Teacher Soundtrack

The indomitable @johnhardison1 tweeted about his teacher soundtrack blog post found here and challenged me to create my list… So I’ve been thinking about it and this is what I have so far…

  1. One Way or Another by Blondie – the first two verses but these lines… “One day maybe next week, I’m gonna meet ya’/ One way or another, I’m gonna win ya’/ I’ll get ya’, I’ll get ya'” This is exactly how I feel about that kid who resists all efforts to engage them but they are watching… and one day… if you’re lucky enough, they come up in a grocery store and say Miz, you taught me so much (I’m looking at you Juan).
  2. She’s Every Woman by Garth Brooks – “she’s fire and ice /A little crazy but it’s nice” I can’t even begin to count how many students I’ve told, “Yep, I’m crazy.” They don’t even know how to respond most days. If I can keep them guessing, then they are at least watching what I’ll do next.
  3. T.N.T by AC/DC – “Don’t you start no fight//’Cause I’m T.N.T. I’m dynamite/T.N.T. and I’ll win the fight/T.N.T. I’m a power load/T.N.T. watch me explode” This goes with number two but it’s one on the drive-to-work playlist that gives me that bounce to my step and the mindset to make it great day.
  4. It’s My Life by Bon Jovi – “All lyrics” I am in control of my choices and while I’m here I want to live. Encouraging students to do the same isn’t usually difficult but it seems there are always a few that need to be reminded to live. I want to quote Invictus.
  5. The Lost Boy by Greg Holden – “I know there’s greed and there’s corruption/I’ve seen death and mass destruction/But I’m telling you, and I hope that I’m heard//And I will not be commanded/And I will not be controlled/And I will not let my future go on/Without the help of my soul” I put the link for a YouTube video on that one just because the song grabs my guts. I’ve taught many “lost boys” over the years who had very little hope of a “normal” life, whatever that means… It serves to remind me that my students don’t always have more than they brought with them to school that day.
  6. Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega by Ashley McBryde – “Nothings goin right/Makin the best of the worst day kinda night” I didn’t add this one just because it has Dahlonega in the title… even though that is totally why I listened to the song the first time (I grew up in Dahlonega, GA, back when there was one red-light). Ashley’s voice is one of my favorites right now, but I think the message of moving on from the worst day will resonate for a while. As teachers, we’ve all had that worst day… the ones you analyze for years and hopefully learn something so you don’t repeat them.
  7. 17 by Cody Canda – “You’re always seventeen in your hometown.//Runnin’ from your folks, runnin’ from the law./Runnin’ from love; runnin’ from your fears; runnin’ from it all./You keep on runnin’ boy, you’ll run yourself in the ground./You’re always seventeen in your hometown.” I had to have a Cody Canada song. His music has gotten me through many a long road trip. This one is a reminder that my students are 17 in their hometown and while leaving is coming soon, they are still in that sunrise of adulthood.

I’m sure I could come up with a few more… This is what I have at the moment. 🙂


Interactive Notebooks…

I have attempted interactive notebooks with my resource class to some limited success… I have shamelessly stolen from Math Equals LoveMs. Dyer’s ClassMegan Hayes-Golding, and a few others. I do think my kids have taken more notes than previous classes and everything is theoretically in the same place for each student. I have not graded their notebooks as I used them as a surrogate textbook. I have allowed students to use these notebooks on quizzes and some other assessments as I accommodated their needs. At just over 100 pages listed on the table of contents my notebook doesn’t close anymore.

I had high hopes for some origami applications… that was a bust. We can’t follow instructions under the document camera. The origami paper I bought was not white on one side but was colored on both which, I suspect, hindered our ability to see folds. Whenever I had a new fold or new page type I would stand in front of the room and show them how to make the next foldable. This worked better than the document camera… probably in part as it is easier for me to ensure we are all following along.

I created very few original documents and mostly used stuff from others or stuff I had previously and just reduced to half sheets. The few things I did create I’ll post. Our school is using GRASP to progress monitor. Students have to type in their GTID to log-in, which most of them don’t know, so I created a page for log-in info to keep in their notebooks, which you can find here. I created I can statements for the modules of Georgia Foundations of Algebra and a list of the standards with check boxes for indicating coverage, all of which can be found here. All of these are word or google docs.





Vocabulary and Rabbit Trails…

I was reading Math = Love’s post regarding Algebra 2 and she had a discussion going about reviewing… So I posed the following “So… I teach resource math, co-teach and ESOL sheltered math. Every time I try to reuse a review activity from the previous unit, my kids start “not that again” unless it’s Kahoot but Kahoot only works (for me) for DOK 1 (basic recall) questions. I spoke to a reading teacher about teaching vocabulary and I feel like I have tried everything in 6 years (Frayer models, student created flashcards, teacher created flashcards, discretely teach vocab after the word appears, teach vocab as the word appears in our work, all with weekly cumulative vocab tests) her suggestion was to never do the same vocab activity in a 9 weeks. Is vocab a different part of the brain? Is that why I struggle so much? Thoughts? Other suggestions?”

