wrapping up year 1 of teaching

  • things that have been on my mind lately
    • i want to crochet something for students in some way but it either needs to be a very small (like 5 minutes each) type thing, or i don’t give one to everyone. perhaps only my advisees.
    • how to send off the seniors? I don’t teach any, but i know a handful from clubs and the play and such, and i would like to celebrate them
    • this department is really shifting. there is so much possibility here.
    • how are there so few weeks left. one month from now i will be done with my first full year. beginning to end with the same students.
    • grades are meant to be simple, transparent communications but also convey so much information and i dont know how to do that accurately/meaningfully (yet?)
    • there are so many things i wish i could do to wrap things up and reflect and preplan for next year because im already excited to try this dice project again. its going pretty well but there are a lot of things i would do differently the second time around and i am excited to try again!
    • a middle school art teacher in florida was fired for allowing discussion of sexuality and identity in class. i am tired. i am sad. i am anxious.
      • every week it feels like my humanity is questioned anew.

assorted thoughts from my notes app (pt. 5)

  1. predictions watching Netflix show, The Ultimatum
  2. how do you not feel guilty for being happy?
  3. Notes from physical therapy appointment: 3 exercises, 30 reps
    1. Updated note: 5 exercises, 30 reps, add weight? PT said I did good!!!
  4. “i love hearing his laugh downstairs”
  5. headache/migraine log
  6. “i can let these circles overlap”
  7. Brainstorm for my end of year letter to my students. I had a teacher who wrote a 12 page “journal entry” from 30 years in the future where she goes to see all of us spread around the world and what we’re up to. I want to give that to my students too.
  8. “there’s comfort in not being special sometimes”
  9. “fish oil 2/18”
  10. Generative art
  11. in class i give away the answer too quick…im too excited. i gotta let them have that excitement and glorious moment of discovery and clarity
  12. Speed run times for rows of my old crochet project: 5:07, 4:23, 4:53, 4:28
  13. a menu of potential birthday celebration ideas for my ❤
  14. “i don’t often keep promises to myself. i need to rebuild that trust”
  15. “I am not parallel lines”
  16. to think about (make peace with) when there is time (even though there never is):
    1. how to exist in capitalism
    2. creating waste, minimizing waste
  17. Quote from C: “Friends? I like them as a concept. Execution varies.”

Focuses of the week

  1. School/Work
    1. Finalize plan for 3D print project guidelines
      1. begin trial run of it
    2. Area Unit arc + collect puzzles
    3. Brainstorm probability idea
  2. Crochet
    1. Get to yellow section of the sweater I am pattern testing
    2. finish back of sweater
  3. Self Care
    1. journal 1 sentence every day
    2. designate time to care for friendships/relationships
  4. Chores
    1. Plan yard cleanup
    1. New dog training schedule
    2. make appointments
    3. clean carpets
  5. Walking Practice: walking training season* is in full swing, and my dogs and I are working on gaining some confidence in stressful/overly exciting situations (ie. there are any bikes, other dogs, amazon delivery trucks, cars that are too loud or are going too fast, roller skates, squirrels, strollers, all the smells, etc.)
    1. Remember to STRETCH
    2. Try running a bit
    3. Coordinate 5k team for https://www.laughingatmynightmare.com/

Looking forward to:

  • Play games/do puzzles
  • cook yummy food
  • romp around outside with the dogs
  • snuggle
  • watch good tv/listen to good podcasts
  • friends who make me laugh
  • being back with students who make me laugh
  • feeling rested (pls)
  • roller blade season can start soon hopefully
  • doctors appointments to help my joints not hurt

long and short term goals and dreams

But who’s to say which is which

  • Create a math elective
  • Decorate/organize classrooms and office
  • write a play
  • create knit/crochet clothing
  • create a gender retreat or pen pal network or mentoring network or something related to giving the trans youths a place to explore gender
  • write pretty math puzzles
  • make cool escape room puzzles
  • crochet cool things
  • knit cool things/learn to knit
  • Research the crossover of fiber art and math
  • journal/post updates more consistantly
  • write poetry
  • Create art with trash
  • Learn more about 3d printing
  • Write a letter to students thanking them for being my first group I’ve thought for a full year
  • Do a workshop on gender/trans competency for faculty
  • Learn to roller skate more
  • Find a way to get back into dance

assorted thoughts from my notes app (pt. 4)

