Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years!

Hmmm

Happy New Year!!


(Stolen from Theresa Milstein)

This year I need to
@ finish attending school
@ decide what I want to do next year (same thing? same place?)
@ clear out more clutter than I did last year
@ get more organized at work (which will help with the clutter)

Think that is enough to start with.

Six Word Saturday



Time to plan for next week.



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Yup - I have put it off long enough.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

SOPA battle is warming up.

I wrote here about SOPA.

You will start seeing a lot more articles, like this one about Godaddy in the coming weeks.

Like many legislation plans - there is more than it appears and I do not believe Congress is looking at the big picture.

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and less PC in 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 2012



I may have to ave a running countdown to next December.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

People

When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn't mean they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over.

I fall to pieces

Sunday, December 25, 2011

SOPA



Have you been following the SOPA legislation currently before Congress?

From PC World.

Also this week, conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, normally a strong supporter of copyright enforcement, voiced opposition to SOPA. The think tank has "serious and legitimate concerns" about SOPA's impact on Web security and freedom of speech, wrote James Gattuso, senior research follow in regulatory policy at Heritage.

SOPA, in allowing court orders to block the resolution of IP addresses by servers in the U.S., could entice Web users to "use less secure servers elsewhere to continue accessing blocked sites," he added.

SOPA still has strong support in Congress and among companies in several U.S. industries. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the driving forces behind the bill, has said that more than 400 organizations have voiced support.

The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to seek court orders blocking payment processors and online advertising networks from doing business with foreign sites accused of infringing copyright.

DOJ-requested court orders could also bar search engines from linking to the allegedly infringing sites. The court orders could require domain name registrars to stop resolving queries that direct traffic to those sites, and require Internet service providers to block subscriber access to sites accused of infringing.


So - how would SOPA affect you? And the way you blog?

Best of Dixie

Paraphrasing Jeff Foxworthy: People listen to the accent of Southern Rednecks and love to make fun of them. But let your car break down - and a redneck is your best buddy. He'll take a coathanger, a roll of duct tape and a Mountain Dew can and he'll get your car running to the next exit. It may not go any further, but it will get to the next exit.

"You can't judge a Southerner's intelligence by the way he dresses - or his accent."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Six Word Saturday



There's a reason for the season!



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Merry Christmas!! Wishing you and yours a restful and renewing Holiday season and a 2012 that was better than 2011!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And another one gets knocked up

Just learned that another one of my students, who is on the 5 year path through high school due to attendance issues, is pregnant. By her boyfriend, a boy I taught last year who has dropped out.

An old friend used to say that there were few accidental pregnancies - that most are a deliberate choice on the part of the girl. I thought he was a cynic. I don't know so much anymore.

I see the ones making this choice. I know that whatever their capabilities are in school, they decided before I ever met them that they were not going to do the work necessary to reach what they could. And that nothing I tried was going to change that.

I would have been humiliated to be pregnant at 16 but I had plans that didn't include children (or really a steady boyfriend) at that point. These girls are beyond proud. It is as if this is the culminating point of high school.

Since they are not investing in their own education - I grieve for their children.

Another teacher arranged for a student to come in to take a test when other students weren't around so "she wouldn't be embarrassed." Embarrassed? This is the kid who discussed every aspect of her pregnancy (stretch marks, Braxton Hicks - everything) with the kids sitting around her - male and female. I hope her boyfriend (who is in college for his second year) wants the same things she does. And I wonder if she lifts her attention from her naval long enough to see that they may be headed to different futures.

It is a matter of changing the culture - and I don't know how to.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dougherty teachers caught cheating as well.

Our state superintendent issued the following message. I bolded a statement that most administrations should pay more attention to than I think they will.


December 20, 2011 – State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge released the following statement regarding the Dougherty County School System Cheating Investigation that was released today.

"Today's report on cheating by some educators in the Dougherty County School System is another sad case of adults putting personal interests above those of their students. I am especially disappointed in education leaders who would threaten teachers' jobs if students did not perform well on the CRCT. While this behavior is inexcusable, it does highlight the need to look at a different, more thorough accountability system such as Georgia's new College and Career Ready Performance Index, which we have already submitted in the form of a waiver to the U.S. Dept. of Education seeking relief from the narrowly defined designation of success found in No Child Left Behind. Relying on a single test to determine a student's and a school's academic success is plagued with problems."

