Thursday, August 30, 2012

Damn the check!

More hullabaloo about the check. I finally talked to the lawyer.  If there is no judgement yet there is no check.  No rush.  No check.  I am going to wait.

On a school note- I have 29 students now.  17 boys and 12 girls.  Let's play football!

We are getting the party line-  We don't know how many will show up.  It will be decided the Friday of the first week of school.  Basically means they are gambling students won't show up.  It also probably means I am going to have high numbers.  Why do I feel strangely unconcerned?  Maybe the other drama trumps 29 students.?


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Yes more disequilibrium!  He called about the check because the pay off is wrong and is trying to get more money from me.  I realized after talking to my friend and lawyer he is rushing me and bullying me. He always nags, nags, nags till I give in.  I won't be bullied.  I have all of September.  My lawyer told me I don't have to talk to him and I am not going to anymore.  I thought I was stronger but not enough.  32 years of habits can be difficult to erase.  Damn what a sicko relationship.  I will not listen to his voice mail.  I will not be rushed.

I read this blog and it resonated with me and what I want in a husband. It's all hindsight now...

"Be careful – a husband can cripple or foster emotional health."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stirring up the Disequalibrium

The past 2 days I have had to see my husband or talk to him over the phone.  I find this very unsettling. As confident as I am feeling in myself now I still get moments of vulnerability around him.  It stirs up my disequilibrium and I have to calm myself down.

We are trying to get our vehicles out of joint ownership.  I am taking a loan out on my car to pay off the 401K loan he has on it, plus I am able to pay off two other debts.  By consolidating all my debt into 1 payment it will give me the amount I will need to pay him spousal support.  It feels good to be in control of my finances.

What doesn't feel good is to have to look at him, hear him, and converse with him.  There is sadness, disbelief, and disequilibrium.  He wore overalls today, unbuttoned on the side to allow for weight gain. His face is puffy.  His voice raspy.  He can still talk it and charm other people. He mentioned being allergic to gluten in his conversation with loan officer.

Disbelief that he has changed so little.  Disbelief my marriage is over.  Second guessing my agreement to pay spousal support.  I don't see how I could have fought it.  I can't believe he has so little respect for himself that he even asked me for it.  How sad and low he has become.

The worst was when I asked him about his job and whether they were still trying to get rid of him. (I should NEVER EVER ask him about personal things because I will hear things I don't want to hear.)  Yes they are and they haven't because they think he is going to quit.  He's going to move, move in with Charles.  He implied Johan was moving too.

Immediately I was plunged into anguish and turmoil.  The boys talk to him.  They don't talk to me.  That  HURT!  I tried to immediately calm myself down with the thought of-

"Wait till Charles and Val have to live with him and take care of him."

I can't see Charles tolerating him for very long.  Val would have to get rid of her cat.  Is this why he wanted spousal support?  To be able to move in with Chuck?  Did he ask Johan if he could move in with him?  Is that why Johan is moving? I can't see Johan tolerating him either for very long. Is he dying?  How will he pay for medical care?

I cannot go there.  It hurts too much to think my boys hate me and want nothing to do with me.  I have to trust that someday they will come around and talk to me.  I need to remember I have a great support system here and he has no one but the boys.  I have to keep my eyes on the future and what I am doing with my life.

See what I mean by the stirring of disequilibrium?

We are doing our job with the finances.  I doubt my lawyer is doing his job as quickly.  He has to write the judgement.  Even Pat's lawyer cannot get a hold of him.  He has the proceeds from our house in a trust fund.  I want to see if we can get that money so we can pay off our joint debt.  After that I will be down to 1 payment.

Then I will take the budget class and get in control of my finances.  I will learn how and be successful at it because I have a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset!

I am going to keep my eyes on the "prize."  My new life...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'm not sure how to title this....

This was the week.  I've been waiting for this week for a year.  No thanks to lawyers.  In fact my layer had me in his office Thursday night before the conference re figuring out things he had figured out before.  Then he gave me homework.  I was up till 11 on the night before I was to go court.

On Thursday the retirement issue was ironed out for my husband and his lawyer.  They finally understood that you use the time/fraction rule to split PERS.  BUT my husband decided to ask for 500.00 in spousal support from me.  This initially always causes me great anger.  I envision him spending it on his addictions.

