Friday, May 11

On days when it's good

Also yesterday, I had one of the best days in terms of student learning, thinking and application. We've been learning how to solve systems of equations. Two days ago I gave my honors students the following problems:

ax + b = y
x + c = y


ax + by + c = 0
ax + cy + b = 0

They were to solve both problems for x and y in terms of a, b and c. This is very abstract. Higher level thinking and application of what I've been teaching them. It blew their minds. They hated me for a solid 10 minutes until the bell rang. The next day, I let them know they weren't off the hook. We talked about how ax - x = (a -1)x. And then I gave them back their papers, mostly blank still. I told them to work with their groups to solve these and that they counted as today's quiz grade. Several of them ROCKED it! Many of them got off to a good start. There was lots of talking about math and solving math. Sigh. I'm so proud!

On days when it's bad

Well, yesterday in our common planning time (CPT) - a period that all the math teacher have off so we can work together - another teacher mentioned he's had great success with his incessant chatters by tellling them to go in the hall and talk to the tree out in the courtyard. My room doesn't have a tree in front of it but does have a trash can. So I have this student, Larry, who rarely comes to class. When he does he's always disruptive. Earlier this year I met with his mother who told me she's raised him never to appologize and that he has to talk back in order to be heard. Anyway he was a constant stream of inappropriate, unnecessary comments. "Larry please stop talking". More talking, "Larry please stop talking." More talking, "Larry I don't want to hear another word". More of the same, "Larry, if you can't stop talking go in the hall and talk to the trash can." Boy, was that the wrong thing to say. What insued was about 10 minutes of the student cursing at me, telling me to get out of his face before he started something, two security gaurds entering, student refusing to leave and finally me telling the rest of the class to take their things. I barged in on a teacher who had his prep period and begged him to use his class where I continued the lesson (thank god for co-workers who you like and who you know will let you do this!) But of course me having to do that was ridiculous. And awful. I do not get paid enough to have people yell profanities at me. I was actually hoping he would hit me so that I can press charges beyond just him threatening me.

Monday, May 7

Sidebar - WTF?!

Alright, so I've finally gotten around to updating a few links in the sidebar. However, all I can make it read for a title successfully is "Links" if I try "Knitting Links" it goes all direct text. Here's the code:

That works and it reads "LINKS"

as does :

So, I tried

And what shows up on screen:


My first Quinceanero

I'd never been to a quinceanero (a young woman's 15th birthday party celebrated in many Latin American cultures). When I was invited this year I jumped on the chance. William came along as my translator and it was crazy.

We pull up to this reception hall and I get comments like, "Whoa, Ms. S. You're ... pretty!?" And there is my student, the birthday girl, standing in a wedding like dress...

There are damas and chambelanes, the birthday equivalent of bride's maids and groom's men, except their all for the quinceanera, the birthday girl. There's food and beer and a lot of waiting. Turns out we're waiting for the dance. Part of the quinceanera's introduction into society is a dance presentation. Apparently there can be up to 3 dances, but this quince had just one, a waltz.

Apparently, they take their practice lessons as seriously as their homework. Because after the first minute of so, the birthday girl goes up to the DJ stand and has him turn of the music, she leaves the room in a huff. Now, having never been to one I had to have my translator explain what happened. According to William, they were all messing up the steps and not doing what they were supposed to. So there's more waiting while the birthday girl is outside crying and yelling, I'm guessing.

I took that time to examine the cake, 4 levels, 5 different cakes with a fountain in the middle.

Half an hour or so passes with no music, just people sitting around and the presentation begins again. The damas and chambelones are introduced. The birthday girl is presented and they dance again. No one is smiling, but they've all got their turns synchronized.

1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

After this, William and I choose to head off for some sushi. The quinceanera gives me a bit of her poutiness, "But you just got here!" However, we'd been there two hours and my camera was out of batteries. To see more photos go to my Flickr Quinceanero Set