Thursday, March 15, 2012


"And we're back" - Gchat

So it's been awhile. Summer abruptly tossed me into fall, which was supposed to turn into winter. But Boston forgot about winter entirely this year. And without all the snow to drive the kids crazy, there was simply too much focused, engaged learning going on to remember to blog. And with that bold-faced lie, I resume.

Yesterday was Pi Day. March 14th. The one day of the year when we honor the division of circumference by diameter and pay respect to anyone who has ever been shoved into a locker. I have to admit, despite my nerddom, I have never been thrown into a locker. But that has much more to do with being overgrown and gangly than with the respect I garnered from my "cool" peers.

I do distinctly remember the juncture in 7th grade when "nerd" became an insult repeatedly tossed my way. I would raise my hand in class and one of the well-mannered young gentlemen would hiss "nerdddddd" and induce pervasive giggles. My first instinct was to be hurt. I, like so many other middle-schoolers, just wanted to be cool; for just one of the boys to rest his head on my towering shoulder at a school dance. So I sat on my hand and resisted the urge to nerd-for-the-sky.

But after three and half minutes of this foolery, I came to a wise understanding that extended beyond my tween years: I was awesome and they were less awesome. As I eloquently articulated at the time, "When you're flipping burgers and living on the street, I'm not even going to throw you a NICKEL!" True story. This had no effect except to turn "Nerd!" into "Giraffe Girl!" But once you achieve such lyrical brilliance, it's hard to feel the sting. (Of course it wasn't hard to feel the sting. It was middle school.)

So here I am having fully transformed from student-caterpiller to teaching-butterfly. Hoping to entice and excite my students from their usual "blah," I brought in oreos to make 3.14 magic with. The task was to guess the radius of the oreo and then use that information to determine the diameter, circumference and area. And then...they could eat the oreo!! It turns out that when you give a Mouse a Cookie...he'll want to know why the f#$% you only brought him one. And when you ask that Mouse to guesstimate the radius of an oreo, he'll guess 4 inches, just so he can eat the oreo. And when you show him how ridiculously big an oreo would be if it really had a radius of 4 inches, he asks you why you didn't bring him THAT oreo.

I guess I should have just brought pie to pi day. Or potassium chloride. Either way.