Category Archives: Teaching

Rededication of Purpose

It’s been over a year since I posted last!  Three weeks ago I completed the hardest year of teaching since my first year. Taking on leadership roles in my school in addition to teaching nearly 200 different students seriously took its toll on me and my ability to innovate.

Not this year, I say with eternal optimism.  Warm weather and no students to teach has led me to rededication of purpose.  I have never looked forward to teaching as much as this coming year.  I have great students and cool and exciting classes. These classes include the following:

Computer Science Principles,
Engineering Design and Development, and
Introduction to Data Science

I will post about the updates and crafting of these classes in posts to come!

The Digital haves and have-nots

Growing up in the 1990s, I still remember receiving (and actually using) the AOL CDs to get hours of internet.  This was a time when dial-up internet was still new, and the sounds of modems and “you’ve got mail” were the norm.

AHE3H8 A collection of AOL cd roms

A collection of AOL cd roms – via

My family was not an early adopter of technology.  I did not have a computer until 1996 and I still remember using a typewriter to turn in a report in 8th grade.  Little did I know that 20 years later, having the internet would be an integral part of everyday life and of teaching and learning.

As a math and computer science teacher, I still make instructional decisions about projects and assignments based on whether my students have access to “basic” technology.  By my rough count, I would say that at least 1/5 of my students do not have reliable high speed internet at home.  While it seems that there have been a lot of great organizations that have put computers in the hands of students, there must be an effort to help with the internet that makes them useful.  Rick Paulus from Pacific Standard talks about this in his article, How Non-Profits Help Close the Digital Divide:

“I would argue there are not enough cooks,” he says. “It’s so much work to do: There are 64 million people who are not connected to the Internet. We need more groups in more places doing this work. We can definitely always use more voices. Come one, come all.”

During a political cycle where many politicians have spoken about the divide between the rich and poor, there needs to be a serious debate about how to equip all students for 21st century jobs and skills by providing affordable high-speed internet to everyone.

Hello world!

Welcome to the STEMM and Leaf Blog! After dragging my feet for weeks, I felt the world could no longer wait for the debut of my life-changing and ever so important blog on the interface of math, science, technology, and teaching.

As we approach this year’s Earth Day, this post on the Official Google Blog, reminded me of my college personal statement on how I was going to the save the world.  Having learned about the cataclysmic effects that climate change could have on our world in high school, I wanted to study to become an environmental engineer in college so that I can make a difference to save our world.  While I did become an environmental engineer professionally, after seven years of service I discovered that I was not making the change I wanted to see in the world.  Now, I find myself as a high school math and engineering teacher still working towards the same goal.

Just as the Google Blog post states

We want to create technology that helps millions of others understand our changing world and live more sustainably—whether it’s connecting people with public transit routes, or using the data that powers Google Earth to help you see if your roof is good for solar panels. In honor of Earth Day this month, we’ve gathered together some of the ways Google can help you reduce your everyday emissions and learn more about preserving our world.

I feel that teachers around the world have a responsibility to use their positions as educators to not only teach their subjects but to also allow their students to discover truths about their world that can need to be known.