Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Car Family

A question I get asked by my students weekly: “Miss Freed, do you even own A car?"

Now I realize many of you live in a big city where the idea of owning even one car seems outrageous. However for now I'm a small-town girl and most families around here have AT LEAST one car for everyone who is within a year of getting their license.

So my husband and I seem odd for having chosen to own only one car. We rock at owning only one car. For a while it was even only getting driven once a week (did I mention our car is a hybrid?).  Lately our schedule has become much more extensive, so we take it out nearly daily. However, we still walk to school almost every day. 

It makes the most sense to walk as we live about 4 blocks from school and can get there almost faster than we can drive.

What "strange" habit do you have to justify often to your students?



Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I am currently reading Mindset by Carol Dweck. It is very interesting to me as I personally feel I have not done a good job of promoting appropriate student attitudes where they feel they are in control of their learning. This is also difficult for me as when I feel as though I give them opportunities to be in control many (like more than 50%) choose to do nothing. And I cannot figure out how to motivate them beyond that, but thatis a complaint for another post.

So I have been working on giving growth mindset feedback and redirection to students.  I have one student who has demonstrated to be particularly receptive to it.  When he came in for help the other day he was saying and acting in a helpless manner. His statements were along the lines of “I can't do this" and “I don't know how".  I gave him my less-than-great growth mindset feedback. It went something like this  “You may feel that way right now, but I know you are capable of this. You just need to put the effort into it and it will come. You can do this."

Not the best wording or smoothest delivery, but it worked! I walked away and when I came back he was making significant progress. I gave him some growth mindset encouragement, “Look at how much you can do when you work hard."  He did get stumped a little bit, but he persevered, asked for help, and used what he knew to overcome. I was amazed by how immediate the results were 
(No, it doesn't work this way for all kids, but what amazing immediate results). 

I even saw effects of the mindset change it the following day in class as we were discussing a differing topic.

That is a little victory.
Happy Tuesday!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Random Depressing Thoughts

I'm only on day 3 and I already feel like I'm out if inspiration...I have a post I want to work on, but I keep forgetting to take a necessary picture while at school. Oops.

Prom was this past weekend.  I hate prom.  I hate that public schools feel it is necessary to put on recreational activities such as prom for students.  I hate that students spend hundreds of dollars on one night of their lives.  This only sets them up to expect a more extravagant wedding...don't get me started on the thousands and thousands of dollars Americans spend on weddings--focus on the marriage people!

Several situations lately have given me a very bleak outlook for some of my students.  I am having trouble pushing through to the end of this year because of things like this that continue to happen.  In addition, finding balance and being a good teacher are seemingly incompatible for me at this time.

Depressing post, but I guess those are my thoughts right now.



Sunday, April 27, 2014

More Money is NOT the Answer, Well Sort-Of

Yes, I believe teachers are underpaid.  No, I don't want more money.  I make enough that my husband and I can pay off our loans and support a family.  It is easy, no.  Is it possible, yes.

What I think would make my job better is less expectations.  No, I don't want teachers to be able to get away with things they shouldn't do.  I want us (culturally) to understand what it really takes to plan a valuable lesson.  Then I want enough time in my day to reflect on what I've taught, assess my students and give them feedback, and then plan new lessons.  I also want time to collaborate with my peers; both those in my building and/or district and those who are a part of the math twitter blogosphere.  Then I need time to communicate with parents and the community about the things going on in my classroom.  Sometimes this is email or a phone call, but this also might involve updating my website.  The fifty minutes of prep time I get in no way allows for those things.

I want to be clear:  I am not upset with my school.  The amount of prep time I get is standard across the US.  We have unions across the nation that advocate for higher teacher pay, but do they advocate for more planning and prep time?

That is is what I think we should push for, so that we can lead balanced lives and find passion outside of the classroom.  Yes, I realize that overall this would cost more money, but this is how I would invest the money if it were up to me.



Saturday, April 26, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge

Over at A Brand New Line, Anne Schwartz, has chosen to complete a 30 Day Blogging Challenge.  Having been in a rut lately with my blogging, I felt this may just be the encouragement I need to get back in it.  Especially since I will be unable to pressure myself into posting something fabulous each day.  I also felt it would be fitting because 30 days from now I will be done with the school year.  It will be nice to have some of this time documented.

My recent lack of blogging and (at least from my perspective) lack of presence on twitter is due to a recent change in my life.  It is a personal life change that I am unable to share much about, but it is a good change.  Just like all changes in life, this one simultaneously causes pain and joy.  But mostly joy.  Joy like I have never known before.