Category Archives: Uncategorized

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?

TFTCL

 

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.

Questions I don’t get asked

Three questions I wish people would ask me about my teaching practice and my classroom (and the answers):

 

  1. What is it like when kids are learning in you room?

When kids are learning in my room it is LOUD and there is a lot a leaning in to table groups.  When kids are learning in my room there is mad debate over answers.  Wrong answers are treated like mines to be scavenged for understanding and right answers are acknowledged then moved right along.  When kids are learning in my classroom there is surprise and wonder when things don’t go how I expected.  Expectations are abandoned for mathematical adventures that occasionally dead end.  When kids are learning my in classroom the board are filled with layers of handwriting that isn’t mine and the air is thick with voices.  Kids feel empowered to share and help and grow.  When kids are learning in my classroom there are little bits of magic.

2. What do you want your classroom to be?

I want first and foremost for my classroom to be safe.  I want kids to walk inside and realize that this is the place where they get to be who they want, however they want. I want my classroom to be a place where success comes everyday and hard work and perseverance are valued over “smarts.”  I want my classroom to be fair but not equal and forgiving of mistakes, tantrums, bad days (particularly mine).

3. Where are you successful and where are you failing?

I build strong relationships with kids.  They want to be in my room and tell me about their lives.  In general they find my class rewarding, they want to be there, and to learn.  And I love what I am doing and find it endlessly fascinating.   I am not great at making sure my voice is balanced with theirs everyday.  I do not pass along the mathematical authority enough.  I am not building strong enough group work to facilitate the kind of conversations I really want.  The handwriting on the board is still 2/3 mine. I don’t always call kids out probably for racism, sexism, or homophobia.  The fact that it still happens in my room embarrasses me, a lot. And it does.  My room is not always safe which sucks. I am still working on it though.

 

I’m not the most in the #MTBoS but if you are interested in answers these #threeqs or the three you wish you were asked, I’m interested in reading that.  Just you know, tweet at yo girl or hashtag that thing.

Happy almost not February friends.  Keeping fighting.

Why I am not quitting teaching.

Dear Teacher Friends,

I have decided today like I decided every other day for the past 6 years not to quit teaching.  I am courageously sharing my decision to wake up tomorrow and walk back in to my classroom where 32-40 mostly sleepy faces will greet me with the love and affection of a grunt as I smile and hold open the door.

Amazingly, I have not found in my understandably short six years that students have suddenly and magically become monsters from hell.  I have apparently not been teaching long enough to remember the perfect angel teenagers of the 50s? 60s? 70s? Really the 80s? My students screw up every single day.  My students are massively distracted by their iphones, headphones, fingernails, hair, neighbor’s nose, and possibly by their own nose.  And yet I persevere through their distraction to understanding because I never actually thought that teenagers had undivided attention.  My students are occasionally rude, sarcastic, and gross, all at the same time. This is my HUGE GINORMAUS cross to bear.  Weirdly, this doesn’t bother me at all.  Did you know I signed up to teach them?  Not the nice ones, although they are a solid bonus. Not the clean ones, although plus points there, too.  Or the smart ones or the easy ones or the kind ones.  I am super surprisingly not quitting teaching.  In fact, I will continue to show up everyday for each and everyone of them. Because that is what I signed up for.

I decided today not to quit because national standards are trying to erase inequality in a way that makes my job more challenging.  Weirdly, I don’t find having to read and interpret standards a burden.  In fact, I never thought I’d just be able to walk into a classroom and teach whatever the heck I wanted. So strange.  I decided not to quit teaching today even though there are 4 days this year and 8 days last year that I am being pulled out of my classroom to talk about my practice and how to improve it. ABSURB.  I am sticking with this shit even though I have to develop as an educator.

I am not quitting teaching even though I worked 12 hours with students yesterday to ensure under the system at my school that every child attains competency on every standard.  Did you know before I agreed to be a teacher I had heard they worked long hours?  I even have to give them feedback when the are not in class and find ways to communicate that feedback with their parents.  This shockingly takes a shit ton of time.  I mean I hear in the good old days of teaching you went home at 4:00pm.  Right? That you never worked nights or weekends? This is a real thing, correct? Yet even with these drastically high expectations of me and my work with children I will still not be quitting tomorrow.

Lastly, I am not quitting tomorrow because I am not an idiot.  I got in to this job with my eyes open, knowing on a good day it would crush my soul, energy, and brain. I do expect that like any other job it will change and my feelings on it will change and when it does maybe I will quit but it won’t be because this job wasn’t what I thought it would be.  It won’t be because I have suddenly and completely lost faith in the system. Because if that was the case I would just know how much more important it was for me to be there.  Education is not for the weak of soul, energy, or brain and while I am not some magical teacher fairy with limitless supplies of any of these I am committed.

Mostly, I am committed to never reading another fucking letter from a disgruntled teacher about their decision to quit.  If you feel like writing one of those let me know and I am happy to give you suggestions just where you can put it.

Love,
me.

 

The Year of Anne

Have you ever seen the show Happy Endings?  First off, stop reading this and go watch the whole thing.  It’s a group comedy that is significantly better than How I Met Your Mother and without the insane backstory. And the whole thing is on Hulu.  Go. Now. I’ll see you in about 45 hours.

 

 

Oh hai, you’re back? A-mah-zing.  If you didn’t have time for that (or are just ignoring my sup advice) I suppose you can just watch the clip below.

Penny Hart is ridiculous.  She’s a lot of things I’m not and also a lot of things I want to be.  She’s funny, smart, successful, a little desperate, and optimistic.  So, I’ve made a decision to follow Penny I have decided that this year will be the Year of Anne. (I’m debating t-shirts with my name and face on them, want one?)

 

I turn 30 on Wednesday and while you can all continue to reassure me that 30 is not old it is something.  It’s a milestone.  And it’s one I’m not choosing to ignore.

A lot blogs I read like to chose a word or a theme for the the year and in the spirit of being a follower mine is relentless optimism.

This is the year of yes, amazing, awesome, can do, want to, and get it.

This is the Year of Anne.

 

Photo on 1-2-16 at 11.29 AM.jpg

(must be the new blonde hair.  makes me perky.)

 

Happy New Year Friends.  May this be the best one yet.

 

Anne

 

p.s.  I’ve missed you blog friends.  let’s talk again soon, k? K.

 

What would you do with this?

In continuing my reflection of this teacher partner program I have a question for you or for us I suppose.  What is the best why to do this thing?

So here’s the clarification: I now have access to quality release time.  Meaning I can get a another teacher into my room to teach my class in 20-30 minute chunks to go see my department teach.  I can also get someone to come in to my classroom and watch me and collect data and talk about it.

I’m super lucky right? Right.  Here’s the thing just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s useful.  I really want to apply this to it’s best possible use. Here are some thoughts I’ve had so far but I would love more.

  1. Pick a time when I need to do a certain thing and have the teacher partner observe (basic).
  2. Talk to other teachers about their plans and see specific plans (a little hard to coordinate).
  3. See other departments? What am I looking for?
  4. Naps?  (JK, mostly)

Alright, your turn, what would you do with this?