Because we were down to one issue we had a court conference instead of a court trial.  My homework was to figure out where all my money goes in a month to see if anything is left over.  This includes food, household, rent, medical, insurance, car...

Come to find out I had enough left over to pay for spousal support.  I was horrified and then aghast- Where was all this money going if I have so much?

The judge takes off his robes and and goes back and forth between parties to mediate.  He told us both parties were going to have to compromise.  My take- I was going to have to pay spousal support.  My goal was not to cry in front of the judge.  I did not make it.

When he asked me how does a marriage of almost 33 years come to the end like this?  I lost it as I explained about the alcoholism and prescription meds that had turned my husband into this irrational raging monster.  I told him I moved out because I did not feel safe at home anymore.  I also told him I was not the one who filed for the divorce - it was him.

In that space of time of 10 minutes I came to a realization.  If we did not settle this in conference it would go to trial where it looked like the judge would settle for spousal support.  I also realized after  the judge told me that my husband said he would be dead anyway in 5 years and his Dr. would not put him on disability for another 5 years what a sad pathetic man he had become.

God whispered in my ear, "He will be your charity."

The amount came down to a sum I could handle and it would be for only 5 years.  Also if he lost his job he could not come back and ask for more.  I accepted that I would be paying for spousal support and I was OK with it.

I really will come out of this OK.  I have a peace.  I see an ending in sight.  I realized what a strong support group I have around me and he only has the boys.  So I guess it is OK that they don't want to talk to me. They are there for their dad and he needs that now.  I will just hope and pray that someday they will talk to me again and realize the impossible situation I was in and why I had to leave.

Later at the bank when I was taking care of financial things to do with the divorce I realized how empowered I was becoming.

I will take a beginning budget class and find out where all my money is going since I make so much money.  I will manage it, save it, and do the things I want to do.  I have a life.  I will live my life with joy and be in charge of myself.  I will be Barbara Ann Meier Holtz - excellent teacher, loving friend, child of God, and someday a Godly wife of a Godly man.  Amen !

Oh and I hope and pray I won't have to wait 6 months for my lawyer to get around to writing the judgment so I can finally be divorced.

Math Action Plan

Tomorrow is my "official" report back to school day and I'm frantically trying to finish up loose ends.  3 weeks ago I was doing the Writing Task Force. (WTF, because it amuses me!)  Tomorrow my first grade team will present to all the first grade teachers in the district.  It didn't help I could not find the email with the Power Point!  After much desperate emailing someone resent it to me.  I'm doing pages 2-4.  Somewhat reviewed my notes.

Then I realized,

"Oh Crap!  I have not posted my Math Action Plan!"

So I dug out those notes and went onto Moodle to post.  It may not be correct but it is done!  It all seems so long ago!

I was a wee bit distracted by the divorce conference, the Minerals and Martini party, and the church picnic today. I"m playing it hard until all my energy will be focused on SCHOOL.

For your information here is my Math Action Plan and what I am going to try and get done in math this year.  :-)

Action Plan August 2012
Hello 2nd year of first grade!  I am actually looking forward to being a bit more comfortable with the curriculum!

Action Plan Sub-Goal 1:

I will intentionally foster a mathematical culture of effort and growth.

1.  I will assign a letter to each student for roles.  (e.g.: Bob 1A, Karen 2B,...)  During the first month of school I will introduce and explicitly teach the role cards and practice roles.

2. I will have a math space for the Habits of Mind and Habits of Interaction in such a way that I can constantly refer to them and students can see them.  There will also be a space for the huddle.

3. I will plan in my lesson plans, explicitly teach, and carry out huddles, starting with 1 a week and increasing to 2-3 times a week by the end of the year.

4, I will spend time researching student's thinking.  This will include small group and one on one interviewing.

5. I will make a point to assign competence to low status students daily.

"Oh crap two!  I can't find the letter from the district outlining what we are to do tomorrow morning!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I am ok.  I am ok with what happened yesterday.  I have a peace.  I feel empowered.

It is the endings of the end.

When I have more time to write I will examine again these feelings of peace.

I have such a wonderful crowd of friends that carry me with their love.