  1. quote from C: “I like having options even though I hate making decisions”
  2. reading recommendations from a friend: Heartstopper, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
  3. pretty sure this is a journaling note when I was panicking and trying to calm myself by writing down all the thoughts: “We are all just human. We are all big and little. We are universes contained within universes. Of course this is hard.”
  4. shopping list for yarn
  5. “How much corn” (thats the whole note)
  6. ideas for a review day: “Crocheting Olympics”
  7. quotes from C playing video games:
    1. “That was not very nice”
    2. “aaaauh”
  8. “I won’t let other people use gender against me”

excerpts from: Emails I’ve Sent This Week

Answering emails (particularly work emails) is one of my least favorite parts of my day. I don’t understand the level of formality or conventions. I am always afraid I am going to say something slightly wrong, or have a typo, or reply with the wrong tone. But I’m pretty proud of myself this week.

  1. My reply to asking if I would like to work on a costume in the next few weeks: “Thanks for thinking of me! I am currently stretched a little thin, and so I think I have to say no to this one sadly. But I can’t wait to see the show!”
    1. Wow did I just say no to a thing?
  2. My reply to a student (my first one ever!) asking me to write them a recommendation: “It is submitted! Good luck, and let me know what happens with this. The program looks incredible!”
  3. I asked for help!?
    1. “I was wondering if you have any advice for facing the next few weeks. I am struggling to find a way to best prepare lessons for students in school, knowing that in some of my classes as many as 1/3 of the students are out for the next week or so.”
  4. Checking in with students who were on quarantine: “I just wanted to check in and see if there is anything you need looking towards coming back to school. We have missed you!”
    1. I went back and counted, and I have 21 email conversation from students about covid from this week. Each conversation has 3-15 emails in it.
  5. I shared a puzzle I found and liked (found here): “Here is a cool puzzle thing that I found and am going to use for an opener in Geo.”
    1. These are really fun and students loved them and I am excited to do more things like this.

themes from writing feedback: fall 2021

At the end of the term, my school has a thing called narrative comments: individual written feedback by each teacher to each student.  A typical structure (and the one I chose) was 3 sections: commendations, recommendations, and comments. Below are some excerpts from my first term of comments. 

Commendations

  • You do a great job of leaning into the challenges in class. We have had many concepts that were tricky and nuanced, but you have always been willing to jump in and start trying to make sense of them.
  • You do a great job of pulling apart diagrams/breaking complex problems into smaller, more manageable problems.
  • You always come to class with a great attitude and a willingness to work with anyone.
  • You are very good at working slowly and methodically through problems and keeping your work organized. This will serve you well and we continue to delve into more complex problems.
  • You do a great job of asking for help with focused and specific questions. This shows me that you have put a lot of thought into your work before looking to other resources for help.
  • I was very impressed with your work on the unit 4 assessment, and the thoroughness of your proof map. Your best work comes out when you have the time to dig deep into a complex problem.
  • You use your time in class efficiently, and take advantage of extra class time to start homework. This is a great habit that allows you to get your questions answered before you leave.
  • Over the term I have seen a large growth in your skills tackling difficult problems. You seem more willing to dive into the complexity, rather than shy away from it. 
  • Your work is always thorough and well thought out. Your homework could be an answer key. I appreciate your ability to communicate so clearly and precisely in your work.
  • You are patient and kind to group mates when they find a problem more difficult than you do. You do an excellent job of balancing listening to others’ thoughts and contributing your own.

