My two cents (Week of June 7, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 34th post in the series.

Monday (June 7)
The Olympic Games continue with another game of Kahoot. The 11th grade teachers met as grade team after school in one last-ditch effort to plan for students who are in desperate need of our support.

Tuesday (June 8)
Had a lovely, cookie-filled meeting after school with some colleagues as we closed out our time connecting compassion with teaching and learning. I’ve never been part of professional learning quite like this before and I’m thankful for it.

Wednesday (June 9)
To close out the Olympic Games, we played Math Pictionary; to ensure every team earned a nice collection of medals, I amusingly joined a couple of teams throughout the day to support them. I also began collecting mailing addresses from students so I can send them a copy of our book, Mathematical Voices, Volume 2.

Thursday (June 10)
The last day of classes and an emotional day for me. For me, saying goodbye to my students — my comrades, my companions, my battlemates — is an act I take seriously that honors the space they’ve taken up in my life for the last 10 months; this year I found it liberating, but sad.

Friday (June 11)
Today was the annual cutting of my beard. I fully expected to do it alone on Zoom, but, in a twist, two students walked in the classroom just as I was getting started and ended up doing it all.

bp

My two cents (Week of May 31, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 33rd post in the series.

Monday (May 31)
No Classes — Memorial Day

Tuesday (June 1)
The first day of the Math Olympics, an event that we’ll use to close the year which was co-designed by me and my cogen. To add an official feel to it, we held the opening ceremonies; we played the Olympic music, lit the Olympic torch, had a parade of participants, read-aloud some math writing from the year.

Wednesday (June 2)
Day 2 of the Olympic Games kicked off with a festive game of Kahoot to review some of what we learned this year. During the medal ceremony, in which I played “We Are the Champions” by Queen and slowly dragged gold, silver, and bronze medals over top of the group members’ names on screen, one student remarked in the chat, “I’m emotional for no reason.”

Thursday (June 3)
Co-facilitated a racial and social justice professional development where our staff used restorative circles (2-4-8) to add structure to some internal reckoning we’ve been doing at our school. Strong opinions abound; fireworks lit up the sky!

Friday (June 4)
A bitter-sweet day because I met with my cogen for the last time this year; I called it a “Reunion Cogen” because I invited all 19 students who were part of it back for one final conversation to debrief the experience. We spoke and I also gave them an anonymous survey; all the students spoke highly of their time in the cogen and valued it as a means of getting to know each other, building trust, and bettering to the classroom community for everyone.

bp

Monday

No classes — Memorial Day

The first day of the Math Olympics. The opening ceremonies we held; we lit the Olympic torch, had a parade of participants, and shared some math writing from the year.

Day 2 of the Olympic Games kicked off with a festive game of Kahoot. The medal ceremony was emotional for no reason at all.

My two cents (Week of May 24, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 32nd post in the series.

Monday (May 24)
I threw around the idea of accepting (and even encouraging) both English and Spanish responses next year in class. I asked my students how they would feel about it and they would encouraging.

Tuesday (May 25)
Debuted the Math Olympics — the fun and games we will end the year with. Received affirmation and inspiration from one of the Spanish teachers on my “Spanish in math class” idea for next year.

Wednesday (May 26)
Balanced seven books on my head in eighth period. It could have been eight, and the goal was ten, but a book about the Maya just wouldn’t stay put.

Thursday (May 27)
Disappointed at the end of the day when I removed a few students who were non-responsive to my attempts to engage them. I was frustrated based on the lack of engagement from the previous class and didn’t lead with compassion.

Friday (May 28)
My cogen finalized our plans for the Math Olympics, which starts next week. My school’s modified “reimagine” plan for for the fall was unveiled and it was overwhelming.

bp

My two cents (Week of May 17, 2021)

For each school day of the 2020-21 school year, I will be writing two sentences to capture some of the impressions, feelings, experiences, or thoughts I had that day. This is the 31st post in the series.

Monday (May 17)
In 8th period, we shared a cool moment of connection when a student, who is remote but was in school for one day, visited the smears I created in the hallway which represent our figurative children. It’s crazy to think about the levels I’ve gone to to engage my students this year.

Tuesday (May 18)
One student who is in person (but still learning remotely because all of our classes are on Zoom), set up his camera and took a shot with a paper ball at the garbage can — he made it on the 2nd try. I did 360 degree jumping jacks in 9th period because of the all the positive energy I received.

Wednesday (May 19)
Myself along with six other staff members went to visit the grave of Malcolm X after school at Ferncliff Cemetery. After reading his autobiography with them in February, paying homage to him on his birthday was powerful; it created a unique moment of community amongst our team as well as the others who were present at Ferncliff.

Thursday (May 20)
I felt sadness reflecting on my students’ “Your Year in Math Class” drawings. So many of them struggled this year; their hardships were illustrated in lots of different ways.

Friday (May 21)
As we explored microaggressions as a staff, there was a charged moment of open conflict at the racial and social justice workshop this afternoon. It was a moment of becoming for our school community that needed to happen.

bp