I gave each of my students an individual award for the end of the year. Below are the awards (slightly edited for anonymity).
Product of Zero Award: Most Persuasive
Absolute Value Award: staying positive when things are hard, bringing joy and humor to our class
Math Center Award: best use of resources and asking questions
D20 award: Best world builder
Denise chickulant award (named after the succulent in our class): positivity and adaptability
Proof Award: Excellence in class participation and mathematical explainations
Exponential award: Mathematical growth
x^2+y^2 = 1 award: well rounded, and rolls with the punches
Craftsperson Award: creativity and skill in many mediums
Secret Mathematician: Most likely to ask if we can not do math in math class
Tony Award: accomplishment in the dramatic and mathematic arts
Fractal Award: A mathematician who is meticulous, organized, and precise
Sunflower award: Most growth, and for being ray of sunshine
Chameleon award: makes the best of any situation
Technicion Award: Most likely to build a computer from scratch, and excellence in tinkering and finding the joy in a puzzle
Calculator award: Most likely to have done all the math in their head before half the class heard the question
Distributive property award: Best person to spill tea with
Best New Artist: Painting
Divide by 0 award: Best person to be stranded on a desert island/get you out of a bind
Apothem Award: for keeping us grounded, clever solutions, and also making us laugh
Cosine Award: For someone who is adaptable, practical, and perseveres through challenges
Prime number Award: For someone who demonstrates individuality, curiosity, and strength.
Probability Award: Most competitive at games of chance, as well as someone who always pushes themselves to improve
X^x: For excellence in volleyball, leadership, algebra skills, and positivity
Proof By Induction Award: For witty comments, persuasiveness, great communication, and clever mathematical solutions
Java Award: Most likely to be a vigilante hacker
Exponential Award: Most likely to make forbes 30 under 30
Rising Star Award: Given to a freshman who shows wisdom, discpline, and skill beyond their years
Parabola award: For excellence in 3 point shots, and for willingness to lean into difficulty and grapple with complex ideas and problems
GCF Award: For excellence in collaboration and making connections between concepts
Tangent Award: Most likely to steer the conversation in an extremely interesting (if unrelated) direction
2022 Award: For someone who embodies the best part of this year together: fruits nacks, flexibility, fun, friendship, and a finding where you fit in this community.
Unmasked award: For authenticity, compassion, risk taking, and kindness.
Wordsmith: For excellence in fast typing and word puzzle solving, and general cleverness and collaborative skill
Canada Award: For excellence in leadership, athleticism, fidgeting, style, and perseverance
For excellence in collaborative problem solving, creative thinking, reading prowess, and openmindedness.
CPS (clicks per second) Award: For fastest gaming, googling, and wordle completing.
Blooket Award: For speed, accuracy, and good sportsmanship.
Desmos Award: Excellence in graphing, visualization, and precision
Linear Function Award: Someone who keeps us on track, and is consistent in their effort and enthusiasm
Rational Function Award: For someone who excels in logic, organization, and finding unusual methods of solving problems.
The Phantom Tollbooth Award: For embodying the spirit of Milo (the main character in The Phantom Tollbooth). This award is given to someone with extraordinary creativity, cleverness, and growth throughout the year.
(Breaking the) Glass Ceiling Award: for someone who defies expectations, holds themselves to high expectations, and advocates for their needs
Quadratic Award: For excellence in box factoring and mathematical explanations.
18th Hole Award: For golf skill, kindness, compassion, and perseverance.
Piecewise function: For someone with many changes and bumps along the way through this year, but who managed to find a path through with positivity and humor.
The Lightbulb Award: For someone who asks great questions, and uses their understanding to help others understand. This award goes to someone who helps others see the joy in mathematics and problem solving.
High School Musical Award: For positivity, openness to trying new things, kindness, and commitment to the bit
Glee Award: for excellence in collaboration, community building, and communication
Awards named for colleagues
For someone who has worked hard to make connections in the community, and goes out of their way to make sure everyone feels welcome. You are someone listens without judgment, and who is always trying to understand the perspectives of others.
For a leader and in the community with big visions, high expectations, and good humor.
For being unafraid to stand up for the right thing
For Kindness and compassionate leadership
For a lover of calculus
For perseverance, good humor, curiosity, and tenacity
For someone who is kind, consistent and clever
For creativity and Enthusiasm
For someone who is prepared, organized, thoughtful
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.
Today, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to make it illegal for doctors to proscribe gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth (18 and under).
I am grateful for what a few representatives said in the battle that ended in a vote of 66-28 in favor of this bill.
Rep. England: “You’re saying this is about children. It’s not. What it is about is scoring political points and using those children as collateral damage”
Rep. Rafferty: “Its totally undermining family rights, health rights and access to health care.”
I was pretty numb while I read this headline at first. A protective numbness.
I was numb until I reached this quote in the article from Rep. Wes Allen: “Their brains are not developed to make the decisions long term about what these medications and surgeries do to their body,”
When I read that, I was angry. I was frustrated by the utter stupidity of it all. I wanted to storm down to that house and explain to this man that going through puberty ~naturally~ or whatever Is A Choice, and a choice with lasting, lifelong repercussions. I want to ask why he thinks the state should be able to make this choice for children: A choice that he states will have lasting effects on their bodies.
I have been fighting my body for years, and if I had been given the option at the beginning to not have to go through that, hell yes I would have picked that.
I’m not a better person for having had two puberties. I’m just sadder.
All I want is to be able to protect those kids in Alabama. I want to protect my trans students from the ricocheting pain I am feeling after this bill. And after all the rest.
Get to yellow section of the sweater I am pattern testing
finish back of sweater
journal 1 sentence every day
designate time to care for friendships/relationships
Plan yard cleanup
New dog training schedule
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.)
In trying to understand who I am as a teacher I found a misconception I had been holding on to: I thought the pull to teaching was math.
(And I do love math I am grateful to have it as a partner in this endeavor I love its definitiveness and ambiguity
Give me good pattern any day of the week and I’ll be happy Or an algorithm a visualization a comparison a mapping a graph a prediction a puzzle
Math is a language where you can express both more and less than you can with words.
Math carries a precision that syllables and sentences never can Yet fails to articulate the finest points of humanness)
But to say I am tied to teaching because I love math is a knot that will unravel under tension. I would not have ended up here if I had not accompanied a bouquet of trans folks On legs of their expeditions: Through crushing expectations Through meeting themselves Through glimmers of expansive freedom Through letting the world in to meet them.
I teach in order to hold a place for these gender explorers and defiers For these norm breakers For these students looking for someone to see them, to know them.
I stumbled into teaching with my crochet hook and calculator with enormous and hazy and overwhelming dreams To chip away at these walls against which my back is pressed To exist where they said we couldn’t To make space for us.
powerful people Think that it is abuse To let me feel free
They want our existence to be reported Our support systems ripped out from under us
They want us gone Because we make them question every lie they ever told themselves about how they were allowed to exist through the world
We make them confront the terrifying expanse that the universe becomes when you realize it is your right to define yourself boundlessly, to be fully human, fully unique and yet the same, fully perfect and yet never not fully a work in progress
There are people Who Think that it is abuse To help me feel free
But who refuse to see the enormously obvious, heart shatteringly painful reality that is That their words rip open barely healed wounds There will be unthinkable, unforgivable pain because of this There will be lives broken and lost.
I want to hold a message of hope. Of ‘we will prevail’.
But it’s hard to stay positive and be a trans person in a world where your right to exist continues to be questioned in new old ways. I’m tired. I’m in pain.
——- Required afterthought: But we will care for eachother And we will care for ourselves And we will be free