MTBoS30 posts worth reading.

Here are some awesome posts that have happened in the past few days of MTBoS30.  If you are not a participant in this 30 day challenge I would love if for you to go and comment on two of these and give people some motivation to keep on blogging.

<3, Schwartz


James’  Being Out in the Classroom takes a great How I Met Your Mother/ Dan Meyer lesson and adds one of my favorite things: gender ambiguity.

Ashli takes things to a whole new level with an excellently executed video around why she decided not to grade stuff.

Mr. Kunkel talked about how he wished teaching math was more activity/problem solving-y like computer programing.

Bree’s reflection/butterfly painting connection is lovely.  I actually use that connection for even functions.

I really like Andrew’s assertion that you don’t actually “get none of it.”

The language we use tells us lots of things.  The language others use causes us to judge.  Grace talks about the way we speak in her piece on ethnic enclaves.

How many cars does your family own?  This post on the choices we make and Kathryn’s one car family provides a small look into her life and I, for one, want more.

Megan talks satanic sheep and kids who are weird. I could say more but the picture is worth the click.

Some of my favorite posts of all time tell me things about the author I didn’t know before.  Jessica loves antiques and refinishing. Clearly, she and I are meant to be friends for life.

Posts about people being laid off always hit close to home for me.  Brian’s tough day feels very very real to me.

And last Tina and Brian could have a separate foster care thread of #MTBoS30 and here Tina answers some questions for you but if you have more go ahead and comment.


I hope you will take a minute and click through and comment on these.  Also, I know there are others participating and I hope to do another round up closer to the end.

Happy Blogging, Dudes!

Explaining Radicals

Setting: Algebra 1 Class.  Unit: Operations on Radicals. At this point we have done adding, subtracting, multiplying, and distributing radicals.

Today I get a who student writes:


Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.58.58 PM

Then another student says, “You can add those?”  I have been pushing really really hard order of operations so I go through the process:

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 3.03.10 PM

The answer to almost every question in my Algebra 1 class is either order of operations or commutative property.

We teach students about “like terms” do we often show them why we can perform operations on like terms?



A Letter to my Students.

To my students: past, current and future,

I hope you have a lot of challenging days.  Days that end in tears, days that don’t seem right, and days full of unfairness.

I wish great struggles for you. That decisions don’t come easy and that there is hard work behind each and everyone of your choices.

I want to give the gift of constant uncertainty.  So that you never feel as though anything thing you do is exactly right.

I give you these hopes in earnest, knowing that you will be scared, cold, and angry some days. And still I want this for you.

I want this because you are the best people I know.  You are going to always be the best people I know and the best people struggle.

You will be shaped by the challenges.  You will learn to stand up in the uncertainty and your choices will be all the more yours when you have to work for them.

So, I leave you with cold, scared, and angry and I hope you will allow yourself to feel them.



The change in the community.

I titled this post the change in the community but if I was smart I would have called it the change in me.  In the past six months the way I interact on twitter and with blogs has drastically changed.  The biggest change happened about two months ago when I unlocked my twitter.  It started because I wanted to be a part of something.  There were conversations happening that I wanted to be included in people I wanted to talk to.

Then about a week ago I added my name to my twitter and this blog.  Partially cause I’ll do anything Kate tells me to but mostly because this blog is me and I was tired of pretending it wasn’t.

So my day two challenge for you is: thinking about why your internet activity is anonymous (if it is) and why that is.  I am not asking anyone to change just to do some thinking.

See you tomorrow.



Let’s do it again, folks!

The timehop app reminded me that a year ago today I started a 30 day blogging challenge.  I know that there are those of you who blog 180-days but that just seems ridiculous so I am going to go with this method again.

I am hoping to have this as a memory of the end of my time at this school and maybe even finally a record of getting a job. These posts tend to be short and sweet with some pictures and lists mixed in but if there is anything you would like me to write about let me know or even better if you want to throw a guest post up here I would love that. As Kate said last year, doing anything for 30 days straight besides breathing is rough.

So welcome, to my annual 30 day challenge and if you feel like joining in let’s hashtag this #MTBoS30.

Maybe you get your school involved?

I just sent this email to my school.  Sometimes I feel nervous emailing all the employees but if I am saying that conversations like this are what I want to happen then I need to be okay with making them happen.