"The Georgia Department of Education will work closely with the Dougherty County School System to provide support for students who were negatively impacted by the actions of adults. We will also look into whether or not any schools and educators undeservedly received financial reward for these artificial CRCT results."

"As was the case with the Atlanta Public Schools investigation findings, the vast majority of the educators in Dougherty County and throughout the state are ethically sound and work diligently with the best interests of their students in mind. I'm committed to working with our districts to ensure our students are not robbed of a quality and meaningful education."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Support people who hinder instead

We have a support teacher - I cannot identify Vera more than that without identifying myself.

She is there to support identified students and is supposed to work with teachers.

She is incompetent in her job (my observation) so, rather than working with the teachers that she is supposed to - she lies, she misrepresents, she makes broad statements ("other teachers are able to do this") but when you ask how (so that you can do your job) she never answers - because (I repeat) she lies.

Bottom line - she interrupts classes full of students and then when she doesn't get 100% of the teachers' attention, we are uncooperative.

It might be a survivable situation if there was any support from the administration.

It is the beginning of my break and January is already looking crappy.

**update** Small towns are truly wonderful. Seems I have a good friend who not only knows Vera, but also knows where all the bodies are buried. Damn I wish I'd known that - but this is better.... And, yes, there is karma.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Six Word Saturday



Feeling overwhelmed but looking for calm.



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

I am not feeling the Christmas spirit.

I am feeling like I will never catch up - and realizing that I am not using my time as wisely as I could.

Time to set a timer and chip away at the to-dos 15 minutes at a time.

Edited 5 minutes later: read this and this and I am feeling more Christmasy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Question for high school teachers: how long does it take to read a page out loud?

How long does it take a high school student to read and comprehend a page of material - like a newspaper or something else written on a middle school or so level?

How long does it take to read this out loud?

Just trying to wrap my mind around this.

Six Word Saturday



Not burned out but getting toasty.



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

We cannot afford (as a district) to have math books, but we can afford calculators.

We cannot afford workbooks for the kids (so the teachers get to copy work for them every single day) but we can afford to buy literature books for the math department to teach reading in addition to the too-much-and-not-integrated-standards that the kids cannot find a cohesive whole to.

Oy vey!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pride goeth before the fall

Les Nessman, one of our APs, is adept at taking a problem and fanning it into a catastrophe, When presented with a problem from a parent or a student (and we know the students never lie) Les is quick to tell the parent/student that the teacher was wrong (before ever talking to the teacher)or to tell the teacher, in front of the parent "I cannot support you when you do that."

Thanks.

I hated working for the Hulk because I hate being yelled at.

I hate working with Les Nessman more.

I made the mistake last week of being proud of something I had done to benefit the students. I robbed Les of the opportunity to claim credit for it. (Yes, that was deliberate on my part - although I did claim in wide eyed innocence that I was just so excited that it had worked).

Trust me, pay back was a bitch.

100 more days of working with him. And I have a huge bank of personal days. I feel an extended and recurring case of the vapors coming on.

I think it is time to move on because I cannot wait for LN to be found out. He is either after the principal's job (and is trying to make him look incompetent) or he is the principal's minion whose task is to encourage people to leave. I think I am an asset (I have spoken before of being a mule here and here and the importance of have a team with some divas and some mules) but that is probably my pride speaking.

asthma sufferers - please read.

I was reading columns because I am avoiding working on a paper that is looking more and more like an exercise in futility for which I am spending a lot of money and time (but that is another story for another time).

There is something of interest buried in the middle of this article that I do not remember reading before.

“On December 31, 2011, the FDA ban on the sale of Primatene® Mist containing CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) as a propellant will become effective"

This means if you have asthma, you cannot pick up a non prescription inhaler as of Dec. 31.

The replacement for this has not been approved by the FDA.

So, if you have asthma, you will need to have a prescription inhaler or go to the emergency room.

I do not have asthma, but that seems big to me.

