Archive for August 29th, 2012


First Days’ Reflection

August 29, 2012

One of the things I am bound and determined to do this year is to reflect upon the lessons I am teaching. It’s late, and I should be in bed, but I want to get at least something written down about how the first two days of school went.

My Geometry classes are so tiny (13, 10, and 9), that it’s going to be quite an adjustment to see how things work out. I think they were amused by my showing them pictures of some of my friends and me from high school to point out that we don’t always end up doing what we plan to do. I’m pretty sure 2nd and 3rd period got the point I was trying to make by showing them part of a cricket match (this is the video I showed, in case anyone is interested) contrasted with highlights from a Texas Rangers baseball game (here) to try to illustrate that one reason they might not like math is because they don’t understand the rules of the game. I was actually impressed that someone in 3rd period recognized the sport as cricket; however, he didn’t know any more than I did about it (which is almost nothing).

The actual lesson on inductive and deductive reasoning went okay. I know it’s a lot of text to put them through on the first day of school (although I did give them a “holey notes” booklet to fill in). I was a little distressed that given a sequence of 1, 4, 9, and 16, that they didn’t recognize that they were squares. In 3rd and 6th period, I was able to show my favorite video (“Don’t End Up in a Roadside Ditch”) as an example of an invalid syllogism.

I forgot to hand out homework to 2nd and 3rd period, so I didn’t hand it out to 6th. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that. I also forgot/ran out of time to do any kind of exit slips. **Grr**

Algebra 3
These two classes are both on the large side (28 and 30), so it’s going to be a bit of an adjustment from the tiny Geometry classes. They seem like a fun group, and there are about four or five that I have previously taught in Geometry. One idea that I had actually worked out really well: I wanted to illustrate why they should not talk when I am talking, so I asked for two volunteers (4th period volunteered much more readily than 7th period). I gave one volunteer a piece of paper with a short description of the Battle of Hastings, and the other volunteer received a paper with an excerpt from a newspaper article about Tony Romo in the Cowboys’ win on Saturday. I had them read the two passages aloud at the same time. After they finished, I put up a short quiz on the Battle of Hastings. Not surprisingly, the only ones who got the questions correct were the people who had read the passage (which makes me wonder a bit about their knowledge of English history, but oh, well). They seemed to get the point I wanted to make. We’ll see if it sticks.

We managed to get through the Number Theory lesson, which is one of my favorites, because it seems so simple, but the underlying concepts are so huge. I also find it funny that I’m talking about concepts that they’ve basically heard since elementary school (converting fractions into decimals), but I’m taking it in a much deeper direction (converting repeating decimals into fractions). Fun stuff!

As in Geometry, I completely forgot about exit slips.

We weren’t able to meet today because several of us had been “volunteered” to help pass out schedules to students who were just now showing up at school. They actually didn’t keep us that long, so I got most of a conference period to work.

All in all, not a bad beginning, but I definitely see some things I want to improve.