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Showing posts from June, 2015

Chatting not about Heidegger, but wine...

My weekend was super productive, go me! Which means I didn't make time to blog. 
The recap:
Friday - Excellent Happy Hour with cohort (is it happy hour when it lasts for four hours), my voice is still hoarse from excellent conversations
Saturday - Walked and walked around the UWS a bit in the morning (pictures below) and wrote a paper in the afternoon
Sunday - had coffee and yoga with two new friends in the morning and read ethics all afternoon
Today This morning's Ethics class was illuminating in a basic way for me - I realized that all of the philosophers we had been reading believe(d) in Virtue Ethics, that the goal of thinking and questioning is in pursuit of the good life. I think my classmates understood that last week, but better late than never. 
We also watched a movie on philosophy called Being In The World. It tried to explain Heidegger. Rather it did explain Heidegger and I tried to follow. Here is my attempt at a synopsis:
One understands objects by using them.  One …

Stages of Stress

The stages of stress I have experienced in the last 48 hours: confusion, doubt, stomach pain, worry, over sharing with anyone who will listen about said doubt and worry, furious work resulting in no sleep, realizing I'm not alone in confusion, exercise, courage, seeking community, determination.

Today was better than yesterday.

Today started off with a run in Riverside Park with new friends. I think the exercise helped boost my confidence to ask a "dumb question" to our ethics teacher as still on day 3 I was (am?) perplexed by my esoteric ethics readings. The question resulted in his drawing a diagram on the board which helped me make sense of key terms. In doing so he also admitted that to truly understand these concepts would take something more akin to 25 years and we are thinking about them for 2 weeks. After spending this week engaged in significant internal abuse of my intellect, I am going to let Pincoffs go. 

Our discussion turned in Montaigne which was a welcome ch…

The work begins

The first two weeks of the six that I will be spending in New York this summer, are dedicated to Ethics and Negotiations. I don't think I am alone in feeling intimidated by the Ethics course. The pre-reading assignments were intense. Even in rereading Cora Diamond, Joseph Brodsky and about Quandary Ethics, I am struggling to make sense of the material.

It was a relief that our Ethic class started with group discussions and a field trip. Our group discussed the point of writing, Is it to push society forward by any means possible? Is it to make complicated ideas seem simple? How should writers strike a balance between aesthetics, accessibility and action? I also took away a small, nagging apprehension about my own ability to write in an advanced form.

Our field trip to Rodin's thinker, to the plaque denoting John Dewey's home and to Book Culture was a welcome bit of exercise and opportunity to socialize. I think I have only met half of my cohort. I want to get to know every…

Orientation Day

I accomplished most of my to do list for the day:

Acquire ID Card and magic sticker for free museumsPrint paper for Ethics ClassFind classroomRead more for EthicsBuy coffeeAvoid cheeseI did not

workout at the gymwrite the paper due July 1read enough for EthicsOrientation consisted mainly of introductions and clarifications. It was helpful to have the day just to get the lay of the land.

Once home, I settled in with Dewey and Montaigne. Here are a few quotes that spoke to me:

"With respect to sympathetic curiosity, unbiased responsiveness and openness of mind, we may say that the adult should be growing in childlikeness." - Dewey"Growth is regarded as having as end, instead of being an end." - Dewey"Education means the enterprise of supplying the conditions which insure growth." - Dewey"Spewing up food exactly as you have swallowed it is evidence of failure to digest." - Montaigne So far the reading is both intense and interesting. Reading about educ…

Still on west coast time...

So for the summer, this blog will focus more on school leadership as I am going to Columbia Teachers College for grad school. Six weeks this summer, a research project during the school year (pretty sure this will require more excel and less poster board), six weeks next summer and then a final (smaller) project to end things by the December of 2016.

Going away to school is a risk for me and a hardship for my family. I am lucky to have a great support system at home: a mother and and mother-in-law who are watching my kids during the day and a husband willing to both be a single parent and haul a five year old and a three year old on a cross country flight to visit me in a couple of weeks. While I have received some help financially, this will also be a hardship financially - though we reason it to be a good investment.

So why go? Beyond the adventure of experiencing a new city, I am eager to learn. I am excited to read new texts, discuss ideas with my cohort and think about teaching a…

Linear Programming Bloject aka Shark Tank

It is late. This blog post is only going to be adequate.

I like linear programming. I just do. It just seems so practical and reasonable and Linear!  Last year I improved a class activity. My old activity was a handout on which I created parameters about a fabled farm for students to analyze. It wasn't terrible. However, the new task has students creating a business in which they research and set constraints according to their idea. Guess which one is more engaging and fun for 8th graders...

This year I scaffolded the project a bit with a day dedicated to have students work with their business partners on their Business Plan before jumping into the project. I also added a bit of competition by calling the project Shark Tank. The groups with the best plans would earn my "investment."  I never did find the quintessential, short clip to show from the show, so feel free to link to your favorites in the comments. :)

Link to prompt


Here are a few of my favorite student submissi…

Catching up on the blog...

How does a month go by without reflecting on what is and isn't happening in my classroom? Well this month's excuses include: getting sick, parenting (they still can't prepare their own food, come on, when I was 5...), teaching, prepping and grading for my UCLA class, getting sick again, general end of the year hullabaloo, grading finals, grading final projects (like this one and this one) and spending quality time calculating grades.

I did maintain a well used "to blog" sticky note, so there is that.

Like last year, I had my students write a self-evaluation-ish reflection as their last blog post for the year. I made small changes to the prompt and gave them 25 minutes to start writing in class. Also, like last year, reading them made me tear up. I would like to share a few of them, but these posts feel a bit personal and I don't want to seem too self-aggrandizing by linking to posts that were complimentary. To sum it up, while not all of my 86 students wrote …

Geometry Bloject: Recycle Robot

So one of my favorite people I have met since discovering the #mtbos is Jed Butler. At Edcamp earlier this year we got to chit chat in person and in just a few minutes, I had several ideas that I wanted to implement, including doing a variation of his assignment called Recycle Robot.

Last year (see old prompt), I had my geometry students find an object at home to measure and calculate surface area and volume. Then they wrote a blog post about their item (see student sample). This year, I wanted them to create something and the Recycle Robot was a good match. I made a few slight changes, including a requirement to convert the surface area to units of post-it notes as I wanted them to connect this project with the day we spent on File Cabinet.


I reread my short reflection on how this assignment went last year and my goal for the assignment holds. Like last year students are doing more than calculating something from a textbook. They are interacting with the object in a way that gives th…

Student Digital Portfolio Update: Time Lapse Videos 2015

Just like last year, the  Vi Hart inspired Time Lapse Video project was a favorite among students and for me. My students remarked in their end of year assessments that they liked the creative aspect. I enjoyed seeing their creative side and the simple truth that fast videos are much more pleasurable to grade when you're grading 56 of them.

Throughout the year, one of my key teaching goals has been to teach to our school's recently revised mission statement. The examples below put the joy into "joyful pursuit of educational excellence." :)


Caity's Blog





Kendall's Blog


Bella's Blog


Maddy's Blog



Brigid's Blog



I couldn't get the video from Angie's Blog or Bianca's Blog to embed, but you can watch it on their blogs... and you should because they made great videos.