Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Decision

Yesterday, I overheard two students debating the Lebron James versus Kobe Bryant issue. Lebron is way better. C'mon Kobe played with a broken finger and still won!

Before "The Decision", I think this was a valid and worthwhile discussion.

However, since Lebron decided to "take [his] talents to South Beach," this argument has become a moot point. Critics - ESPN, ex-basketball players, barbershops - have dethroned The King and labeled him a second fiddle.
"The Miami Heat's cast of superheros -- or villains, depending on your point of view -- will not be led by King James. TNT's Reggie Miller said the Heat's star system is simple: "Dwyane Wade is the Derek Jeter here. LeBron James is the Alex Rodriguez. One of those guys will have to sacrifice, and it will have to be LeBron. This is still Dwyane's team." -- Reggie Miller (via Miami Herald)
LeBron James is willing to play second fiddle to Dwayne Wade who is possibly the best player on the team. It will remind us of that Jordan-Pippen duo of the Chicago Bulls dynasty that went on to win two three-peat NBA titles. Only this time, James is stepping back to play Pippen’s role.
I believe that James doesn't have the heart to be "the man." That killer instinct is not in him. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

The fans also spoke. An advertising firm looked at James' popularity since "The Decision." He was rated the 6th most disliked sports figure. While still a member of the Cavs, James one of the most liked sports figures in history ever.

Despite the backlash, I thought "The Decision" was past us. Training camp opened up. Miami is the favorite to win the East and challenge the Lakers in the Finals - a showdown The Association would die for.

But, then James decides to explain the backlash... "And why you want to go and do that love, huh?"

CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien mentioned that James' brand and name were "tarnished" because of his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in such a public fashion, and asked if race played a role in the backlash.

"I think so at times," James replied. "It's always, you know, a race factor."

-Courtesy Of The Huff Post

Woah...Slow down, now. "A race factor?" You know Charles Barkley had a response.
"The only criticism I've heard about LeBron, and it was my biggest criticism, that decision thing was just stupid. It was stupid...The second thing when they all came out there dancing around on stage, that was silly. That's the only thing I've heard LeBron get criticized about. That has nothing to do with race...It's like watching a movie. Just when you think it couldn't get any stupider, it gets more stupid."
- Charles Barkley
Here is another reaction.

You get a sense for who people are when stress, opposition, and criticism hit home, and I think that everyone who has followed this backlash now realizes that LeBron James isn't the person that we thought he was.

He isn't an evil guy, I still think that he is a nice dude.

But, LeBron has come off as immature, and rather selfish through the decision.

What are your opinions about Lebron James?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Can I Sign Up?

The Wire...the best show of all time. Ever. Period.

Stringer Bell. Poot. Dukie became the new Bubbles. Micheal became the new Omar.

There is an actual university class on the Wire. And not just any university. No, not a community college. This is at one of the most prestigious institutions in the country - Harvard. I wonder if its like the Tupac class at UC Berkeley. Where were these classes at UofI? I know I would ACE this class. Check out Season 4 if you are in education.

Here is an opinion about the class from the Washington Post.

Monday, September 13, 2010

BrickCity: Beyond the Bricks

The statistics make clear the challenges that we face...45 percent of our kids will not graduate from high school. Only 30 percent will enroll in college. And less than half of them will actually graduate.

We talked about this specific quote during our class. Remember how passionate everyone got?

Brick City...Newark, New Jersey...

I first heard Pedro Noguera speak at a conference in Miami several years ago. Here is a a quote and a clip from an upcoming documentary, Beyond The Bricks.

"Its true that black males are not merely passive victims...Black males often do play a their own failure."

There will be a screening for this movie in Chicago. Should we organize a field trip and go?
October 30, 2010
Chicago, IL

University of Chicago
International House
1414 East 59th Street • Chicago, IL 60637

Here is another clip I grabbed from Pedro Noguera.

Is there a project like the one at the end of the clip that we could study in our class?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Year

Ok. I know I have been real sporadic. I really want to contribute on a regular basis, but...

Anyway. Its a new school year. Teaching PreCalculus this year. I got really excited on the 1st day when I gave my students several quotes of a recent speech from our CEO and they became really passionate. I hope that energy carries on through the year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ACT compass math

Adding links to ACT's Compass exam for math.

View a small sample of nonsecure test items for:

In addition to the five mathematics placement tests, COMPASS also offers 15 mathematics diagnostic tests: seven in pre-algebra and eight in algebra.
Joliet Junior College Info
CUNY Compass Info
More CUNY Compass Info
ACT Compass Algebra Booklet
ACT Compass Geometry Booklet

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tiered Instruction

Just adding some link about tiered instruction.

From my first year at Harper, I have discovered that in order to be a successful, I need to differentiate. I started using a tiered assignment approach, borrowing from Dan Meyer (excellent resource, by the way). With our school's focus on College Readiness Standards, I created practice sheets that had 3 categories - Review, Practice, Challenge - that were aligned to the math CRS. During our practice time, I allowed students to pick the type of problem they worked on.

I mentioned this during one of our TAP cluster meetings, and one of the science teachers took this to the next level. She assigned a weekly homework packet with various difficulty levels of problems. Problems were weighted based on their difficulty. Students could select which problems to complete. These types of assignments could be aligned to CRS.

So my goal this summer is to investigate tiered instruction. I am going to keep a list of links that I find during my investigations here.
  • Videos

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Extra Equations Practice

Need extra help?
Here is an interactive site to practice "balancing" equations.
Here is an interactive site to practice "inverse operations".
And finally, here is an interactive site to test all of your skills.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Out on the streets,
Where I grew up.
First thing they teach us,
Not to give a f&^*.
That type of thinking can’t get you nowhere.
Someone has to care.

I feel like I can’t take too much longer.
It’s too much lying,
And too much frying.
I’m all cried out cause I grew up crying.
They all got a sales pitch I ain’t buying.
They trying to convince me that I ain’t trying.
We uninspired,
We unadmired,
And tired and sick of being sick and tired.
A living in the hood where the shots are fired,
We dying to live, so to live we dying.

-- The Roots "How I Got Over"

A LOT...

A lot has happened since my last post. Sorry for the wait.

The Derrion Albert (RIP) incident has really affected me. I refuse to watch the video. Here is an interesting piece by Edward Hayes relating the incident to Emmet Till -- remember Kanye's verse "scared as h#$$ that her guy looked like Emmet Till". Here is an "Open Letter To Young Warriors In Chicago" by Nas. Is there something that can be done to avoid situations like this in the future?

Chicago lost its bid for the Olympics. And in light of the youth violence that is plaguing our city, maybe losing the bid is a sign to focus our attention on saving the city's children.

Basketball season is BACK. The Bulls won their first preseason game! Taj Gibson looked nice.

Our math class is focusing on EQUATIONS. We said equations were math sentences that have an equal sign. Here is a website that explains equations and has practice problems.

Can you solve one-step equations?

Can you solve two-step equations?

Coming up...multi-step equations.

BTW, do you know the distributive property?

If you want some more practice, check out these videos.



Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Maybe I led you to believe it was easy, when it wasn't...
Maybe its my fault that you didn't see that failure gave me strength; That my pain was my motivation...
Or maybe, you're just making excuses...
- Michael Jordan
Another great Nike commercial.