Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jan 30 2011

No School, No Food

I had a parent talk to me on Friday about how hungry she and her son are. Her son is a sweet, smart, quiet kid in my homeroom, and the mother has health problems and doesn’t work. She said they haven’t had food all week and don’t get more money to eat until Tuesday. The…

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Jan 29 2011

The things that stick

I just got back from watching our girls win another basketball game – they’re 6-0 and headed to playoffs. As I entered the stands at the beginning of the game, one of my students saw me and literally leaped to her feet. She called my name and then, thinking very carefully, announced, “y…equals…m…x…plus b!” and…

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Jan 27 2011

Taking “behind” to new extremes

The new student in class today has not been to school in three years. Three years of school missed before the eighth grade. She was not sick. She was not in another country. She was not living alone on the streets. She was living right here and being kept home by her mother. This week,…

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Jan 26 2011

Girls on the Run

I have to give a shout-out now to Girls on the Run. It’s a non-profit organization that works to develop self-esteem and healthy relationships in young girls through training to run a 5k. It’s a fabulous concept, and you will fall in love with the founder if you watch her TED talk here. My school…

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Jan 25 2011

The English-IQ Correlation

I understand that students who are still learning English are a harder group to teach. There’s a language barrier that makes it more challenging for them to understand the teacher, read the question, and articulate their thoughts. We have to go through special training to teach Structured English Immersion classrooms (which is basically all classrooms…

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Jan 24 2011

Still a kid

This boy in my homeroom is famously hard to handle. He has screamed threats at teachers, thrown things at teachers, cussed at teachers. His mom passed away a few years ago, his dad hasn’t been the best, and he relied heavily on his grandmother until she passed away in December. He’s had a tough life…

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Jan 14 2011

Nothing is more awkward

You know you’re really a teacher when you have to chaperone the middle school dance. Let’s talk about awkwardness so thick you could cut it with a knife. Kids who are normally loud and obnoxious suddenly hiding in a tight knot of friends. Carefully done hair and carefully chosen outfits, at 4:30 in the afternoon…

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Jan 10 2011

Euclid’s Jesus Postulate

My geometry class was learning about Euclid’s postulates last week. I started the class with a quick introduction to Euclid (lived from 365 – 275 BC in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of Ancient Greece, back in the days when great mathematicians debated the concepts we now teach eighth graders). This being a middle school classroom,…

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Jan 05 2011

Foolproof Algebra?

Yesterday I started my month-long algebra unit. By the end of the unit, the kids should be able to move between graphs, tables, equations, written descriptions, and visual sequences, while also differentiating between linear and nonlinear relationships, identifying functions, and writing equations for word problems. This is a monstrously large topic, especially with below-grade-level kids…

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January 2011
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