I have a God who is merciful to the wretched sinner that I am.  He loves me and provides through all evil, worry, harm, and anguish.

I have a life that I can live with peace and happiness.

Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dead Space in Medford

Because I don't know what else to call it!

The lawyer called me yesterday and said he talked with the other lawyer last week and explained the whole time /fraction ruling of PERS to him.  All of a sudden it looks like we won't be going to court.  Of course the other lawyer needs to check it out and mine needs to write a judgment.  I don't have much confidence in either one.  Their timing is slug like.

The court date is Friday.  9 AM. Did I hear from my lawyer today, Wednesday August 22, 2012?  NO! So tomorrow I will call again and ask if we are going to court or what.  If he says we are settling in office will it happen soon?  Or will it be another couple of months? Or will we have to make another court date?

I am so disgusted with this whole process and this lawyer.  Dragging it out? YES! I want it to be over!  Please!

I am in dead space.  A vacuum...  Neither moving forward or backward.  Limbo. Just like the character in a derelict space ship, with alien monster popping out of vents and walls, waiting for the next battle scene.  I am weary of this labyrinth, where no one wins and we circle in dead ends.

I have nothing to compare my lawyer with but I do know he does not fit my definition of timely or efficient. He has dawdled through this case barely remembering my name or statistics.

My sense of doom spells out more months of fruitless negotiations.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dread 2

The lawyer called this morning and it may not go to trial. Up and down, up and down.

Self-efficacy Homework

“Self-efficacy is a belief about what one can learner can do; it is not the same as knowing what to do.” ( Scunk and Pajares, 2009)

“(…self-efficacy predicts achievement, persistence in problem solving, and interest in mathematics.”  (Isiksal and Asklar, 2005; Marsh, and Shavelson 1988, Meece, Wigfield, and Walker 1986).”

Where might there be inequities in status in your mathematics classroom, and what are the implications for your teaching?

First of all I had to re-look up efficacy because I forgot what the word meant, much less how to pronounce it.  Math Studio is great for building vocabulary, even if the definitions are math specific.  Ironically, after math studio I ran across efficacy in church, just as I first learned about plenary in a high school church youth conference.  (Hey, Missouri Synod Lutherans are all over education, Greek, Latin, and German!)

I have found that even students in Kindergarten and First grade form opinions about who is smart in math and reading.  Besides the obvious gaps because of age, gender, maturity level, years in school and parental support, students are quick to assign status to students they perceive smarter than themselves.  My job as a teacher is eliminating “status” from the playing field and making the classroom a safe place for everyone to participate.  I also expect everyone to participate!

I don’t know about non Title 1 schools and if they have the many levels of students we have in our classrooms.  In Title 1 schools, I believe we see more of the students that have not been to preschool, and had parental support.  Most of the students are highly transitory and this causes gaps in their education.  Some students come from such horrific home lives that they cannot even function intellectually in the classroom.

My job has always been to differentiate between learners.  With this last math studio, I feel I have more tools to do so in the classroom.  I was especially interested in assigning competence to low status students.  This public announcement of something they have done well in mathematics is powerful!  I should know the math instructors from studio have done it for me and it works! Everybody wants to feel successful and it did make me participate more!

Also having the belief and preaching the belief that everyone has something to contribute is a necessity for self-efficacy!    It makes everyone participate and be responsible for his or her own learning!  I have had students that try not to participate and I let them know in no uncertain terms that they are required to be responsible for their own learning.  Now I will add they are responsible for the learning in their small groups.

I have had SPED kids that function at a first month kindergarten level in 1st grade and it is difficult to find something they can be successful with in the classroom.  Reflecting back, I was at least grateful that they felt safe enough to raise their hand and participate!

More of a challenge for me was the student I had last year who was so incredibly disruptive in math class because he did not want to do the math or was incapable of doing the math.  I think assigning jobs of importance could help with this problem.

The ones with the horrific home life who can’t intellectually function in school is much more difficult.  I can see their brains just shut down or not retain anything from day to day.  I don’t know how to fix that.  It is all about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I guess keep plugging away and assign competence and give roles.

