Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2017

What Does Bravery Look Like?

I've spent some time in the last few weeks thinking about bravery. To begin with, our faculty decided upon the theme of bravery for the Essential Questions that will drive the curriculum for the year. This is exciting from the perspective of middle school and the perspective of math - both require bravery.
Recent events in both my personal and professional life have required me to show bravery, so it has been interesting to reflect upon what bravery is and how we access it.
I asked some people what their experiences with bravery looked and felt like. It was a curious lesson in assumptions, because what I guessed people would say and what they actually said were vastly different. But a common thread in all of these discussions was a sense of vulnerability in showing who we are, exposing how we think and exhibiting what we create to others. 
As we ramp up for a new school year, we must do all of these - show who were are, expose how we think and exhibit what we create to others. Th…

Phrases From A First Year in 5th Grade

It is difficult to believe that May is almost over and the school year is winding to a close. As a mom of two teenagers, I am well aware that time passes more quickly than any of us would like. That said, this year went by too quickly. I find myself looking at the UbDs and thinking "can we squeeze a little more time in to do just a little more?"

In spite of the fact that this year WILL end - with all of the undone things of every school year and so many more - there have been some pretty large successes. For one, there is a school, where once there was just an idea. That's a big deal.  And I am really proud to have been a really small part of that endeavor. Along with that, there are many important things I have learned along the way.

In reflecting what I have learned, I started listening to the things I say each day. These statements frame my days, but also provide a way to think the things I have learned over the course of this year, my first in 5th grade. Things that…

Momentum, yes! Performance, maybe..

We had some breakthroughs in math this week. It started on Monday when a student came in first thing to ask if I'd do some math with her during her Rover Time. Rover Time is a period in which students can pursue their own inquiry, practice skills, read, engage in discussion with others and present what they have learned to the class. The preferred Rover activity is to "research" - I'll blog about that later.

But on Monday, Deija asked for math. We had fun. A few others joined in. A good discussion ensued and soon they were sharing explanations and thinking.

I had planned to give a quiz on Friday, so this enthusiasm for math was exciting. Perhaps everyone would do well.

On Tuesday, more people were interested. Excitement was building. We did math during class, math at Rover Time, math at lunch and math after school. It was lovely to see students teaching eachother, encouraging one another, sharing strategies and trying over and over again. You can literally see the ex…

This Is Why We Fight

Yesterday was a hard day for me. Post-election, I was in mild denial about what would happen. And then, it happened.

At school, the kids were a little gloomy, too. They drew a sad face next to the date. They talked a little about their fears. And then they got to work.

I wanted to find a way to act upon our collective sadness and fears. Many people are marching today to stand up for equality and justice. I wanted to a find a way to remind my students that they matter. Their work, their ideas, their collaboration, their sense of community - all have an impact.

When I got home from school, I started writing progress notes to some of the kids who had shown leadership, kindness, determination or effort in the past week. It was a small act, but it made me feel a little better about things.

I sent a note of congratulations to a student who had formed and was leading a project group. She and I had met twice over the last week about issues and needs. I was impressed with her ability to prior…