Vocabulary kills my population, you can’t find the domain if you don’t know what domain means and while these questions are DOK 1 for the most part I still am frustrated by such a “simple” issue being the reason their grades … suck. (I couldn’t think of a better word.) Vocab is just an albatross for my kids and it frustrates me to no end that they refuse to study their vocab.

I find myself falling down the rabbit hole so often lately, especially when working on the dissertation… I find a decent article and then I look up an hour later, I’m reading part of a source that cited a source that was in the original document and I still haven’t finished reading what I started. A friend sent me this video on procrastination, he knows me well… and I was like maybe this random conglomeration of thoughts will become something… or maybe just maybe I’ll learn something… 🙂

So any suggestions about teaching math vocabulary would be welcome!!



It’s been two weeks or so since Thanksgiving break and I created these proportional coloring sheets right before the break and have been meaning to post them since then… Proportional Coloring Sheet

Taking a break always reminds me why I teach. The kids are so funny when we get back. “Did you miss me?” “What did you do all week without me?” “Did you go shopping Black Friday?” They truly want the adults in their lives to engage with them almost constantly. It still blows my mind and humbles me greatly…

The computer I’m on hates me and refuses to let me download anything so I can upload to wordpress, so no cool pics tonight.

I do have grand plans for the Interactive Notebooks however… I can’t wait to get those going for Spring semester.

One of THOSE days…

StressImage link

Have you ever had just one of those days? The one where your planning gets taken up by something irrelevant to you at that moment, some training or somebody needed coverage… So you go in to class feeling exhausted before you start… and one of your students makes some comment that isn’t appropriate but not necessarily discipline worthy and you decide to investigate… and wind up learning something completely heartbreaking… Something that NO teenager should ever have to deal with… and you just can’t get your grove back after that… The chocolate doesn’t help, the griping at the “water cooler” doesn’t help, the reading blog posts doesn’t help and all YOU wanted to do today was teach, just teach your content, in your room to your kids, all of whom you love in their own way. Today was that day for me.

One of those days where you are soul weary before lunch. So I went a read a blog post… something to cheer me up right? Wrong… I completely agreed with the premise but the solutions provided were all trite and things I learned in my teacher prep program from people who had never taught K-12. NOT helping!!! Teaching can be such a lonely profession sometimes… Yeah I was in a building with 600 other people but I couldn’t connect because I was so disconnected from the day. I was so wrapped up in what I had learned that I couldn’t care about the fact that I have new responsibilities or that I had car duty in the rain. I just couldn’t care about the trivial stuff.

It’s those days that I remember why I’m still in the classroom… That I remember that I do this job for my students… each and every one of them… I’m here, fighting the good fight, because I care about kids. Truly, deeply, madly care about kids. ‘Cause they are AWESOME. Not to mention that even when I was zoned out and struggling today my kids still made me laugh, still made me connect to math, still made me give them all I had. So even though today was ROUGH, I can feed my students’ minds.


This stuff is AWESOME… and scary.. a bit at least… I just watched a talk from K12 Online Conference by @karlyb on the subject and I’m inspired yet again. (Random side note, I have been working in public education waaaaayyyy toooooo long… Karlyb teaches at a private school and her kids use Sketchnotes to digest sermons… My legal mind still freaks on religion in schools sometimes… even though it’s perfectly okay for private school kids… I digress.)

Karen uses Apple products which is awesome… but I don’t have those … so I’m still on the search for a decent stylus that works with my Dell touch screen at home and then… the on-the-go device, I still have to find one of those and some drawing apps that work with it… I followed my usual rabbit trail and got to this interview of Mike Rohde which especially inspired me. He and Karen both said this is about Facts not art and you just need to jump in… so I think I’ll be doing that soon.  🙂 When I quit procrastinating … 😀

There’s always the sketchnote army to inspire me when I get really bogged down.

The One Reason I Quit Teaching

I … there are no words. Just this truth “Teachers shouldn’t be leaving the profession because they care too much about children.”

Ellie R. Schreiner


September means apples, bulletin boards, foliage, name tags, a new class and everything else about going back-to-school! After over thirty years of starting the fall in a classroom, as a student or teacher, I decided to take a break this year. I taught for thirteen years all over Oregon, and it was not an easy decision to take a year off from teaching. We moved from Oregon to Texas and I knew that now was the time to step back. It’s now been two months since school started for the rest of my world, and I have had time reflect upon the decision to change careers. I can now articulate the many things I miss about teaching and the one thing that I do not.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. There were moments when I saw myself as a lawyer, a rodeo cowgirl, a photojournalist, a…

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