Sunday, July 31, 2011


You know how certain segments of society are all, "oh no, I need to lose weight. I need to get fit. I need to look more attractive. I feel bad about myself because I'm not thin/pretty/hot/young like people I see on TV/ads/movies." (no names mentioned)

We need a society where the stress is more, "oh no, I need to be more ethical. I need to be a nicer person. I need to do more good for the world. I feel bad about myself because I'm not nice/ethical/good-natured."

Or reverse, instead of, "I'm hot spit because I'm attractive." This needs to be more, "I feel GREAT about me because I'm basically a good person."

Where's THAT parallel universe?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


In the course of making and filling out my school calendar for next year and planning for various classes, I came across these 3 scary months on some official calendars:




Notice the 5 bazillion weeks of state testing. Now of course our state is in the process of switching over from one test to the other, but that just means that we'll have to administer both for the next few years.

I also counted up the actual teaching days I get, and tried to discount for these weeks and finals weeks and other weeks that seem to fall away, and I REALLY hope I'm wrong, but I counted about 140 or so actual days of teaching.

Must go cry now.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Okay, so I'm SLOWLY working through my to do list:

But this is HEAVILY sprinkled with the fun things I've done.

My coffee cup from a paint-your-own pottery place. LOVE the 20 oz. cups:

My agenda book for next year. I found a ton of pictures and sayings and taped them on the covers. Now I just have to make all the calendars for the back section, and I'll be ready to roll.



This agenda book idea worked really well last year, and then towards the end of the year, I looked at another person's book, and she had a running numbered list of things she had to accomplish then crossed out(instead of just higglety pigglety around all pages). I started doing that, and loved it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

TI-nspire Start Up Worksheet

I've just created a "getting to know you" sheet for my students for the TI-nspire. Again, we'll just be using it for in-class explorations, and I don't expect students to rush out to buy them.

A really nice person sent me a "Scavenger Hunt", and I used that as my inspiration. Of course now that I go through my e-mail to thank her in "person", I can't find the message, so a PUBLIC THANKS to you.

My next goals are to create a teacher sheet for the other math teachers at my school to show them where the resources are, and IF I HAVE TIME (and it seems to be quickly dwindling), I want to create actual activity sheets.

You can find this sheet here. If the graphics mess up, then I'm guessing you know how to adjust them. Preview:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Math Packet Update...

Back in mid June before I went to my workshop I sent out 2 sets of e-mail for summer math work - one to my rising precalculus students, and one to my rising geometry students. I'm still working out how I'll grade these or assess these, since this was a last minute decision, and basically given out via e-mail without any warning to the students to watch for e-mail (long story).

I'm not sure of the fairness in holding them accountable for this work since some may not even get it. What I'm leaning towards is for THIS SUMMER (as opposed to next because I'm sure this will now be a given) is to either give them extra points on the homework portion of their semester grade, or to create an extra quiz grade and assess it that way, and for the students that did not do it, they do not get the quiz opportunity.

Here's my precalculus e-mail:

You can finally breathe a sigh of relief, your summer math work has arrived. You're going to be learning a ton of cool things in precalculus next year, and there are a few things I want you to refresh your memory on: function notation, right triangle trigonometry, and special right triangles.

You're welcome to do these things in any order and at any time over the summer, but I highly recommend spreading the wealth out and not cramming it into one or two sessions. I also recommend maybe ALSO looking at the information and doing the practice once every few weeks, so it has time to soak in and get trapped in your brain cells.

Here are some suggested sites for each of the three topics. Note that they may not be the best for how you learn, so you're welcome to Google search on any of the purple topics on your own. You know if you're successful if you can complete all of the "goals" with great accuracy. By mid July, I will send you some online quizzes for each of these topics. Your job is to take the quizzes and score 80% or better. You can take various versions of the quiz as many times as you like.

