Author Archives: Fawn

Reviewing for a Test

There’s not enough time or humility for me to share my teaching fails, but here’s a test review routine that worked well with my students. I pass out the review questions near the end of class and say: Chapter 3 Test is scheduled for _____. To review for it, I need you to look through […]

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Changing Up Popular Warm-Up Routines

As with any task, whether it’s a warm-up or a curricular task, I try to think of ways to get more student engagement, tap a different thinking modality, and just to change things up. WODB has become a common acronym in classrooms for good reasons. (Actually, does it qualify as an acronym like NATO since […]

Posted in Course 1 (6th Grade Math), Course 2 (7th Grade Math), General, Math 8, Problem Solving, Teaching | Tagged , | 1 Response


That sign is for ALL of us!!… Fucker! I heard the angry man yell around eight this morning. Our house sits at the corner of 4-way stops. Glad he was out there to give the driver a piece of our collective neighborhood mind. At our core, we sense when something is not equitable, not right. […]

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Gardening and Teaching

To change a community, you have to change the composition of the soil… We are the soil. – Ron Finley, The Gangsta Gardener With nothing more than a hand trowel — and hours of stabbing and digging at the hard earth — my mother turned her front yard into a garden. She planted vegetables and […]

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One-Word Writing Prompts

Years ago at George Middle School (Portland, Oregon), the teachers were allowed to teach something we were passionate about. The class would be twice a week, right after lunch, for just 20 minutes. I was a science teacher at the school and asked if I may teach “writing for writing.” My principal reacted with slightly […]

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Fried Rice

I suspect that half of this story is made up because I don’t remember everything. And why would I want to remember growing up. It’s best not to go there, pretend it never happened, like tearing up a bad photo of yourself. Someone wakes me up each morning, or I wake up by myself. Thank […]

Posted in Shallow Thoughts | 1 Response

Common Denominator

I already wrote about dividing fractions here and here. I use the explanation of “dividing by one” to explain why 5/6 divided by 2/3 is the same as 5/6 times 3/2. But when I was asked recently about how the “common denominator” strategy worked, my muted response was, “Because it does.” I didn’t mean to […]

Posted in Course 1 (6th Grade Math) | Tagged , | 1 Response

Math Worksheets

I often create worksheets for my students, even though every district-adopted math curriculum we’ve had has worksheets for students. I do this for two reasons: I teach differently — sometimes slightly, sometimes quite a bit — than what the curriculum writing team was thinking. There’s a particular structure/scaffold that reflects how I see the content […]

Posted in Course 1 (6th Grade Math), Course 2 (7th Grade Math), Geometry, Math 8 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Meet Me Here

I snapped this photo on my walk — the beautiful trail is just behind where I live. K.D. Lang was singing Hallelujah in my ears. My worries softened, my anger slipped. Then I thought about my thirty minutes or so with him and smiled. I needed to focus on the small blessings, and there are […]

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What’s in a name?

7AM the second day of break and I’m crying. Thanks, Fawn. Thanks a lot. This is beautiful. I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad you know this now. Have you blogged the story of your name already? I would love to hear/read it. ❤️ — Tracy Johnston Zager (@TracyZager) December 22, 2019 I’m one […]

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