half year recap and competition

I made it.  I’m sure what ever I post this summer will also start with that sentence but honestly making it this far without any sort of major screw up feels, well, major.

I have had good and bad bad bad days but I feel like over all I came out on top.

Things that went well:

  1. I know all my students and they know me.  With 146 kids this took a long time but I could probably tell you at least 1 thing if not the whole story of most of my students.  They know a fair amount about me in totally appropriate ways.  They know I have a cat and that my mom teaches math and other things.
  2. My students are liking my class and math.  I think this has a lot to do with the relationships I build but also with the fact that I love math and they can see that.
  3. I think I am doing a good job making math less scary.  Dan Meyer call it the wolverine which I like a lot.  I think many of my students are less timid with the wolverine then they were.
  4. I believe they are learning.  My assessments show that but also they seem to be able to recall things we already covered which makes me feel like a success.
  5. I used two pretty good projects in my class and students worked hard and enjoyed them.

Things that need work:

  1. I am crazy disorganized.  It is genetic and practiced but I need to come up with strategies to improve this.
  2. I am not using group work effectively AT ALL.  I was trained over and over in this but I can’t seem to get the training from my brain to my classroom.
  3. I don’t care about tardies.  Which in a huge comprehensive high school might not be a big deal but in a tiny school trains the students that if I don’t care other teachers won’t.
  4. My time management is not optimal.  It goes in the category of organization and it’s not as if we are not getting through the material in a timely fashion (because we are) it’s get I am not all my minutes for instruction.
  5. I am inconsistent with homework.  I am not saying I should be giving homework every-night but I should have a system of some sort.
  6. I also don’t have an absent binder.  I know, I know it’s bad.  F for me.

I’m sure there are more things that could go on both lists but I think this gives me a good point for next year. (As in 2011 not school year)


I spent my afternoon today with the bff.  He’s pretty fun.  One of the best things about him is he’s predictable.  He’s probably annoyed I said that but he would probably say that I am too. (so there)  It’s one of the nice things about having a friend that really gets you.  He teaches in Texas and I’ve spoken about him before.  Today we talked about bit about tests scores and goals.  In Texas they don’t get a point score like an API they have a what he called a “verbal rating” something along the lines of unacceptable, acceptable, recognized and exemplarily.  I think there are five but either way.  His school was unacceptable for about fifteen years but last year they got to acceptable and they are pushing toward recognized.  Here is the difference between me and him: He is hugely competitive.  So he really doesn’t mind having a goal set for him.  As much as he agrees with me on the ickyness of standardized testing running schools; I know that he likes the challenge because challenges give you an opportunity to win.

I am talking about this for a few reasons:

First, Dr. Lawler (I know I’m not his student any more but I don’t think I’ll ever call him Brian.  Just Lawler) posted this on twitter:

@blaw0133 White adults coercing brown kids into saving their jobs through the language of community. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVLwu6uQK2I

Let me say, my response is just eww.

Second,  I gave the district benchmark last week and had some serious concerns about the stupidity of some questions.

One gave the results of two rounds of a video game and asked which player (there were 4) improved at the fastest rate.  Which was a kind of okay question except that the first round displayed the score in a fraction and the second in a decimal.  I mean seriously people?  That is just stupid!

The other weird question looked like this:

  1. On the last benchmark exam 6th graders answered 55 questions right on the first try.  If there were 88 questions on the test, at what rate were questions answered correctly on the first try?  Express as a decimal to the nearest hundredth.

Is it just me or is rate the wrong word?  By the way these are 6th grade questions. guh.


Lastly, I played on Friday in the student staff basketball game.  I am NOT competitive.  It’s been a blessing and a curse.  I didn’t care if my grades are high, I don’t care if my homeroom wins school sprit competitions, and I don’t care if I win a basketball game against 11-13 year old girls.  Let me just tell you, I don’t feel good about myself for winning something like that.  Also, it’s probably a good thing because I suck at basketball.  I mean I really don’t even know the rules. Maybe a bit more now but still it’s not my sport of choice but I played because my students  asked me to and because I have no ability to say no.

So that’s my plan for break, stand in front of the mirror and say no over and over until it sticks.  I will not run another club, I will not make field trip groups, I will not…. who knows.  Truth is I’ll probably end up saying yes, sigh.





2 thoughts on “half year recap and competition

  1. That is because winning is for winners and it kicks ass!

    Welcome to awful questions. We pissed and moaned so much about our benchmarks to the district that they did a complete overhaul, even asking some of us to help write the tests.


  2. I don’t have an absent binder. And I mark tardies but don’t do anything about it. Actually, all your 1-6 could be me, except that I don’t give homework. So either you’re super awesome and you’ve caught up to a sixth year teacher, you’re doomed to always have those same problems, or I haven’t learned anything since my first year. I’m hoping it’s the first.


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