Friday, June 29, 2007

Living in the Neighborhood

I live in a different part of town from the HS at which I teach, about 40 minutes away. Though I could do with a shorter commute, I do like the fact that when I go out in public, I don't have to have my teacher persona on all the time. I can go out without makeup and in shorts and a t-shirt and not look over my shoulder when I buy feminine supplies at the grocery store and such.

Today my husband and I were out doing a chore way down by my school. I was grungy looking, and we were hungry, and I remembered a great food place to stop at. My stomach won out over good sense, and we stopped in. I got lucky and didn't see any students while we quickly downed our food and made our escape. Whew.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Summer Slugfest

If I could get a guarantee that I wouldn't blow up enormously and be unhealthy and start to smell, I think I could pass all my days lolling on my huge couch reading, knitting, puzzling, quilting, napping, movie-ing, etc. As it is, I already sit around more than I do during the school year, so I'm having my 3rd annual let's-gain-summer-weight festival. I am lifting weights and doing step, so maybe it's all muscle. Yessssss, muscles that are so big, that my pants are getting snug. As a weight lifter (cough cough), it's hard to find clothes to encompass my muscular thighs.

Okay, off to do step and get one "step" closer to a beach body. But, as my friend reminds me, there are all sorts of beach bodies.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blogging Question

I would like to create a website for the next school year that contains my homework assignments and news for each of my classes. I looked at and, but there were various things I didn't like about them: ads, layout, accessibility, so I'm thinking of simply creating a blog that I can update daily after school gets out.

I would like to have the blog divided into different math class sections, so that a student or parent can simply click on, say, precalculus, and that information is all in one place. I have not found this capability information on the web, but I believe I've seen it on other blogs (that I of course can't find now). Is there a simple way to do this with an available template, so that I don't have to write (much?) html code?

Does anyone have insight into this? Thanks in advance.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Large Classes

I was talking with my "math specialist" friend the other day, and she mentioned that she went to the NCSM meeting in Atlanta and heard something interesting. One gentleman was doing preliminary work on class size and found that some higher performing schools had up to 40 students per math class. Can you imagine? And, they seemed to do better by whatever scale they measured these things by.

His theory was that with 40 students in a class, the teacher does not have the time/resources to help each kid individually, so the kids are forced to fend for themselves and help each other out, and the process of this involves them talking math to each other and forming their own knowledge and this in turn makes them retain things better.

Either that, or maybe it's a sink or swim situation. Maybe the kids that are discipline problems or such somehow are weeded out. I don't know. But the talking it out theory gives me something to think about even though I don't have THAT many students in class.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Principal

Next year we're going to have a new principal. We don't know who it is yet, and I don't know if they've even hired him/her (himer? herm? himher? them?). I guess I'm feeling like the kids feel at the start of each school year:

Ooh, new teacher. Will she/he be nice? Will she/he like me? Will I like her/him? Will he/she do a good job? How long will it be before he/she knows all our names? What can I/I expect?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Block Schedule

Next year our school is going to block scheduling. I'm not too happy about it (how will I successfully get the students to practice good skills every day? how can I adjust the topics so that they learn all I want them to learn? how in the world did they get 20% more work out of us without paying us 20% more?) , but since it's happening, I will use the summer to get ready. My strategy is to read a book our school provided for us (Teaching to the Block) and to scour the internet for ideas. We're going to an ABC block, I believe, Mondays (C) all 8 classes, T/Th (A) 1,3,5,7, W/F (B) 2,4,6,8.

Things I need to do:

* Plan a toolbox-full of ways to structure each class in general so they don't sit in one place for too long.
* Rearrange the topic list (especially AP calculus) so that we learn enough.
* Other stuff/issues/challenges I'm probably not aware of yet.

On top of that we're starting school 2 weeks later than usual, and I'm stressing about finishing up my AP Calculus topics in time to review for the AP exam. Deep breaths. I can do it.