Birthday Wishes

We had some good “ah-ha!” moments in PreCalculus today.  We made a “life-size unit circle.”  Each kid got an x- or y-coordinate on the unit circle and then had to find another student that had a coordinate that matched up with his.  Then, they set their ordered pair down on my gigantic unit circle and gave the corresponding angle in both degrees and radians.  One girl had been struggling with radians since Day 1.  I heard one of her peers talk himself into finding the right answer, so I asked him to speak up and explain his reasoning to the rest of the class.  You could see the lightbulb go off for the girl who had been struggling.  It was glorious!  Sometimes it just makes more sense coming from a friend than it does coming from a teacher.  And I love witnessing kids be both students and teachers simultaneously.

Another moment happened when we talked about finding tangent of the quadrant angles.  I knew the question that would be asked before anyone got a chance to say it: “How do I know if it’s zero or undefined?”

By PreCalc, these kids have heard “You can’t divide by zero!” a plethora of times, and they’ve even been show various reasons why that’s true.  At this phase in the game, I need them to keep all that they’ve learned straight in their little heads.  So, I showed them this jewel I saw online (Pinterest, maybe?).

ok no

“So, zero on top is ‘OK’ (as long as the bottom isn’t zero also); zero on bottom is a ‘NO.'”

Oh, that one got some ooohs and ahhhs.  They loved it.


Today’s my birthday!  My lovely co-workers brought me a delicious homemade cake that we devoured during lunch!

I also received the kindest emails and texts all day from previous students.  One text read, “Happy Birthday Mrs. Peterson!!!!  Thank you for everything over the past two years!  You’ve definitely been one of the most impactful teachers ever even though I never actually had you…Have a wonderful day, a precious year, and a beautiful life.”  Tears.

Another girl sent me a video of her and some random guy singing “Happy birthday to you [and the baby inside you]!”  Glad I waited til school was done to watch that because I about peed my pants.

Finally, another student came to visit me the last twenty minutes of school to say happy birthday and give me a Starbucks gift card!  What?!  Who does that?  Seriously.

What a great way to end the week.  Time for the weekend!


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