Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yay (Yeah?) Learning Logs

These are my "overhead projector" hands that cause lots of interesting conversations along the vein of "Ew. Take a shower, piggy."

I've tried the Learning Log for all my classes just once now, and I love it. I left 5 minutes at the end of class to quickly say why I was doing this (I get a chance to answer questions that may not otherwise be answered and I get a chance to "converse" with students that never say a word in class). Then I after I explained the procedure, they had at it, and I collected it before they left. It didn't take me too long to look through them and respond to everyone - either a "check" or smily face if there were no questions, or a "good job in class" message to the quiet kids who always do the right thing and are not squeaky wheels and who sometimes get ignored, or an explanation to answer their questions (either on the paper or on an attached large sticky note).

That day in trig we were learning how to "draw pictures in your head" to quickly without writing anything down be able to calculate sine and cosine of special angles all around the unit circle. And in calculus AB they were learning derivatives of trig functions. And in calculus BC they were learning implicit differentiation.

Here are some of the trig questions/issues:
How do you place 3pi/4 on the circle?
How do you tell when the answers are positive or negative?
Is your hair naturally blonde?
I'm still not getting the "quick" special angle calculations...
I liked learning the fast way to do this ...

Here are some of the calculus questions/issues:
Could we have more practice?
Slow down!
Do you always sprinkle dy/dx anywhere you have a "y" in an implicit function?
Is there a way to figure out "y" in an implicit function if you find dy/dx?

I'm hoping as this becomes more of a routine, more of the kids will use it effectively.


  1. That's all?! I used to have fingers that looked a lot worse. We used to joke around in the hallway between classes - I'd show the other teachers my hands and tell them "I've been teaching really hard today". ;-)

  2. Anonymous9:39 PM

    You're right, this is a "tame" day. Now I'm a bit excited and a little sorry that I may be getting an Elmo and can do my teaching by writing on paper with pens I don't have to erase.

    Ms. Cookie

  3. How much spit is mixed in with that ink?

  4. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Depends on whether they're looking or not.

    Ms. Cookie

  5. There is a teacher in my department that would lick the marker when it began to go dry to the screams of her students!

  6. Anonymous10:08 PM

    That's pretty funny :) - one of the extra perks of teaching - "torturing" children. If they ever tell me I'm evil because of some hard math problems or some such, I tell them I get paid extra if I'm evil.

    Ms. Cookie

  7. I told one of my classes something like that a couple of weeks ago. I said that it is the job of the English teacher to make each kid feel good about themselves, but it is the job of the math teacher to tell the truth!

    (I was just kidding around, for those of you who think I'm cruel!)

  8. Anonymous10:02 PM

    That's a great one, I haven't heard it before. Cruel? Cruel? We don't want no sissy math kiddies :).

    Ms. Cookie

  9. Anonymous4:19 PM

    I’ve used “Exit Tickets” sporadically over the last three years. I never held on to the student’s feedback nor returned them. I set up a form like the one you are using and piloted them today. As expected most said no questions but I got enough good questions that I’ll keep trying them. The question now is will I be able to keep up with the turn around time. I really like the documentation that will occur with having multiple days worth of feedback. I’m also going to hold on to them for parent conferences and when the parents ask why their child is getting a C or D, I can pull the learning logs out and show all of the hastily written, No Questions today” comments. Maybe I’ll try to point out the child isn’t really engaged in their learning.

    Thanks for the motivation.