Dang Cute

Were starting our unit on Logic today and I explained how Geometry can be different because it makes you think through things step by step and explain your thinking and how this unit was all about patterns and reasoning. Our first lesson was about inductive reasoning, patterns, and counter examples. At the end of a class a student said, “So this is kind of like arguing? I’m going to be good at this!”

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At parent teacher conferences tonight, I started a lot of sessions out by asking the parents what they thought I was going to say. Most knew exactly what I was going to say and said the things I didn’t want to say! It seemed to establish trust pretty quickly and opened the conversation up right away. With them ‘introducing’ the issue, when it was my turn to talk, I could start off with solutions and suggestions. #protip

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I laughed a lot today and typing them out here would t make much sense but I want to remember all the times I literally lol’ed.

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Some of my freshmen have been asking to come to the board to work problems out for the class and I just think it’s so dang cute.

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23

Today in Algebra I we were graphing absolute value inequalities and with each problem students were arguing over which way the graphs should go. Although we made a note that greater thans are opposite and less thans are connected, they were reasoning through the actual inequalities we solved instead. Hooray for conceptual understanding! I loved that when they wanted to prove their point they automatically walked up to the board and started pointing without hesitation.

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In my other Algebra I we were playing a tic tac toe game to practice multi-step inequalities. It was completely silent for a while. Normally not my ideal scenario for a game or for class but there are four wild freshman boys that rarely take a break from constantly singing, joking, trash talking, commenting, you name it, that this silent work time was welcome by all.

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Grades were due by noon today and so my fifth hour class was neglected while I furiously graded tests turned in at the last minute. We are starting our factoring unit but because we’ve been doing Factoring Friday, they were able to do the whole first page of notes by themselves while I graded. When they were done they were playing a class game of hangman and I thought that was just so cute and innocent. When some boys were playing around and I had to get on to them, a girl told them to leave me alone because I was trying to grade. Not the ideal class but we accomplished everything I wanted and students understood the chaos.

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Once again my freshman guessed I was 23!

23

Today in Algebra I we were graphing absolute value inequalities and with each problem students were arguing over which way the graphs should go. Although we made a note that greater thans are opposite and less thans are connected, they were reasoning through the actual inequalities we solved instead. Hooray for conceptual understanding! I loved that when they wanted to prove their point they automatically walked up to the board and started pointing without hesitation.

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In my other Algebra I we were playing a tic tac toe game to practice multi-step inequalities. It was completely silent for a while. Normally not my ideal scenario for a game or for class but there are four wild freshman boys that rarely take a break from constantly singing, joking, trash talking, commenting, you name it, that this silent work time was welcome by all.

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Grades were due by noon today and so my fifth hour class was neglected while I furiously graded tests turned in at the last minute. We are starting our factoring unit but because we’ve been doing Factoring Friday, they were able to do the whole first page of notes by themselves while I graded. When they were done they were playing a class game of hangman and I thought that was just so cute and innocent. When some boys were playing around and I had to get on to them, a girl told them to leave me alone because I was trying to grade. Not the ideal class but we accomplished everything I wanted and students understood the chaos.

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Once again my freshman guessed I was 23!

Sweaters 

I commented on how I liked a kid’s sweater today. He’s usually very quiet and keeps to himself—doesn’t bother anyone and never really needs help with the math. Because of this, he gets overlooked a lot. I’m so busy helping the Intermediate kids who need a lot of attention when it comes to math or behavior or both, that kids like him don’t get a lot of my time. 

He lit up and explained that he got the sweater for a bargain second hand, as well as his shoes which looked to be in perfect condition. We geeked out about buying used clothing, as I was always taught to bargain shop as a child (something that I swear has greatly aided my marital life). 

I soon had to get to the three hands that had flown up during our thirty-second conversation. But the smile wasn’t lost on me: how easy it was to come by and how often—God, so often—I’ve not stopped to make sure I’ve seen that smile every day. 

It’s not ok—this mentality that some kids will be fine with or without me. Ok, maybe so. But there’s so much to gain—for both parties—when I engage every kid. 

The conversations about sweaters have to happen more often. And they will. Because I’m getting better at this. Slowly, but surely. 

WTF

I hate when I get behind because then I know I’m going to forget some cute little stuff forever but here’s a summary of Wednesday-Thursday-Friday.

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I’m putting lipstick on when a boy comes in and asks if I need help.

Me: Umm no.

