Day 43: The One With the College Trip

Field trips are simultaneously awesome and complicated.

Every year, we take the kiddos to a local college. For many of them, it’s their first time actually spending time on a college campus. This year, it feels like the first time I’m actually asking them if and what they are thinking about college.


Miguel (who opts to go by “Mike” these days, presumably to keep things easier at his work) and Pedro miss the field trip departure, which is not entirely surprising, especially since Miguel works a lot, has late hours, and has stated that he wants to work full-time after high school instead of going to college. As we bus towards College, I notice Alex, another advisee, texting. This is also not entirely surprising.

“OK, who are you texting?” I ask as we near the College.

“Miguel,” he replies.

We wait around the student center prior to our tour. I am not entirely surprised when Miguel and Pedro run up to us, having taken unknown buses for at least half an hour to meet us. I’ve lost kiddos on field trips before, but this is the first time I’ve gained them.


Probably the most interesting part of the College Tour (other than the food court and the video arcade, sigh) is the part where the college students actually talk in small groups to our kiddos. These students are part of a program through the College and come from similar backgrounds to our students (first generation college students, often Spanish-speaking, often low-income).

The chaperones circulate throughout the room and I find myself in Mike’s group. Our kiddos are quiet, probably because it’s such a new place. The student they are talking to presses them for questions.

“Some of our students are thinking about working full-time after college. They have debts to pay and families to support,” I say (I think in Spanish). “Why should they go to college?” I shoot a pointed glance at Mike.

“That’s a good question,” says the student (also in Spanish). “If you work after high school, you’ll be making money sooner. But you’ll always be working for less money.” (This is a horrible, horrible paraphrase of what he actually said, which was much more thoughtful and eloquent. And in Spanish. But he said it in front of Mike, which was what I was hoping for)


The bus we’re supposed to take back to school doesn’t come, so we walk to another bus. Alex leaves to go to a dentist appointment, but we’re far away and he doesn’t really know the buses, so he texts Mike and comes back. As we wait, I notice Mike, deep in thought, standing apart from the group. I pull him back and make him board the bus.


Ultimately, I don’t care if Mike goes to college (this is a lie; I want Mike to go to college, but I also understand that I only know the surface level version of his circumstances and that he will make the choice that is right for him). But I want him (and the rest of the kiddos) to understand the benefits of going to college and I want him to keep that door open for as long as possible.

Photo: Going up to the lookout during the College tour.


Day 42: The One Where We Explore Slope


Having done some conceptual slope introducing, we try to apply it to a couple different scenarios.

It’s always fascinating to see how the kiddos make sense of slope. Some know the formula from prior classes and just plug it in. Some look at the graphs and painstakingly count out the numbers for the rise and run.

Some members of this particular group knew the slope formula and applied it in an interestingly complicated way. They got the right answer, so… (I’m still making sense of it)2016-10-23-06-47-17

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Day 41: The One with Slope Stations


Similar to our unit launch from 2 years ago, we do stations with different slopes. The kiddos roll a coin down them to see which is fastest, which approximates slope. Kiddos are engaged and seem to make sense of it (I also do a better and more varied job of setting up and testing the stations), but we’re still wondering if they understand slope any better as a result of the stations.

Photo: Station set up and recording paper.2016-10-13-18-57-18What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Day 40: The One Where We Intro Slope


We start our new unit on linear equations, focusing on slope. It’s fascinating to see how units change from year to year. I remember being meh about the launch of this unit 2 years ago (possibly because I still had not much clue what I was doing as a 2nd year teacher). But I’m pretty pleased with how we used photos and student thinking to get this started (the same approach we used 2 years ago) and how it turned out.

Photos: Student thinking, based on photos of slope.2016-10-12-18-33-56-2What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Day 39: Presenting the Finished Pamphlets


Day 4 of the Voting Project. We attempt a field trip with 3 days’ notice (this is the 3rd active concurrent field trip permission slip that my name is on). Some kiddos don’t quite bring their field trip slips in, so Currriculum Partner takes most of both classes to a nearby thoroughfare (!) to hand out copies of their pamphlets and explain to potential voters why they should vote and I have the remaining kiddos practice in class and then do Ken Ken.

Photo: Script and final product:2016-10-11-16-18-00-2

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Day 35: Learning More about the Issues


Another reading guide today to start thinking about issues and who supports what (with a little bit of mathematics to justify) and how we can convince voters who typically don’t vote, to vote. Lots of tricky language here. But a good exercise in reading and differentation (we straight up printed a news article for our kiddos who know more English to read).

Photo: Reading guide on who supports which issues and by how much. I don’t claim, at all, to be a teacher of history here.2016-10-04-18-56-42-1