## Sunday, December 16, 2007

### Last Week of the Fall

As usual it just seems to zip by. Last period of the last day of last week - antsy chomping-at-the-bit squirmy students. I jokingly told them they'd drive me to drink, and then in my mind I was thinking about the glass of wine I'd have later.

I also had a student leave class and not come back 30 minutes into our 1.5 hour block. Oh my was I furious. I debated referrals, calls home, e-mail to the kid. I ended up calling his mom and describing the incident and venting. She said she'd talk to him. I see now that I have an e-mail from him on my school account titled "apologies", but I'm not ready to read it yet.

He's a funny, good-natured kid who's struggling with the math, and his way of dealing with it is to not come in for help, and to turn in work late and to apologize after the fact and swear up and down that he'll change his ways, and then continue on in his fashion. Let's see if a miracle occurs, and he figures things out next semester.

On a positive note, we started our optimization unit in calculus, and I created an activity that I think will aid them in their understanding. I cut up colored paper/cards with 6 problem statements. Then in a different color I cut up pictures related to the problems. In a 3rd color I cut up main equations and "helper" equations. They were to match up all scenarios, then write them down on a prepared sheet. The last part was to use the "helper" equation to reduce the main equation down to 1 variable, and then to finally graph the main equation with their calculator and draw a good sketch of it on the sheet. No solving yet. They worked in groups and eventually (we didn't finish), I think we'll have a good discussion about the domain of the variable and then the "solving" will be work they've done before. We'll see after break.

1. Anonymous3:07 PM

I enjoy reading your blog, although I've never commented before. (Thanks for writing!) I'm a 1st year math teacher, teaching a range of classes (from advanced 7th grade math to non-AP calculus).

I'm trying to make the non-AP calculus accessible and still somewhat rigorous, and it's actually a fun challenge for me.

I like reading what you do to help your students understand concepts, and I would love, if you could, to see examples of this particular exercise/notecards. But only if you are motivated to type an example in -- I can probably figure out what you mean if you are too busy!

Best,
Sam

2. Anonymous7:17 PM

Hi Sam,

Send e-mail to math_mambo@yahoo.com, and when I'm at school tomorrow, I'll attach my files that I used to create the cards/activity.

I haven't perfected it yet, and they did not finish what I thought they would, but I still think it's useful, and I'll start back with it after break.

Send me e-mail and I'll write more details tomorrow.