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.

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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


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.


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


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?

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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


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.

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


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.