Friday, July 29, 2011

Back to what??? Already???

I can't believe that August starts on Monday. How depressing.  All of the things I've been putting off all summer (because I had so much time to do them) are now haunting me. Ugh.

A couple of recent thoughts:
1.  I really like the idea of using a QR code to help the kids get to their class blogs.  I was thinking of just putting it on their back to school rules paper, but they hardly ever have that.... so then I thought about stickers!  My plan now is to buy some sheets of stickers, print the QR code on them (and hopefully have enough room left on the sticker for the web address itself) and then give them to the kids to put on their school planner (which each kid receives the first day of school and is expected to have every day thereafter).  As long as I can get the printing thing down, I think this'll work. Yay me! :)

2.  I think I've finally decided how exactly I want to do quizzes in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.  It's somewhat SBG-ish without going full blown.  I'm going to break down the quizzes by topics and enter those grades separately in my gradebook.  So then we have the advantage of seeing exactly what a kid is struggling with.  Then, one day a week (which I may push to two if I get a lot of participation) I'm going to offer them a chance to retest those topics.  They'll have to let me know the week before what they want to retest and when they're going to do it (either a select period with one of our math teacher tutors or after school).  When they retest they'll have to turn in some review problems that they've completed showing they have done some additional work to help in figuring out their problems (maybe quiz corrections, maybe those problems that are in the back of the book... I'll need to decide that) and their retest grade will replace the original.  Because I'm just offering that one day a week I'll probably let them retest two topics at once. Thoughts?

3.  I just realized this morning (yeah, I'm a little slow) that I'm teaching a new class this year.  Well, kinda new. Last year I had an Integrated Algebra 1 class (read: general) and this year it's Honors Algebra 1 (which really isn't honors, but definitely isn't general). I'm going to have to step it up a bit!  Ack.

4.  I found some new resources for projects the other night...
Algebra 1 Webquests
Algebra 1 Explorations
Workshops and Projects
Project Index from PBL Pathways
Precalc Resources

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things I've Tagged (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm alive!

Just wanted to jot down a couple of things while I'm thinking about them...

@druinok and I were discussing a week or so ago about using warm-ups in class.  I'd put together a bunch of different ones for precalc on slides (link here) and thought about using them on "Warm-Up Wednesday".  But then what about the warm-ups for the other days?  @druinok suggested that I call it "Mind-Bender Monday" and switching them to Monday instead, and we decided that we'd need names for the other days too. And there I was stuck.

Thank goodness for Lisa mowing her lawn today! :)  I've never done it (hubby would never let me... his precious mower would probably take a beating) but I'd imagine that it gives you some time to think.  She came up with Mental Monday (for logic puzzles, sudokus, brain teasers, whatever), Testing Tuesday (to get kids ready for OGT), What-we've-been-doing Wednesday (with recent review material), Testing Thursday, and Free-for-all Friday (anything goes).

I don't have kids to get ready for the OGT (our sophomore state-wide test) and was trying to think of something else for Tuesday/Thursday. So how about "Think-about-it Thursday" (a preview of skills they'll need soon) and "Turn-around Tuesday" (which we could use as another review day... this one courtesy of Lisa again!)?

Anyway. Something for me to ponder.

I haven't done a whole lot of work lately... I think the only math I've done is while running (how many more miles should I go? how long will it take me? if I keep at this pace will I hit my goal?) and planning for our cruise that hubby and I are going on on Sunday (!!!).  We've been trying to plan excursions, so we've been checking out prices and times and all that fun stuff.  It's going to be weird to be so out-of-touch for a week.  I refuse to pay for internet or cell phone access, so it looks like it'll be no electronics for 7 days.  Guess I'm going cold turkey!

And I thought my google reader was overwhelming now.... can't wait to see it in a week!

Bon Voyage!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Things I've Tagged (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 4th already?!

Ok,so it's not July 4th. But it is the 3rd! I normally see this holiday as the beginning of the end. I mean, summer's virtually over! But I can't complain. I'm currently sitting outside, typing on my iPad, watching the kids play on the Slip-n-Slide. The only thing that could better is if I had a beer...and the fridge is awfully close!

The kids and I are going to my grandparents's cottage for the week with my folks. There's not a lot to do there, so a lot of time is spent lying around, reading books, and just basically wasting time. I decided that I'm going to take a couple of schoolbooks (along with my no-brainer fictions) and my laptop and actually get some planning done!

I had some thoughts at church today (I know, I know. Probably not the best time to be thinking and taking notes about school!) that I wanted to get down on paper to help me think about further.

(My son just asked if bats can walk. The things that go through his head!)

In Honors Algebra 1:
1. Set up some weekly "special" days. How about "Warm-up Wednesdays" and "Fraction
Fridays"? If Friday happens to be a test or quiz day then they'll show up there instead. For the warm-ups, I'm going to incorporate them into more of a daily thing, but I'll make Wednesdays fun, like a brain teaser or something more extended.

2. Notebooks. I've always encouraged the kids to keep a notebook, but for the past few years I've strayed from doing anything about them. When dealing with these freshmen, though, I think it's important to get them off on the right foot. Now I just need to decide how to "do" them. Collect and check every chapter? Every other chapter? Every quarter?

3. Projects. I would like to set up some quarterly-themed research projects for the kids to present. Maybe something like Math in Careers, Algebra Topics, etc. I'd like to offer a variety of ways to present (like video, song, board game, prezi, PowerPoint) and schedule 2-3 a week. There's only 22 kids in the class, so the scheduling should work out ok.

In CP Algebra 2:
Aside from the projects, I'd like to repeat the stuff with the warm-ups and notebooks. With the warm-ups, though, I'd start with Fraction Fridays and transition to Factor Fridays.

In Honors Precalc:
I'm still struggling. What do I want to do? I'd love to make this a more individualized class, but with 3 classes of 30ish that could be tough.

And the big question is what do I want to do with sbg? I would like to incorporate some of the aspects of it (especially since we have math tutors during the day that I could give the reassessments to for kids who sign up to take) but I'm not ready to abandon the book organization of topics and such. Something more to think about over the next few weeks!