Please send me e-mail once you've received this e-mail, and you can e-mail me any time during the summer.

function notation video:
1. be able to evaluate functions presented in function notation for numerical inputs (i.e. find g(7) if g(x) = 5x^3 - 9x + 1)
2. be able to evaluate functions presented in function notation for any expression input (i.e. find h(x^2+1) if h(x) = 4x - 3x^2)
3. be able to find the input that satisfies the output (i.e. find x such that f(x) = 10 if f(x) = 2x^3 - 6)

sine cosine tangent:
1. given any right triangle and a designated acute angle in that triangle, you can set up equations for sine, cosine, and tangent
2. you can pronounce "sin" accurately
3. on any right triangle with angle information given and one side length given, you can use trig to find the remaining 2 side lengths
4. on any right triangle with side lengths given, you can find the remaining angles of the triangle

special right triangles:,articleId-18821.html
1. you can recognize 30-60-90 triangles and 45-45-90 triangles
2. you can quickly place the ratios of sides around either
3. you can find all exact side lengths of a special right triangle given any side

For geometry I decided to make it two-fold: actual math practice, and a project.

Here's the e-mail:

Hello Mathies,

Here is your summer geometry work with instructions included in the document. I'd recommend downloading the attachment instead of just viewing so that the formatting doesn't go all crazy on you. Have fun, and look for another e-mail from me some time in July (as mentioned in the attachment).

Please send me e-mail if you have any questions.

Big Hugs and Big Math,

Ms. D

(here's part of the attachment):

Hello Future Geometry Kidlets,

There are 2 parts to your summer math work (you’re welcome).

Choose one of the following projects to complete. These are due the first day of class, and we’ll share out. I will do the project also and share my results.

1. Go to this link:
2. Click on various parts to see what’s what.
3. If you didn’t already, click on the “learn about pantographs” link under the “CONSTRUCTIONS” part of that page ( Play around with the applet on the bottom.
4. Make your own real life pantograph. Figure out how much larger you make your drawing (give me a ratio and explain how you found it). You can be creative with the objects you use. You don’t have to spend a ton (any?) money. Extra points if you can do this for free.

1. Go to this link:
2. Click on the various links to explore “string art”.
3. Explore this YouTube video: ( and possibly others shown on that page.
4. Create your own string art. Again, you can be creative with the objects you use. You don’t have to spend a ton (any?) money. Extra points if you can do this for free.

1. Go to this link:
2. Click on the various links to explore “origami mobiles”.
3. Create your own origami mobile. You must have at least 6 different origami pieces. Your mobile must balance.
4. Again, be creative with the objects you use. You don’t have to buy origami paper. Extra points if you can do this for free with objects found around the house.

Complete the following problems. You must show all your work. I will send an answer key soon for you to check your work. I will also send a few online quizzes some time in July to make sure you understand the concepts. You can take the quizzes as many times as you want, but you must ultimately score at least an 80%.

Now the chickens come home to roost, or the fat hits the frying pan, or whatever.... I'm off to make the quiz assessments on And I will also do all 3 projects for fun and to see what the various cool math aspects are.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trips Galore...

I'm finally home after basically 3.5 weeks away: 2 weeks for the Digital Electronics training, and 1.5 weeks for visiting family old and new friends.

POed graciously agreed to meet me while I was in NYC, and we had a walking and talking marathon. She suggested tons of great places to visit: the highline park, riverside park, yotel, gershwin hotel, and YES, the best pizza ever - at Ray's way down south. You know it's a great pizza place when you ask for fresh garlic as a topping, and they pile 2 heaping tablespoons full on top. My husband will be surprised that even I had to scrape some off. I'm very impressed with POed, though, she was not such a sissy and finished all her garlic topping like a champ.

Love her, by the way - she's smart, friendly, caring, and fun to trade war stories with. Here are some pictures from NYC.

Sculpture along Riverside Park:

Another Riverside Park sculpture .... inside was basically living quarters - bed, chair, toilet, ....:

Yotel. This was a robot in the entryway and you could command it to store your baggage in these little drawers. How cool is that?

Highline Park, built along old railroad tracks:

View from Highline Park. There's amphitheater type seating with a Plexiglas window in front where you can watch the street action:

Sculpture from one of the many parks we passed on our trek: