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Week 13: Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See

Jose Vilson Jose, Mr. Vilson 8 Comments

This morning, I woke up in a haze. After attending the Teachers for Social Justice curriculum fair in Chicago this weekend, I felt empowered to move students in a direction that continues to empower them. On Monday, my mind felt less optimistic about my day at school, in dealing with both students and adults. After school, and for the last 100 days, I knew that there would be no indictment, …

Be Kind ... - Plato

Week 8: Bleeding Openly [Am I A Bad Teacher?]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 10 Comments

“I can’t. I just can’t.” After class on Thursday, I started to strongly reconsider why I wanted to do this project I’m having my students do. The premise is for them to understand operations with scientific notation by modeling the solar system. This went off mostly without a hitch last year and I got some of the most brilliant pieces I’d ever seen from students that the school usually expects …

Homer Simpson Chokes Bart

When Teachers and Students Fight

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 3 Comments

The latest viral video comes out of Baltimore, MD, where the Orioles weren’t the ones swinging. This video, a shaky mess that needs watching and re-watching to fully get what’s happening, starts with a student pacing back and forth while the teacher makes a phone call to someone, presumably a parent. The fight ensues when the student throws a binder to the teacher’s face, prompting the teacher to charge at …

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Week 4: All The Students [World Teachers Day]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

On Friday, EduShyster visited my classroom, the last leg of her NYC tour. Anyone reads this blog knows I have a profound respect for her writing and her approach to talking about education, so much so that, when she asked if she could visit my classroom, I enthusiastically said “Yes!” Or something. Anyone who knows me gets that I believe in open classroom door policies (except during change of period), …

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Week 2: The Best Laid Lesson Plans

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

Last week, I found myself as restless as the first day of school. In fact, I got to school at 7:10am every day, when school usually starts at 8am. I racked my brain around what the next logical step is in my curriculum. Negative exponents are especially difficult if students don’t get a lot of practice with the concept, and if they can’t make a seamless connection between negative and …

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Week 1: I Belong Here (On Starting Exponents)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 7 Comments

I’ve started my unit on exponents the same exact way for the last five years. I’d give my students the definition of exponent and base, and give them examples of how each of them work. From there, we’d see what happens as I made tables to show growth patterns. What happens as the exponent increases? What happens as the exponent decreases? What if the exponent is zero? Negative? What’s the …

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My Contribution To #FergusonSyllabus [Edutopia]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

Hey everyone, I wrote up a resource on how to teach about and beyond the events of Ferguson, and included examples of how some teachers are already doing it. Please read and let me know what you think. 3. Bring it back to the individual. We don’t often get the chance to reflect about our misgivings or perceptions of each other. Especially in diverse communities (and I do mean diverse …

Classroom Window

Changing The Narrative, Right From My Classroom

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

Tomorrow, New York City teachers go for their first day back from vacation. With no kids and two weeks to clean out their caches (well, some of us), we’ll hopefully come back refreshed and ready to take on the relentless energies of the burgeoning young minds in front of us. Or whatever it is we choose to believe. This year, I’ve never been as excited to hop in and do …

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On Due Process, Or What You Call Tenure

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 13 Comments

For the purposes of this essay, I’m using the term “due process” in lieu of tenure because people like Whoopi Goldberg (and millions of others) confuse “tenure” for “job for life.” If that’s what we call “tenure,” then “due process” is more exact. More and more, what it means for K-12 educators and college professors is coming to a confluence. As far as my contract is concerned, it’s not like, …

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Another Reason I Don’t Like FOIL In Math

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 12 Comments

I recently wrote an article for Edutopia about factoring polynomials using areas and why FOIL is absolute crap: For one, I’m not a fan of FOIL (first-outside-inside-last) for a plethora of reasons. While I think it’s handy to have an acronym that reminds students of a procedure, it only works in a very special case. In this case, FOIL works only for multiplying a binomial by another binomial. Does FOIL …