Our New Administration



(And the fact that you can not see the entire cartoon does not diminish the message)

(The entire cartoon is awesome)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Six Word Saturday



Sometimes the pigeon, sometimes the statue.



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

This week, I am the statue.

The AP is either following the principal's directives and "encouraging" people to make other career choices or the AP is trying to undermine the principal by making said principal look completely incompetent.

In any case, I am tired of being cannon fodder. Or the statue being crapped on.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Will you lose your job if we fail?

I had a student ask me that today.

Apparently a teacher told her class that we are held accountable for our failure rate. While it is true, I don't see why giving the students the idea that if they fail we will lose our jobs is a good thing.

Some students are willing to fail if they think it would cost you, not realizing what it costs them.

When I was a student, I was responsible for my education and I thrived.

I cannot see how it will work for me to be responsible for what my students learnwhen I have so little control over it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Algebra 2 for all

Curmudgeon has a great post decrying the current bent for requiring Algebra 2 for everyone. Apparently some California teachers have petitioned the state saying


(requirement. We believe a plan requiring every student to pass Algebra II in order to graduate without a waiver, while well-intentioned, will either stop a significant number of students from graduating or, alternatively, force us to dramatically lower standards in our courses as too many other schools have done)

Georgia has been requiring this for years - with the first graduates of this program scheduled to graduate this year.

As I have written earlier, the closer we get to graduation, the more they are bending. First it was for special ed students (that they only needed to get 2 years of math and then 2 years of math support). Then they added everyone else - saying you can't get to college with only 2 years of math.

We have no clue - but I do know math is getting more and more difficult to teach.

It isn't no book and no resource - though that is part of it. The curriculum does not flow and doesn't build. You start something one year and don't see it again for 2 years. I find myself caught between an administration that doesn't want the kids to fail and the students realizing that I am the one who gets in trouble if they do not do well.

The state says if I make it relevant and interesting enough they will learn. The administration gives me four preps and keeps taking away my planning period and fights any suggestion which would provide students with materials.

Oh, yeah, teaching math is wonderful.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Letting go

Ran across an interesting saying that I cannot reproduce here - because it doesn't all show.

When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn't mean they are bad people - it just means their part in your story is over.


(You can find it here.)

Letting go is one of the hardest things for me. I think I cling to things and people I no longer want because they are familiar.

Six Word Saturday



Well rested, but not caught up.



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Foldables and GPS resources

Found these foldables.

Also found math 2 and math 3 books posted on line.

If anyone finds something like this for common core - that would be awesome.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rebuilding

We have been working on our house since early summer. It has taken a long time because, as we removed siding we uncovered rot, which we fixed. My house is stronger, better insulated, and I am poorer than last summer.

The neighbors have been watching and one decided to do some work. I was glad because their porch is falling off the house. But what they are doing is putting boards over the rot and painting.

A month later, their house looks pristine. New paint, new side rails. and if you don't look too closely you won't see that the porch is still falling off the house. And the new soffits hide the rotten wood really well.

My house inches along.

I plan to stay here, so it is worth the time to do it well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

everything has some use

Just to prove that everything has SOME purpose - here is a use for pesky gumballs.



Should offer some hope for some of my students.

Fashion



I have several kids this year who use cereal boxes as bookbags. Never had this before - and they all seem to be boys.

What I am reading: Breaking the Code **update **

I read an article this morning which fit in well with the book I am reading.

The article talked about how Zuckerberg and Lessin used to discuss how one's story could be told by one's conversations - and this led, of course, to Timeline on Facebook.

The book is Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything by Karen Fisher-Alaniz.

Basically, her very private father handed her the letters he had written his parents during WW2 and they spent the next year or so using the letters to finally get him to talk about the war.

My father made my mother burn all of the letters he wrote her when they moved to assisted living. Mother says there wasn't anything mushy or revealing in the letters, but he really wanted assurance that we (the next generations) wouldn't read them.

I wonder how he would react to the book.

(It is a very smooth read and I recommend it. It has information on the importance of writing, a mystery, suspense, family, war - pretty much everything.)

