Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mandated reporting

I have to do a professional development on mandated reporting in high school by next week. Does anyone have anything to add to this topic?

I did find this.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lesson plans

Well today - one month into school - we had a meeting about lesson plans.

The form we are to use is completely incomprehensible. I would love to follow it but no joke, it doesn't flow. So, I will be doing a plan then cutting and pasting to make their form work.

What got me about the meeting was the lecture that we need this because we do not teach in lockstep. OK they worded it more positively than that, something about not being in sync.


1) we have no book and have had no book for 4 years and will probably never have a book again
2) so, we teach by worksheets - God forbid, we share resources so no 2 of us use the same worksheet.
3) we do not have common planning. Unless you harangue teachers, they do not show up after school - and sometimes haranguing is not enough, and a piece of crap lesson plan format will solve the dysfunction?

But it's ok. We will spend hours adapting to this new format - which cannot use anything from last year's. They tell us we will do all this work this year but will be able to use them next year. Which is the same thing they told us the year before. And the year before. And the year before . . . .

Got to get busy. Thet are due Wednesday.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How is the weather in new England and NYC?

I got inspired this morning since I really don't get a feel for what is happening when I look at radar. So I have been looking at traffic cameras in various cities. Virginia is looking good, New York looks wet and deserted. It doesn't appear to be doing much in Boston.

Hope all are well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Major Gripe

If you have no idea how to use Microsoft Office Products then do us all a favor and DO NOT CREATE FORMS. It is beyond a pain in the butt to fix your inane formatting because you do not know enough to know you do not know what you are doing.

Six Word Saturday

Be safe while the wind blows.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.
Hurricane Irene should come ashore at Morehead City, NC in the next few hours. She is a category 2,may downgrade to a 1, still going to be a lot of "sound and fury".

I hope all my friends and relations along the East Coast get needed rain but no trauma.

It's a great day to make a big pot of chili and plan to eat that for a while!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lesson Plans

Do you have a specific form for your lesson plans?

Is it useful to you?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Doncha love it

… when someone asks you to send them a file that you sent them a year ago?
… and they don’t give you the right name of the file?.
… And after you find it and send it, they then ask you where an acronym comes from. Which is the first thing in the file you just sent. Which they haven’t even opened and looked at before they emailed you?

…when someone comes in your room wanting you to do something for them and you are on the computer (actually working not writing vents) and there is air of disdain that you didn’t jump? And it is another teacher who should know better?

...when someone makes a big deal about misspelled words and using the right word - and keeps using the following in powerpoints: "if they do blah blah, they will loose their benefits"

Right Triangle Trig

Today we were going over - again - the concept of opposite and adjacent. (I always always say "next to" after I say "adjacent")

Correct me if I err - aren't those two concepts - opposite and next to - kindergarten concepts?

Anyhow, we are doing SohCahToa. And I am answering the question (repeatedly) of "how do we know which one to use?"

And I draw a triangle on the board. Right triangle. One angle is 36 degrees. The side opposite is x. The side adjacent is 4. (so x is 2.9)

Student says "the answer is 9." How do you get that? 36 divided by 4............

My 11th graders cannot graph slope intercept form or intercept form.

My 10th graders cannot do simple algebra - isolating x

Some get it - some divide degrees by inches.


I have officially reached invisibility.

It is a bit depressing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Common Core - and books

Are any of you going to common core standards? We start rolling them out next year. At this point I know very little beyond that.

They say it will have little impact on the way we teach. Right.

We have been recreating the wheel in high school for 4 years now with the GPS math - so now we start over with CC.

So, let's talk books.

When I was first teaching a veteran teacher lectured me - a lot - about how you don't need a book. I haven't had one for the kids for 4 years. He was right - I don't need a book.

I can still teach, still provide links, still give problems.

The lack of a book hobbles me a little, but not horribly so.

It is crippling the kids.

They need a book to take home. Something with answers in it to check. Something with explanations. They aren't going to write the notes - they need the notes.

I see more of the same in the future.

We have survived (with lowered scores, people, but we survived) without spending millions on books. I am betting we won't see books again anytime soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I have a Twitter account now - Ricochet20. Guess I will figure out how to use it.

Six Word Saturday

Wow - even teachers can act unprofessionally.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Of course they can.

I am taking a course and I am SOOOOO tired of powerpoints. I am tired of misspelled words. Of the wrong words. Of mispronounced words. (of teachers not knowing what the words mean.) Of being read to.

Of being read to in a monotone.

But what is really frosting my butt this week is the unprofessional behavior.

My fellow students are irritated because one professor is making us read the entire book. (oh, the horror). And he keeps us the entire time. (Can you imagine?) And - really? - actually makes us participate in discussion.

