## Tuesday, January 31, 2012

So, personal stuff aside, I've had some things brewing that I wanted to address.

1.  I offered my precalc kids extra credit to write their own trig identities - had quite a few take me up on it! (Shocking.)  Some really went for it, some basically wrote down an identity and thought it would suffice.  Definitely something I need to include as an actual assignment next year!  I was also thinking about doing a gallery-type walk with identities... you write a step to simplify then move on to the next one.  Still pondering that one.  (Here are the identities!  Take 'em as you will.)

2. Algebra 2 is a major bore right now... and I'm definitely the culprit.  We're finally hitting some of what I would consider the "real" stuff and I feel like the kids are in major resistance mode.  My plan is to throw in a little project (probably this one that I like to do in precalc) but the class has taken on a whole new tone. It used to be fun and lighthearted.  Now it's quiet and BORING.  Heck, even I'm bored!  But I so want them to get the basics down - we're just talking about graphing polynomials (which includes factoring & finding zeros).

One of my problems in that class is that I have 5 new students that I'm still trying to figure out.  There are 3 in particular that have posed some challenges.
1.  A move-in from Florida who has passed Alg2 and is auditing this semester because she obviously has no idea.  She's very cute and likes to talk and flirt. Awesome.  We had a little chat yesterday when I informed her that if she doesn't keep a passing grade and complete all of her assignments I can get her removed from our class. She was shocked.
2.  A transfer from the other high school in my district. He seems like a nice, hard-working kid, but his teacher over there was in chapter 3... and I'm in chapter 6.  (Don't ask what they've been doing all year, because I don't know.)  He told me that he knows how to factor but doesn't know how to solve quadratics.  Hopefully we can fix this before it gets too overwhelming - he admitted that what we've been doing in class has been a jumble of numbers.
3.  A transfer from our local vocational school.  She seems very sweet and hard-working but has a lot of personal issues going on and is only in school for 2 classes a day.  After solving some polys today I stopped by her to check how she was doing and she started crying. Says she has no idea what's going on. When I started offering help and suggestions she totally shut down and said "I don't want to talk about it."  I tried again, she repeated.  Ouch.  I stopped by the counselor's office to let him know; he's planning an informal chat tomorrow with her - I'm hoping that she'll be more receptive then.

So these 3 + boring me + hard stuff = a tough going.

Just gotta keep trying to make things better!