Latest posts from Las Vegas Valley

Jun 06 2013

Open Letter to Secretary Duncan on High-Stakes Testing

This letter written by a number of education experts is a great description about the problems inherent in high stakes testing. I’m surprised that they did not mention that statisticians think that the tests are not reliable indicators of teacher ability because there is too many other variables that are out of control of the…

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I spend most of my time building mental models of student thinking, and constructing logical arguments, yet I know that the forces that kept me teaching and pushed me from the profession were largely beyond logical description. Due to the unexpected death of a young friend and a subsequent reconsideration of myself, I’ve realized that…

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Jan 01 2013

My New Year’s Resolution-Discovering Joy in Learning

As readers of my blog know, I have been thinking a lot of happiness recently. With the excuse of wanting to spend at least part of a Barnes and Noble gift card on myself (What does it say that my initial instincts are to spend it all on my students?), I bought Eric Weiner’s book…

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Dec 16 2012

Finding Happiness while and hopefully in Teaching

It’s no secret that most first-year teachers (especially TFA Corps Members) are not happy during much of their first year teaching. Facing an incredibly challenging job without all of the skills to succeed is difficult for anyone no matter how much support you have. I am not making this statement to indict anyone, but rather…

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Dec 10 2012

Making the Comeback

One of my favorite parts of my job is showing my students that I am human who cares about them rather than just being a mean teacher re-directing their behavior and leading a boring classroom. I have a few ways of completing this task. One way is that I allow any students who want to…

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Dec 09 2012

Breaking up with my bicycle and finding myself

I know that there is no mathematical proof that everything happens for a reason, but if I strive to make meaning, I can reimagine the low moments of my life as gifts that took a long time to unwrap and comprehend. Three and a half years ago one cleat of a junior track racer came…

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Confirmation of my math education dreams came in an unexpected place last weekend. I sat cross legged in the doorway of my niece’s dance studio, thinking that she had grown up so much since my last visit home. Six years old, and dressed in pink leggings and leotard, she tried to coordinate her legs while…

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Nov 22 2012


Like most teachers, I wanted to impart many (but not all) of the values of Thanksgiving onto my students. As a result, this past week’s writing prompt (to help them prepare for the 5th grade writing exam) focused on what they are thankful for. I wanted to share both my model essay that I shared…

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Nov 12 2012

Is it My Classroom or Our Classroom?

One of the biggest internal struggles I have been having as a teacher is related to the sense of ownership in the classroom along with the sense of leadership and responsibility for my students. My school makes it very clear that each classroom is the teacher’s classroom and the students should feel as though they…

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The comments made about minority voters and women by people who are disappointed that Romney lost are likely to further distance these groups from the Republican Party. They make me think about my students who are, to me, the faces of minority voters. I believe that my students, despite their critics, do want to grow…

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