I teach 4 different preps this year, and always feel rushed to get done what I need to get done. I want to do a good job (obviously), and always go over and over in my mind what I'm teaching, how I'm teaching it, how it could be better, etc. Three of my preps are single classes, and one prep I teach 3 times per lesson. That's the lucky prep (algebra 1) because I can refine it by the 3rd time. Or maybe I should say that my 3rd class of algebra 1 is my lucky class, and the other 2 are my guinea pigs (squea squea).

Why am I mentioning this? Because like maybe all teachers I'm a world-class self-beater-upper in that I'm always thinking I could have taught it better or given better problems or better something. I finally have started saying to myself, "you're doing the best you can. do it and move on." Who knows how long I'll listen to myself.

What I am loving is my GoogleDocs account. I'm doing my lesson plans on there this year, and I like that the documents are available no matter what computer I use and where I am (home or school).

What's going on so far:

geometry - we just learned CPCTC. I'm following the curriculum I taught in New Jersey, and we're doing flow proofs. I think those are more logical than 2 column proofs, and it shows me and the students what statements are needed and how for what conclusions.

algebra 1 - we have just covered patterns and linking them to tables, graphs, rules, and descriptions using tiles. I moved away from tiles the 2nd day, and wanted them to find rules and use the rules without drawing pictures, and I like the problems I gave them. Sample:

Suppose 13 15 17 19 21 ... is a sequence of "tiles.

a. Let "13" be the 1st figure in the sequence, write the rule.

b. Let "13" be the 5th figure in the sequence, write the rule.

c. Let "13" be the 20th figure in the sequence, without counting backwards, write the rule.

d. Let "13" be the 100th figure in the sequence, write the rule.

e. For "a.", suppose you have used 51 tiles, what figure number are you at?

f. For "a.", suppose you have 200 tiles to use, what's the maximum figure number you can create?

And for each of these (a-d), I made them write what each variable and each # represented.

Then we moved on to other "tile" like problems:

A cell phone company charges $29.95 per month with a 3cent per minute fee, (after a bunch of leading questions to link to tiles): write the rule. This one was interesting because of the units issue. Many kids started with

b = 29.95 + 3m .... we had a discussion about units and got it to

b = 29.95 + 0.03m

etc.

engineering - we've talked about dial calipers and statistics and geometry. Lots of good discussion about how statistics is used in engineering.

TAKS math class - we've taken a LOT of deep breaths because of behavior issues and just plowed on. Today we learned how to count. After some snarky comments, they kind of got into it. I gave them 4 different colored snap cubes and we learned how to count "choosing 2 for a team" then "choosing a president and a vp" then choosing 3 for a team, etc.

Counting is hard. It seems even harder because everyone assumes it is so easy.

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A thought about geometry proofs--when my college geometry students get sloppy, I have them do 3-column proofs. The first 2 columns are just like the usual 2 columns, but you number each line, and the third column is for the previous lines you're citing: like the incoming arrows in a flow chart proof (but you can fit more steps in than with a flow chart). It's the best thing I've ever found for fixing the not-paying-attention errors (like saying something's congruent by SAS when you really meant ASA).

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I know exactly how you feel. This is my fourth year and I have never had less than 4 preps. I tell my colleagues that everyday is a crusade; however, it keeps my blood pumping.

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