not, he still has a barely A.

I cannot bring myself to do what is best for the student - lowering his grade. I hope I am not dooming him next semester.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Exams - bleecch

In order to get my low achievers to pass I let them work on the exam together. I am failing the 5 I expected to fail - they refused to do the daily work and didn't come to the exam. I had As - The girl who told me I can't do this has a solid B.

She was one of the ones helping the rest, so she has a solid understanding.

My exam grades are pathetic. But I achieved what my goal (from on high) was for this semester - passing them.

The ones who didn't pass cannot pass but it is not because of me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

No school tomorrow!

Apparently there is still enough ice in subdivisions and on back roads, that the various school districts (18 so far) have canceled school tomorrow. It seems strange as the highways are clear.. Nut there are bridges and narrow roads and buses do not have seat belts.

Ice tragedy

Three teenage boys tried to play on a frozen lake nearby. They fell in and only one was able to get out. The other two died. What a tragedy.

I live on a lake and told my children when they were little, way too young to understand, that even though the lake freezes, the ice would NEVER be thick enough to support them. It wouldn't matter how many cold days we had, the ice in Georgia would never, never, never be thick enough to walk on/skate on.

I think it is the only thing I ever said that they listened to.

I grieve for the parents for their loss.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

old fashioned vs new

The AJC has posted about a decision to change from the state's math curriculum (heavy on investigation) to one more firmly based in a teacher centered format of explaining the process.

Math Stories makes the point that most of us who teach math always did well at it and are facing a majority of students who don't "get it".

There is a balance and I have always tried to find that balance. Oddly, I was chased away by a principal who couldn't see what I was telling him: the new system (investigation) assumes things about the students which discourages those who don't do well from succeeding. With a basis in the math - they did well. My accelerated class shined at it. My lower level class needed more help than the investigation allowed. And it is probably me.

Where I was allowed to teach by example, "old fashioned", give the foundation, I could go into the beauty of math and have them appreciate it.

Now in high school, I often have to spend a large portion of the first semester just getting them to see that they CAN do it.

Six Word Saturday

Preparation makes life so much easier.

Now, if I could just TEACH that to my students!!

MMT I try SO HARD to write mine before cheating and reading yours. Yours are usually better!

Friday, January 8, 2010

195th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans

The Battle of New Orleans, by Jimmy Driftwood

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We looked down the river and we seed the British come
And there must have been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
We stood behind our cotton bales and didn't say a thing

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire our muskets till we looked 'em in the eyes
We held our fire till we seed their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and gave 'em..
Well... we...

Fired our guns and the British kept a'comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Yeah they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannonballs 'n' powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Yeah they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I don't know how to address some of this

A student came to me with his review yesterday.

"Barbara Finch has the following to deposit into her bank account: $1395 in cash, $15.24 in coins and 4 checks: $50.00, $150.75, $45.00 & $75.25."

I showed him how to fill out a deposit slip and how to do the subtotal and total. Then he asks: what do you do with the 4? (As in 4 checks)

Another came to me with this problem: "Edgar purchases these from the hardware store: 2 gallons of paint for $12.00 each, 3 paint brushes for $9.99 each, and a plastic drop cloth for $3.99."

He did the amounts as
12.00 + 2
9.99 + 3
Then add these together.
(For those of you who do not like math, it should be
12.00 X 2 = 24.00
9.99 X 3 = 29.97
So 24.00 + 29.97 + 3.99 = 57.96)

This is after working one on one, going over all of the problems as a review. etc.



We'll have school tomorrow - I don't think a pint of snow fell outside my room - but we are southern enough that it entertained us for a LONG time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our state end of course test

We gave a state mandated test in one of my classes. This is the first year for the test (so there is no test to look at). 25% passed. Another 10% almost passed.

Is this good? Who knows.

The principal is not a math teacher and doesn't know about all the issues this math program has had statewide for 5 years. He will not be happy with the numbers.

Getting ready for exams - more

* Student came in today (having cut school the last two days. Her exam is tomorrow). I asked her to work the review (actually, copy the worked review on her sheet, since we went over it in class for 2 days). I look up, she's talking (did I mention she is failing my class?). "Chatty, please stop staring at the paper and copy the review." "I'm not staring at the paper." "Neither are you writing."

* Another student: How can I be failing? I was passing this class! (Yes, 3 weeks ago and you haven't turned in anything since - and I have done 2 tests and 3 quizzes.)

* Gave a review in another class. It said on the bottom: Turn this in for a quiz grade. I worked each problem in class. Half did not turn it in. Of the other half, only 2 got 100.

I can not simplify this stuff enough for them to pass.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Talk a lot

Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
{Three times}
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little
Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep

It is so hard to get them remotely serious about studying for a midterm when they have just come back to school. I saw more phones than normal (they have gotten used to texting all the time and think I forgot that they are not supposed to) and they talk. All. The. Time.

Midterms can be sooner than they appear in your calendar.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Studying for a certification test

And ran across this question

Which is a less than ideal example of collaboration in successful inclusion?
a) Special education teachers are part of the instructional team in a regular classroom.
b) Special education teachers assist regular education teachers in the classroom.
c) Teaming approaches are used for problem solving and program implementation.
d) Regular teachers, special education teachers, and other specialists or support teachers co-teach.

I assumed the answer was b as it is not collaboration.

The book says "b". In a special education setting, the special education teacher should be the lead teacher.


Fly away

I would rather hang out with birds than sit around and complain that I do not have wings (paraphrased from House).

Julie and Julia

I started to read Julie and Julia a month or so ago and got about halfway through it. By then I realized I really didn't like Julie Powell and only wanted to read about Julia Child. Since her part of Julie and Julia came from the book My Life In France , I ditched one book for the other.

I am now about halfway through My Life In France and am beginning to realize what I was enjoying so much about Julia Child: the sense of wonder, her self depreciation (but not giving up the idea that she could do it), and the quest.

Sense of wonder: she wants to see it all and experience it all. Even when things are not as good as they could be, you get the idea that she is enjoying the experience and looking for what is next.

Her self depreciation: she was raised in an upper middle class home and went to Smith. But she doesn't come off as someone who was constantly telling those around her how wonderful she was. Instead, you get the idea that she was really interested in those around her. Her size (a good 6 or more inches taller than those women around her) could have led her to come off as a bully, but you begin to understand why she was so successful.

The quest: she wanted something more than what she had (being a housewife in a foreign city) so she systematically set out to be better: learning French, learning to cook, learning to share what she had learned.

And you got the feeling that Julie Powell was looking for shortcuts to all of this.

I want to see the movie (for Meryl Streep) so I am waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can skip parts. Something tells me I won't like Julie Powell in the movie either.

Thought to cogitate: Julia Child would have done the same things (learned French, attended the Cordon Bleu, written the cookbook) even if the cookbook had not been successful. I am trying to find the place in my life that is missing (the thing I need to do to make my life fuller) and I wonder if my problem with Julie Powell is that the thing she filled her life with wasn't her quest but someone else's.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Break almost over. Time for school.

I find I am looking forward to going back and reviewing for exams. I hope the kids come ready for work.

Friday, January 1, 2010


* Blog more and vent less
* Organize everything
* Throw away the junk we have acquired and kept
* Gift things that no longer bring us joy
* Learn calculus
* Be more on top of the teaching
* Do more art - I've let that slip away
* Eat healthier
* Drink more water
* Less Coke and coffee
* Spend more time with my family and friends

Thanks for the inspiration,DKZODY.