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1st Real Day of School

August 24, 2010

While we officially started school yesterday, it was a weird “C”-day schedule: all 8 classes, each anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes long. So for the most part, all I was able to do yesterday was to introduce myself and explain a little bit about how the grading is going to work.

Today, we actually started learning.

1st Period – Algebra 3

  • Even though I had told them yesterday they could go to the class web site and print out the notes for today, no one did. I think they will next time, however. 😉 I had to skip some stuff I had really wanted to do, such as my proof of why \sqrt{2} is irrational, but on the whole, we got through everything I wanted to do. I am pretty sure they were relieved when I said we would only be taking notes about once a week.
  • It was a new experience to say, “Okay, we’re going to take some notes,” and have the class all pull out a spiral or notebook without my having to prompt them. Not my usual brand of students!
  • It was also nice to show some examples on the screen, and they actually worked on them! Without my having to tell them! Very strange.
  • I love my tables, but it is going to be a bit of a concern to make sure that all the students can/should face me. I don’t like speaking to the backs of students’ heads, and I know it’s harder to keep them engaged.

2nd Period – Algebra 3

  • Since I wasn’t able to tell this class about the web site, I printed out the notes for them. This is a smaller class than 1st period (and at a slightly lower level, it seems so far), but they definitely showed more interest in the web site, especially when they heard I would be posting the answers to the homework.
  • Since all of the had the notes, we got through the presentation a little quicker, although I decided to still leave out the \sqrt{2} proof.
  • Like 1st period, they also would work on the examples, although they needed a little more hand-holding throughout the process. They seemed to be a little whinier, but that may be because they were more awake.

4th Period – Geometry

  • It’s kind of weird — both S and I admitted we were somewhat nervous about both this class and Algebra I, even though we’re teaching almost the same thing we did last year. However, between the interactive notebook, we’re having the kids do, and instituting SBG, it’s a lot of new stuff to mix in.
  • The newness bit me somewhat today as I ran out of time. I had planned to not only get through the first section of notes, but also to have them do an activity for additional practice. Instead, I only made it partway through the notes. Ah, well.
  • S and I were somewhat amused/horrified to watch students fill out the multiplication table we had them glue into their spirals. There were several who continued to look up at the screen to fill in their tables instead of filling them in themselves. Not good.
  • A few of them were whining about having to do stuff (cutting and pasting), but most of the class seemed to appreciate our different way of taking notes.

OfficeMax has spirals for 5¢! And filler paper for 1¢! S and I have stocked up. We have a spiral for every student in our Algebra I classes to have them do their warm-ups in, so we can assign journal-type entries. The spirals will stay in the class.

I think the worst things about starting school are the physical adjustments my body has to make: my voice gives out too fast (after spending the summer hardly talking to anyone) and my legs and feet are exhausted. I’ll be glad when I get reacclimated!

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