It’s a puzzle that changes from year to year with each new group of students.  I am thankful that Habits of Mind and Habits of Interaction carry through to all subject matters.  Students will be schooled in it through out the day besides just math.  It is a way of life. It could be said it is a matter life or death.  It is the difference between being successful in life or carrying through their parents’ generational poverty.  We can break generational poverty with our teaching of self-efficacy!

Monday, August 20, 2012


I am so dreading this next Friday- my court date.  I have not heard from my lawyer.  I don't know where the trial is, where to meet my lawyer, what time to be there, should I wear something special?  What should I expect?  What even happens!?  I'm not feeling very confident in my lawyer right now and it adds to my anxiety.

I wonder will this truly be the end?  How will it settle?  He revoked all other agreements so what does that mean for what I get?  I know the lawyer from up North will testify about the time/fraction ruling for PERS.  I know there is a legal precedence for the ruling.  But what happens to the other assets now?  What happens if nothing is settled?  Will there have to be ANOTHER court date far in the future?

Will I truly be divorced by this next Friday?

I do not want to cry in court.  I want to be in my adult.  I want to break down in private not public.

I can't go back to Pat the way he is now.  He has not changed and I can't live like that anymore.  I am a different person than I was a year ago.

I try not to worry about the money.  I fear there won't be anything left after all debt is settled.  My brain tries to skitter away from those thoughts.  I keep talking to God and repeat my mantra, "He will take care of me.  He always has taken care of me."

I am comforted by the thought that Pastor said he would be there with me.  I know I have great many friends praying for me also.  (Hey everyone out there I would appreciate prayers also.)

Then I worry about the boys.  They don't really speak to me now.  Will they ever again talk to me?  Will they always hold this against me?  Even though I am not the one who filed for divorce.  I did leave.  It was a safety issue even though they don't believe that of their dad.  They never saw him on both alcohol and prescription drugs.  For that matter I doubt Pat even remembers the things and actions he did to me.  I am to blame to for my lack of respect for him.

I want this to be over with without having to sit through court.  I want my boys to talk to me again.  I want the scab growing over the wounded skin.  Give me strength....

Fishermen's Wharf, BART, Foster City, and Nephew Mike

After North Beach we made our way down to Fisherman's Wharf.  Mind you this was on a Saturday afternoon.  May I say "Never again!?"  Too many people and too many cheesy stores.  Everyone recommended getting a Ghirardelli's hot fudge sundae.

 We walked a couple of blocks dodging people, kids, bikes, and traffic. The store was small and we each ordered a sundae- mine dark chocolate and Jan'e milk chocolate.

 We should have shared one!  It was too much.  Then we found out we could have ordered a min sample size.  Would I do it again?  No.  It was not worth the mess of public swarming all over Fisherman's wharf.  This was probably my least favorite part of SF.  Oh and try finding a public bathroom down there.
Jan went to see how long of a wait it was for the trolley and I went to find a bathroom.  I found one in the little museum in the same building as the Blue Mermaid.  (Where we had clam chowder on Thursday night.)
It was going to be an hour and a half wait for the trolley so we went in search of a cable car or bus.  On one of the side streets we saw a parked cable car and about 15 people.  We hurriedly got into line, hoping they would be loading soon.  A bus pulled up behind it and Jan went to talk to the bus driver.  We found out the bus would be loading right after the cable car.  We were successful and got seats on the cable car BECAUSE we had a date with our nephew!

Our sister Susan has a son, Michael, who works for Electronic Arts.  He actually wanted to see us old Aunties!  We took the BART out to see him and he gave us a tour of Electronic Arts.  He is currently working on Dead Space 3.   What a nice young man he has become.  I was so impressed by his whole demeaner and so grateful that he actually wanted to visit with us!

What  a great place to work! I was very impressed by what they provide for their employees.

I loved seeing the storyboards for the games.  As a teacher I appreciated the writing of the story.  The artwork was really cool too!
The security guard was nice enough to take pictures of us.  We are the batty aunties!

I wanted to meet his kitties that I always read about.

Michael took us to dinner and then we headed back on the BART.  We had Sunday morning set aside for shopping then catching our flights back home.  We were already talking of coming back.  Maybe every other year or maybe every summer.  We both like it so much.  Plus we had not seen everything yet.  

