“Economy of language” is a term I learned in grad school and I wish they taught it to all working adults, especially those who end up sending a lot of emails. A counter-example of economy of language is precisely what I’m doing now. A good example of economy of language: Economy of language is saying [...]


This November, I'm striving to take a step back and remind myself of all the things I'm grateful for. 'Tis the season of thanksgiving, and in lieu of not seeing my family for the holidays, I'll focus on gratitude (and Black Friday shopping, of course!). We've just come off the very long month of October, so this is the time for all teachers to focus on self-care and prevent burnout. Making a gratitude list and updating it regularly throughout this month is a simple, yet effective way to infuse some positivity into your day. I felt silly the first time I created a gratitude list, but I quickly realized I had a ton to be thankful for and even writing down just the little things put me in a better mood! I encourage you to try it for yourself!

Executive Functioning

Teaching is a profession which requires you to be ULTRA organized. You have crazy weird time constraints ("second period starts at 9:34 and ends at 10:29, at which point you only have three minutes to use the bathroom and make it to the third floor of the building"). You have weird location requirements ("fourth period you teach a physics lab course in someone's ELA classroom"). And you have a million tasks to keep track of ("grade the math test by Tuesday, email a student's family, make your lessons for next week, debrief your observation with your admin"). Teaching requires the highest levels of executive functioning (organization, chunking up larger tasks, etc.), yet we rarely teach this skill to our students.


I LOVE me a good doc cam. Considering I started my teaching career with only a blackboard - no projector, no whiteboard (and this was 2014!!) - I've been on the path to find the perfect, cheap classroom tech that works best for me and my students. For in-person teaching there is seriously nothing better than a doc cam. But that's not what this blog post is about. This is about my new love: my Wacom drawing tablet.


So I'm a BIG fan of Andy Weir's The Martian. The book is beyond excellent and because he originally published it chapter-by-chapter, he had many fans and scientists check the science. It's pretty much all correct. As a fan of sci-fi but also TRUE SCIENCE, I appreciate this. Also, he has some clutch JPL and Caltech shout-outs in there, so I have to be a fan. Needless to say, when the movie came out in 2015 I geeked out. Now what does this have to do with teaching and my programming class? Well, there's a very crucial moment when the main character, Mark Watney, must use an ASCII table and decode hex messages from NASA. My students have already learned hexadecimal representations of numbers. It's a quick jump to see the relationship to letters, and after this, we're going to start some more intense cryptography tasks. I wanted to start the new semester off with something fun, so I used The Martian scenario as inspiration.


Most people are in the thick of setting new year resolutions. As a teacher, you're probably soaking up those last sacred days of winter break. You made your resolutions and updated your goals and habits in August or September - the true "new" year. However, it's actually good to jump on the "New Year New Me" train and update your plan for school.


As you know, programming has quickly become one of my favorite classes to teach. This year I'm reusing many of my materials from last year, so I actually have the time and mental space to fix things, change assignments, and tackle more intense projects. One of those projects is teaching the students some basic graphics with the Zelle textbook's package. Last year we just used Turtle, so this year I had to tinker around with to get to work.