Friday, January 31, 2014

Cross multiply

When I think about the problems kids these days have with math, it can be summed up with "cross multiply."

When I teach this concept (with proportions)I stress that it is two fractions with an equal sign in the middle.

Somehow, the importance of that equal sign is never learned. If you have 2 fractions with a + in the middle - or a- or a *-doesn't matter. Two fractions means cross multiply.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kids still at school

The kids from our county are home thanks to the sheriff's department. Some counties were not so lucky. The last I heard, there were still 50 kids on school buses.

It snowed here *updated

Those of you up north are probably laughing at those of down here in the snow. Wow, 2 inches of snow and the world ends. Well, ponder this.

1) we do not have much equipment to deal with this because we get a bad snow storm (at most) twice a decade.

2) so we also have no practice driving in this.

3) this area is in the piedmont - lots of hills and curves, lots with narrow roads and ditches on both sides. (and no sand or salt).

4) coming home yesterday only about 4 of the hills I go over had sand on them, And only on my side of the road. The other side was slippy slidey.

5) several school systems down here decided to hang out until 11:00 in order to count it as a full day - then (by law) had to feed the students. We have thousands of kids who never made it home and spent the night in school - or were picked up by their parents late.

6) stuff like this brings out the best and the worst in people. Some people went out of their way to use 4 wheel drive to get folks home - and some folks were ignoring traffic laws.

And this makes it sound even better.

We are being told to stay off the roads - so no school tomorrow.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Texas is dropping Algebra 2 as a requirement

Texas is moving away from everyone taking Algebra 2 to graduate. This will have ramifications for the rest of us - when people figure out that the beneficiaries of Common Core are big businesses not kids. Oy, vey - how long until we swing back to a better way of learning?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Six Word Saturday

It's too cold to do anything

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

OK it's 20 but there is a reason I live in Georgia. If I wrap up so my hands are warm, I cannot even read.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Six word Saturday

Do Northerners wear blankets outside in the cold?

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

Went to an early morning outside event when the temperature was a balmy 20 degrees. Pretty much all of the women there had on warm clothes, coats, and a blanket wrapped around them. Is this what our neighbors up north do under similar circumstances? Because it looked silly. (No, I had on many layers and my blanket was nice and warm and on my bed)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

She was offended by the word Negro

A potential juror and NYC teacher was offended enough by the word Negro on a form to contact the media.

This is not politically correct, but I wonder if she is equally offended by the n****r word?

What a week

We missed some of the days this past week because it was abnormally cold and 1) they were afraid of ice on the roads 2) they worried about the kids walking to school or waiting for the bus and 3) they were concerned about pipes and heat in the schools.

So, when the kids finally came back from break they were rowdy and not willing to work. I teach a lot of seniors this year and somehow someone has told them this is the best year of their life so they don't have to conform to anyone else's expectation.

Friday won the prize though. One of my students was caught spitting dip into a cup. When confronted by me, he decided he had nothing to lose, so he started whaling on the poor kid sitting next to him who was completely unprepared for this.

It took the resource officer, an AP and several of the kids to pull them apart.

While it means I will not see the perpetrator again this school year, it also means he is at risk to never graduate and there is nothing I can do to change the inevitable.

The perpetrator comes from a single parent home. He has been in trouble before. His reading and math levels are below average and he has no incentive, no internal push to change any of that.

Bill O'Reilly said recently that true poverty is caused by bad personal decisions (which several took as black people's problems are due to bad personal decisions). I see it daily. Too many of my students would rather take the easy way out (they talk about where to apply for food stamps and other government handouts) rather than put the effort into changing the path that they are on.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mish Mosh

This is Georgia, so cold here doesn't come close to COLD up north. But, yesterday it was cold enough. A group of birds sitting on an overhead wire did something and blew a transformer, killing most of the birds immediately and damaging the rest enough that they probably died last night.

I have seen a cat around the neighborhood. Actually, there are several but I know where most of them live. Yesterday afternoon I went to the car to go someplace and when I moved the car, the poor cat was dead underneath, frozen. Breaks my heart that she didn't have a home and that I didn't realize it.

I do not look forward to school tomorrow because the kids who have failed and are not continuing won't have been moved and probably won't get moved for a week. They were discipline issues before, which is why they failed. What incentive do they have to behave now?

The principal says we are to grade him on an anonymous survey that he created. Excuse my disbelief. He has been here a year and hasn't initiated a single conversation with me - and has shut down some of my questions as being off topic (they weren't). Why would I believe he cares one iota for what I think? His door may be open but his mind is closed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Six Word Saturday

Second chances - how many are too many?

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

I read this over the break: How many chances do students deserve to make up work and bring up grades? and have had time to really think it through as I plan for this next semester.

I have one student doing his third attempt to get his grade to passing. He cheated on the first one, did a slap happy job on the second and is finally (when it is close to too late) actually doing what I wanted him to do in the first place - you know, on time so we don't have to do all this catch up work?

I have several others who let all of the opportunities slip through their fingers.

The district has taken away one of the tools I use to let them catch up - minimal work for me since it is a graded test on another site. Have to figure out what I can use instead.

Because, sure as God made little green apples I have kids who will put off until the last minute anything they can do to raise their grade.

In that link I put above there is a comment form a teacher: "As a teacher I always allowed students to submit missing homework—even months late and with no penalty!—provided they did twice as much as originally assigned."

That is twice as much work for me but it will probably be so worth it. I think I will start doing the planning for that now.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Going to the movies

We have something in the AJC called the Vent - and one of the vents today was "The sound is deafening in movie theaters to drown out the audience noise,people don't know how to act in public anymore."

For the price of 2 tickets I can buy the movie. Granted I have to wait 6 months or so, but I don't have to deal with rattling, talking, and the kids in front of me rocking their chairs as if they are going somewhere. And sticky floors.