Yesterday and Today

I forgot to post my one good thing from yesterday. Well, I was observed by a teacher I respect deeply and admire greatly. And I didn’t fall to pieces! (We’re debriefing tomorrow, so maybe I’ll fall to pieces then!)

I also am helping put on a math/art show at my school, and one of the artists (@gelada) send me a set of pieces that needed to be assembled in different ways. So my friend Brendan and I had a blast working on that!


Ooooh, also yesterday a student sent me a spotify playlist for me to play in class (I mentioned offhandedly that kids can share them with me and I’ll play stuff they like sometimes, *grin*). Yes!!! I used it late at night to do work.

Now for today. Recently I’ve been trying out something a colleague showed me he was having his kids do — submit photos of their nightly work using google classroom. Today in Advanced Precalculus, kids were explaining their answers and then I realized I COULD JUST PULL THEM UP ON THE COMPUTER. It was INCREDIBLE being able to show different approaches to the same problem, share student work with the class in a positive way, and ask questions/draw connections. So that rocked.

I was at school late working (I left around 8:15) and around 5 or 6 I got a call from a middle school math teacher. She had been working with a student for a year on math (outside of class). And what she told me made me smile so hard. It was definitely my favorite good thing of the day. She told me that this student — who has me as a teacher — is totally loving math when she didn’t really see herself as a math person. That rocked so much, and it is so appreciated this early in the year, when I have no sense of the interior worlds of my kids.

Today we had our advisory (of seniors) mixed with an advisory of freshpeople, sophmores, and juniors. We were doing a “get to know you” activity, and then we debriefed. When talking with my senior advisory, it was awesome to hear from them about their experiences as freshpeople, and their memories of seniors. They all agreed that I could announce to the younger grades that if anyone wanted to just chat and talk with them about life, classes, social stuff, whatever, that they were game and not to be scared of them. I LOVE THEIR ATTITUDE. My advisory is the best.

I spent about 3-4 hours after school working on coming up with my next advanced precalculus lesson. You see, we’re teaching combinatorics TOTALLY differently. And the approach we came up with is super theoretical/abstract. But the more I think about it and make sense of it, it’s blowing my mind. So although it took me SO LONG to find a way to make the abstract idea concrete, I think I did it, and feel pretty awesome about that! I’m excited to teach using it! The best part? For me, this approach doesn’t make a distinction between combinations and permutations. They are all part of a larger, more coherent structure. If kids get this, they will understand combinations, permutations, reordering words with repeated letters, the binomial theorem, and “path problems.” All as the same thing. It’s blowing my mind, and I don’t know if I can ever see “combinations” and “permutations” the same way again!

Oh, in multivariable calculus, kids found a connection between Pascal’s Pyramid and the trinomial expansion. And honestly, with my new understanding of combinatorics, I understand that connection even better!!! It takes no thinking for me to understand it!

Ohoh! So one of my Advanced Precalculus students was out today — she was getting serious foot surgery later in the afternoon. But she wanted to FACETIME into class. So her groupmate put her on and they collaborated with her on the material. And at the end of class, we moved the laptop around and everyone said “get well soon!” That was so darn sweet. Of her to want to facetime in, of her groupmembers to do it, and of the class to wish her luck!

Okay, it’s 9:22pm. I guess I’ll pick up my laundry another day. Time for me to eat dinner and then get some zzzs.


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