Sunday, February 24, 2013

Last Week Snippets...

On a positive note, I stopped myself from getting "too" snippy with 2 great students once I realized I was "hangry" during a weekend meeting that the kids GREATLY showed up for (unlike many other students). I excused myself from the room and went to heat up my lunch and filled my tummy before I permitted myself back in the room to converse with them.

On another positive note, many kids took care of business at the end of the 6 weeks and got their work done.

On some sad notes, many kids did NOT take care of business and have failing grades to show for it.

On a happy note, we had some fun guest speakers in DE and APCS.

On a sad/funny note, for one speaker, it was the end of the week, and I was majorly sleep deprived, and I was slow to formulate and process words that were to come out of my mouth. At the end of his talk, when he was done with the overhead projector/camera set up, what I MEANT to say and totally DID say in my mind was, "you may leave the projector on. Now..... class ....bla bla bla...". What apparently he heard (because of the awkwardness that ensued) was, "you may leave NOW."  And he proceeded to scurry out the room while I was asking him a question which he didn't answer because he thought I was speaking to my class. Oy! I did run after him and apologize when my class let me know what they thought I did, but I don't know if he bought it.

On a positive note ... I've caught up on some sleep.

On a sad note, I left the calculus tests at school .... the ones that I needed to grade for the report cards due tomorrow. Hello scrambling morning grading while prepping for 2 classes.

On a positive note, I LOVE the mini iPad my husband got me for my recent birthday.

On a sad note, it's a major time suck when I'm reading reddit and playing games and reading Zite and goofing off for "JUST ONE MORE MINUTE".

On a positive note, my "eat a big tub of veggies and drink 2 large tumblers of water and write everything down" diet seems to be working ... slowly.

On a scary note, my sleep-deprived self declared to my last class on Friday ... the class that recently had 2 kids run the local marathon ... that I was going to run the marathon NEXT year with them.

On a happy note, I've run 5 miles max ever ... and by "run" I think we know what I mean ... run/walk.

On a sad note, 26 - 5 is a LARGE running number.

On a happy note ... red wine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Precalculus Fractals

We are deep in our unit on complex numbers, and last class we talked about the 3 defining properties of a fractal and made the Sierpinski Triangle. Their homework was to find cool facts about fractals, and they came through. Today we watched some cool "zooming in" videos of the Mandelbrot Set and the Julia Set. Then we got to the business of understanding them by hand calculations (and the TI-84).

I don't know how much sunk in to how many people, but I hope I got across the insanity of 2 values REALLY close together on the complex plane can have wildly different results when applying the Mandelbrot Set iteration process. We also talked about how the colors come about.

Anyhow, bla bla bla, here was/is their homework, and I can't wait to see what they come up with for their own fractal. Most of this sheet is middle school level, but I figured it would drive home the iteration fact and the first few problems would give them an idea on how to create their own fractal. Maybe I should have incorporated complex numbers into it somehow. Next time? SHEET:

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Homework Calendar...

Once Winter Break was over, I revamped my homework calendar to look like this, and I love it! It's nice not to have to click through mystery days to see what goes with what and what the assignment was and what the students were learning. I love that it's all in plain view and there are active links, and someone can quickly find what they're looking for. This is on the Haiku site, but I'm thinking it's adaptable to other such sites. I've color coded the objective of the day, the daily work, and any possible quizzes and tests coming up. The farthest right column is a list of resources.

I got the idea from searching various APCS teacher sites, and now I don't think I can go back to the "old way".

Monday, February 04, 2013

Dot Product

We're in our vector unit for precalculus, and today we learned about the dot product and its uses. Nothing too mind boggling, but here's the worksheet for homework:

Also, I'm liking my precalculus class for 2 more reasons. One, I don't know what it was, but when I was asking for homework one time about 2 weeks ago (have I mentioned this already?) .... (alzheimer's...)... I said, "make sure your name, date, social security #, mother's maiden name, and favorite ice cream flavor is on your sheet" just as a joke (except for the 1st 2 things, of course). Then when I was grading their homework, I saw that a couple of kids had actually answered my ice cream question. So the next class, I made sure to mention it, and we had a smile.

Then at the end of that class, another kid, while they're handing in the homework asked, "what's the question?" ... so I came up with ... I don't know actually, but last time's question was, "what do you want written on your tombstone?", and today's question was, "on a desert island, what would be the one treat you would choose to be stuck with?". So I guess that's our thing now, and it's kind of fun to read their responses (the ones that answer).

The second reason I'm liking them, is that they play along with my tangents. When I first introduced vectors, I mentioned that they allow people to space travel and build rockets and so on, and then we got on a tangent about the International Space Station and such, and I mentioned I'm "reading" "Packing for Mars" on audio books for my commute, and told them some things I'm finding out from Mary Roach. So what I love about this class is my question #12 from the above homework about bring me one interesting fact about the ISS (and I added to it, and some "wonderings" .... like, what do they do with the "waste" ... if you know what I mean). And I know that when we share out next class, they'll have found some interesting things (I'm doing the homework, too), and we'll all have a snippet of more information than we otherwise would have. 

Friday, February 01, 2013


Five Moment Memoir

* My weekly breakfast at a local diner started my morning off right with good puzzles in the newspaper and one of the 2 regular waiters remembering my "usual" order.

* Did not like my lunch of leftovers that contained mashed potatoes and Indian Dal Lentils (hello extended stomach in the afternoon).

* Walked with my teacher friend to a local Pharmacy that "does coffee" and enjoyed the 70 degree January temperature and laughter and sinful potato chips (that go so well with the said coffee).

* Went out to dinner with same friend and our visitor from Boston that was observing and commenting on our invention progress.

* Had illicit ice cream at 10 pm after I got home from work after writing subplans since I'll be out on Friday for an APCS 2-day workshop.

Hmmmmmm, food. The love of my life. Sorry husband.