Category Archives: Teaching

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 […]

Posted in Teaching | 1 Response

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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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 […]

Posted in Teaching | 1 Response

Serenity Prayer (and Teaching)

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. Some things teachers cannot change or have little say in: The adults who work at our school The students who show up for class Their parents and home life The […]

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An Update

The young nurse asks how my day is going as she wraps the blood pressure cuff around my arm. I pretend to be relaxing on a yacht to yield low numbers, and the machine beeps 124/74. Dammit, I’ve never been above 120 — the yacht is sinking and death is near. She tells me that […]

Also posted in Coaching | 2 Responses

A New Position

I just accepted a math TOSA position (grades 5-8) with the Rio School District. I’d spent the last 30 years in the classroom – my school as my second home, my colleagues as my family, my work as my life and identity, but most of all, my students as my children, my babies, my heart. […]

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Jelly Beans or No Jelly Beans

What’s not to love about Would You Rather; I use it with my students and always recommend it as one of the great warm-up routines. This one caught my attention last week. Each entry always includes this statement: Whichever option you choose, justify your reasoning with mathematics. This statement is important, especially the word “mathematics,” because […]

Also posted in Course 1 (6th Grade Math), Course 2 (7th Grade Math) | Tagged , , , | 7 Responses

2019 Is an Odd Number

The arrival of 2019 means I have to scroll down even farther to find my age year when I fill out an online form. Ugh… 1985… 1975… 1970… 1967… Here it is… 1965! I just came back from a short trip — via long-ass flights — to Melbourne for my niece’s wedding. I did a […]

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Another Round

Exhausted and hungry, I walk to the restaurant a hundred feet from the hotel’s lobby. The hostess greets me and asks how my day has been. I tell her it’s been a long day, that I just came in from LA on a 5-hour-plus flight. She asks about my reason for being in Philadelphia. I […]

Posted in Teaching | 15 Responses

House Cleaning and Lesson Planning

I posted this on Facebook: There is something else that I do way better than teaching mathematics, even though teaching has been a 25-year plus career. That something is house cleaning. Then, a friend asked for advice on this, adding, “Will desperately be awaiting your response.” I responded with: Thought no one would ever ask. […]

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , | 6 Responses