Thoughts Lately

Well February has been a whirl wind and I fell off the band wagon so to speak on the blogging; however, not for lack of topics, but more along the lines of extreme laziness. I went into a so called winter hibernation it seems in all categories; blogging, running, cooking, making lunches etc.

Anyways for a short post some topics that have been on my mind lately in education (Numbered, but in no particular order, aka numbers here have no correlation to the topic).

1. Mediocracy in Education:  On a personal note, I worry about being able to teach at a mediocre level. What is medicore - As defined by myself exhibiting all the traits that "admin" look to see in a classroom, but yet working below potential ability. Why -  I have taught in situations where mediocracy was never acceptable.  If you were teaching just "ok" you were told and expected to do better; though this environment was high stress due to the expectations ( These were so high that educators physically, emotionally, and mentally couldn't maintain satisfactory health), it is something I slightly miss. I miss being pushed to do better by others. I am able to personally push myself, but like running I have lazy days and only myself to hold myself accountable. (I could go more on this on a much larger scale, but need to mind my p's and q's)

2. NW Math Conference: Excited to be presenting in October 2014.  My topic is "So you have to teach Middle School Math Support Classes..."

3. Why hasn't anyone told me about Danica McKellar?!?!!!  - Danica McKellar writes teen books about math written in a journal/diary style.  She also makes movies and has a fascinating one about pi day, which by the way is tomorrow and we are having Papa Murphy's circular cheesy bread and a cinnamon wheel. (Papa Murps was cheaper than an actual pi, but it'll serve the purpose)

4. Challenges and Expectations - Yesterday I gave out a homework assignment of five questions. I also gave the students the answers to the five questions with the problem they belonged to.  I fronted the assignment by telling them it was very difficult and challenging. (They needed to hear this from me as to support their confidence in math; I didn't tell them it is part of the new standards and what students in their grade will be expected to do no questions asked next year).  Anyway I told them each problem was a puzzle, a few students could be seen fists in the air celebrating their victory of matching answers, others could be seen baffled by the text and pictures. I offered an open study session to any students who might need help on it by sign ups.
- Now explaining my assignment I gave wasn't necessarily part of this idea that I have been pondering. This assignment illustrates that students need to be challenged and expectations need to be set high. If we do not challenge students with these types of tasks they will only perform at a mediocre level instead of rising to the challenge and thinking through math. I feel sometimes teachers give up on students ability to willful challenge through an assignment for the sheer joy of saying they did "the really hard problems." The culture of personal satisfaction through completion of a tough task needs to be brought back into the classroom, with less thoughts about "Oh these students are low" - and more focus on teaching of a process.
(I had students using calculators for 1/2 + 1/2 +1/2 +1/2, but despite the lack of basic math skills could still tell me the Surface Area of a complex shape because they grasped the concept! Which do I care more about and what are the standards of 7th grade; The standard I was teaching was surface area not adding fractions so they  had achieved the intended goal of the lesson)

Anyway a quick run down of February and Half of March. To be continued again, hopefully at more consistent intervals : )


  1. Danica McKeller!? You don't know her? She's Winnie from "The Wonder Years" TV show! And then became a math guru! Glad you found her!


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