30 things that make you smile

I am using a prompt today from Tina’s List.

Considering today was it’s own personal hell.  Here I go:

Make a list of 30 things that make you smile.

  1. Students asking other students good questions
  2. Kids telling me jokes really badly
  3. Notebooks being passed around and talked about
  4. The children coming into my class with a story they’ve obviously been saving all day
  5. The number of people doing the #MTBoS30
  6. Being made fun of in Spanish by the people at work
  7. Misandrinks
  8. Texting my best friend and just getting it
  9. Thinking about Joanna’s upcoming wedding
  10. Cleanly painted nails
  11. Real long stories with terrible eatings
  12. Baby Feminists
  13. The stuff my former students are doing
  14. Tequila
  15. Seeing kids be really good at things
  16. Glitter and Sequins
  17. Taylor Swift’s extreme awkwardness
  18. Old fashioned folded notes
  19. Cards in the mail
  20. My friends having babies
  21. Adoptive parents talking about the pride in their kids
  22. A really good outfit
  23. Super silly snapchats
  24. Drama Monsters
  25. Mulligan laying on his back
  26. My brother’s really stupid dog
  27. New shoes. All shoes? Good Shoes.
  28. Lazy Sunday morning that become afternoons
  29. Clean sheets.
  30. Internet friends becoming real life friends

What would you have done differently?

Wendy posed this question at the start of her post yesterday.  I was trying to think of one small thing I would have done differently yesterday but I couldn’t.  Instead I kept coming back to one thing: I wish I had gone into more classrooms this year.

My kids were on a field trip Tuesday and I spent some time in my colleague’s room watching him teach Math 2 (sophomores) and man did I love it.  I loved the conversations that kids had I loved the conversations I had with him after.

Next year my goal is one classroom every two weeks.  This is a small goal but I think it’s worth it. My practice is better the more I see others.

Sometimes your opinion doesn’t matter.

Two weeks ago I put on a play and in class the next week a child said to me

Ms. Schwartz, to be honest, I didn’t really like the play.

He was not in the play he just felt as though I need to hear this. Here is the conversation that followed:

Me: [Child name] anytime you think to start a sentence with “to be honest” probably you don’t need to finish it.

Child: So you don’t want me to be honest? (no sass at all, genuine curiosity)

Me: Nope, that’s not what I said but any sentence that starts with “to be honest” tends to be mean.  And let’s talk about giving feedback.  Before you share think about the following:

1. Is what your saying helpful? Will it change the outcome of what you are giving feedback on? In this case nope.

2. Is it kind? In this case nope.

And lastly, maybe most important: 3. Did anyone ask? I definitely did not.

I promise if this sounds mean it wasn’t.

But sometimes dear child your opinion doesn’t matter.  More importantly it’s neither helpful, kind, nor requested.

30 days.

I apparently told too many people I was going to do this and now I have to. Because actually, Fawn already started.

Today starts of #MTBoS30 for me. I am going to try to post everyday for the next thirty days.  If you want to join use the hashtag or tweet at me and I’ll check out your stuff. Good Luck!

I drove 70+ miles to have lunch with Fawn yesterday.  I realized how deeply I had missed her.  She is not who I want to be when I grow up.  She is who I want to be right now.  It’s not that she’s perfect it’s that her sense of self is so solid.  You just get the impression that Fawn can tell the difference between the big stuff and the small stuff.

We talked about the lovely humans in the #MTBoS. The value of a few more years in the classroom before you are an expert.  When to speak truth and when to shut the hell up. (Something I am terrible at.) We talked about our lives and our families and our values.  We easily filled 2.5 hours.

Tomorrow I start the last month of my 6th year of teaching and everyday I feel the value of that time more and more.

So I guess I’ll share it with you.


Happy day 1 friends.

Chalkline with Rafranz Davis.

OMG you guys.  Talking to Rafranz is like talking to the friend you’ve been missing for years who is so impressive it makes you babble.

Episode 2

We hit on growing up and reading her first book by a black author, segregation, #educolor, body image,  teaching her children, and surviving the zombie apocalypse.

This Week’s Syllabus:

To Read:  Can I say everything Melinda writes?  But particularly this piece for the Atlantic on why white kids need diverse teachers.  (Also, I mistakenly call her Melissa in the podcast cause I am the worst.  It’s Melinda. I’m Sorry.)

To Listen:  Is there any other option?  Lemonade.

To Watch:  (Well, also, Lemonade but)   Fermat’s Room.  I am showing this movie to my third period seniors and I love that it is not only a great and addictive thriller but it’s about people doing math, in Spanish.  This vine about Sexual Assault Prevention Month.  NSFW

Person Rafranz thinks everyone should follow on twitter: Zac Chase




Day in the Life: April 20th.

It’s been a couple years since Tina talked us into doing one of these but I think it’s time again.  I want to be clear: this is not a normal day.  I am 24 hours away from the opening of the school play which I am the director of.  Yep, I teach math and drama. Okay here we go


5:45- wake up before the alarm, toooo many things in my head.  Put the final touches on the program.

6:00- stupid alarm, shower, get dressed, become a person

6:45 – leave for school

7:00- get to school.  god I love my commute.

7:05 – Print sample program.  Check for the last time.  Print more programs.  In fact, print 300 of them.  Also, print modified version of the 9th grade test I am giving today.

7:50 – set up tables for testing.  Sing very loudly alone in my classroom.

