This week I am going to get start posting about my New Years Resolutions.  Now you may be thinking:

Hold up Carl, weren’t you supposed to start on those on…umm, you know…NEW YEARS!!!

How about you hold off on the judgement there Mr. or Mrs. High-Horse.  I’ve been actually been doing my New Years resolutions since before the actual beginning of the year, but I wanted to wait until I followed through on them for a while before talking about them. Studies have shown that when you tell people about your goals you may lose motivation, so I figured I would take them on a test drive first.  This year I resolved to re-resolve about a month into the New Year with all the goals I wanted to reach.  One of my many resolutions is to use this blog more, so with this post I am going to start my first weekly post detailing what I plan to get done this week, as I have done in the past.

What I’m teaching this week

This week is the last week of the cycle, we have about 4 days of class left and all of them are going to be students writing papers, with some nice activities in between.  I am going to come up with a feedback survey, and perhaps some other end of class activity, but most of this week I will be grading students’ writing.

How closely should math teachers grade writing?  I struggle with finding the line between critiquing a student’s grammar and critiquing a student’s voice.  Also, does the kind of writing direction that I give on final written assignments contradict the instruction that the English teachers give?

What I’m blogging this week

Most of my students are finishing my “Road Trip Project”, which has been in my rotation for linear equations for a long time.  Over the past 4 years A number of teachers have sat on my presentations, or heard about the project and it is kind of popular aroudn the school. So it was no surprise that when one of the teachers had to go on leave for a few weeks that they suggested sub teach the students my “Road Trip Project.”  As flattered as I was, I panicked when realizing that I had to take the instruction component of this project, which currently lives only in my head, and detail it for a substitute teacher.  I actually couldn’t explain to a sub what all to do in order to maximize student learning through the project, and didn’t want to see the project trivialized into a bunch of “answer getting”, so I ended up teaching both his and my first period class as a combined group, and using my prep to teach his afternoon section.

That made me think that maybe it would be a good exercise to go through a project that I teach and really detail all the little things I do along the way in order to make the most of it.  I wanted to try and write up this project and detail all the different things that are involved in the teaching the project both to get feedback, but to also practice this idea of taking what I do in the classroom and explaining it. We’ll see if I have time for it, as it’s already a short week.

What I’m Thinking this week

It’s Martin Luther King day, and I think my thoughts for this week are better stated by him. I often think the message of MLK day seems to be stop at integration, and falls short of the goals for equality that MLK fought for.  This is from a post that I found through another post as Harry Belafonte remembers talking with MLK:

I remember the last time we were together, at my home, shortly before he was murdered. He seemed quite agitated and preoccupied, and I asked him what the problem was. “I’ve come upon something that disturbs me deeply,” he said. “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house.”

That statement took me aback. It was the last thing I would have expected to hear, considering the nature of our struggle, and I asked him what he meant. “I’m afraid that America may be losing what moral vision she may have had,” he answered. “And I’m afraid that even as we integrate, we are walking into a place that does not understand that this nation needs to be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Until we commit ourselves to ensuring that the underclass is given justice and opportunity, we will continue to perpetuate the anger and violence that tears at the soul of this nation.”