Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 1

One day down... 179 to go?

So I spent my day talking through my powerpoints and handing out lots of papers. The powerpoints went relatively well... I know it's not the "cool" thing to do right now, but it has to be better than being read to from a handout (like I've done in the past). I even linked to an Aretha Franklin video of "Respect". The date on the video was 1967 - can you think of any current songs that will still be around in 42 years? The kids couldn't.

They seemed pretty impressed with TextMarks. I plan on updating the assignments daily (must remember to do that!) so they can text in and get the homework if they forget to write it down or are absent. I actually had a former student in the hall ask me about it after hearing from one of his friends! I told the kids to pull out their cellphones and give it a shot. One kid was like, "I've been waiting to do this all day!" Funny.

I spent a brief moment on Twitter, talking about the new account I've set up for my classes. None of the kids have twitter accounts and didn't seem interested, but I'm still going to give it a shot. I was told in my 7th period class that twitter was "dumb". It definitely hasn't hit that age group yet!

All in all, a good day. The weather wasn't so bad (we don't have a/c), though tomorrow's supposed to be warmer. The best thing is that this day is over - I always dread this first day and all of the boring talking that needs to happen! Now we can get to the fun stuff. The math. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Although the web 2.0 class that I took this summer is over, I did like the idea of listing some of the items that show up in my google reader that I enjoy. So I'll probably do that periodically when I find something that I think is worth it.

I just opened up my reader (by accident, actually, but we won't go into that) and saw a post that said "Is This Your Life's Work?" and the first statement said this: I'm starting to believe that my and other math teachers' blogs are giving the impression that we stay up all night making amazing lessons to deliver to every single class starting immediately. It was from f(t), by Kate Nowak. She was responding to an e-mail she'd received from a teacher who was starting to freak out about all the work that was ahead of her. Kate's response was basically that it takes time... years... to get your work where you want it to be. I've heard several times that once you get a basic curriculum down, start to revise it by 10% a year. That's not too overwhelming, and in a few years you should have quite a few good activities going. Although I've kept that in the back of my head, Kate's post was very reassuring.

Another neat one (I've got my reader open as I write this and have been scrolling through things). I've never really understood how Prezi (although it looks neat) could work for me. But this is a really cool presentation that Alison did called "Math is Not Linear". Really neat. I couldn't figure out where it came from, but I just ran across Alison Blank's blog and voila! There it was.

I intended to write a post about getting ready for school... getting all of my stuff over to OneNote (from Journal) and blah blah blah. But I think these two links were much more interesting. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I got my phone! Although there were several people at lunch yesterday trying to talk me into getting an iPhone, I stuck with my choice of the Nokia 5800. Now I just need to figure it all out. . .

I just found a tutorial site for it, which I think will help. We'll see!

On a totally different subject, my classes have changed a bit for this year - I talked to my department head yesterday afternoon and because of a recent hire some classes needed to be juggled around. Unfortunately, I got the short end of the stick. Instead of 2 honors precalcs, 2 algebra 2s and 1 integrated geometry, I'm losing an algebra 2 for an integrated geometry. The general classes are usually divided up where everyone gets one - now I'm up to 2 for the year. The kicker is that the classes are back to back - 6th and 7th periods. Ugh! I always request that my integrated class is in the morning - I've had horrible luck with them in the afternoon (which seems to be the case for most teachers). So now I have two of them at the end of the day! Not looking forward to this. . .

I do have to admit that there's one good thing about the switch. I was going to have some girls in that algebra 2 class that I had in algebra 1 as freshmen and wasn't looking forward to having again. Gotta look for positives, I guess!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I've never been into the whole cell phone thing. I got one late into the game (probably around 1998 when I had a car accident and realized that I had no way of getting a hold of someone to pick me up!) and really don't use my phone too much (it's a Nokia 6086, which is a pretty basic flip phone). We actually don't have cell phone reception at my house - we're out in the country with lots of trees around - and have phones that work with the wifi at the house. I'm not sure I've ever actually used it for that purpose. Actually, I usually just keep my phone in the purse, which I keep in my car. (So don't call me on it if you think I'm at home!)

Lately I've become envious of the people with all of the cool stuff on their phones... like internet and the ability to stay connected. I'd love to be able to do neat stuff on my phone! I wasn't going to say anything to my husband about it (because he hates spending money on stuff like that) but then a couple of weeks ago he told me that he was surprised that I hadn't said anything about wanting one. That put some wheels in motion!

I think I've found what I want. The Nokia 5800 looks like their version of the iPhone (I think) and looks pretty cool. The only downfall is that it wouldn't work with the wifi... at least to make calls at home. But, again, I'm not sure I've accessed that feature in the past anyway.

So happy shopping to me! :) (Now I just need to get hubby past the fact that not only will it cost $30 more a month in services, but it'll be something like $200 for the phone itself.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Around the same time I started this blog, I also started a more school-related anonymous one. I haven't kept up with it and thus am going to delete it, but there are a couple of posts that I didn't want to lose. The following is one.

