• appetite

    shortcutting: Oleana whipped feta

    Tested out this recipe for Oleana’s whipped feta tonight. I decided to shortcut it by buying a roasted red pepper from Whole Foods (conveniently located near the olives and feta cheese past the produce aisle). I am down with saving 35 minutes of prep time on a weeknight, so into the snack rotation this goes šŸ™‚  

  • Uncategorized

    around the world in 21 days

    We are working on a financial math unit in IB Math Studies. Some students have balked at things like currency exchange (ironically, even those who want to be business majors). I wanted to do some kind of shopping project, but as my sister pointed out, when a website detects your IP address, it’ll often just do the currency conversion for you. So I went a-googlin’ for some currency conversion projects and found some travel ones for consumer math. I added in a requirement to fly to three different countries, purchase those flights on a credit card and pay them off, take out foreign currency from Travelex, and then spend that…

  • instruction,  musings

    advice from a friend

    I’ll let the friend wisdom speak for itself (a.k.a. how to be an efficiently energized duck). “I decided a long time ago that I only have a certain amount of energy to give to things and it is much better to give that energy in a positive way rather than fixating on the negative and the bad things. It has helped my health too.” “In the end, there are a lot of things that seem to pull us away from truly doing service to the kids. Ignore all of that as much as you can and be there for the kids. They are the real reason we love our jobs…in…

  • musings

    hello chicago

    I like making metaphors. Today my metaphor is “Chicago is the Washington Redskins of education.”Ā The Redskins have languished since their heyday in the early 1990s (with the exception of a few playoff years and the wonderful existence of RGIII) but in general, their acquisitions of the “next big star who is supposed to bring the Skins back to their former glory” have flopped. Chicago is pulling a major Dan Snyder by replacingĀ 50 closed public schools with charters staffed by TFA. That’s a quick fix alright…but at what long-term cost to the community, the learning, and the new TFA staff who would likely burn out and never stay in education? “TFA…

  • musings

    that moment when…

    You realize why it’s important to get involved in politics or education policy. “Under No Child Left Behind,Ā Ā all children are supposed to have highly qualified teachers, school districts are supposed to let parents know which teachers are not highly qualified, and these teachers are supposed to be equitably distributed in schools. They arenā€™t.Ā It turns out that teachers still in training programs are disproportionately concentrated in schools serving low-income students and students of color, the very children who need the very best the teaching profession has to offer. The inequitable distribution of these teachers also has a disproportionate impact on students with disabilities.” I find it a travesty that our legislative…

  • instruction

    math birdhouses

    In our world of email overload, sometimes gems come through that make you glad that Google Groups was invented. Amid the usual sea of sub coverage announcements, IB assessment planning, and various field trip information came the announcement of math birdhouses to our staff email list. I’m really glad that our Social and Academic Remediation (SAR) math teacher informed us about the project, because otherwise it would have only been known to a couple of neighboring classrooms. It makes me wish that teachers could have better mechanisms for sharing their successes or developing cross-curricular projects–isolated classrooms don’t do very much for that. The SAR students areĀ building birdhouses as part of…

  • Uncategorized

    introducing SBG with games

    I introduced SBG this year in two different ways to my seniors. For the smaller, quieter class: I wanted to draw them out more and push them beyond “quiet note-taking mode,” so we played Math Taboo in teams using these cards. I picked a topic that they learned in 10th grade math but likely forgot, and cut out the cards and glued them to index cards (for easier shuffling/handling). I’m going to start using Fawn Nguyen’s mailing label method for future games. The students wanted to play boys vs. girls, so we had each team play one two-minute round to see how many terms they could get their team to…

  • musings


    From a former student’s Facebook post: “The most organized I’ve probably ever been is for Kristina Buenafe math class. My binder was golden. Now if only I could get my life to do the same.” I’m glad to see that the binder organization resonated with her almost three years later. Funny how much little things like that stick with you.

  • instruction

    the mouse problem

    I asked one section of students to create and solve their own geometric series word problem. After my repeated tirades about seeing mice in the classroom over the past two weeks, one provided this: “There has been a mouse infestation inside JQUS. The first day there was 4 mice seen. On the second day there were 12 mice, third day 36 mice. How many mice will there be on the 26th day?”


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