8:10 – Standing meeting – everyday we do this in the morning at our school.  It’s about 10 minutes.  Today we looked at a diagram discussed it and then did announcements (I plugged the play) and talked about what we were doing in advisory. We ended as we always do with “Students of Concern.”  It’s a really nice tradition.

8:30 – Oh hai, first period.  My first period is quite something.  I love them so much but it took me almost the whole year to get a handle on them.

8:35- like 5 kids are missing.  announcement over the intercom that the traffic light down the hill is out and everyone will be late.  We review a little more before the test.

9:45 – bye first period.  See you not tomorrow (I am out for a drama preview thing.)  It’s nutrition break.  I have to go to the theatre to return the wheelchair we borrowed and to pick up a pair of pants one of the actors spilt yesterday while diving on stage.  I am hoping the teacher who helped with costumes can fix them. Also in this 23 min break I  deliver my sub plans to the front office and make copies.

10:08:  Second period. These guys are less of handful.  We review a bit. Apparently I agreed to play “Eye of Tiger” before the test.  I play it as I pass them out.  A student says, “I feel so determined!”  As they test I prepare for third.  We are discussing prejudice and racism.  I’m hoping as a lead in to barriers to access to jobs and colleges.  We are looking at statistics and discussing if we believe them or not.  What makes a good study/survey was part of our curriculum so we are picking that up in this unit.  I am using Moses’s stuff as a guide but it feels more aimed at white kids which does apply to most of mine.

11:23 Third period- I greet the kids at the door.  Sometimes I torture them by not letting them in the minute passing period starts but honestly I just need a minute between classes. We are doing a “social justice in education” unit that I will write a whole post about. Today we talked about unpacking the invisible knapsack and what that means.

12:46 – Lunch.  I ran tutorial today cause my afternoons are a little full at the moment.

1:16 – This is my prep.  Today I was interviewed by a group of students who are doing a project where they have to find a system that is broken and fix it.  These kids were trying to fix LGBTQ support and pride on campus.

2:39 – Advisory.  We voted for school site council (well the kids did). Then we went to the gym and I hosted a giant game of dodgeball.

3:32 – Oh school’s out cept drama starts in 28 minutes.  I open the theatre and start to get things going.

4:15- Kids are in make up, programs are folded and we are running the show! (we open tomorrow). It looks like a play.  Gosh I love the Children.

5:00- Drama Parents bring dinner it’s baked ziti and it is amazing.  We do notes from the first chunk of the show change out of our costumes and eat!

5:45- and we’re back!  We run the rest of the show.  I think it’s going to be a play!

7:00 – We do notes again.  We make choices for the student preview for tomorrow. We run a few cues that don’t work.

8:00 – REHEARSAL IS DONE.  We clean up and head out.  I am so tired.

8:20 – Last kid gets picked up and sent home

9:02. – I finish typing this and post without checking for typo.  I am about to watch New Girl til I pass out.  Okay, really, I’m about to pass out.





Chalkline with Megan Hayes-Golding.

Alright Friends, Here we go!  This week I talk to Megan Hayes-Golding!

Episode 1

This week’s syllabus:

To Read: For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christoper Emdin

To Listen: the get. With Ivy and Rhiana

To Watch: The West Wing for no reason other than because always.

Additions from Megan:

Stonewall Activity Whitewashing Activity Video

Person Megan Thinks everyone should follow: Frank Noschese




Chalkline. Podcast?



Hey Friends,

If you follow me on twitter or in the facebook you know that I have been messing with the idea of a social justice in education podcast.  And here we go.  I hope you will bear with me as I work through the kinks.  I am currently working on getting this on iTunes but for now if you click the link below you can listen to me introduce episode 0.

Episode 1 will come out next week with special guest Megan Hayes-Golding.  She’s the coolest so prepared yourself.

Anyways, please take a minute and give me a listen.

Episode 0




Conversations that aren’t happening enough

(a good follow up to questions that aren’t being asked.)

I wonder often if the lack of conversations about race happening in the math twitter blogosphere is a function of teaching as a profession being blindingly white or a function of us white people being so afraid to say anything for fucking it up. Cause you know, we do, grandly and with large frequency.  I wonder occasionally if it’s happening and I’m missing it (a possibility) but I really don’t think that’s it.  I am reasonably aware of the going-ons in the #MTBoS and I feel like Michelle would alert me to real important stuff.

A little over two years ago I talked about my journey in to fucking up race stuff less.  But there hasn’t been much since.  Not because I suddenly felt like it was magically solved or I forgot about it but because as a nice white lady I had the privilege to step away for a while.  I got to hunker down in my classroom. I got to hide from news stories of black children dying and brown children being turned away at borders twenty miles from me.  I used my privilege to crawl in my classroom bubble and not leave.

This is not a manifesto about how I am going to do better and be better forever and ever.  Instead it’s a slow wade back into the conversation.  It’s a start with two small things you and I are going to do to be better

  1. We’re going to read everything Grace Chen writes.  Start with this. Then follow with this .  Lastly just keep up with her current stuff here. Comment on her stuff or come back here and we’ll chat.  I am dying to talk about this.
  2. We’re gonna read all the responses to @multiahjussi‘s  tweets on what multi-ethnical asian children wish their teacher’s would have done better. You should also just follow him if you don’t already.


I’m going to spend the week thinking about micro-aggressions.  And hope to do better.