Monday, May 26, 2008

Little bit of politics

President Clinton was in town campaigning this weekend.

Not my town. But the town where many of my students live. The town with the closest grocery store. Best gas prices in the area, because its large enough to have more than two pumps at one store. He was there. Where the tribal college is. That's actually where he spoke. On the steps to the museum. Drum group and tipi to the left*.

I found out less than 48 hours before the event. I wish I'd known sooner. School ended on Thursday. (And most students stopped coming before then.) I would have encouraged them to go. I don't want to promote one policital agenda before another, but I do want my students to feel empowered in national politics.

I saw my politically active student at the event. He's already clear on his candidate of choice. (More so than I am of mine.) He came to school about three weeks ago telling me about a rally he'd attended in a city 4 hours away. But he was the only one.

I hadn't attended political rallies before this year. At the campaign events I've attended this year, I've learned that I get snarky when listening to political schmooze. I'm not sure that they've really influenced my vote in the primary. Still, it's the type of live-it education that I want to offer my students. When it comes so close to us, is so accessible to us**, it's so frustrating that the school can't do anything with it.

* It was interesting to classify the people at the event as locals or coming from elsewhere for the event. Racial sterotyping? Oh yeah. I say this knowing that I look like an outsider. Then again, after only living here a year, I am an outsider.

**I arrived three minutes before start time and still got to shake hands before leaving. Totally different from waiting outside in the cold for three hours to see a speech in January.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Word Problems

I knew I wanted to do some sort of warm-up this year. Finding one that worked was a bit more of a challenge. I finally settled into doing word problems. The requirement is that you have to show your work, write a complete sentence answering the question, and ask another question that could be answered from the information we have.

They're all handwritten on chart paper. I went through and typed most of them up. See them here if you need some sort of inspiration. (Or in your feedreader. It took me a bit to figure out how to get it up with blogger.) Warning that the quality of the problems vary.

I'm leaving the last warm-up word problem on the board. It's a reminder to myself of the situation here.

This year’s graduating class is 1/3 the size of this fall’s freshmen class. If we had 45 freshmen this year and assume that the seniors entered SFIS with a similar class size, how many students are not graduating this year?

Edit: Hrumph. Link not working yet. I'm leaving for my summer travels in the morning and need to pack. I'll update when I figure this out...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I know it's not just about the grades, but at this point it is.

Can someone give me a good reason why students should come to school on Wednesday and Thursday when grades are due at closing bell on Tuesday? I didn't have a convincing one for my students today....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Departmental Differences

Yesterday, we skipped seventh period to hand out academic awards. The school left it entirely up to teachers to do their own awards, though they did provide stationary to use for certificates.

The math department gave a couple of students to the top students. (I gave awards for "Most Concepts Mastered" and "Most Persistent.") The English department spoke about how proud they were of everybody and made sure that every student in the school received something.


It's final exam day for the algebra kids. I think I'm more nervous about it than they are. Too many have checked out (classes are half the size they're supposed to be). Too many have given up. Too many just don't care.

I'll take some of the responsibility for it. I have some plans of what I'd like to change next year, but at the moment I'm feeling afraid of my shortcomings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Letter to my students

I'm grading my first batch of final exams. Newsflash for you, worrying does not equal studying. Thinking about the test is not going to help you prepare if your thoughts aren't intentional.

This class got screwed over. Everything's interrupting them this week, so the final got moved up three days with very short notice. It cut down on the time when we explicitly reviewed as a class, but after all the talks about needing to prepare, I'm lacking sympathy. If you have to stay back from next week's field trip to a theme park (that was just announced last week) in order to really prepare and learn the material, so be it.

Stop worrying. Or, if you're going to worry, do so productively.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Such a rebel

I got written up yesterday.

For letting students come in for tutoring.

They came to my window to ask me to open the door. My phone rang at the same point, hall monitor saying the doors were locked and she would not open them for the students. I walked to the entrance, escorted them back to my room. I figure explaining that I got written up for trying to give students extra help so they could graduate would not look bad on my record.

Thankfully, I think my assistant principal agrees.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ignore the snowflakes

It must be spring.

It's the only way I can explain going from this*

to this**

in the course of one day.

*my first branding

**my first time chaperoning prom