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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

You Don't Miss Something Until It's Gone

I miss classrooms with A/C. It gets HOT in Room 409, especially with the afternoon sun from the West. In my two previous schools we had A/C. Being cold was actually the issue at those schools.

Speaking of missing things, I also miss having my OWN classroom. Now, I share a room. I feel like a nomad roaming the halls hoping I brought all of my stuff.

Other than that, we had a pretest in class today. How did you do on the problem that was similar to the Bellringer?

Here was the Bellringer:
Solve for x, 2x + 4 = 24
a. 0
b. 14
c. (I forgot)
d. 10
e. (I forgot)
One student suggested 14 was the best answer. Another demonstrated how they got 14. She added 4 to both sides (to try to eliminate the 4), and got 2x = 28. She then divided by 2 to get x = 14. That's when several other students disagreed...We eventually got our answer: x = 10.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 2

Better... Today in class we tried to talk about Obama's speech but...maybe next time.

Here was an very interesting article on the "greatest general manger" of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Krause. Michael Jordan referred to Krause as Crumbs. This maybe before your time, but Krause is infamously known as the person responsible for breaking up the Bulls' Dynasty. However, this article puts a different light on Krause.

"[Krause] delivered Jordan history’s greatest coach in Jackson. He gave him Tex Winter and an unstoppable triangle offense. He gave him a Hall of Fame running mate, Scottie Pippen. Jerry Krause gave him a championship cast for three titles, and when Jordan returned from baseball, the GM reshaped the roster for three more championships. Jordan couldn’t do it alone, and never did. Whatever Jordan wants to believe, no one in basketball has ever given more to his greatness than Jerry Krause. No one....
...For once, Jordan needs to take care of [Krause]. He should stand up for Jerry Krause now, the way that he never did as a Bull. Older and wiser, Jordan should be more than a little humbled over how hard it is to build a championship basketball team. Krause never drafted Kwame Brown and Adam Morrision."

Any basketball fans in my class? Want to play fantasy basketball when the NBA season starts?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day Jitters

The first day of school is over. It was interesting. Being in a new school is a learning experience.

Next to Oprah shutting down Michigan Avenue, President Obama was the biggest talk in local news today. His speech got me thinking about Mike.

"I failed over and over and over again in my life..."

How many of you would continue to work hard if you failed over and over and over again?

"...and that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan

Here are some quotes from Obama's speech:
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide
At the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Math Rules...Gun Violence

If you could predict who would be a victim of gun violence, would you do something to prevent them from being a victim?

That's what's being done at CPS. According to this article, "Ron Huberman (CEO of CPS) says he thinks he has found the 200 students most likely to end up shot." And he used the power of mathematics to find these students.
[Huberman] spent months poring over reams of numbers from the last five years and found some intriguing patterns: About 80 percent of the shootings involved students at 38 of the district's 89 high schools...These students skipped school about 40 percent of the time...They also were far more likely to misbehave in school and were nearly five times more likely to be off track to graduate...Huberman said based on the district analysis, 200 teenagers have a greater than 20 percent chance of getting shot. Another 1,000 have a 7.5 percent to 20 percent chance of ending up on the other side of a gun.
Huberman wants to "connect [these students] with full-time mentors and part-time jobs."

Two questions...
1. Do you think mathematics can be used to predict these victims?
2. Do you think the program of mentoring and providing jobs will work to prevent these students from being victims?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Well Behaved School

Today, the teachers had training on the 16 social skills outlined by the Boys Town model. Here are a set of questions and answers for parents.

We had several interesting conversations around "code-switching" and cursing.

When I first heard of code-switching, I thought it was slang -- a made-up word. But I found out that its an actual linguistics word used by scientists studying natural languages. I think of code-switching as the different ways you talk to people. You talk to your grandmother differently than you talk to your friends. You talk to your teacher differently than you talk to your baby brother. Do you think that code-switching is just done naturally, or, do you think you have to be taught how to code-switch?

The code-switching conversation turned to cursing. Everyone agreed that there should be no cursing in school. However, some teachers felt that there could times when its necessary for a teacher to curse at students. Other teachers felt that there is never a time for cursing. What are your opinions?