Sunday, January 30, 2011


How can I make the work of learning science and math this much fun?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keepin' it real

I share this with you because it made me laugh out loud:

Since I'll probably never teach complex analysis, quantum mechanics, or in an environment where using the word s**t is appropriate, I can probably never use it in teaching.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Note to self - Phone Home

When you think you've tried everything to reach a student, and it hasn't worked... ask yourself whether you've phoned home.

Other strategies that may come in handy:
  • If you've tried asking about alternate interests, and the only one offered is sports, don't despair just because I'm not personally into sports. Delve anyway: Do they play on a team? What position? When did they start? Why did they start? What do they like about it?
  • Potentially useful short-term, when-all-else-fails strategy: bribery.
From this you may deduce that I was trying really hard to help a student who didn't want to be helped on Monday. On Wednesday, I left a message for the student's mom. On Friday, they came in with a little bit of work done and a much better attitude, parroting something mom must have said about taking advantage of the help you're offered. And I gave that student a lollipop and got a solid hour of good focus and thinking in return.

I don't know how this coming week will go, but on Friday I did a little, intermediate victory dance in my head.

For reference, my awesome mentor teacher's recipe for a call home:
(1) Establish that you're on the same team -- you both want the student to succeed in your class.
(2) Tell the parents two things they need to know.
(3) Listen.
(4) Tell the parents two things you need from them.
(5) Thank the parents for their support.

Another good xkcd for the math teachers out there: Critical Content

Recommended by a friend who's teaching math out in Oregon, and was planning to use this to loosen her students up before a quiz:

Critical content