Friday, January 30, 2015


Having a bunch of facts at your disposal is useful, but far more potent is the power to connect the dots in beautiful new lattices no one has thought of before.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pride in Teaching

"The professor said I did good on some sections some students didn't do good on!" - One of my students, now in college, on how her Algebra 2 class helped. I'm feeling proud of that right now.

Monday, January 26, 2015

College Rivalries

Two college rivalries I subscribe to:

1. "Hook 'em Horns!" Aggies suck.

2. Elis over Cantabs. "Oh, you went to Harvard? What's the matter, couldn't get into a real university?"

There's also WPI vs. MIT/RPI, but that one's not quite as iconic.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"I get this"

Something that gave me hope this year was that I finally had a first day where I didn't crush the hopes and dreams of my students by overshooting their knowledge levels. Even had several kids go, "Hey, I get this. Cool."

Monday, January 19, 2015


It's telling when I inform people I don't consume very much alcohol and they act like I'm odd. I've found that people who both drink a lot and look askew at people who do not share their habit tend to be the ones with a lot of issues - the bad kind. This can manifest as them saying they don't trust people who don't drink, as treating those who prefer not to drink as social pariahs, or just generally pressuring those around them to adopt their bad habit.

Folks who drink to enjoy drinking won't take offense or think less of those who prefer not to indulge. I've known folks who enjoy alcohol as I enjoy food and I understand the joy they get from trying a new microbrew or cocktail. I've never had a bad run-in with adventurous drinkers. The people who drink to run away are the ones to watch out for. I have a suspicion that this latter category is depressingly common, since I have known more in this category than the former.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Seal Team Six is, in fact, the only one of its kind. It's called Seal Team Six to make you think there are five others.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Genius is Common

“I've concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven't yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.” - John Taylor Gatto

Now there's a man who believes all students can learn.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Kagan and Brain Breaks

Two things I added to my classroom routine this year: Kagan strategies (one of which I'd already been using) and Brain Breaks. For Kagan, I'd been using the Round Table method for much of my classwork before. The two I added: Quiz-Quiz-Trade and Find the Fiction.

I went through and picked 13 of my favorite Brain Breaks from the blog and cycled through them. I've found that physical brain breaks are surprisingly unpopular with the kids (they don't think they're cool). Math riddles as brain breaks work much better, though. The kids like to solve things before their peers.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Would Death have good people skills because he's met so many folks or poor people skills because his services are mandated, making customer service a low priority?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ugly People

When I encounter an ugly person (and I don't mean physical appearance), I do my best to avoid or ignore them. It's different from my usual "I don't see you because my mind is elsewhere" behavior, too. It's more of an active, "There you are, here I am, I am keeping my distance" while emitting a strong, "Go away!" vibe.

I have been fortunate that the ugly people I've encountered are vastly outnumbered by the beautiful ones.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Working in the Dark

My room has a light sensor to shut off and turn on the lights. The problem is it's very insensitive, so it turns off even when I'm in the room and usually does so in under 10 minutes.

When I'm at my desk and it turns off, I have to put my arms up and wave them around to get the lights back on. Since I don't always feel like doing this, people keep thinking I like to work in the dark. Sigh.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Song parody I want to write someday: "Cloning Time" set to Semisonic's "Closing Time."