Next time would not be on a weekend.  I would bring mostly long pants, gloves, hat, hand warmers, and a heavier coat.  We still need to have a cocktail at the Top of the Mark.  I want to get closer to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I want more time in North Beach.  That is just a beginning of the list!

I love traveling with my sister, Jan.  She knows how to do the research. She is fun to be around.  I can't wait to do more traveling with her!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

North Beach Part 2

And then we emerged from China Town to North Beach, the Italian community.  Our mission was to find good coffee and pastry.  All we had was
crummy coffee on the way so I was craving GOOD STRONG coffee!  Unfortunately there were so many places to choose from we had a difficult time deciding which one to choose.  We settled on Caffe Puccini.  We order double shot Americanos with apple torta.  They served the coffee in white porcelain cups and it was heaven.  There is something to be said for drinking coffee out of a real cup and not a paper cup.  The torta was crumbly with sliced apples and was delish.  I loved sitting down in a cute cafe and drinking good coffee.  Far above the Starbucks experience!

We didn't have much luck finding the pastries we remembered from Rome.  We stopped at a bakery and bought more coffee to drink and a pastry.  We were not too thrilled by the pastry.  North Beach has cute little shops so we wandered around visiting shops.  An artist I think could do well selling in SF, either in a shop or street market.  My favorite shop we found was the HAT SHOP!

At first I was totally intimidated by the outside of the shop.  It looked like it could have a severe snob factor going.  They saw us though hesitating outside and welcomed us in to try on hats!  It was like playing dress up!  Fancy women's hats with feathers!  Of course they were over 100.00 dollars.  Then we discovered the sale table.  O, O, O, I had fun trying on cloches, fedoras, and straw hats!

All types of people walked in to try on hats.  We had fun complimenting people in their hats.  There are just some people though that can pull off hats.  I'm marginal but I love hats so that I bought 2 straw hats on sale.  One a cloche and the other a straw wide brim hat.  I have had nothing but compliments on them.  Besides it keeps the sun off my face!

Deciding on a place for lunch was difficult also.  We finally chose one because the maitre de invited us to look at a menu.  We were one of maybe 4 tables but the dining experience was superb.  Jan can only have small amount so she ordered an appetizer.  Me? Well pasta is one of those foods I don't get so I splurged.  I had the Fettuccine ai Frutti di Mare and a glass of Chianti.  YUM!

It was funny that the place next door was hopping with people and our restaurant was so slow yet we had superb food and service.

Check out that cute hat!!!

Math Studio Homework

Reflections and Connections

What are implications for the culture and character of math talk in your classroom/ school/ district?

Classroom:  I am so excited about the math talk and about developing culture in my room.  I love teaching the children how to use their brains and how to think about thinking! (metacognition)  From my many years of teaching KG I know how much they are capable of and I like seeing it in their eyes, posture, voices, and reactions to each other.  I think too often the KG students are coddled too much.  They are capable of high expectations.

Since I started teaching first grade last year I am even more aware of it.  The first month or so of First grade is teaching that independent thinking and how to have not only mathematical discourse but also social discourse.  It helps distinguish the difference between “I am the teacher and not your mommy.”  Therefore you need too not only learn how to tie your shoes but use your “I” statements to talk to your peers about what is going on socially, and explain why you think the way you do about something and why.  (Justify)

These are such valuable life skills and we do a disservice to our students if we don’t set those high expectations and explain to parents about how their children are capable of it even though they are just 6 years old.

I am thrilled when it all comes together in the classroom.  When everybody is participating and really talking to each other (math reasoning as the authority) you can see the brain grow!  It becomes the normal routine to critique and debate statements made in plenary, small group or pair discussions.  I especially love the feeling of safety in the room because everyone is participating.  I can’t wait to work on status and assign competence to low status students.

I thick implementing more structure through how students pair up and employing the “huddle” will exponentially increase the discourse.  Students pay more attention to the math when they are given opportunities to talk about the math.

The layers of schema now established from my 2 years in math studio has me making more connections to habits of mind and habits of interaction.  I am also thrilled about having 1 year of first grade curriculum under my belt.  It should be easier!  I also keep in mind that it will take 4-5 years to really establish a strong math culture in my room.

