Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some pictures of my kids working with the slide rules yesterday...

(The boys on the football team got their hair cut into (modified) mohawks when they made the playoffs... no, they don't normally looks like that!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh, poor blog, how I've neglected you so.

I've been crazy busy lately, both with school-work and with home stuff. My boy's 5 billion activities (or so it seems) have temporarily abated so I currently have a few moments to let you all (and myself) know what's going on!

My Algebra 2 class is slowly chugging along. The kids started out the quarter horribly (with a 65% class average on our first test) and while things aren't great (a 73% class average now) I think they've learned a lesson and have started to work again. There are, of course, some exceptions to that, but aside from forcing them to come see me for extra help and camping out by their desks while they have time to work, there's nothing that I can do! I hope they see the light before it's too late. We have a test tomorrow (over systems of equations) that we've been reviewing for for ages, so hopefully things will continue to pick up.

I tried a couple different activities in class to help review that I got ideas for from twitter. @k8nowak has posted before about using a Row Game - she makes two columns of problems with the same answers. The students work through the problems in pairs (each doing one column) then compare answers to make sure they match. It sounded like a great activity (and would probably work in a different class!) but with these guys not so much. They didn't want to pair up, didn't want to work, etc. Bleh. Here's a link to the sheet.

Today I arranged the rooms in clusters (as we called them) of 3 desks apiece (there were 8 clusters). @msgregson e-mailed me some sample review cards that she'd used on solving systems and matrices which I altered to fit my needs - I made four different cards (2 copies each) and laminated them. Then each cluster had 8 minutes per card to solve before we rotated the cards. This seemed to work better (except for those kids who just can't get in gear right now). The kids talked about what they were doing and what was right/wrong (I wrote the answers to previous cards on the back). I'll definitely be doing that one again! (I can't find the file on my computer... hopefully it'll pop up!)

In Precalculus we just finished a chapter on logs and exponential equations. The test was Friday, so I'd been trying to think of something we could do for these two days this week before Thanksgiving (and wanted to try something new). I found a link for the International Slide Rule Museum which said they have class sets of slide rules that they'll mail out for free. I contacted the site and very promptly received a response... and a set of 30 slide rules in the mail! Of course, I didn't know how to use a slide rule, so I set to learn enough that I could teach (always a harder task than we can imagine!). Today was day 1 of Slide Rule class... one precalc class was pretty receptive and seemed to enjoy themselves, the other whined and complained and basically made themselves pains. Oh well! It was interesting! Here's a link to the lesson that I put together (but couldn't print because our network was down!).

Phew. That at least gets me caught up for this past week! :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just giving this a shot before trying to add it to my class blogs. . .

I received a Google Wave invite from a follower on Twitter... but now what? My username is klb925@googlewave.com, so please add me if you have it! I'm thinking that it's like Twitter and it's all about who you follow and who follows you. Time will tell!

I started probability today in my general classes; instead of just going right into the new info, I had the kids all grab a white board and marker and eraser and told them to draw 5 dashes. I set up the random number generator on my virtual TI (on my tablet... I mean, on my colleague's tablet - I still don't have mine!). Their goal was to get the biggest number possible by placing the digits as I gave them. The kids seemed to enjoy it - they wanted to add additional spaces and then we switched to the smallest number possible. I gave the student in each class with the most wins some extra credit. After we finished, we talked about the probability of making the number 99999 - they were amazed to find out that you'd have a 1 in 100000 chance of getting 5 nines in a row! It was a great intro to what we'd be talking about. Many thanks to Dave Marain at MathNotations for the idea!