Dated 6/5/09:

Day 2 of exams today. I'm bored out of my mind. My google reader is all caught up, I've been checking twitter every 2 minutes to see if anything good has come up, and I've played more than my fair share of a dumb game on facebook. We come back on Monday for 2 more exams (due to an excess of snow days this winter!). I have my conference period first (which hopefully will allow me to get mostly checked out!) and then 4 kids are taking my 7th period precalc exam.

I set up a survey a couple of weeks ago (on survey monkey) and asked my kids to take it. Totally voluntary and on their own time. Here are my results:

Out of 106 students, 53 took it. (69.8% were precalc, 7.5% were general, and 22.7% were algebra 2)

Question #2 (the first was "What class are you in?"): I put forth my best efforts in this class.
a. strongly agree 24 (45.3%)
b. agree 26 (49.1%)
c. disagree 2 (3.8%)
d. strongly disagree 1 (1.9%)

  • I could have tried a lot harder.
  • When (student teacher) was here not really. I was lost a lot and didn't feel like trying
  • I just do the work (for the most part) and my grade is always high. Your notes are organized enough where if I don't understand I can just look at an example and figure it out. The class is pretty easy, so not much effort is required.
  • I kind of avoid the stuff I don't understand because I get scared.

Question #3: I felt comfortable asking questions in class.
a. strongly agree 39
b. agree 11
c. disagree 2
d. strongly disagree 1

  • I'm very shy in class, but going after school helps a lot.
  • best math teacher ever!! crazy helpful- sorry i talked a lot and asked MASS questions (especially when workin on that review)
  • I know I could have asked more questions earlier in the year to reassure myself, and I wish I had.
  • You always did a great job answering questions! You are my favorite math teacher ever!
  • teacher was always very willing to help the students and answer questions and did not get easily annoyed when student didn't understand topic at first

Question #4: I felt comfortable asking for help outside of class.
a. strongly agree 30
b. agree 18
c. disagree 3
d. strongly disagree 1

  • I was very greatful that you were available after school but I am afraid that next year I don't know what I am going to do because I will be leaving early for and internship :( so I will have to come in before school but you will not be here. So I will have to figure something out.
  • just didn't have enough time

Question #5: My understanding of mathematics has increased as a result of this class.
a. strongly agree 33
b. agree 17
c. disagree 0
d. strongly disagree 2

  • Really helped me on the ACT (radians and trig)
  • much better prepared for college math, cemented understanding of topics already learned
  • I understood everything when you taught it to us...I'm just not good at math and don't retain well. However, as we've brought some concepts back recently, I've been excited to remember what they are!!

Question #6: My enjoyment of mathematics has increased as a result of this class.
a. strongly agree 21
b. agree 21
c. disagree 8
d. strongly disagree 2

  • I really understand concepts a lot better, and I enjoy math a lot more because of this. I find radians easier than degrees now!
  • enjoyed the structure of the class
  • You make it seem so much simpler than I've always thought! When it doesn't seem like nothing but an incredibly complicated time-waster, math is a lot more fun!

Then I asked a specific question to the Algebra 2 kids about note-taking, and my last question was: What advice do you have for students in this course next year?
  • Make sure to do and turn in all of your homework and do the extra credit
  • Make sure you get help if you are unsure of anything
  • Pay attention during note taking. This is (student's name) by the way
  • Don't be lazy and do the problem of the week every week.
  • Be smart where you sit
    it'll keep your grade up.
    oh and problems of the week too.
  • I'm not sure to be honest. Just do your homework and pay attention really.
  • Take excessive notes
  • >>Appreciate<< the well-given help you receive!
  • They'll do great as long as a student teacher isn't involved. Study more for tests and quizzes than they have in the past.
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • pay attention while taking notes and write down examples so you can refer back to them during homework
  • Do the homework and study!
  • Don't spend too much time on the problem of the week and just try to keep your grade up to begin with.
  • do your homework because it really helps you learn the material, and it makes the tests really easy. Mrs. Fouss makes precalc fun!
  • It's a generally good time.
  • Have fun because because your teacher knows how to make it fun!
  • study
  • study for the tests and if you don't understand something, ask! (or talk to the teacher after class!)
  • Always do your homework, the problem of the weeks, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand something.
  • Make sure they do all of the homework
  • make sure your organized! it will help a lot with notebook quizzes and studying for exams
  • GET AHEAD EARLY! You will need those points at the end of the semester.
  • Pay attention to note taking and ask questions if you don't understand a certain concept.
  • To study as you go and don't learn everything the night before the test. and pay attention when Mrs. Fouss goes over hw- its helpful
  • always ask for help. there is no stupid questions. the stupidest question you can ever ask is when you don't ask.

There were more "do your work" type comments, too.

I'm pretty happy with the results and am already planning how I want to use this next year. I think I'll compile this list to give to next year's classes - maybe that'll help them get a good idea of how I roll!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I discovered a new website tonight that I think will come in handy when I try and keep up with my class blogs. It's called embedit.in, and it gives an easy way of embedding documents into a website. This should be super nice in getting worksheets and such online. Yay!

(No download necessary, nothing to save!)

Thanks to Steven W. Anderson at web20classroom.blogspot.com !