Good Morning,

Tonight I am hosting an online talk by Jose Vilson an educator and activist in NYC.  He has just written a book called “This is Not a Test.”  That looks fantastic.  It’s a new narrative on race, class, and education.  If you are interested in attending you just go to this site tonight at 9pm.  If not I still highly recommend his writing.  His post on the Michael Dunn verdict is outstanding.

Hope to see some of you there.


This Year’s Speech

This morning I had the opportunity to speak to my whole school.  Probably for the last time. Here it is.


There is this really important question that as an adult and even as a teenager you should ask your self every once and a while.

Why are you doing what you do?

The answer I like best comes from Bryan Stevenson at the Equal Justice Initiative. He works with death row inmates to try to either get them off or just make sure they have the best defense possible.

He says, “I don’t do this work because I think it’s important. I don’t do this work because I think I have to do it. I don’t do this work because I think I have skills. I don’t do this work because somebody has to do it. I don’t do it because I even get to talk to wonderful people like you. I don’t do it because I feel like I was programmed to do it. I don’t do it for any of these reasons. I realized in that moment that I do the work that I do because I am broken, too.”

I realized this summer that my brokenness led me to working with teenagers.

That it threw me across the country to  [our school] and gave you to me.

That it sent me to the Stanley King Counseling Institute and made me a better listener.

That my broken lead me to apply to graduate school.

I’ve spent a lot of this year feeling like a high school senior. While writing applications I was grumpy and overwhelmed. While waiting for responses I was terrified and prone to tears. (Sound familiar?) And finally while receiving responses I was simultaneously thrilled and devastated. It is a lot to feel both of these at the same time.

The fact that I am not perfect, that I am not 100% solid, allowed me to decide that even though I got in to graduate school I didn’t have to go.

You see if I was perfect then I would have a plan. I would be sure of what was happening and next and I would be already booking plane tickets and hiring movers. I would know if I had to drive my car across the country or sell it. I would know what to do with Mulligan. I am real worried about my cat.

But not being perfect allows me the opportunity to decide what is right for me instead of what is the right thing.

Now feel free to groan a little bit because one of the things that has got me through all of this is Mr. J. He doesn’t know this so he’s probably a little embarrassed but the thing he says about college being a match to be made not a prize to be won applies to life too. It is about finding your own match.

At this point I have applied to 6 colleges been rejected by 4, accepted by one and am still waitlisted at the last. I have interviewed in person at 5 schools and have been rejected by 1, offered a job by one and am waiting on three. None of these are impressive stats. None of this makes me sound really awesome but that’s okay. I am in fact going to find the place that is right for me. I am going to make a life that is right for me.

I didn’t want to give this speech today. I seriously considered calling Ms. B and opting out. I considered faking sick. I considered actually getting sick. Like breathing really hard near a super ill person and then not exhaling so the germs would get me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to you. I always want to talk to you. It was more that there were too many expectations. There were too many stories I could tell and to many people I could thank. Seriously I could stand here from now til the end of the day and thank people. There were too many feelings. All of the feelings. And while my natural inclination may be to lean back from the feelings I am going to try to not do that. I am going to try to lean in.

I am devastatingly sad to leave even knowing it is the right thing to do. I am going to miss your daily stories, your pleads for candy, and even your totally unjustified test anxiety. I am going to miss the way this community takes care of its own and allows for both sadness and growth. I am going to miss dorm duty check ins and sporting events I don’t understand. I mean seriously, why do they blow the whistle in field hockey? They do it all the time. I am going to miss these speeches. Even the badly prepared ones like this.

I am going to looks for ways at my new school to emulate [our school]’s innate kindness, courage, and community.

Here’s the thing I have learned about  [our school] though. It doesn’t let people go. The Alumna come back in droves. Teachers leave and return (Just ask Ms. M) and even students who have not even been gone a year come back to visit.

It makes me feel a bit better about leaving and it should probably make seniors feel better too. We aren’t really saying goodbye we are really saying, “see you at next Revels.”

I want to go back to the beginning and finish this quote from Bryan Stevenson he says, “But I also know that it’s in brokenness that we also hear the things we need to hear. It’s in brokenness that see the things that we need to see.”

So I am asking you to do this for me, allow yourself to live in the brokenness. Allow for indecision and possibly failure. Let opportunities pass you by in order to find the place that is right for you.