Recommendations

  • Continue to push yourself with communicating mathematically. There is a lot of specific notation in geometry, but it all serves a purpose. Becoming as comfortable as possible with notation (in diagrams and written out) will help to avoid confusion or miscommunications in your work.
  • When you face a problem that feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into smaller pieces. Another strategy is to list out everything you know in the problem. It will surprise you how much information you already know
  • Work on improving the organization of your work in order to communicate more clearly. Your process should be able to be read and understood by someone else.
  • Work on understanding and using math notation when marking up diagrams. In geometry, these figures hold so much information, and it will help if you write on diagrams rather than trying to keep the information in your head.
  • Practice slowing down when working. With some assignments or problems, you seemed rushed to get it done, causing you to miss some of the details. It will help your understanding to slow down, and take the time to make sure your work is organized well and you understand all the pieces. 
  • Practice approaching problems from different vantage points. See what ways classmates look at problems, and try to understand the similarities and differences in the approach, and why both may work. This will help you be more flexible when approaching unfamiliar problems.

Comments

  • You have done a wonderful job of adjusting to so many changes this year, including switching classes. I am so proud of you for advocating for what you needed, and taking care of yourself. It has been wonderful to see your confidence in math growing.
  • I really appreciate your honesty when giving me feedback on what works and what does not work for class. Our class is better because your suggestions, and because of your presence and participation.
  • I want you to know that your effort and hard work is seen, and remind you of the resources that are here to support you.
  • I appreciate how honest and communicative you are about how you are doing and what difficulties you are having.
  • You have all the makings of a great mathematician. You think critically and question information that is given to you, you persevere through difficulty, and you do it all with humor and joy.
  • Continue to hold yourself to high standards, but remember you are allowed to make mistakes as part of the learning process.

guiding thoughts for 2022

Alternatively titled: things learned in 2021

  • trust my note to self from a while back (see thoughts i found in my notes app while cleaning it out pt 2): “I have to consider the possibility that I have not done something wrong up to this point”
    • perhaps i need to approach this year differently than past years: I am not trying to fix all my mistakes from the year before and break all my “bad habits”. I am not trying to reset and have this finally be the year where I get everything together.
    • I don’t want to reset. I am happy where I am.
  • processing things takes time. its messy and chaotic but when the dust clears, things will feel better.
  • sharing thoughts with people i care about helps me feel closer to them. who would have guessed.
  • allow myself to rest. I need more rest than I think I do, and that’s okay.

a mathematician crochets

As I have learned to crochet, my first thought is (as it is for all people, I assume): what is the mathematics involved in this beautiful fidget medium. Here are some questions I have asked so far (with answers, if I have found them):

Side note: Nothing would make me happier than other people engaging with these questions/trying to find answers/asking their own questions…. (:

  1. how do you tell how many yards of yarn there are in a ball, without just measuring it all?
  2. how do you tell how many yards of yarn a project will take, without just making it?
  3. knot theory things… (this is probably about a million questions, I know approximately nothing about knot theory, and am fascinated)
  4. weight vs. volume? Potential formula???
  5. making regular polygons?
    1. found this beauty: https://www.revedreams.com/crochet/yarncrochet/single-crochet-shaping-3-polygons/
    1. making platonic solids? I need to do it. There are only 5, after all. I can do that.
  6. mathematics of winding patterns for various yarn ball things…skeins, cakes, big ol’ knot, etc…
  7. mow does tightness of balling/density effect the ratio of final yarn length to weight (or some other measure)?
  8. how does material effect all of this? (density?) (Which size hook to use?)
    1. how does the size hook effect the final area of the piece?
      1. does that match with sizing? If so, US, UK, or metric? (side note: Why are there 3 different systems (according to the conversion chart that came with my hooks))
  9. How do types of stitches play into all this (single crochet, double crochet, half-double crochet (side note: terrible name. better name would be 1.5 crochet maybe?)