Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Cast of Characters

Fortunately, I do not plan on writing this blog alone. I have brought on board... well a Dream Team if you will to review these Middle & High School Math Projects. They are experts at what they do and they are in pretty much every high school. So without further ado, the Math Project Super Team Review Squad...

The Common Core Stressed Principal
The Common Core Stressed Principal -- This guy eats, sleeps and is imaginary best friends with all things Common Core even though he barely understands it. With all the changes in educational policy he has no idea what good teaching looks like any more, but he's sure of one thing... The Common Core EXISTS and it IS IMPORTANT. When he sees your classroom throw egg parachutes out the window, he's perplexed as to how this meets the common core standards.

His function on the blog is to question everything I write. He just needs some evidence that what you're doing in the classroom is relevant... he thinks.

The Copy Machine Diva Teacher
The Copy Machine Diva Teacher -- Her class sizes are too big, she has too many meetings, her boyfriend lost his job, too many special ed kids, the interest on her college loans is too high, she's not supported enough by the administration, her technology is outdated and... she runs 1000 copies at the school's only copy machine on Monday morning -- 30 minutes before school. She doesn't care because her students don't care and she's angry that you DO care.

Her function on the blog is to point out every possible thing that can go wrong with your project. That and be secretly jealous of you and your ability to CARE. Although her venom is pure, some of her thoughts may help spur some ideas for differentiation.

Near-Retirement Mr. Worksheet Teacher
Near-Retirement Mr. Worksheet Teacher -- 34 years is long enough. He's the faculty rep and he's untouchable. He now wears pajamas to work every day. Don't worry about his kids... because they have a worksheet. That and he's plays VHS taped lessons that he filmed in the eighties. Inconceivably during a 7.5 hour work day he fits in 7 hours worth of naps. He thinks you work way too hard and admires how teaching used to work in the good ol' days.

His function on the blog is to wake up and say random things. He'll offer help in the way of Floppy Disks filled with really great multiple choice, open book exams.

Bored to Death Getting Dumber Student
Bored to Death Getting Dumber Student -- She should be in some sort of advanced section, but the Common Core Stressed Principal forgot to do things like... schedule kids in correct classes. All administrators are convinced that this is a problem without a solution and here she is. Your class ranges from her down to well... um... down "there". You feel bad about it, but with little time for differentiation she is getting dumber every day and learning things like what types of random objects stick to her tongue.

Her function on the blog is to get excited about the advanced math concepts she will learn about in the project and how this might cause her brain to actually work.

Swagg Jones
Swagg Jones -- He's a 19-year-old Freshman, the best rapper in the district and a future NBA superstar -- although he's 5'4". He's happy to tell his teachers that what they are teaching him is "ratchet", "lame", "just too dumb". His favorite comment is "When am I ever going to &%$#* use this $#!^?". Although he has a disengaged front, he secretly wants to do good to make his Mama proud. He's been in Algebra three times and it's just a bunch of letters and numbers. He just wants to do something interesting. Something with actual application in the real world.

His function on the blog is to shout out inappropriate comments at times, keep it real, and keep making sure I'm keeping it real.

Naive Princess Locked in Castle Student

Naive Princess Locked in Castle Student -- Her Dad drops her off every day, her mom picks her up. She's not allowed to go outside because of gangs and drugs. She's not allowed to watch TV or use the Internet because of pornography and terrorism. Her only outlet to the outside world is school.

Her function on the blog is to ask painfully obvious questions, but it's not her fault. If you had been locked in a castle tower for your entire life you wouldn't know either. She's a really kind-hearted student so even though you have to explain to her what "Google" is, it's okay.

That Student with a Wolf Head
That Student with a Wolf Head -- Don't let the fact that his head is a wolf fool you, this student's frontal lobes are fully developed -- and then some. With refined taste for problems like those involving world healthcare, the arts, and microfinancing in rural Ghana, That Student with a Wolf Head makes sure to squeeze the orange of all the juice.

That Student with a Wolf Head makes sure that the Americo-centric curriculum takes on a more global perspective and provides ideas to take the learning another step forward. Although you'd love to take a field trip to Beijing to compare and contrast rail systems, it's not feasible -- but that won't stop That Student with a Wolf Head from thinking outside the box.

Well there you have them. These 7 individuals practically do all the work on the blog. I'll pitch some ideas, share some projects and let them have at it. Tomorrow I will pitch one of my most popular projects on TeachersPayTeachers so we'll see how it holds up!

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