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Kick, Punt & Graph – Math at South

Arlington Heights, IL – As students filed into room 135 of South Middle School, they quickly realized they were not in for a normal day of Mrs. Zimmanck’s math class.Kicking a football and graphing it.

You see, Mrs. Zimmanck came down with a cold the night before and needed to call upon a last minute substitute, “Substitute Kazimmy.”

“Substitute Kazimmy is a character, often dressed up in costume, ready to interweave social studies, art, music or hobbies into my math lesson,” Mrs. Zimmanck said. “My goal is to bring my characters to a lesson and create excitement about math. Today, Substitute Kazimmy is a football player.”

Football Player Kazimmy’s first order of business was a crowd pleaser. Dressed in a Buffalo Grove Bison football jersey and a swimmingly big football helmet, Substitute Kazimmy cancelled Mrs. Zimmanck’s homework assignment.

Then it was on to the day’s lesson; teach her students how to graph using the x and y axis through literal foot ball. Students were selected at random, as “Substitute Kazimmy” didn’t know her “new” student’s names yet, to come to the front of the room and punt, kick and graph the football’s trajectory.

Hands shot up, desperately hoping they would be selected to participate. Once the kicks were finished and the graphs were analyzed, Substitute Kazimmy helped the students understand further about graphing and how graphs tell stories.

“Here’s a true story involving a graph,” Substitue Kazimmy said to her class while graphing up front. “My sons were born with no hair. As time went on, they grew more and more hair. At age 16, however, both of my boys suddenly had no hair. What happened?”

Ideas were announced left and right but it was determined that Substitute Kazimmy’s sons were on the swim team and needed to shave their heads at age 16. That caused a sudden drop in the graph on the white board.

“This is my eleventh year performing for Kazimmy days,” Mrs. Zimmanck said, suddenly recovered from her mild cold. “For the first nine years as a teacher, I was shy and quiet, but when I put on a costume, I come to life.”

Kazimmy days happen once a month in room 135 at South Middle School, and there are no signs of them stopping.

“One of my favorite moments in 20 years as a teacher came when a student said to me, ‘I’m afraid to miss any day of school because I don’t want to miss a Kazimmy day.’ That is so special.”