UPDATE: I just read in the AJC where a man in Georgia purchased WW2 letters on eBay, met the man who wrote them, and is writing a book about the B29ers who bombed Japan.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

cookies - the best part of the holidays

Several friends are having cookie parties - where you bring 5 dozen of a cookie and take home 1 dozen each of 5 kinds of cookies. Here are some recipes for different things turned into cookies - like tiramisu and strawberry shortcake.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Six Word Saturday



Focus on groups, not the individual.



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

I teach high school math. I am supposed to do group projects, keep all 35 students in the class working on the project with no slackers, and yet assess the individual. Daily. In all classes. In 50 minutes.

When did their learning become my responsibility?

Old times

I went to a meeting today and ran into a teacher I didn't remember. Before I taught, I served as her supply teacher for a month (supply teacher being a long term sub who is certified). She asked if I had been her supply teacher and I said no, then she mentioned her school - and I said yes, if it was conics.

She remembered me because I had her students sign a card for her.

Such a small thing - I guess it was important. I just wanted her to feel better.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Tuesday

Occupy

Future of Cheating

A group of us were discussing where we would like to see education go and, of course, the Internet and technology came up. I think it can be grand - but I am seeing too many students act like water and take the easiest possible course, even when it gets them nothing.

We were doing logic puzzles in a class and my third class was solving it so much faster than the first two, so I figured they had talked in the hall. No - they were googling the puzzle and the answer. This required no thought on their part and increased their understanding not at all.

Someone mentioned the following story. It is about 5th hand so I am sure it has been "telephoned" and morphed from the original. If anyone knows the original story, please let me know.

A college IT professor gave an intense assignment to his class. He told them they could use the information they could find on the internet but only to modify their own code. They could not just cut-and-paste and use it directly. And the code had to be able to be run successfully. And then he very deliberately put code on the Web that appeared to satisfy the assignment specs.

Some students turned in just the code from the Web. When the professor ran their code, it generated a report "I cheated. I am a bad boy." They got a zero.

Some students had tested the code, found what it did, modified that portion = and there was another way he caught them, and they received a diminished grade.

And others just did the work.

The cheaters complained to the university president that the professor had tricked them. The professor responded that if you do not know what code does, you should not be submitting it. That the university had an obligation to turn out quality craftsmen, and you were not quality if all you did was hack other people's work.

I did find something related about an NYU professor but I don't believe that was the original story.

How do you keep them from cheating?

How do you inspire students to take pride in their own work?

I had to sign honor codes in every college I ever attended (which gives you an idea about my antiquity) and cannot see students caring about their word.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Six Word Saturday



Everything has a price. What's yours?



For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you


Doug Savage's tribute to his grandfather, 2010.


Doug Savage's tribute to his great-grandmother's younger brother.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mind blowing

Is teaching becoming more stressful?

Yep, pretty much.

We have several out this week with high blood pressure or chest pains.

Last week they announced another useless thing for us to do as part of our evaluation - and it will take hours to provide proof that we have done these things.

Do you think there is a relationship between the two events?

A Tale of 2 Remodels

Two neighbors are getting their homes remodeled.

The first project has been going on all year. It is an older home and when siding or decks are removed, there is rot underneath. The builder has told the homeowners and the bad areas have been fixed. This has added time and money but the house is in better shape than it ever has been. And the homeowners feel they are getting their mopney's worth.

The other neighbor just started work. The first builder noticed that the second crew is putting new siding over rotten boards. But he figured it was because they didn't speak English. So when the foreman showed up, he went over to ask if the foreman knew the work was subpar.

The foreman explained the crew was subcontracted to a big box store hardware store (which I really should out here, because I am very disappointed)and if they bring up problems which would involve more work, they would be replaced.

Sounds like a school system.

Let's go for show - the siding - and forget the foundation underneath.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And POOF you're gone

Forgiveness

Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness doesn't mean what happened was OK, and it doesn't mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It just means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go.

www.HappinessInYourLife.com

In my world . .



Warren County and Hancock County makes CNN

This isn't the same story that was told earlier, but I still have the same question: Why has there not been an arrest of the football player who hit the coach?

Top 10 Signs for Kindergarten work for High School as well

Please read my Common Core post as well.

