Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"then let me know how!"

We recently held exams for the students. Consider the following:

I added a part c, asking (as I have on every single test so far this year) what a "reasonable domain" is for the problem.
The students can demonstrate that they know which variable is the independent variable and that negative numbers are unacceptable when the variable is months (or time in general).
That's all I look for - something that says "t > 0." If I see that or anything close, they get full credit. However, I have some students that add their creativity to the problem and it makes me smile. I thought I'd share with you two of my personal favorites.

"0 < t < 50 because then she gets married."

"0 < t < 700. <- This is 58 years later, so she would probably not live this long. If she did, I'd like to meet her to know how she lived so long and to get some of her money."

The first response is from a Burmese refugee that's only been at the school for one year, I think. The second is from an intelligent freshman who, I'm convinced, needs a special test that actually challenges him. (He also got the extra credit question of defining "defenestrate" by dissecting its Latin (Greek?) origin.)
((It means to throw out a window. It's one of my favorite words.)) (((I like to use it in story problems.)))

Sunday, December 4, 2011

advent is the name of that moment.

This December, it has been easy for me to align myself with the mindset of hope and expectation. Maybe it;s from the hope and persistent waiting in all the Old Testament stories that I've been reading, maybe it's the smell of my "a toast to cider" candle, maybe it's the Christmas lights and soft lamps that I see every morning on my way to work... but whatever it is, it has filled me with peace. And hope.

"You are aware of the beating of your heart... The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment." - Frederick Buechner

I held another cooking club after school, and we made reindeer cake balls (thank you, Bakerella!) My kids really enjoyed them and ever got creative. Not shown in the picture are the dog and unicorn balls.

We also made sweet-potato-apple bake and a cinnamon-raisin risotto-like rice. (Easier than risotto because it required no stirring, because we needed all hands on deck for the reindeer.)

My Spanish skills are slightly improving - I happened to understand one full sentence of my students' conversation and they now think I understand everything they say. For the most part, that's a good thing. Now they have to censor themselves in Spanish and English.

What else have I been learning? It's hard to love people sometimes. (Or some people all the time.) I have an implicit checklist of who I have more patience and love for... and that is not the kind of love that God calls us to give. I was reading a friend's blog and came across the following - it voices what I've been all-too-happy to not let myself think about.

I let go of my right...
-To be happy -To have an attractive body -To health
-To my possessions -To my time -To comfort
-To my past -To my recreation or activity -To my habits
-To wealth -To my future plans and dreams -To self-sufficiency
-To control-To have consequences follow what I've done -To my satisfaction
-To my significance -To my securities -To prosper
-To strength-To know future outcomes
-To my old ways of getting my needs met
-To getting my way -To my reputation -To success
-To notoriety-To my feelings -To my choices
-To my occupation -To be loved -To know God's will
-To demand anything from God -To life itself -To be used by God
-To escape bad circumstances -To fear -To my opinions
-To my judgments -To my timing -To judge
-To emotional security -To my expectations -To be accepted
-To pleasant circumstances -To be understood -To be married
-To my geographical location -To be thanked or appreciated
-To be acknowledged -To have relationships
-To have a child-To have a happy marriage
-To blame -To be rescued-To tell others what I know
-To rescue another -To be heard-To be needed or wanted
-To meet others' needs -To be right-To have others' approval
-To good finances -To take offense-To have justice done
-To defend -To my entitlements -To be justified