Him: Well that’s our new tradition. I’m going to ask you that every day.

Me: Wouldn’t it be weird if I actually said yes? That would be so awkward.

Him: No it wouldn’t. I’ve helped P**** and C****** put there’s on before.

Me: Still…it’s me. That’s different.

Him: No I count you as a friend. It wouldn’t be weird.

Weird.

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Kid brings in one of my beloved pencils that I didn’t know was missing.

Him: What do I get?

Me: I didn’t even know it was missing.

Him: Well, never doing that again.

Lol

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Kid who is repeating Algebra had in school on the day we had a quiz. The teacher calls down and asks me to send the quiz. I do and at lunch it is finished in my mailbox. I skim it and notice he got everything right. Teacher tells me he finished quickly. I realize he asked for the quiz because HE ACTUALLY KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING.

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We’re working on a study guide in class where the answers are posted on the back cabinet. A boy sneaks his phone to take pictures of it. Another student writes me a note telling me he did it and drops it on my desk.

The next day the answer key is missing and students start to notice and ask about it.

“Oh if you need the answers, check J****’s pocket. He took pictures of everything.”

Class murmurs:

“He better start a group chat.”

“He better start passing his phone around.”

(I don’t grade study guides and I let them use notes on tests so I don’t care at all that he did this.)

I let them stew for a bit and then tell them that I posted the key in google classroom. When they open it someone asks if these pictures were taken by J****. 😂

Later he asks a question out loud about the study guide and another kid fired back, “Why don’t you check your phone?” 😂

I like to have fun with them too. 

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Friday was the last day of the quarter and I was giving tests in Geometry and Algebra II- kind of hard tests too. By the way study guides we’re going, I was getting a little nervous about grading them. They did a lot better than I thought, doing well on the hard problems too. A lot of B’s when I was not sure that would be the case. I’m doing a good job!

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In Algebra I, I did a much better job of teaching compound inequalities than last year and we sailed right through it.

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Our elementary fall festival was this weekend and I went with my niece and nephew. I got a funnel cake and spilled powdered sugar all over me. Before I could even finish the first bite, three students had pointed this out forcefully, as if I was in some kind of danger. I told them there was no point worrying about it until I was done but they were clearly used to my personal standards and looking out for me. 

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Confirmations 

Today was long. 

I somehow managed to schedule a test for both my preps on the same day, aka today. So I sat and watched kids test/graded furiously all day. Test days are never my favorite. 

I also didn’t get to go to the StuCo meeting to be honored by our kids as Teacher of the Month because…calc kids testing. And, petty as it is, that bummed me out. 

To top it off I had to sub during my plan and I’m pretty sure I’m the world’s worst sub, so there’s that. 

However, after school, I got two pats on the back that apparently my little heart needed today. 

At math club today, one of our students came up to me and said that she has a lot of friends who are in my calc class and they really like it. “They said you make math really fun.” 

Obviously I think math is awesome, but I often doubt that I’m able to engage my kids in a way that makes it awesome for them too. I know I haven’t reached every kid yet, but it was very nice to hear that I have reached a few. 

I’ve been emailing a mom back and forth today about her son to see how we can better serve him. I know how to talk to parents now, but it wasn’t a skill I had when I first started teaching. Because of that, I had a couple hurtful incidents, which—if I’m being totally honest with myself—still cause me to use great caution when approaching parents. Maybe that’s not all bad. Anyway, I thanked this mom for having my back today and she wrote this:


Pretty great to know this kid has a small village working to help him be successful. It’s what I love most about my school: we work together as a family to lift each other up in both the good times and the bad. Parents, students, teachers, administrators, support staff—we’re all one. The success of one is the success of us all. 

Caring 

I mumbled under my breath today, “Man, I have quite the headache right now.” One of my Intermediate kids heard it and asked why and said he was sorry I was experiencing that. It was honestly super genuine and caring and now that I think about it, I should probably tell his momma about it. 

*****

I took a poll via Remind to see if my calc kids wanted a work day or a review game today before tomorrow’s test. The results were split pretty evenly, so I made a short-ish Kahoot to play the second half of each hour. 

I somehow timed it perfectly and it lasted exactly the length I had allotted for it in all three classes. 

Let’s be honest. That never happens. 🙌🏽

*****

I received texts from or saw four past students today, which always, always brightens my day. The fact that they still let me be a small part of their lives is one of the greatest gifts this job has given me.