I anticipate meeting with my grades level team to lesson plan with Bridges and find multiple entries into math.  I just hope that everything required of us by the district does not cut into what I need to do to grow in teaching mathematics.  I hate being forced to do a quick down and dirty lesson because there is not enough time in the day to do what is required of me.  I hope we have time to plan and plan together.  This will help us in our math talk with each other and the culture between fellow teachers.


My biggest concern is the teachers that do the “Lone Ranger” scene.  The ones with a fixed mindset and feel their way of teaching is better than what the district has mandated for math curriculum and the culture of math studio.  Students coming in from a classroom in the school or district that have not used Bridges or math studio put a huge burden on the other teachers.  We have to spend so much time teaching a vocabulary and the Habits of Mind and Habits of Instruction.  They don’t know how to participate and it slows the other students down when we have to wait for the other students to catch up with us.  Usually because they don’t know or understand what we are doing in our math talks it leads to boredom and management problems.  It is frustrating to ALL involved!

All that would be solved if teachers would put on the growth mindset hat and do what the research says works- not what they think works.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trauma in Math Studio

I can say it here, right?  DAMN I hate crying in Math Studio!  I totally lost it again today and I am embarrassed and drained by the emotional turmoil I felt today.  Damn the brain.  Damn the emotions.  Damn the lack of self control.

We started a a math problem yesterday that was a growing pattern in an oddly shaped array.  The perceived math geniuses in my group( high math status)  immediately seemed to go to an algebraic formula.  Me?  I'm looking for the pattern.  I look at it and see 3 different pieces of the array growing.  The middle school and intermediate are seeing array of cubes and rectangles and manipulating the pieces to make sense.  Not me.  I feel stupid and inadequate.

I kept asking them to explain to me how their algebraic formula looked using tiles.  Why didn't the model reflect the formula?  They could not explain it too me so I could understand.  I knew what they were saying I just could not see it in the model representation.

The next day we went back to the discussion.  I kept stating I did not understand and wanted  clarification.  They really tried to explain to me.  I panicked.  I went into fight/flight mode.  A fellow colleague just rubbed me raw.  She rushed my thinking and my brain shut down.  I knew I was downshifting to child but I thought I was using my "I " statements. In my past I would have not said anything.  I thought I was doing well telling her that what she was saying was not helping me.  She seemed so "know it all".  I totally took it wrong and personally.  I used my "I" statements and then fled to the bathroom to cry.

I really wanted to sit in the corner of the bathroom and cry but I kept myself from doing that.  It felt too dramatic.  It wasn't as bad as I was last summer sitting by the tree for an hour sobbing.  This was maybe 20 minutes and then I went back to the room to do the math.

I took all the ideas presented by my group and played with the tiles.  The teacher came by to talk to me and I was able to sob out my explanation of what I was doing.  She directed me to ignore what was so bothering me.  (What would the minus 1 figure look like?  Was it a 4 that stayed the same or  a two?)

With her help I came up with the algebraic formula.

 (n x n) + (n +1) + (n +2).

I spent a good 30 minutes by myself doing the math and it was OK with the instructor.  She let me take the time to make sense of the the math.  I appreciate that very much!

So as soon as I had the child melt down I went straight to adult mode.  In between tears my vocabulary kicked up a notch and I participated in a very rational way.  I also felt very drained and worn out from the emotional turmoil. I compensated by focusing in on what I am good at intellectually.  Or should I say what I feel like I am intellectually good at .  That would be WORDS!

I am always so embarrassed by my child.  She can flip out when threatened and I am so hyper sensitive in math.  More than one person has told me I am too hard on myself.  I am.  It is also very real to me.  I have a difficult time convincing myself I can do the math and I am capable of doing it.

Sometimes I so weary of this battle with my math emotions.  I don't want a fixed mindset anymore with math.  I try very hard to be in the growth mode even when it is so painful too me.  I do persevere.  I work very hard at this.  I take comfort and pride that I do try so hard to do the math.  I never want children to have to go through what I am going through.  It is brutal!  It is extremely painful.  It is my journey.  It is a metaphor for my life.

Tonight we had a meet and greet at the Red Lily winery to meet our new principle. At the vineyard I read my messages from Face book.  The person I had problems with today, did not see that she did anything wrong.  Are we all so unaware of our word, our tone, our voice?  I know it is not just me and my emotional baggage.  I have heard other people speak the same about this person.  It makes me wonder what I don't hear about myself in my interactions with my students and colleagues.

