rocky mountain math

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 01 2009

Q2, Week 1 – A hodgepodge

It’s hard to decide where to start… so I’ll do what I always do when I don’t know where to start, I’ll make a list.

  • I saw Joel Klein speak at a Democrats for Education Reform event on Monday and it was amazing.  Not just because he sat next to me after his speech (though I was way too chicken to ask him a question), but hearing first-hand from the guy who’s running the show in New York City was incredibly inspiring and convinced me further that every single kid in the country can and should have a great education.  I also went to a foundation-sponsored lunch the previous week featuring some key people in the Green Dot turnaround project for Locke High School, and it was equally amazing to hear about the challenges and success they’ve had so far.  Also cool is the fact that I went to events like those many times over the past 2 years and only now can I show up and consistently be confident that I’ll have someone in the room to talk to.  I heart ed policy.
  • Our school was supposed to take a roller skating field trip on Wednesday, meaning we didn’t have to plan anything for that day.  Sadly, the weather had other ideas, so in addition to having school when every other school in Denver was shut down, we had to come up with a lesson on the fly and teach it to kids who were pissed that their field trip was cancelled.
  • Thursday we had a snow day.  :)
  • Friday my kids ROCKED their first quiz for this unit, and granted it’s just for the first three objectives and it should be pretty dang easy anyway, but it was wonderful to see my kids get excited for doing well… especially since Unit 2 ended with a puke-worthy 48% average, and more than half the 8th grade failed first quarter math.
  • Saturday school was exhausting and super fun, as always.  I mortified the Saturday School Coordinator by showing up in my pirate costume, but made sure it tied into the lesson by telling my girls that I needed a cannon to defeat enemy ships, and since it’s Halloween all I could find were pumpkins instead of cannons.  So I had the girls make pumpkin launchers.  We almost broke a window.  :)
  • I went to my first quincenera last night.  So much fun to see my students all dressed up in their suits and boots and makeup and heels, and it meant a lot to hear how much the birthday girl wanted me to be there… and it was cute how upset all my students were when I told them my boyfriend couldn’t come because he’s still on his business trip!
  • I am convinced my school is doing a great job, even if my students don’t appreciate it.  I have my Algebra I independent study kids in my room for lunch so they can work on stuff, and the other day they were talking about what colleges they want to get into.  They  discussed what majors and careers they’re interested in.  And they ruthlessly made fun of each other if they used a vocabulary word incorrectly as they were speaking.  They’re fostering a culture of achievement, and they don’t even realize it!
  • D is a class clown by every definition.  The other day he decided his new thing was to perform this rap about being a nerd.  I told him I’d wear a shirt I got at a career fair in college that says “Let’s Get Nerdy.”  I did.  The kids LOVED it, and I even capped it off by performing my own nerd rap; the rap from that song by 2ge+her back from when I was in high school, You + Me = Us (“your algebra, trigonometry, could never equal up to what you do to me…” c’mon, you remember!).  It was a hit.
  • Friday was the last day for one of our lowest students, I.  She is indescribably sweet and I really will miss her. I hate losing students.

Still so much to do, still so far to go, but I’m having a total blast.  To top things off, today is the end of daylight savings time!  Who knew??  Back to bed!

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