Adventures of a Teacher Nerdfighter

Nerd life really is better than regular life.

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The hard part of teaching is coming to grips with this:

There is never enough.

There is never enough time. There are never enough resources. There is never enough you.

As a teacher, you can see what a perfect job in your classroom would look like. You know all the assignments you should be giving. You know all the feedback you should be providing your students. You know all the individual crafting that should provide for each individual’s instruction. You know all the material you should be covering. You know all the ways in which, when the teachable moment emerges (unannounced as always), you can greet it with a smile and drop everything to make it grow and blossom.

You know all this, but you can also do the math. 110 papers about the view of death in American Romantic writing times 15 minutes to respond with thoughtful written comments equals — wait! what?! That CAN’T be right! Plus quizzes to assess where we are in the grammar unit in order to design a new remedial unit before we craft the final test on that unit (five minutes each to grade). And that was before Chris made that comment about Poe that offered us a perfect chance to talk about the gothic influences, and then Alex and Pat started a great discussion of gothic influences today. And I know that if my students are really going to get good at writing, they should be composing something at least once a week. And if I am going to prepare my students for life in the real world, I need to have one of my own to be credible.

If you are going to take any control of your professional life, you have to make some hard, conscious decisions. What is it that I know I should be doing that I am not going to do?

Every year you get better. You get faster, you learn tricks, you learn which corners can more safely be cut, you get better at predicting where the student-based bumps in the road will appear. A good administrative team can provide a great deal of help.

But every day is still educational triage. You will pick and choose your battles, and you will always be at best bothered, at worst haunted, by the things you know you should have done but didn’t. Show me a teacher who thinks she’s got everything all under control and doesn’t need to fix a thing for next year, and I will show you a lousy teacher. The best teachers I’ve ever known can give you a list of exactly what they don’t do well enough yet.

From one of the best essays we’ve read on teaching in a while.

The Hard Part

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-greene/the-hardest-part-teaching_b_5554448.html

(via weareteachers)

This. A million times this.

(via hisnamewasbeanni)

(via whatshouldnewteacherscallme)

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fishingboatproceeds:

The microfinance website Kiva is doing its first ever $1 Million Match Day today, which means that if you make a loan which falls under the conditions of normal bonus loans (less than than 18 months and greater than 3 stars), your loan will automatically be matched. If you’re a member of the Kiva Nerdfighters, the nerdfighter team will be credited with, e.g., $50 instead of $25! Kiva Nerdfighters have loaned over $4 million overall to entrepreneurs around the world. 
Normally when you join Kiva you get $25 to use for free but this is on hold for today, so if you’d like to take part in what looks to be the biggest lending day in Kiva history you need to use existing Kiva funds or add more to your account. $25 loans have a 98% repayment rate on Kiva.org overall, which means that more often than not your loan will be repaid and you can reloan that money to other entrepreneurs! Approved loans can be seen here. 

fishingboatproceeds:

The microfinance website Kiva is doing its first ever $1 Million Match Day today, which means that if you make a loan which falls under the conditions of normal bonus loans (less than than 18 months and greater than 3 stars), your loan will automatically be matched. If you’re a member of the Kiva Nerdfighters, the nerdfighter team will be credited with, e.g., $50 instead of $25! Kiva Nerdfighters have loaned over $4 million overall to entrepreneurs around the world. 

Normally when you join Kiva you get $25 to use for free but this is on hold for today, so if you’d like to take part in what looks to be the biggest lending day in Kiva history you need to use existing Kiva funds or add more to your account. $25 loans have a 98% repayment rate on Kiva.org overall, which means that more often than not your loan will be repaid and you can reloan that money to other entrepreneurs! Approved loans can be seen here

16 notes

Hank is in my classroom all the time via CrashCourse and SciShow. One of my sixth graders wrote about Batesian mimicry on a science test, and *I* certainly didn’t teach him that term! :-) Hank does so much to increase awesome and make science cool, and it’s making a difference for my students and me. And then last night… THERE HE IS!!! This is not a telephoto lens. He was RIGHT THERE. Singing about Carl Sagan and anglerfish and particle physics, and making a whole bunch of Nerdfighters very, very happy. DFTBA!

