Day 31: The One With the Election Winners


We talk about authentic problems in mathematics education all the time. Following yesterday’s class vote, we give the kiddos all the data from 8 classes and have them pick the winner several different ways. First, we let them pick their own way of deciding and there are some cool methods, including one group which gives points for people who pick the candidate as their first choice and take away points for people who rank the candidate last.

As it turns out, regardless of which of the methods we use, the same person wins (I need to re-read the article we based this task on, which had several different, more complicated ways to pick a winner).

Picture: The data and an answer sheet2016-09-28-18-21-32-2What do you notice? What do you wonder?

The One With the Spring Break Reflection

At the beginning of each break, I make a mental list of things to do. If I’m lucky, this gets translated into a paper list (which means it has a better chance of actually happening). And sometimes, some of the things actually get done.

Or I just end up spinning my wheels at 3am…

Some Reflections:I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend at Spring Meeting for a Fellowship that I’m part of. Great opportunity to spend time with other rookie math and science teachers thinking about all the things. Currently thinking about:

  • How to better integrate the Common Core Math Practices into my class.
    • I’d always though that I focused most on Math Practice 1 (Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them). Now, I worry that I don’t give the kiddos enough time to really think about things. There are lots of side factors – classroom management (which seems to worsen as kiddos persevere less) and a general need to jump in.
    • I’d actually like to focus more on Math Practice 7 (Look for and make use of structure). I feel like the kiddos often aren’t connecting patterns and other repetitions. A lot of this is me not framing this well or not being explicit enough.
  • Other people’s contexts. So much of understanding what people are struggling with, celebrating and pondering relates back to where they are (geographically, emotionally, etc) and who/what they’re surrounded by. This is really hard to do when everyone is spread throughout the city/state/country (Basically anywhere except my school). This could also be me enabling myself to not commit to giving advice.
  • Related to that, I’m trying to visit some of my friends’ classrooms over break. Just to get a feel for what they’re doing.
  • I’m also trying to minimize the amount of grading I do this break, but I’m already seeing that head down the tubes.
  • We have 4 more weeks of content until we start doing year end things. Frick.

Related but unrelated:

  • I’m spending more time watching “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” than I’d want to admit to. I suspect that theme song is going to one of those memories I keep going back to (Ask me about the Veronica Mars theme song and my time in Ecuador).
  • We are clearly at the time of break where I’m starting to panic about how much time has gone by (a lot) and how much time is left (not a lot). Frick. Again.

All About Context: Another Post About Peace Corps

Lounging in the living room, half-watching Jurassic Park. I must have listened to the soundtrack on cassette tape (back when we still had those) a gazillion times. I don’t know what songs go with what parts of the movie (other than the helicopter ride to the island), but certain parts of it bring back such strong memories (mostly of sitting in the car, which is where we listened to cassettes), even though it’s been 20 years since I’ve listened to the soundtrack (housemate says he saw it when he was 8).

Related, but not related: this blog is being circulated around the internets. One of the most refreshing Peace Corps blogs I’ve read (not that I’ve read that many) about the ups and downs of el Cuerpo de Paz. One of the points that stuck out to me was “You will miss your family, your really hot girlfriend, and the contextual clues you associate with fond memories.” Funny how context is such a big part of everything.

When I went back to Ecuador in November, one of the strangest things I found myself remembering was the smells: the overwhelming scent of deja (laundry detergent), the perfumed smells of people’s houses, the saltiness of the ocean, the people smell of buses. I never, ever talk to people about what Ecuador smelled like (even to other volunteers and we talk about EVERYTHING Ecuadorian), yet that was such a huge part of our trip.

Yes, in a way, this post is Just Another Post About Peace Corps.