A Day In the Life, Gripes

Hooray! Word Problems!

When I was in school, the most dreaded questions in math, in my opinion, were the word problems. I hated them. I didn’t get them. They frustrated me and I often had a hard time comprehending them. I think it’s only fair that I get to make up my own word problems.

Ms. ATHG works at School X 3 days a week. She teaches 12 classes, each lasting 1 hour. On Tuesday, she teaches 3 classes and assists with 1 session of academic intervention. On Wednesday, she teaches 5 classes and assists with 1 session of academic intervention. On Thursday, she teaches 4 classes and has am and pm bus duty. On Tuesday, Ms. ATHG has 3 hours of “free time” spread throughout the day in which to pump. On Wednesday, Ms. ATHG has 30 minutes of “free time” smack dab in the middle of the day in which to pump. On Thursday, Ms. ATHG has 2 hours and 10 minutes of “free time” spread throughout the day in which to pump. Ms. ATHG needs to pump every 2-3 hours in order to prevent discomfort. Ms. ATHG is capable of pumping 4 oz. of milk during each 15 minute session. If Ms. ATHG wants to pump at least 12 oz. each day, what are the odds she’s going to develop mastitis or a blocked duct on a Wednesday?

Ready for another one?

Ms. ATHG has 6 tables in her classroom. Each table seats 4 students. Ms. ATHG’s average class has 26 students, with her largest classes having 29 students. Ms. ATHG’s art department requires students to create paintings on 18×24 paper. If Ms. ATHG wants each student to have enough work space to comfortably work, how many students’ paintings will be ruined this year?

I’ve got another one for you.

Ms. ATHG has 6 sinks in her art room. There are 6 paper towel dispensers in her room. Ms. ATHG has 1 trash can. The trash can has a 7-gallon capacity. Ms. ATHG plans on starting painting projects with 3 grade levels, the Kinders, 6th graders and 5th graders, for a total of 6 classes. If each student washes their hands an average of 1.13 times during class, how many rolls of paper towels will Ms. ATHG pick up off the floor on an average day? BONUS: What are the odds most students will try to use the 2 leaking sinks they have been instructed not to use?


11 thoughts on “Hooray! Word Problems!

  1. Anonymous says:

    First off, I love your blog! I'm a certified art teacher with a Master's who lives in Long Island. Like many, I've been having trouble finding a job so I've been subbing in 2 districts (one is my hometown). I usually sub 4 days a week. Sometimes it's 3 days, sometimes I get lucky and work 5 days. Usually for classroom teachers.

    About the issue with sinks…one art teacher I know sends out notes to parents at the beginning of the year stating that junk objects and donations of unscented baby wipes are greatly appreciated. It really does work! Kids are always coming in with empty egg cartons for mixing paint and baby wipes. She has quite a stack of donated wipes and she prefers them…she barely even uses her sinks! Would you consider that?

    About the kids' working comfortably…your dept requires you only use 18×24? I know some art teachers prefer smaller sizes because that way you can exhibit more work at once. I actually like when teachers take 6 tables and move 3 against one another to make 2 long tables. But I guess that robs extra students of sitting at the heads of each table.

    I welcome any tips/advice from any art teachers who wish to comment also 🙂

    Again, great blog!

    – Mike


  2. Thanks for the laugh! You are faced with some challenges. I'm amazed you are required to work with such large formats. I think the only time my daughter's school art teacher uses that size is for portfolios. I usually cut off a couple inches just to avoid that overlap.
    Best of luck to you with these hurdles! 🙂


  3. I disable my towel dispensers because I got sick of scooping out wet paper towels off the counters, sinks and floors. If students do use the sink I have hand towels posted on either side for them to dry off with. I agree I usually use baby wipes – and cut them in half so they go farther – especially if they just need a wipe for gluey or oil pastel fingers.
    Good luck with your word problems!
    I worked in the corporate world when I was pumping so I could take care of it at my desk while working – all my co-workers knew what my closed door meant however, the boss did not – they were a little embarressed when they figured out what that suction noise was!!


  4. This year i am teaching in a micro sized classroom. I know we're required to paint on the big paper, but i just can't bring myself to do it this year. I would have to put half of the kids in the hall. I think i am good with behavior management, but not THAT good. Thank goodness i don't teach sixth grade and have to do the required assessments. I'd be in big trouble.


  5. Do you really have to use only 18×24? that's nuts. you should be able to choose what size paper the kids work on…after all, you are the person teaching and you are the person creating the lessons!


  6. I had 10- 15 min of break in between classes, with an insane schedule of 6 sections a day and I pumped 20 oz a day – I would set that baby on high – pumping both the girls at once in between classes – in my storage closet, which I shared with another new mom – for 5 min sessions at a time. Try express pumping sister – your supply will cooperate and it may increase giving you a nice supply of back up.


  7. Anonymous says:

    I just discovered your blog through “The Art of Education” and this is an old post– but I do buy mechanics rags at Sam's Club to avoid some of the paper towel issue. They last years. I launder them at home. @lindajones


  8. My class seating issue is similar. I have 8 tables that seat 4 kids each. My 6th grade class has 34. My painting assessment must be completed on 18×24. Obviously class size is an issue.


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