Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Dec 29 2010

Pre-School is -1 Grade

I was putting my little brother to bed. He is 8. Out of the blue, he suddenly goes, “Do you know what I just realized? I’m halfway through halfway through with school until college.” I asked if he meant a quarter, and he said yes, that works too. Then he explained that there are 12…

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Dec 27 2010

176 Hours Left

I miss my kids. I’m 2,300 miles and a full week away, and I think about them all the time. The news keeps telling sad stories about kids who don’t get Christmas this year because of the recession, and then I worry about my kids and whether or not anyone gave them presents. It snows…

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Dec 24 2010

10 thoughts before you apply

I was just on this blog and found an article about TFA that’s definitely worth reading. It’s here: Granted, this article is harsh. It makes TFA sound like a miserable experience that anyone would be an idiot to join, and I just don’t think that’s always true. Yet I do think it is important…

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Dec 22 2010

Why I need vacation time

I’m not sure I’m capable of explaining the last days before winter break to people who aren’t teachers. I’m already four days into vacation and I still feel like I could sleep for weeks… how is that possible? My kids aren’t even that bad this year. It’s something about the constant vigilance required in those…

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Dec 15 2010

Community vs Local School

One of our seventh graders did some awesome work in the community, and someone in administration mentioned offhand that it’s nice to not have the community angry at us… for once. It’s easy and common for teachers to feel anger or frustration toward the communities we work in. Our jobs are hard and these kids…

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Dec 14 2010

Off the Clock

The problem with teaching is that you’re not allowed to do most of your job while on the clock. Writing lesson plans, designing activities, analyzing state documents to decide what to teach and prioritize, getting materials, grading work, entering grades into the computer, running detentions or extra help, writing worksheets, formatting worksheets, making photocopies, setting…

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Dec 14 2010

Successful Scaffolding

“Miss, haven’t you only been teaching two years?” “Yep.” “How come you can teach us so fast then? The other teachers… they go soooooo slooooowwww. And they get us all confused. But you go really fast and we don’t get confused. You make it easy but it’s fast.” Screw test scores. Someone thinks I’m teaching.

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Dec 11 2010

Napoleon, Puppy, and the Pube

Two boys in one of my classes were clearly very angry at eachother when they walked into class. To set the scene, one of them has the attention span, the accidental mischievousness, and the good intentions of a puppy. The other one hangs out with the cool kids but is smart and respectful, and his…

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Dec 10 2010

Learning… as fast as possible

I’ve been told I need to be more cheery here, which means today we’re going to celebrate that my advanced math class finally rocked at life today. This class uses the 10th grade curriculum directly from the high school, and if the kids pass the final exam they get high school credit. They took 9th…

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Dec 09 2010

Given I=PRT

“You put $300 in a bank with 2% simple interest. After 3 years: 1) How much interest do you earn? 2) What is your account balance?” 300. dollors in a Bacue the years. in the Bank. 300 take away 100. = 200. 300 + 200 + 100 = 6.00 300 300 x 200 = .1800…

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Dec 07 2010

Relatively Worse

I’ve been told it was obvious from yesterday’s post, but I’ve been feeling like a terrible teacher lately and it really has me down. It really started when I got back our latest standardized test scores. My scores were terrible. Lower than this time last year, lower than the previous test with these kids. I…

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Dec 06 2010

My Fault

I was told recently that the sign of a good teacher is someone who takes the blame for everything the students do. (It’s a bad carpenter who blames his tools, right Dad?) Just thinking about that stresses me out, because it’s SO EASY to blame kids for everything. They’re crazy and don’t know how to…

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Dec 03 2010

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in the House today and is headed to Obama. It’s going to put $4.5 billion toward expanding school lunches and improving their nutritional value. If you’re interested in why that money is important, Time ran a fantastic article in April that I just dug back up, but the moral…

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Dec 02 2010

I like these voices

Towards the end of class, I was walking around helping kids with the worksheet. They’re figuring out this percent change thing and were actually doing really well today. I went to one student, who is really small and sweet and adorable and hilarious, and who struggles with math but works his butt of every day…

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Dec 01 2010

Percent Change

Cece scored a 78 on her first math test. She scored an 84 on her second test. What is the percent increase, rounded to the nearest tenth, from Cece’s first score to her second score? A) 6.0% B) 7.6% C) 7.7% D) 8.0% That’s a problem copied directly from the AIMS sample test. This is…

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December 2010
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