Latest posts from High School

Dec 30 2013

#86: Fall 2013 in review

In the past and particularly this summer, I have had a draft or two kicking around in my mind before I actually sat down to type anything. Not so, this fall. I think this goes beyond me being busy. We are always busy. I think what is different now is that I’m less certain. Less…

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Dec 30 2013

“Is Mr. Heisinger’s class hard?”

It’s winter break, and I’m sitting at my old home in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, reflecting on my first 4 months of teaching. Recently, my homework completion rate—which miraculously rose to 80-90% at the beginning of October—has gone back down to about 25-30%, and I’ve found myself making excuses for why I can’t…

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So far I’ve written about two topics I feel contribute little to math education.  They don’t inspire students to want to learn more about math.  They are not topics that are ‘useful’ in real life or as a prerequisite to other ‘useful’ math.  Though I plan to do about ten parts to this series, you…

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The old math standards, say common core defenders, were “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  I’m inclined to agree with this.  Too many topics and too little time led to teachers having no choice but to teach many topics at a superficial level.  As time in a math class is a somewhat fixed quantity…

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Last month I wrote a post called ‘The Death of math’ which got a lot of attention as I described how I’d improve math teaching in this country by significantly reducing the number of topics taught and by making math optional after 8th grade.  A line that got quoted a lot when people tweeted about…

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I remember when I taught in Houston back in the early 1990s and felt it was a crime that my school did not offer any real computer programming course.  The best they had was something called ‘computer applications’ where students would spend the semester mastering things like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.  I felt that…

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Dec 13 2013

Lipstick and smiles

Ya’ll, teaching at a middle school is weird. I constantly think about how all of my friends chilling in Corporate America could never relate to what goes on here at RMS. Today, I was at scanning duty (which is a unique enough experience already) when I saw a girl coming up through the line. Even…

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Dec 12 2013

Creating readers

After we finished reading The Outsiders last week, one of my students looked up from the essay sitting in front of him to ask if he could borrow a copy of the book. He hadn’t missed any of the reading, so I didn’t understand why he’d want a copy of the book we’d just read.…

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Dec 10 2013

On Watching My Kids SOAR!

A student's thoughts from the SOAR conference

Yesterday, I took some of my students to the SOAR conference with the movers and shakers of my region to discuss opportunities for saving our region in the face of the decline of our biggest employer and the driver of our economy. It was an amazing experience to hear from so many of the people…

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Dec 10 2013

How to fix the achievement gap — part 3

I’ve written a couple of other blogs about my evolving attitudes on fixing the achievement gap.  This one will probably be the most personal out of all of them, because one of the big problems with the achievement gap has come home to roost in my family.  I have a wonderful son who came to…

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