Hank is in my classroom all the time via CrashCourse and SciShow. One of my sixth graders wrote about Batesian mimicry on a science test, and *I* certainly didn’t teach him that term! :-) Hank does so much to increase awesome and make science cool, and it’s making a difference for my students and me. And then last night… THERE HE IS!!! This is not a telephoto lens. He was RIGHT THERE. Singing about Carl Sagan and anglerfish and particle physics, and making a whole bunch of Nerdfighters very, very happy. DFTBA!

Filed under edwardspoonhands hank green nerdfighters crashcourse scishow dftba

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Crazy Things My Teacher Said (Kept by a Student in My Class)

Writer’s Workshop: Persuasive Essay

  1. I want you guys to be regular-sized squids.
  2. Be regular-sized squids. No one was absent and thinks I’m weird, right?
  3. You guys are really good but - squirrel!
  4. Do not get squirreled by your counterarguments. 
  5. You need to talk back.
  6. You want to keep the old ladies here and the skateboarders there.

Reading

  1. Here you’re judging the crabs, and here you’re judging the crabs’ choices.

Math

  1. I was attacked by a piece of Fibonacci nature.
  2. I don’t mind being the crazy lady in the grocery store.
  3. Can you get a few extra markers in case anyone else dies?

Science

  1. Grab, poke, pass it to the next person.
  2. I’m going to set you loose to play with some chemical reactions.
  3. Scientists are like 5-year-olds.
  4. Right now, it’s daytime on Fawn’s face. Fawn, turn a little so that it’s nighttime on your face.
  5. Make it midnight on your face.
  6. Little kids basically evaporate when you let them outside.
  7. Sorry to compare little kids to earthquakes, but it’s true.
  8. You can leave your lungs on the table. Intestines need to be put away.
  9. Please put your bodies away.
  10. Now put your digestive systems away… Pick up your stomach!
  11. I’m going to staple your bodies to the wall.

Social Studies

  1. Pharaohs and lungs need to be put away.
  2. So, back to decapitation. Yay.

What Happens When You Let Them Choose Their Own Group Names (And the Kids Are Made of Awesome)

  1. I need the Derping Whales to pay attention.
  2. Nachos! Knock it off!
  3. Derping Whales! Let the Nachos talk!

I Don’t Even Know

  1. We’re going to get you to hate me temporarily.
  2. I wanted to say - moo!

Filed under education teacher giant squid of anger regular sized squid of rational debate and source citation teacher quotes giantsquidofanger

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Saying Goodbye to My Class <3

Every year I say “This class was special” and “I’m going to miss these kids,” but every year it’s true. This year’s group made me laugh and made me think.

Together, we wrote 497,060 words during National Novel Writing Month. 497,060! That’s more than Infinite Jest! 

They staged a Writer’s Rebellion when I (“The Capitol”) chose volunteers (“Tributes”) to read from their completed NaNoWriMo novels. The rebellion was short-lived and consisted of a 6th grader volunteering as Tribute in place of a 5th grade classmate and having a Mockingjay pinned to her. It’s one of my favorite memories.

One student kept a list of things I said that would sound weird out of context. Every once in a while I’d say something, and she’d catch my eye, and I’d know the list had just gotten longer. It was awesome.

They taught me everything I know about Minecraft and convinced me that it was a good platform for social studies projects. Resourceful kids!

They pursued their own interests in true Nerdfighter fashion. They crocheted stuffed animals and scarves, they built models of alternative energy sources and human body systems, and they made hilarious and informative videos.

They took risks in their art, in their writing, and in their asking of questions.

They were careful not to include any spoilers for Divergent in their essays and reading journals because I hadn’t finished the series. 

They came up with innovative greetings for our daily Team Meetings: “DFTBA” (of course), “Best wishes” (in honor of John Green), “May the odds be ever in your favor,” “May the ducks be ever in your favor” (in honor of a bird-obsessed classmate) and “How’s your butt?” (uh, long story).

They wrote me notes at the end of the year about how much I taught them, including life lessons such as being proud of who you are and “no whining.”

They laughed when I photobombed their graduation selfies.

They made me smile. Every. Single. Day.

This class was special, and I’m going to miss these kids. <3

Filed under teacher education end of school year nerdfighters dftba nanowrimo hunger games