Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trig and Teaching and Knocking

Lately I've been noticing in various forms of teaching or discussions about teaching, sometimes the "speaker/blogger/writer", either intentionally or not, conveys the message that, "if you don't do things THIS way, you're doing it wrong!" ... or ... "why in the WORLD would you even CONSIDER teaching so-and-so THAT way, you hack!". Or maybe it's just how I'm reading into things.

I think for the most part we're all trying to do the best job we can, and obviously there's no magic bullet that's going to work for all topics and all days and all teachers all of the time. We (and by "we" I obviously mean "me" because that's obviously who it's all about) should just stop beating ourselves up when someone speaks/writes/communicates how they do something, and it sounds so perfect and rosy, and my (our?) first thought is, "sheesh, THAT person has it all figured out. What's wrong with me?". Okay, my self-pep talk is over.

Anti-Joke of the moment I love:

Knock, Knock.
Who's there?
To Who?
To "Whom".

As with all things we do the 1st time through (or maybe it's just me), there are kinks to be worked out with the activity I wrote about last time. The last 2 days I took my students to the computer lab, and they self-taught basic trigonometry ratios with my GeoGebra file and the 4 page packet. I realize I'm fortunate to (this year) have frequent access to a computer lab.

I know that that was one of the BIG reasons before that I didn't like Geometer's Sketchpad or even bother to learn GeoGebra. Once the kids grasped it on the one time a semester I actually got to go to the lab, then they forgot it all the next semester when we could go back, so basically what was the point. I guess that's why I'm liking this GeoGebra, because if a student has computer access at home (and I know that's not always the case), at least this is an extra resource for absorbing things. Anyway, choir .... preaching .... bla bla bla

I would do the activity again next year, but here are some things that happened and how I'd revamp. I teach a 1.5 hour class, and after we went over homework and did another small activity, we had about an hour for this activity ... WAY too little time for them to be set on their own and finish up.

The first thing I changed was I had them cross out 2 of the cases for each of the 6 tables. So they were only checking sin/cos/tan twice for each acute angle. Next year, I think I'd change it even more: check just once total and then check what a neighbor or 2 got and notice.

I also would take out the ratio of sides on my GeoGebra activity. Invariably, once a kid had to fill in column 2, they didn't read very carefully, and just used my #s above, even though they may not be the correct ratio of sides ... but HEY, all the letters started to blend together.

Other than that, with periodic "giddyup-ing" by me in the form of "you have 30 more seconds to finish up to ______". "Okay, the main point of that was _______. Now do the next section." ..... I think it went well ... Especially, since I seem to have lost my voice YET again this year. Chronic sick-fest.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the suggestion outside geometer sketchpad. I'll be looking into this very soon!