From John Pearson at Learn Me Good, who took it from Matthew at Look At My Happy Rainbow who took it from Heidi Butkus at Heidisongs Resource

The Top Ten Signs You Work in Public School

1. The best person that can be found to teach K/1 teachers how to teach any subject is someone who has only taught high school.
2. If you were to add up the hours it takes to teach all of the required lessons in all of the teachers manuals in all of the subjects, they would total more than 22 hours of direct instruction per day.
3. Your current reading program is very similar to one that you have used before, way back two generations ago when the curricular pendulum swung the other direction. (I guess the advantage is that if you don’t like what you currently have, wait around for a couple of years and another curriculum or theory du jour will be in vogue to take its place!)
4. The curriculum that was chosen for you to use in Kindergarten was based on how well it works in some other grade level.
5. There is a teacher at your school that regularly calls in sick more days than she actually teaches, and somehow manages to hang on to her job.
6. You have had an LCD projector mounted on your ceiling for two years, but there is no money for a screen so you cannot use it. Or vice versa.
7. Three years after you have been given a new math program, they find the money to train you on how to use it.
8. Your legislature is thinking of increasing your hours but not your pay.
9. You know what your kids need to learn, but you don’t have time to do it because of all of the required programs.
10. The best way to make sure your kids learn (and therefore keep your job) is to close your door and do what you know works for your students!

How common will Common Core be?

OK, 45 states have now signed on for Common Core. Only Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Minnesota and Nebraska have not adopted CC.

Georgia is unleashing Georgia Common Core next year. And I see Montana has its version. I have a feeling that we will have 45 different common core versions.

Is that really common?

What is your state going to do?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Set your clocks back!

Warren County and Hancock County

I have written before about the Warren County-Hancock County football game where the Hancock players beat up the Warren County Coach on October 14.

There are still no arrests.

There has been a Hancock County BOE meeting, where they banned cameras, which is against the law in Georgia. It will remain to be seen if the culprit was the Baptist Church who hosted the meeting or the County.

Now the story is that both teams were swinging helmets.

Six Word Saturday times 3



A good leader smooths the way.

A leader doesn't complicate the chaos.

Government as boss? Duck and cover.


For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.
Enough said.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bright Eyes

by Mike 'The Wombles' Batt.

Is it a kind of dream,
Floating out on the tide,
Following the river of death downstream?
Oh, is it a dream?

There's a fog along the horizon,
A strange glow in the sky,
And nobody seems to know where you go,
And what does it mean?
Oh, is it a dream?

Bright eyes,
Burning like fire.
Bright eyes,
How can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes.

Is it a kind of shadow,
Reaching into the night,
Wandering over the hills unseen,
Or is it a dream?

There's a high wind in the trees,
A cold sound in the air,
And nobody ever knows when you go,
And where do you start,
Oh, into the dark.

Bright eyes,
burning like fire.
Bright eyes,
how can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes.

Bright eyes,
burning like fire.
Bright eyes,
how can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes

The Queen of Chutzpah

I live next door to the Queen. I will not bore you with the entire boring story, but we used to be friends several centuries ago. Then she put in a pool, asked another friend to tell me that Queen was worried I would invite myself over (why, I never had)and that was the end.

So, we are doing a little work in the yard and putting in some cool things. She showed up at my door and said I should have a part and invite her. I think I should call that other friend with a request that Queen not invited herself over.

Or just ignore her as I have for a very long time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Meetings: because they cannot think of another way to waste our time.



Early release. All afternoon in meetings. To make up for the one we had after school yesterday. Oh, gag me.

Let's learn four new things you want me to incorporate into the class before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lame

Les Nessman refuses to pronounce my name correctly. He so totally over-pronounces it that it has to be a deliberate slight.

Just grow up, Les.

Had a meeting after school - six times he called on me - and mispronounced it everytime.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How do you battle a culture like this?

Two rivals faced each other on the football field 2 weeks ago. It was the home team's homecoming and the visitors beat them.

After the game, the visitors went to their locker room - but it was locked. At that point, about 30 of the home team jumped them and started beating up the visitors. At one point a home player had a visitor on the ground, took off his own helmet and started to beat the visitor with it.

The visiting coach jumped in, was set upon and beaten severely with a helmet in the face, breaking many facial bones.

The home team is Hancock County. The visitors are Warren County.