I am emotionally drained.  That is what math does to me.  It sucks at my inner core.  It goes to raw.  I am at my worst with math.  It is a mighty battle for me to go to math studio and remain calm and rational.  I am just a centimeter away from emotional chaos when it comes to math.

I persevere. It is a talent of mine.  It may hurt like hell and strike my inner core, but it is the key to my getting healthy with myself.
Awesome colleagues from Oak Grove!

I also met up with some "Ruch" people from Sterling Creek. Old neighbors.  It was good to reconnect!

The Short bus sisters!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Math Studo- Notes on the brain

Wow!  Things are coming together!  This session of Math Studio is fascinating for me.  It is on equalizing status in the classroom, multidimensionality (the idea that not all students can do everything but everyone will be able to do one.), assigning roles, being responsible for each others learning, assigning competence*, high expectations, effort over ability, and relational Equity.  In fact this class is so rich in information I can only touch upon some of what I am gleaning from reading materials and the teacher.

To help me process this information I'm going to do what helps me the most- write about it.  Hopefully it will help me with new vocabulary and definitions.  I am so excited for the implications of the research, especially the brain research!  I love the brain research!

All along my heart has been with those low status kiddos.  The ones who don't get it.  The ones who don't have much math background.  The ones who can't identify a number after 5 or count to 10 by rote.  They don't have an entry way into grade level problems.  They need much more adult attention and time to play with manipulatives.  It is frustrating for me and them to not be able to do the work that looks so easy to everyone else.

Multidemsionality is the idea that everyone can do some part of the problem.  We need to make sure that "high status " students don't automatically get all the time in the participation and class.  Students who don't get it shut down.  By assigning roles like team captain, supply person,and  recorder I can makes sure  all student participate.

*Assigning competence was a new idea for me.  I like it!.  I can raise the status of the student by praising something they have done in public so the class hears it.  The student feels valued and smart!  It must be public, intellectual, specific, and relevant to the team task.

All of this was from the article, "Opening Our Ideas" by Jo Boaler.

Today's article, Brainology:Transforming Student's Motivation to Learn" by Carol S. Dweck, was fantastic.  It is something I have been reading about lately.  Mainly that our brains are plastic and can be reshaped.  It is not so much the "gifts" or" talents" we are born with but how hard we work or persevere.  It takes practise and hard work to learn anything.  It just does not come easy to anyone.  It just may be more fascinating of a subject area to others and that is what makes it seem like it comes easier to them. It is kind of like the thoughts I had on  creativity.

I may not be a professional artist but I can with practise learn to draw and paint.  The same thing with dance, math, yoga, and writing.  If I work hard and persevere I can learn it.  My brain and body will do it.  This works for our students also,   The mindset that I am not good at math because I am a girl is BS. That is a closed mindset.  With a closed mindset I can't learn anything and I don't even want to try.  (Also called a fixed mindset.)  A growth mindset on the other hand, "believes that intelligence is a potential that can be realized through learning.  As a result, confronting challenges, profiting from mistakes, , and persevering in the face of set backs become ways of getting smarter."

What I hate about going back to school?  I have to stop now and continue tomorrow because I need to finish my homework and go to bed.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Saturday was North Beach time: the Italian district.  The plan was to have coffee and different kind of pastries at various shops.  The trolleys were already running full so we just started walking.  In ordr to get to North Beach we had to go through Chinatown.  This time instead of Oriental Trading Company stores we found the Saturday market where the locals shopped for produce, meat, and other staples.  It was fascinating!  I saw veggies I've never seen before and meat markets that looked like Andrew Zimmerman of Bizzarre food fame!

It was totally cool to see the Asian markets.  They were almost frantic in their purchasing of meat and produce.  Probably things we would not ever consider eating!

It was so crowed we weaved our way through the people.  I could have dawdled for hours, just looking at unknown items.
I did wonder what kind of vegetable the green thing was.  I saw a lot of it and I've never seen it before.
I have no idea what these were.  They did not really appeal, but I like to think I would try a bite.  I don't think I'm exactly an Andrew Zimmerman type.
Dim Sum?