Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Sep 24 2010

In school and learning!

I just got this email from another teacher at my school: Conversation after school: “[Student whose sister was hit by a car this morning, but is thankfully fine], didn’t you go to the hospital to see your sister?” “Yes.” “So why are you at school?” “I had to come back for Mathinaz’s math class.” I…

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Sep 23 2010

You’re ugly and you can’t read

I had a student last year who had a couple catchphrases all year that he loved to use. The first was “that’s asinine” because it was like saying the a-word without getting in trouble. He had no idea what asinine meant, but would use it any time he even vaguely disagreed with a situation. “Please…

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Sep 22 2010

All Emotional

After we finished standardized testing today, one girl raised her hand and goes, “Ms. Mathinaz, I just want to say thank you… the way you teach, I really felt prepared for that test.” I MELT. Luckily, I didn’t have time to tear up like I wanted to, because one of my darling middle school boys…

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Sep 21 2010

Just Say No? No.

I know I’m getting old, but still… tell me when it became okay for middle schoolers to drink heavily, do drugs, carry guns, and have sex. Seriously. It’s entirely possible that I was the least cool middle schooler ever, but I was not even thinking about any of these things. I wanted to giggle about…

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Round one of district standardized testing starts tomorrow. Last year this time, I was pretty near to having a heart attack. This year, I feel amazingly calm. I’m perfectly aware that my scores probably won’t be much better than they used to be, but I at least know that my kids are better prepared than…

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Sep 17 2010

How to add. And not quit everything.

Ok, so clearly I survived my late night and got my paper in, I taught all day, and I survived ASU class on an enormous energy drink. It was far from my best day of teaching, and I definitely spent most of my last class leaning on the wall for support, but I’m glad I…

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Sep 16 2010

Pity party please

I remember staying up most of the night in college to write papers. I’m a procrastinator, so that happened frequently, but I still always felt a little sorry for myself alone at those crazy hours, glued to a computer screen and nursing a cup of library coffee. The luxury I never appreciated fully was that…

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Sep 14 2010


Based on a blog post a few months ago, some wonderful people decided to make a big donation to my classroom. Because of them, all of my kids have three-ring binders in math class. Every single day, they enter the classroom, find their binders on a shelf, and then take their seats. Everything they do…

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Sep 10 2010

Fantasy Football (and math, of course)

I have to give a big shoutout to Dan Flockhart, creator of the Fantasy Sports and Mathematics series. He has actually found a way to align all sorts of math standards to fantasy sports concepts, and then published a series of teacher guides (and student workbooks) to implement them in the classroom. The man seriously…

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Sep 09 2010

Send them to school!

Dear Parents, Please, please, please send your children to school. Keep them home if they have a vicious contagious illness. If they are hospitalized, let them stay there. If you have a critically important reason that you must travel (close relative’s funeral, a loved one with a week to live, etc), go ahead but keep…

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Sep 07 2010

Reasoning, Part 1 of many

Tonight I am taking deep breaths, because tomorrow starts my first foray into teaching proportional reasoning. It starts with extremely simple rate problems (Edgerin James runs for 200 yards in 4 games.  If he keeps the same rate, how many yards will he run for in 8 games?) and then gets harder from there. First…

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Sep 04 2010

On a scale of 0-5, I’m a penguin

Today I asked my advanced class to rate my meanness on a scale of 0-5, with 5 being the meanest possible. These kids are extremely well-behaved and I’ve never been scary to them; this is the class that nearly fell out of their chairs trying to watch me scold a class that was misbehaving for…

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Sep 03 2010

Goodie Bags

“Ms. Mathinaz has 25 lollipops, 10 Tootsie Rolls, and 15 Smarties. She wants to divide them into identical treat bags for her students. What is the greatest number of bags she can make?” Last year, I taught this kind of problem the straightforward way. We listed the factors, found the greatest common factor, and were…

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Sep 03 2010


Today I found out that being scolded at by me is not called “getting yelled at”, because I don’t raise my voice. It is called “getting Mathinaz-ized”, and it is scarier. As in, “Uh oh, she’s about to get Mathinaz-ized. Let’s watch.” Apparently I have an entire class of students that uses that phrase. According…

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September 2010
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