Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last year I used Survey Monkey at the end of the year to collect the kids' thoughts on how the year went.  I typed up the results (of what they would do better) and posted them to the blog this year. (Note to self: push that more this year....)  Instead of using that site again (just another site to log into!) I decided to use a google form this year.  I used the same type of questions... guess I'll see how it goes!

This is my precalc blog so you can see the gform (if you're interested).  Please don't fill it out. :)

Also, I switched over to using Scribd a few weeks ago instead of  The kids were having a lot of problems with getting documents to load... Scribd seems to be doing better for them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I finally got around to watching Dan Meyer's TED talk ("Math class needs a makeover").  It's 10:42 PM on a Thursday night (which is 42 minutes past my bedtime) at the end of May.  And yet he has me thinking about what I can do better next year.  I'd love to do more of these questions that really get the kids thinking and working...guess I have some work to do this summer!

Here's Dan's talk:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We're in the home stretch... just 10 more days of school (not counting today because I'm already here!).  That's awesome, but it just reminds me of how much work I have to do in the next week or so.  

1.  Get exams ready.  I think Precalc's just about good (I worked on it last night), but I definitely need to re-do my Algebra 2 exam. Our new book this year has followed pretty closely with last year's, but I know there are some changes that need to be made. The Integrated Geo exam will probably stay pretty close to what it is now; I'm not teaching the class next year (heck, it won't even exist using the same curriculum!) so I hate to spend a bunch of time on something that can't be used again.  (Is that bad?)

2.  Get exam reviews ready.  Precalc's good - I actually need to go ahead and get copies made for the seniors that have to take it (4 of them this year!).  I'm trying to decide how I want to do Algebra 2... break it down into topics and they get to choose which topics to do? Give them book problems to do?  Haven't decided yet.  Integrated Geo's done - I just played with last year's.

3.  Get the rest of my act together. We still have several days of regular class before I let them just work on reviews.  My Algebra 2 notes are done, but I need to get a couple of review sheets and a quiz done.  I'd like to do a little lab with Precalc on Friday using CBRs and bouncy balls, but I need to make sure the packets are ready for them (and I need to buy some bouncy balls!  We've used tennis balls in the past but they don't bounce well.).  Then they still have a quiz next week, too.  I have one more section of notes to get done for Integrated.... unless I decide to give them some extra time to work on their exam reviews.

There's just not enough time in the day!

I saw a post on Math Teacher Mambo the other day (I love that blog!  Get excited when I see it listen in my Google Reader.) where she posted a "Get Ready for Exams" worksheeet.  I totally stole it and adapted it for my class (but isn't that why we post stuff?).  Here's my version:
2nd Semester Algebra 2 Topics

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We're starting surface area today in my Integrated Geometry class (ugh).  I want to go through formulas and such today and practice a few, but was trying to think of something a little more fun to do tomorrow with it....
1.  Get out into the school and measure stuff and find surface area?  (But some of these kiddos can't be trusted with wandering.)

2.  Give them a list of items in the room to find the surface area of?  (A book, a desktop, . . . and then I blanked.)

So I was stuck.  So I went to my wonderful diigo links and did a search for surface area.  Found these gems:

a.  Math Teacher Mambo: Surface Area Activity
b.  Maths Class: Surface Area and Chocolate

I'm still trying to decide what to do, but I have a little bit of time. And right now I'm all about last minute.  Guess that means I should go make my copies for today's 6th and 7th period classes!

Friday, May 7, 2010

My precalculus classes are finally finishing up trig - we've been working on it the whole semester so far!  I've never taken this long to get through it, but I think the kids really "got" it and hopefully enjoyed it.  I love trig, so I really enjoyed this semester, and I worked hard to try and find some new different things to do with it.

The past two days we spent working on 6 different application problems.  It's often hard to find good ways to use what we do in class in a real-life situation, which makes me love this assignment even more.  (Here's a link to the word document.)  Although they grumble, I think the kids enjoy doing them.  I even had one girl tell me today that she really liked the problems (seriously!) and did all of them last night at home even though I was giving her time in class to work today, too.  She actually had a disaster happen, though - as she was leaving school yesterday she left her notebook on the top of her car.  As she pulled out into a busy street she saw the papers go flying.  I had to appreciate that she told me she was trying to decide whether it was worth trying to stop and retrieve the papers when she realized that her math assignment was in there... she had it today, tire marks and all.  (Keep in mind that this is a girl who calls me "doll" and "honey"... too funny!).

I tweeted earlier today about her comment and got a nice one in return.

Isn't that nice?  :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm pooped.  Is it June 3 yet?

We had a fun day in Precalc today (ignoring some minor technical difficulties).  I used the Mathbits worksheet for the Law of Sines and Cosines that has the students find sides and angles from the podracing scene in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace.  We watched the scene from the movie - unfortunately, the boy who brought the DVD in for me was out taking an AP Test.  The kids were happy to have a little break from the norm and I let one of the classes watch one of the battle scenes at the end.  Made for a fun day!  The funniest thing was that one of the girls told me that it was Star Wars Day.   She said, "May the 4th be with you." Get it? :)

The plan for the next few days is to do a few different things with the LoS and LoC - tomorrow I have a worksheet (a "plain-Janer", as Ann Gregson would call it!) and then we'll spend a couple of days on some of my favorite problems in which they actually have to apply the formulas to some triangles in a real-life type situation.

After we finish up with those, I'm kind of at a loss at what I'm going to do with them for the rest of the year.  There are a few possibilities...
1.  Proof by Induction
2. Row-Echelon Form of a system/matrix
3.  Sequences and Series

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. . . any opinions?  Advice?

Also, I was thinking that I might have the kids do some measuring of the triangles in the courtyard of our school one day to find their areas, but I don't have a real purpose or question about it.