brain activity

Ah, the busy routine of the school year begins to settle in, and my perceived time for these ramblings diminishes.  But here’s what’s on the brain recently.

Mr. Joe Math

I’ve managed to keep a class blog going strong for these 3+ weeks, and I think it’s something I will be able to keep up for the long term.  Mostly I use it to post copies of classwork, homework, and solutions to homework and quiz questions.  Hopefully the format is easy to use by anyone wanting to, uh, borrow curriculum that I’ve worked out.  For that matter, much of what I’ve used is borrowed from these two sources:

Those interested in seeing the unit plan for these materials need look no farther than the menu bar—up there where it says “Number Systems Unit.”

Kate’s website and trying to steal curriculum

Last post I mentioned something about the feeling of “Second Unit Blues.”  It’s happened to the best of us—that first unit is oh-so-well-though-out because frankly I’ve spent half of the summer (or at least half of my working summer) thinking it out.  Maybe this feeling will diminish in years when I’m teaching a unit I’ve actually taught before, but who knows?

But life, and my class, goes on.  I’m two days into the new unit (dubbed “Irrational/Imaginary” if for nothing else than the mystery factor), and I’m feeling my way through explorations of periodic decimal expansions and equivalent fraction forms.  For future attractions on our journey to the complex plane, I look to the internet.  I needn’t look far: Kate at f(t) is already working on some of the same ideas in a very interesting way.  Irrational, check; Imaginary, double check (I mean check out the pictures there).

Of course, I want more.  Any ideas?

SBG successes and challenges

Speaking of functions of time: consider the amount of time I spend explaining principles of SBG in my class.  This week was overloaded—I needed to pitch the idea of reassessment and explain my “late work policy.”  Does your math project magically become worse by not turning it in?  Will it lose 10% of its quality for every day it’s late?  Most kids get this and I see a lot of head nodding.  Yet some are so ingrained with the standard paradigm that I keep getting questions, “So how many points will I lose if turn it in on Friday, or next Tuesday?”

My best response: “I don’t do points.”  C.f. Shawn and everyone else in the SBG crew.

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