The Hancock County sheriff refused to arrest anyone or turn it over to the GBI - he finally did.

There have been no arrests. There have been no sanctions against the Hancock County football team.

You can read about it here or here or here or here or here or here or here .

Now, none of those stories were on the front page. And the question should be, why isn't this news? Why haven't there been arrests? Why haven't there been sanctions?

Six Word Saturday



There is life outside of school.


For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

And this week - if it accomplished nothing else - reminded me of that.

Some weeks are just meant to be endured - and forgotten.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Slick is schizo


Today being a new day, Slick acts like yesterday didn't happen and apparently he has the thing he lost - and now we have to discuss it to see about moving forward. (No, I am not in trouble - I am still pissed.) (I may be taking over for PO now that she has landed in the catbird seat and is dizzyling happy).

On a different note, one of my ex students made the front page of the paper. And not in a good way.

I am completely disenfranchised

The Hulk made me mad. He never made me cry or doubt myself, but he made me mad. I avoided him and wouldn't have lifted a finger to help or walk two extra steps to see him.

Slick made me cry.

I am of such little value to him that he lost something that will take me time to replace. Time that I do not have.

There are cracks appearing in his foundation. I do not care enough to point them out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another shift - not for the better - in Georgia's math curriculum


Maureen Downey, an AJC reporter, wrote this at her Get Schooled blog.


A math teacher sent me this informative e-mail, which I am sharing with the author’s permission. In essence, the teacher reports that state school chief John Barge has been telling groups that Georgia will follow “traditional” math in its Common Core Georgia Performance Standards — the merger of our state curriculum with the new Common Core State Standards.

But the teacher cautions that the “traditional” math path should not be viewed as “going back to” how math was taught in the past, and that integration remains.

And the teacher says the same problems with math remain.

(Here is an earlier Get Schooled blog on this issue.)

Here is the teacher’s note:


Dr. Barge has announced to various groups over the past two days that Georgia will follow the “traditional” path for the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in High School Math. I am sure that the blog will light up yet again as word gets around.

Please, please, please do your best to write this (or talk with those that do) to accurately report that this is a re-ordering of the current GPS. About four total units are swapped around from the current “integrated” sequence, AND some topics are moved up from middle school GPS. There is even MORE content in the CCGPS.

Please do what you can to make sure that the phrase “go back to” is not a part of any blogs or articles from the AJC. The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards is not Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 of days gone by.

Statistics content is integrated into every CCGPS high school math class. Here are the titles and sequences as released to math teachers via superintendents today:

CCGPS Coordinate Algebra

CCGPS Analytic Geometry

CCGPS Advanced Algebra

CCGPS Pre-Calculus

Accelerated CCGPS Coordinate Algebra/Analytic Geometry A

Accelerated CCGPS Analytic Geometry B/Advanced Algebra

Accelerated CCGPS Pre-Calculus

The use of the terminology “Analytic Geometry” should clearly indicate that the content of the second course is not the traditional “Euclidian Geometry,” which is now largely taught in 8th grade. Analytic Geometry used to be taught in the second half of the traditional Algebra 2.

I no longer have any emotional attachment to any of the delivery models. I am tired of fighting and of hearing others fight. There is so little difference between the two traditional and integrated sequences as presented by Common Core, it is not even worth discussing.

The courses are all integrated in some way, at least in terms of what the word integrated has come to mean. I really pity those that think that the sequence of courses will solve all of the problems with math curriculum. I mean, really? How does the sequence of courses fix the very real problem that there is too much content to master every year?

How does the sequence of courses fix the very real problem that there is not any “review” of content in any year? Students are expected to know 100 percent of the content of the previous years courses so they can master the current year. Last time I looked, 70 percent is passing for a class, and around 50 percent is passing for a state test.

Both of those numbers are waaaaaay below 100 percent. If a student makes a 70 in a math class four years in a row, they will be significantly behind going into the fifth year class. Does anyone really think that every student receiving a high school diploma should have to pass Pre-Calculus?

Looks like to me the questions are all still there. However, I am sure that many people will applaud this sequence because the terminology seems to be close to “the way it was.” Oh, and if any teachers were involved in this decision, I don’t know about it.


