Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Project Results....

Here is the back of the project sheet I mentioned last post. I don't COMPLETELY feel comfortable posting it .... I'm hazy on these copyright laws .... so I'm just showing it to you. AND here are four examples of what my students came up with. They continue to inspire me with their creativity.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Personal Ad Project-ette

It was a day of service last Friday, and I was going to be out with my high schoolers, and leave my little 8th grade geometers stranded, gasping for geometry air. Baby project to the rescue.

A while ago I saw this section in Weight Watchers Magazine where they introduce a new vegetable or fruit or some other healthy food and make it look like a personal ad. Something to the effect of "Hello, My Name is Squash" .... "on weeknights you can find me..." ... "things you may not know about me....", etc. I copied this page on the back of the following sheet:

I didn't get all of them back yet, but holy cow some were funny. One was, "ANGLEina Jolie" whose parents were rays and who had "25 degrees" ranging from accounting to psychology. I'll post some when I get them all back. But those students make me giggle.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Conversation Snippets...

Geometry Class:

Conversation One:

Class: "Are you going to let us have a formula sheet on the test?"
Me: with shocked awe, "No."
Class: Stunned silence as they think I'm kidding.
Me: "Seriously? Three formulas. I know you can handle it."

Conversation Two:
Student: "Are you going to let us use calculators on the test?"
Me: Started a long-winded response on why I'd be doing them a disservice if I let them use a calculator on THIS test .....
Me: glance at the vacant look that is starting to pass over the student's face.
Me: "Do you want the long answer or the short answer?"
Student: "Short answer."
Me: "No."
Student: "Okay."

Conversation Three:

(me walking past a student who I see (or think I see....) stuck on a problem I know is hard from the packet they're working on.
Me: starting in and continuing on being very helpful with hints on how to get started.
Student: politely doing what I ask.
Me: pause.
Student: I wasn't even on that problem.
Me: ..... "did you even call me over, or did I just start helping you?"
Student: "I didn't call you over."
Me: walk on by......

Conversation Four:

(after I explained to my "on level" class how a particular 4 problems on their packet were challenging, so I'd like them to try them, but I don't want them to get stuck on them and then not move on to other problems)
Student: (pushing through and probing on how to be successful on this particular problem) .... "I want to be that student this year that pushes herself to try hard things past my comfort level and go above and beyond."
Me: bursting with pride for her and a big smile and congratulations to her for having that life attitude.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Self-Award-Winning Crank

Oy! Who let ME out of the loony bin? As the week went by I got more and more crotchety and ornery and just generally not fun to be around (if you were a teenager who happened not to behave in a manner I found perfect). I think all the moons aligned and teenagers had to nerve to act like teenagers and as a perfect person who always behaves perfectly, I couldn't abide by the nonperfectness of the young humans around me.

Thank goodness the weekend has rolled around, and I can hole up in my home and reflect on what my options are for buying some patience next week. Maybe there'll be a two for one sale. Maybe I'll get some sleep and store up some patience. Maybe to kidlets will forgive me for snarling at them.

In other news, four school weeks have rolled by, and, no joke, we've already had days off for college field trips, time off to give school tours to visitors, early dismissal for volleyball tournaments, shortened schedules for student council speeches, (upcoming) day off for doing service and for bonding retreats, (upcoming) partial day off for college representative tour. Nope. Nobody here is stressed with the dwindling days to teach.

In funnier news, I heard a joke on Prairie Home Companion today that provided MUCH-needed laughter:
A couple was out celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, and the wife punches the husband in the shoulder and says, "that's for 25 years of so-so sex."
The husband thinks a bit and punches his wife in the shoulder and says, "that's for knowing the difference."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Geometry Diagrams

Last week after we learned more ways to notate a diagram to represent various things (midpoint, bisecting, ...), I handed out the following activity in class.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

I walked around a bit until I saw that a couple of problems were done and searched for a mixture of 3 to 4 papers that had mistakes of varying sorts and possibly some correct answers. Then I made sure to thank the students in advance for providing us with a learning opportunity and discussed how you can learn way more from searching for errors than from getting something right the first time.

I put problem #1 on the document camera and made sure that each student's name was not evident, then I asked the class to discuss with each other what were the correct things on the diagram shown and what were things that could be improved or corrected. I tried to use positive language and kept promoting it as a learning opportunity for ALL involved (which, obviously I think it is, but teens being teens....).

We went through a frew #1's, then did the same with #2. Then after I passed back the papers, I repeated the process with a few problems at a time as the need arose.

We especially had good conversations about #4 vs. #8. In number 8 many students wanted to make "T" be 2 different points. In #4, some students thought that if the angles had the same angle measure, then they were "the same angle".

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Week Three

I'm sleepy/tired, but I'm having fun with my students. Highlights of this week:

* one of my 8th graders today was staying for geometry tutoring, and apparently her bra was too tight (ask me how I know). She talked at length about it, but each time she said bra, her voice went down to a whisper.

* one of my 11th graders mentioned that she gives hugs more frequently when she's stressed. I've been getting a ton of hugs lately. Especially since I have her for 2 classes and an advisory.

* my students are LOVING the soldering in the Digital Electronics class. We're each of us feeling like "all that" since we're doing something that seemed unmanageable.

* I'm taking the online computer science course with one of my students. Her current grade is higher than mine (don't ask). She's giving me "fun" grief about it. Game on! is what I say.

* I came up with a good activity that was useful and effective in geometry on the fly today (maybe more later). Good feeling.

* Our school is right by a place that has coffee and cookies, and all the math teachers have last block off. Today we mosied down for a short 15 minute break and yapped and caffeinated before we got back to it.

* I dived into introducing the TI-nspire calculator to my precalculus class (I used the "Scavenger Hunt" activity). The kids thought the calculator was the coolest thing.

Monday, September 05, 2011


Have 2 weeks flown by already? I'm a slave to my agenda and am constantly updating and recreating and SOMEtimes crossing off items on my to-do list. It's all still start of the year EXTRA stuff that has to be done and takes time and "gets in the way of" actual planning of what I need to teach.

I did something crazy. A student wanted to take an online computer science/programming course, and our AP asked me if I thought the student could handle it. Hah! This kid can totally do it, so I said yes, she is self-motivated and can handle the course load. Then the AP asked if I would help the student if she needed it. While my mind was processing the answer, "yes", my mind also thought that even though I took/passed the teacher certification test to teach programming, I haven't actually PROGRAMMED in ages (let alone JAVA programming), and then my mind ran through various scenarios of the student asking me for help and me just sitting there with a stunned look on my face not being helpful at all. So. While these horror pictures were running through my head, my mouth decided that the best solution would be to utter the words, "why don't I take the online course with her?"

Flash forward to this weekend where the bulk of my time has been to do our first real reading and doing assignment. It's a semester-long course given through University of Missouri, and it's an AP CS course like in high school. The instructor has it all neatly and well laid out online. There are weekly assignments and midterm/final tests and forums we need to participate in. But ..... bzzzzzzzzzzzzy.

The positive side is that by January, when choice sheets come around for next year, I'll be in a much better position to show what a programming class would look like.

Did you know that there is an actual Pearson book for AP CS classes? I respect the Pearson books in general because they don't seem as "babyish" as the Holt book I have for Geometry. The one seems great so far.

Am a a juvenile in thinking upon seeing "Cara Cocking"'s name that she totally must have taken a lot of ribbing in school (or her husband did if that's the case).