The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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May 20 2013

Ready For Routine

Day 155: Done with MCAS! If I were a Math or English teacher, I’d be excited because the finish line I’d been aiming toward all year had finally been crossed, and it would be time to do a project, or some sort of year-end activities. However, I teach a non-tested subject. So, what am I excited…

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May 17 2013

Growing, and Proud of It

Day 154: Teaching is often an exercise in delayed gratification. You might struggle with a child for months, only to have him or her come around in June and say, “Thank you.” Given that, when the wins are big and obvious and staring you in the face, you embrace them. IEP meetings are not typically tons…

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May 15 2013

Compliant, But Hoping For More

Day 153: Does compliance lead to buy-in, or is compliance the best it gets? Tuesday, we did a homeroom reset. Silent entrance, silent to desks, silent to the morning meeting circle. First warning = three minutes of recess. Second = ten minutes, plus sit in a fourth grade room. We got to the circle quickly and…

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May 14 2013

Not Giving Up Yet

Day 152: My homeroom has been, on the whole, trending downward for months. They enter classrooms like they’re entering a party. They fail, consistently, to quiet down when asked. They throw balls around the room like it’s recess. For a while now, I’ve been letting a lot slide. Science class is going well, and giving certain…

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May 13 2013

Remembering With a Smile

Day 150: Often, when I finally remember on Sunday that I haven’t written about Friday yet, I can only remember a blur of exhaustion and frustration and please let me finish this day and get to the bar as fast as I can. As usual, I don’t remember many details. However, the ones I do remember…

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May 10 2013

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Day 150: First of all, Happy Day #150 to me! Today wasn’t ideal. Thursdays always suck, thanks to the lack of a prep period to decompress. This one felt particularly arduous because I had to teach a mediocre lesson three times. I knew it wasn’t great when I taught it yesterday; it had too many notes,…

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May 09 2013

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

Day 149: Fourth period today was deeply unsatisfying, for two reasons. First, it was pretty much the most boring lesson I have taught all year. The Do Now was too complicated. There were too many guided notes. The guided practice was silent and low rigor. About 20 minutes in, I realized my kids hadn’t been released,…

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May 07 2013

Some Teacher Appreciation Thoughts

Day 148: It’s teacher appreciation week, which is, all told, a pretty sweet week. Yesterday, one of our parents made a ton of Ethopian food, including beef and split lentils, and left a huge spread in the teacher’s lounge. I may or may not have had thirds. And I may or may not have had croissants…

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May 07 2013

Monday Focus?

Day 147: A wonderful thing happened on Monday. For months, my homeroom has been, let’s say, less than productive. We don’t have train wrecks, but we’re not exactly “moving with a mission.” This is due to a volatile mix of boys who can’t sit still, girls who are 12 going on 21, and a handful of…

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May 04 2013

In Which I More Than Survive Friday

Day 146: Something weird is going on. It’s Friday, and I don’t feel like my oatmeal has been replaced with gruel. I actually have the energy to write about Friday ON FRIDAY, as opposed to Sunday afternoon. I have energy in part because I got to hand out a quiz during two of my five periods…

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May 03 2013

Calm in the Face of Crazy

Day 145: So, some of my classes aren’t operating as efficiently as they had a few months ago. I think that’s likely due to two factors. First, it’s May of their final year at the school, and senioritis is setting in. Second, in my teetering-on-the-edge-of-burned-out state, I’m not teaching with the same zeal I was three…

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May 02 2013

Seeking a Shot of Joy

Day 144: Holy crap, it’s May! I find myself staring at my computer screen tonight, in shock that I’m done planning at 11. There are two glaring errors in my thinking here. One, why is being done at 11 a good thing? Two, why am I staring at my computer screen, trying to figure out what…

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Day 143: In what appears to be an increasingly frequent theme, this post is late, and I really can’t remember too much of what happened Tuesday. I remember first and second period felt really, really easy – kids just doing the right thing, the whole time, and me feeling pretty good about everyone getting the content.…

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Apr 30 2013

Monday Fail

Day 142: I’m going to admit this from the get-go: This is a whiny post. I had next-to-no teaching to do today. On Mondays, I teach twice. One of those two times was going to be spent at the back of my room with my principal, observing a teacher hoping to have my job next year.…

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Apr 29 2013

Field Trip Fun

Day 141: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s field trip time. Specifically, Friday was our annual Opportunity Day, when classes go to visit various workplaces. I took my students to Google, where a friend of mine from college who works as a software engineer was set to host us. The short version: It was awesome. My kids were…

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Apr 28 2013

Not Pretty, But Effective

Day 140: Through TFA, I was able to have a scientist visit my class Thursday to speak about his job. He is an electrophysiologist with Amgen, so he spoke about taking cells and measuring their electric potential, so he knows when the drugs he’s testing are working. Specifically, he’s working on a drug to treat major…

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Apr 26 2013

Relax Fail

Day 139: First week back from a break, and I’m already a full day behind on these posts? Yeesh. Not a great sign. At this point, I actually can’t really remember what happened Wednesday. My kids either made their kingdoms posters, or did a gallery walk to learn from other groups’ posters. More memorable is the…

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Apr 24 2013

I Don’t Talk, Students Do Work

Day 138: I hope visitors learn something when they come to my classroom. Selfishly, though, I kind of like having visitors because it helps me reflect on what’s going on. Case in point: 6D enters the room 2nd period. After the Do Now, I debrief very quickly, and then put kids into groups. Each group reads…

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Day 137: First day back, already up late. Oh well. I’m going to find the good in this. First, I was legitimately happy to see my kids. I put JP in a headlock and told him I’d missed him. I stook in front of my homeroom and told each kid, “Welcome back!” Coming into morning homeroom,…

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Apr 14 2013

I’m No Superman

Day 136:  Well, I know what I’ve been told You got to work to feed the soul But I can’t do this all on my own No I know, I’m no superman -          Lazlo Bane, “Superman” Friday was about what you’d expect for the day before you go on break. Nothing crazy happened, but it…

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Apr 12 2013

One Day More

Day 135: I know I’m well beyond broken-record status, but yet again, insane Thursday. The last-week version of me was a moron, and somehow agreed to letting student council sell pizza today. You know, Thursday. Then day when I have zero free time, and then zoom off to grad school. The result: Recess and lunch, my…

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Apr 11 2013

In Which I Attempt To Stop Whining

Day 134: Honestly, next-to-nothing to report in actual school land. Kids took an ANet Math test, the last before their MCAS next month, and promptly departed the premises. I then spent most of the period of time between noon and 5 pm in parent-teacher conferences, exhorting my students to not lose focus, participate more in class,…

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Apr 10 2013

Reason To Smile

Day 133: Today, for the first time in what feels like forever, I was really, really happy at school. 6A was so calm cleaning out their binders that I was able to take a music request (Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us”). 6D was entirely on task during the classification lab, even my been-slipping-lately boys. The real pick-me-up…

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Apr 09 2013

Failing at Grading

Day 132: Ever-so-slightly stressful start to the week. In my mind, I’d asked for an extra day to finish my grades, since the health fair had set me back a little bit. I’m pretty sure this happened, although given how delirious I was by the end of last week, I might have been asking if dinosaurs…

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Apr 07 2013

Sometimes, You Deserve a Break

Day 131: So, what happens the day after a huge project ends, when the kids have been working super hard and you need a break? Well, each class began something like this: “We’ve been working really hard on the health fair for weeks. And it went really, really well. So, we’re not going to start our…

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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