Archive for May 18th, 2009


Brain Stuff

May 18, 2009

I think it would be a good idea at the beginning of the year to give a short talk about how the brain functions — short term/working memory versus long-term memory. A couple of analogies I’ve thought of:

Learning to write the letter “M” — four strokes versus one motion

The letter example from Why Don’t Students Like School:

XCN becomes X

as an example of using our long-term memory to help out our working memory. The idea is that since we can’t increase the size of our working memory, the more we can load into our long-term memory, the more “processing power” we can free up to use as working memory. Unfortunately, there’s no magic button that we can push to do this — it takes practice and repetition.


1st Day Diagnostics

May 18, 2009

I can’t get to sleep, so I might as well type out some of these ideas before I forget about them.

I’m envisioning a fairly comprehensive diagnostic test that we will give to both the Algebra I and Geometry kids. It would contain all the things they are supposed to know so that we can see where they stand. Once we get that graded, we can make up a remedial packet for each student. For example, if they missed any of the addition problems, they get a page of addition practice; if they missed any of the fraction problems, they get a page of fraction practice, etc. While it will be a little tedious, it shouldn’t be too difficult to collate the things.

For students who didn’t miss any problems, we can make up a packet of mastery practice — number tricks, speed ideas, etc.

When the students are actually working on their packets, they have to show that they have five in a row correct before they can move on to the next section.

Maybe, when everyone’s finished, we can have a contest at the board working problems. That might make it a little more fun.

Each six weeks, we will give them the same type of test — although we should probably reduce the number of remedial problems and add on problems from the material we covered that six weeks. This way, at the end of the year, we can see how/if they progressed, as well as addressing any gaps as they appear.