So they are complaining - every. single. week. - to ANOTHER PROFESSOR IN THE SAME SCHOOL.

I wonder how long it is before every professor keeps us the entire time and makes us read the entire book.

What morons.

I wonder how they feel when students complain to them about other teachers? Probably like it.

What about when students complain about them to other teachers?

(In case I am not making it clear: the students are teachers themselves - pursuing another degree. The implication is that they already have a degree. I am waiting for proof. LOL)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Today's humor

And for today we have the most hilariously convincing gay marriage signs.

I particularly liked "We'll redecorate the *bleep* out of you!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Six Word Saturday

A great start: a new year!

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

My classes are working so much better than last year - a few bumps, but for the most part the kids are working and doing what they are supposed to.

I cannot find a better approach for special right triangles that helps them learn it, know it. I think they are making it too hard.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Any Suggestions on How to Teach Special Right Triangles?

I have shown the relationship of the sides. We have worked problems. We have used unit sides and soled with the Pythagorean Theorem.

They even say they are over thinking this.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I want to keep upbeat, but it feels like the flip side of the past few years.

I know several of us told New Guy that one of the things that beat us down was getting emails addressed to everyone that only reflected on a few slackers. You know - emailing the world because 3 people are constantly late. So, today I got emails on
• Wearing overalls to school (last overalls I owned were OshKosh which should say something)
• Proper dress: no short skirts (check), flip flops (check), wobbly heels (check), running pants (really? Check)
• If you are late make sure you see the administrator (they already told us this. I am never late)
• Turn in your contact information (fourth request – did mine the first time)
• Stand outside your door between classes (I am usually the only one there)

Send the email to the offender not everyone. I guarantee this way, the offender thinks it isn't them.

I cannot get New Guy to sign a form for school. I have asked daily for a month, and weekly since. I feel unimportant.

I used to see The Hulk all the time (and I tried to avoid him so he would leave me alone). You cannot find New Guy. May start calling him Casper.

He is telling us to do things that legally he can't. Not cheating-on-a-test illegal. But things that would not be upheld in court. He has to know this. Teachers have gently reminded him of some (because we like him and want him to succeed) - and he keeps pushing things that would work in private school but not here. I expect him to start reciting the Lord's Prayer soon.

It just makes me tired.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Question for Georgia teachers about math support classes

I have a question for Georgia teachers about math support classes.

I could look it up but I was wondering about this when I woke up.

When GPS (Georgia Professional Standards) were rolled out in 2005, the intent was that all students would take Math 1 - Math 4 (Math 4 being trigonometry) in high school.

The results were so awful that the state changed its mind. The first end of course test for math 1 wasn't scored (well, it was but no one got to see them). The pass rate is still awful.

So, last summer they announced that students could take Math 1 - Math 3 and Math 3 support and that would count as their 4 math classes.

And for special education students, they could take math 1, math 1 support, math 2, and math 2 support and THAT would count as their 4 math classes.

Here is the question: is your school doing that past piece (math 1, math 1 support, math 2, and math 2 support) for general ed students?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Reinventing myself for the new year.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

The article I posted about here has really caused me to rethink my postings on this page. I won't be going public because I have been a little catty in some of the things I have said. And probably will say again.

My goal for this year is to not pick on the kids so much. I changed my first day delivery and the week has been wonderful. A little talking (expect that), a few forgetting on Friday what you said on Wednesday and Thursday (expect that) but generally more willingness to follow the rules.

The kids in first do not all say the pledge but this year they are standing and being quiet.

I want to keep that. And some of it is showing respect - and some of it is that article I have mentioned that is haunting me. Have I laughed at their misfortune?

Adults? They are fair game. The "absents" teacher will not be able to help herself and I will be ratting her out. The completely unprofessional teacher as well.

I think I was clearer in my goals. I did two things differently that I want to sustain. And share.

1) Had each student fill out one side of a small index card with their name, what they are interested in. On the other side, in sharpie, I wrote their name large enough to see - so I have six decks of cards. I will shuffle those and that is what I will use to randomly select students to work on the board, answer questions, etc.

2) We do not have books in math. I can still teach - it means I invent or borrow whatever I use. This also means there is no book for the kids to take home. So, this year I am numbering the worksheets as I hand them out - we are creating our own book.

I know elementary does this sort of thing. I could not imagine doing this in HS but cannot see another way to provide one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Being better

Do you ever read something that just makes you feel small because it makes you see yourself as you don't particularly want to see yourself?

"It happened to them," were the four words that shut me and the other teachers up. "It happened to them, not to you. You tell the stories like it's some kind of entertainment, but it happened to them—the kids. They are the ones who 30 years from now will remember these stories with tears in their eyes."

I want to live to a higher standard.