Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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I don’t know why everything is so confusing for my juniors. I’m extremely careful–like paranoid careful–to always start back at the basics of basics, but I just don’t know why it seems like nothing is ever retained. I’m explaining things as conceptually as I can, making them do as much sense-making as I can fathom……

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A bunch of the tests I took in college wouldn’t look great in a good, thorough TFA-style analysis. I remember always being a little nervous heading into my diffEQ tests, because the professor was SO good at throwing in questions we’d never seen before but (if we had a good handle on what he’d taught…

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Nov 03 2011

Milking Students

One of the things I’ve really, REALLY improved at this year is grades/grading (I say that with the asterisk that being good at grades has meant being bad at failure rates). Last year, I gave way too much credit for completion and way too many “participation points,” and I came back strong this year by…

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Nov 01 2011


(and P.S.  … it’s not because I’m sitting at a bus stop at 10  pm with a splitting teacher-headache watching trick-or-treaters walk by!) I decided to go ahead and put my AP Calc kids and my Precalc kids together in my classroom today for seventh period, considering that both of them oh-so-conveniently needed (and still…

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Sep 07 2011

Leaving School at 9pm

… 9:15, actually, and loving it! Minus the backache, knee-ache, and foot-ache. Today was one of those days where technically you’re doing work, but you’re not doing anything that takes too much thought or has any roadblocks, so you stay fresh mentally. No Teaching Headache today. Love it. I wish this had been a long…

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I’m having a hard time not doing cartwheels down the hallway right now. I don’t know what order to spew all of this in; I don’t even know all of the things I have to say. I’m REELING from the success of whole brain teaching in my classroom today. They LOVED it. They were smiling…

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May 02 2011

Differentiation on a Stick

I was muy disappointed in myself on Sunday afternoon because I hadn’t done any unit planning, even though I’d had all these great intentions to have super-duper-differentiated layered curriculum for my last five weeks as the first installment of 2YTA. I’d spent all my work time on Saturday deciding what on earth to remediate post-TAKS,…

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Apr 08 2011


It’s crazy how this job teaches you the SAME things—over and over and over—but more effectively every time. If it were possible to organize all of these lessons and digest them in a logical sequence and at a sensible pace, I wouldn’t have to repeat so many of the lessons I learn. But I’m here…

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Scene:  In a coffeeshop open late, Tired-But-Wired Teacher (T-B-W) sits at the table, hoping to plan a Friday-before-Spring-Break lesson that packs a punch. Already on her second cup of Texas Pecan, she’s finally caught up on emails, checked her facebook one last time, and said her last g-chat farewells. T-B-W (Out loud,  to self): “Aight. One…

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I still get to see some of my kids who were switched into resource, because they’re only pulled out of core classes (not Math Intervention). Webbie and my Bass Drummer are two who would be doing pretty well in regular geometry if they hadn’t been thrown under the bus. I showed them this site, and…

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I’ve always believed in rigor and Bloom’s and teaching higher-order thinking. Of course! Of course I want to teach my kids to think at a level higher than the state tests require. But today, the Mirror of Teaching revealed some assumptions I can’t wait to shed. . This particular Thursday morning, I was feeling guilty…

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Jan 18 2011

Snapshot 1.18

Today’s lesson was not my best. It’s the first lesson in 2011 that has pretty much flopped, though, so I’m not too broken up about it. When my lessons flopped before, I could see it coming—I knew I’d planned it too hurriedly or carelessly, or I knew there was something involved that the kids wouldn’t…

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High School

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“The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on so long.” - John Maxwell


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