Archive | August 2013

The Robertsons Go Fishin’

Pop culture application can move a lesson into the COOL ZONE! πŸ™‚

Math Commander

I developed this activity for my geometry classes as an algebra review. Feel free to tweak and use for your classes. Please share your thoughts as well. A special thank you to @jennsilvermath for her assistance.Β 


Algebra Review

The Robertsons go fishin’


The Robertson family lives in Louisiana and loves to fish and hunt on the river near the property where Phil and his wife Kay live. Close by, at Prairion Bayou Recreation

Area is a boaScreen Shot 2013-08-26 at 7.54.17 AMt dock. Jace, UncleSi, Phil and Jep plan a fishing trip at their favorite camp 30 miles by river and 10 miles by land from the boat dock.

From the dock, Jace and Jep launch their pirogue (French Cajun for a small boat andΒ pronounced pea-row) and head upstream to the camp where they go ashore and prepare forΒ a weekend of fishing. Β This tripΒ usually takes 4 hours upstream to the camp and…

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Don’t squish out the “glue”


I enjoyΒ HGTV, especially programs like Holmes on Homes with Canada’s Mike Holmes who repairs mistakesΒ made by inept contractors. On a recent episode, a homeowner’s basement was a mess in part due to a below grade entrance and its poorly constructed concrete block wall. As the new concrete block wall was being built, Mike’s sub-contractor explained the importance of timing when building with the heavy blocks.

Because the “glue” used with concrete blocks is cement, timing is important as you build the wall. IfΒ you build too quickly, the heavy weight of the blocks will squish out the “glue” making the wall little more than an unsafe stack of heavy concrete. The sub-contractor explained a wall more than four rows high must be allowed to cure for a time before proceeding to the next row.

In other words, the wall itself can be its own worst enemy if the timing isn’t right.

As educators, our curriculum will always be more than the four rows high. Let’s face it, sometimes the day’s lessonΒ seems to be more than four rows high.

How do we allow time for the “glue” to cure? How can we stop from being our own worst enemies in the classroom? How can we develop a rich, rigorous, relevant curriculum that reflects proper timing and doesn’t squish out the “glue”?

Our Trayvons and Georges

It has been a few weeks since the controversial verdict was announced for the George Zimmerman trial in the death of Trayvon Martin. Β I am an educator, and though my professional Twitter feed did not β€œexplode” with tweets from fellow educators about the verdict, there were quite a few.

Some folks were upset.Β  Some were philosophical.Β  Others were reflective.

I chose to stay silent. Not because I did not have something to say, but because, in my opinion, this event, which has gripped our nation for months and will continue to do so for a while, deserved more than 140 or less tweeted characters. Given the limitations of tweeting, I did not want my thoughts to be misunderstood.

I say this because as one who takes her Twitter PLN seriously, I believe I granted gracious latitude to those I follow who tweeted in anger over the verdict with the exception of a few I chose to unfollow due to what I considered extreme tweets. For those few, the announcement of the verdict revealed a truth of character that saddened me.

To clarify, this post isn’t about whether or not I agree with the verdict. Rather it is about my reflections as both a parent and an educator.

First, as a parent, I am concerned. I have two kids in college.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I spoke to my them candidly about being kids and what they would do if confronted by an overzealous adult who misunderstood them.Β  We also had a conversation about the importance of following the directive of those in charge especially law enforcement. If a police officer says stay in the car, YOU. STAY. IN. THE. CAR.

Second, as an educator, this case has shed further light on the fact we teach students, which in some ways may represent Trayvon as well as those who may represent George.

In other words, we teach both the misunderstood and the misdirected.

So, how do we as educators help the Trayvons and Georges in our classrooms and schools get past being misunderstood and misdirected and not end up dead or in prison?

I believe it boils down to helping our students develop trust in one other.

George did not trust the police or Trayvon. Trayvon did not trust George.

Without trust there can be no respect. Without respect there is no hope.

And we need hope.

The kind of hope that anyone told by the police to stay put will do just that.

The kind of hope that any kid carrying candy and a drink will make it home alive, so he can be in a classroom the next day ready to learn.