–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Six Word Saturday



ADHD leads to some great conversations!


For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

While I cooking breakfast this morning and my husband was enjoying his cup of morning tea, we discussed everything from redoing the kitchen cabinets, school, his work, and back to an original topic.

And we could track the conversation!!

Gotta love mutual ADHD - but you have to stay awake to track the conversation!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Does easy mean useless?

I talked earlier about a teacher who kept saying how easy his/her master's program is. He/she was at it again in a meeting. I am drowning between the school I teach in and the one I learn in.

Why would I say it was easy?

Wouldn't it imply that it was useless?

His/her program is online and isn't giving me a warm fuzzy feeling about the value of an online degree.

(My current program feels useless a lot of the time, but it isn't easy. Mrs. Chili, writing does not come easy to me and I know that procrastination limits the feedback I could get to make the writings better - but it doesn't come easy. I suspect that it is the same thing I tell my students: practice and it gets easier.)

Did a review today. A difficult student balks every time I do a review because 1) I am not teaching and 2) I am going too fast and 3) she doesn't understand ANYTHING.

1) it is a review not a lesson and 2) if you can't tell me where I lost you, how far am I supposed to go back to reteach the material we have been going over for two weeks? That you have refused to do?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

And today's math requirements are



Back in the day, you needed two years of math (not necessarily as high as algebra) to graduate from high school. Prior to 1950, most people didn't even graduate from high school, so I am talking about more recent times.

Ten years ago, you could graduate from high school with Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 - just Algebra 1 and Geometry and an arithmetic class if you weren't going to college. Note: Virginia, who is opting out of Common Core, has added a personal finance and economics requirement to graduation requirements.

Georgia insists that every student take math through trigonometry in order to graduate. No, wait, we will allow them to use a support class that isn't given its own grade to count as a math class but we will only do this for special ed students who cannot master the math. No, wait, let's let anyone who cannot otherwise graduate do this.

Kate Nowak quoted in her blog a software engineer saying too many people are giving up on math before they even know what it is. I do not know of another subject where you have to learn how-to do things before you can really see what it does. If you are stuck in the I-have-to-use-a-calculator-to-do-simple-arithmetic how can you appreciate the sheer fun of factoring?

I use sports analogies with the students all the time - that you have to practice to get better - but they want to play football, softball, basketball, whatever - they have been convinced by their peers, their parents, their former teachers - whoever - that math is meaningless. I struggle every day with simple things that should not be a struggle because the education we offer has no continuity, no links, no book and I am losing any hope of teaching those who do not want to learn.

The game plan is shifting almost every day - it's like playing football and not know if I get 4 downs or 5 today - and I am smart enough to know it is going to get worse with Common Core.

It is a time of Nightmares

I am not the only blogger whose school is being turned around. And I know I am not the only blogger having nightmares - really weird, really scary nightmares - that are related to this whole process.

OK, so last night's nightmare was this. I was teaching older students (they were actually adults, which I do not teach) and I had given some assignment. One student (there were about a dozen) objected to the assignment and said it wasn't "real enough" so he had modified it. If the other students didn't do - whatever - well enough (and he would judge) he would blow them up.

For some reason I didn't report him and every one came back for the second meeting.

He was haranguing us all about something. (we were in a atrium and he was on the railing of a sphere above us, yelling at us.) I was calm. The others were freaking out - but not as much as you would if someone was really going to blow you up. About like you would if you felt you couldn't do the assignment and would fail.

I convinced the majority that they had accomplished what they were asked to and they left. Then I talked him down by convincing him he had accomplished what he had set out to do - which was not blowing up people or a building, but by increasing rigor.

1) poor communication (so much of what he said I cannot remember)
2) all or nothing
3) ineffective way to increase rigor (don't know how you get THERE by terrifying everyone)

Yep, sounds like my life right now.

I was calm - but the first half, I wasn't sure how to accomplish anything except get the class out of the building. By the second class, it all clicked.

(click on this - you will want to see the whole thing)

Note: Got curious about the origin of the word nightmare. The scientific word is disambiguation - won't go there. Nightmare comes from the idea of a German demon or goblin who sat on your chest and made you have bad dreams.