# A Conversation That Made My Day

Student #1: Look, Mr. Orlin, we all signed this petition! Me: “We, the undersigned, would like to have Calculus all day, every day.” Hey, I’m glad you guys are enjoying the class. Student #2: Can you change the schedule? Me: Well, logistics aside, you guys only got two signatures on this. Student #1: What are … Continue reading A Conversation That Made My Day

# Learning is a Fluorescent Light

I know this new concept feels hard. But you know what it’s like turning on a fluorescent light? It flickers on, then goes dark, then goes bright for an instant, then goes dark again…

# Explain It To Me

A nearly-verbatim dialogue, in honor of one of the hardest-working students I've ever taught. Student: Can you explain this problem to me? Me: Sure, the idea is… Wait. You got it right. Student: But I don’t feel like I did. I feel like I guessed. Me: Well, explain how you got your answer. (He proceeds … Continue reading Explain It To Me

# Following Recipes

Another pep talk with the class, another metaphor hijacked. This is a theme in my life.

# The Graph Factory

I want my students to see graphing as a subtle, meaningful craft. But when I mess up and assign too many graphs for homework, they just sprint through them, cranking them out like cheap factory products. It goes something like this…

# The Anxieties of Hermit Crabs

With the Trigonometry class struggling, I attempt a pep talk. As usual, the students swiftly grasp my metaphor - and then hijack it. Me: You've seen hermit crabs, right? They move from shell to shell throughout their lives. And it's scary for them to leave their warm, safe shells behind. It makes them feel anxious … Continue reading The Anxieties of Hermit Crabs