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Mar 01 2012

Violent Threats and Helplessness

In the reporting on school shootings, everyone seems to want to discuss warning signs. From Facebook posts to vague comments to strange behaviors, the newspaper articles always seem to suggest that there were clues everyone should have responded to. I keep reading encouragement to “tell someone if you see warning signs.”   While it’s true…

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Mar 01 2012

Thoughts and Prayers

I sit and cry while I read about the Chardon school shooting. The thought of such terror and violence in a place that should be so protective and safe just wrenches my soul in this terrible way. The realization that people can do that to others horrifies me. And the thought of how I’d feel…

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Feb 27 2012

Nostalgia For My 2 Years

Sometimes, I ache for my old school and my old district. Sure, it was a crazy place at times and we had more than our fair share of disasters. It’s easy to look back, roll my eyes and laugh as I tell stories about the things that used to happen. But the big events worth…

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Feb 23 2012

Family Dinner

I had dinner with a student and her mom at their house tonight. They thought it was such a treat that I was “working longer hours” to spend time with them. I never would have called it work – I thought it was such a treat that a family had me into their home and…

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Feb 17 2012

My Kids Love Data

My school has been pushing me to go beyond just collecting data on my kids, and instead to start getting my kids to understand and feel ownership over their own data. I wasn’t listening to them, though, because all they were saying was those words over and over. I liked the theory but had no…

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Feb 16 2012

Saving the First Years

I find it unfortunately difficult to help first year teachers. By this point in the year, they know they’re in way over their heads, and they’re usually pretty miserable. They have to battle rooms full of difficult adolescents, who have spent the last six months learning that their teacher is somewhat impotent and aren’t interested…

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Feb 11 2012


I have stubbornly remained the only person on the planet to not use Twitter, but I think I’m finally caving in. I was at a lecture at the local university about policy and the elections, and the woman kept referencing all the useful policy things you can learn from watching Twitter. My friend convinced me…

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Feb 10 2012

Moving on up

I think I just agreed to move up to 7th grade with my kids next year. Still have a few days to decide if that’s the greatest or worst idea ever.   Cons: *Seventh graders. That should really be enough of a con to stop me from doing anything. Seventh graders are squirrely and difficult.…

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Feb 08 2012

Man Up

This is going to be full of gender stereotypes, and I’m going to start off by just saying I’m sorry I’m not sorry. I need to get this out.   We have a couple of “cool” boys who talk, dress, and act like they want to be tough. They would pull it off, too, except…

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Feb 07 2012


I wonder if people ever actually get PTSD from their first year of teaching.   We used to joke about that last year, when my school math coach was trying to get me to let my kids work in groups. Still recovering from my first year and high off the feeling of having some control,…

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Feb 03 2012

Snow Day!

It’s 11am on a Friday and I’m still in my pajamas. I am not sick, nor did I have to lie to anyone about being sick. I’m not even spending the day worrying about how my kids are behaving for the substitute.   Today is a snow day. I’m home, my kids are home, and…

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Feb 01 2012

Project: Parents

I’m trying not to let the new misbehavior in my class ruin the learning for the rest of the kids. Tempting as it is, I don’t want to stop everyone just to lecture the 5 bad kids like I would have my first year. I want to keep things going, I want to get back…

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Feb 01 2012

Brand New Battle

It’s official: My kids have gone crazy.   Yesterday, the kid I assigned to collect papers said “screw you” to my most volatile kid, who promptly stormed out of my classroom. His best friend, who had been uncooperative all class, decided to turn off his blank stare, stop banging a clipboard into his forehead, and…

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Jan 27 2012

Staying out of Math Jail

Today is Writing in Math Friday. This is the fourth one we’ve had (since I made my New Years Resolution!) and I thought it was good timing to ask the kids to talk about why we write in math class. I’ve explained it before, so I got plenty of good answers about expressing thinking and…

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Jan 25 2012

Hey Girl

“Hey girl, I know it’s hard to let go of work at the end of the day. I never tire of hearing about your students’ antics. Tell me about it…”   If you are a teacher, or you’re dating a teacher, you really need to check this out:     I had an epically…

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Jan 24 2012

Dirty Minds

My babies officially became seventh graders today.   When I taught 8th graders, they quickly trained me to never say anything that could even remotely be construed as inappropriate. They can hear sexual innuendo in any sentence and see it in anything you might draw. They can fit a good “that’s what she said” into…

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Jan 19 2012

A Wish for Math PD

I have never seen a reading teacher be required to sit through a mathematics professional development, because that would just be silly. I’ve never seen a social studies teacher sent to a math PD, even though they could learn how to teach the concepts of proportions and scales in their maps units, or how timelines…

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Jan 14 2012

Get smarter and you won’t be dome.

After weeks spent in my math enrichment class trying to build conceptual understanding for why you need a common denominator when adding and subtracting fractions, I had the kids write letters to someone important to them explaining the idea. Unfortunately, I don’t think all my students quite got it…   Dear Mom, You have to…

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Jan 05 2012

Structure Wins!

Remember this kid? He was constantly calling out in class, trying to get attention, and I finally came down really hard on him. I put him on a really tight leash in my classroom (two call-outs = detention, no matter if the entire rest of the class is calling out nonstop. You’ve already irritated me,…

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Jan 02 2012

New Year’s Resolutions

1) I will devote time every week to teach my kids how to problem-solve. I will explicitly teach them and spend time letting them practice, work together, and present solutions to the types of problems that make even my really advanced kids think. I will not slide into the complacency of working in a district…

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Dec 25 2011

Wrapped Gifts

I had a student on a behavior contract, but we were having trouble thinking of a reward for perfect completion of the contract. Did she want me to bring her lunch? Special class seating? A Saturday activity somewhere? Homework passes? She kept insisting she wasn’t sure, but she was excited about the contract anyway.  …

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Ok, take a deep breath, because we’re finally going to talk about AIMS scores. I’ve had my personal scores for a few weeks, but I’ve been waiting to get some context with scores statewide. By themselves, my scores can let me be proud of (or disappointed in) individual students, but they don’t tell me whether…

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Jul 03 2010

Do 8th graders like anyone?

Ugh I had another teacher nightmare. Same thing: no one would be quiet, no one would pay attention, and nothing I did worked. I really don’t think it’s cool that these kids are haunting my summer. On another note, I was telling someone about my job and he asked if my students had liked me.…

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Jun 30 2010

New Apartment!

I just moved in to a new apartment. I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since I moved here… it’s sort of dizzying to think about how much life has changed in that time. I have new friends, new routines, new responsibilities, a new outlook on life, and even a new haircut. I…

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Jun 22 2010

Summer fail

I had my first back-to-school nightmare last night. I was standing in front of a group of my kids, trying to start the first day of school lesson, and they wouldn’t stop talking. Not the way Period 3 used to be, where they would at least pretend to listen for a few seconds and then…

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