Sunday, September 14, 2008

Frog Ponds :)

Ok, now that the rant is over, it's time to share ideas again!! Tomorrow should be a fun day - I hope!!

This summer, I found the following frog pond game at Dollar Tree, so I quickly bought 8 sets for my class. Tomorrow we will be using them to gather some data. Here's a picture of the frog pond setup:

This year, I am trying to make a real effort to "teach" using data we collect in class. Here's the datasheet for the frog pond.

In Geometry, we are playing a review game as well, so I'm hoping that tomorrow is a nice, easy day overall :)

Now to go veg and watch some TV - I'm at a stopping place early for once!!

A Mini-Rant

Do you ever feel that your best just isn't good enough? Sometimes I feel that way. I bust my ass every day, spending evenings and weekends finding creative ways to teach my students, but we rarely hear a "wow, you guys did a great job! Thanks for all of your hard work and effort".. instead we hear "Cool - let's see if you can do better"

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for continuous improvement, I do push myself to do better, I am a mostly self-motivated person... but it's still sometimes hard to constantly hear how you could have done better. Eventually you wear down and wonder "why even try?" *sigh*

This mini-rant is a product of test scores, which all districts now use to determine too much about the classroom. Rather than celebrating that 89% of our on-level Geometry kiddos passed their state-mandated Geometry exam (compared to 68% overall throughout the state), we are given a list of our "weaknesses" and asked to create a plan to do better. For me, one weakness was right triangle trig. Now considering that I covered SOHCAHTOA on Friday before the exam started on Monday, I know this was a weakness, but I was tickled pink that my students overall got ANY of those right!

I really try to be a positive person, so I apologize for this rant, but I'm tired and frustrated of demands placed on teachers without so much as a pat on the back.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A couple of updates :)

Ahhh - can I start the weekend over? I had a fairly relaxing weekend at the lake (minus a snafu with my dad), but with no time to grade, now I feel under the gun :)
However, before getting my nose to the grindstone, I wanted to give you guys an update on a few items around here...

The Professional Day....
The presentation went VERY well. I was pleased with how it turned out. Major kudos to Dan Yates, who had already typed many of the AP questions and sent them to e so that I was able to copy and paste the stem of the problem and graphics and then just add in the adapted questions for the Algebra and Pre-Calc classes. The handout ended up being 12 pages front/back and the other teachers seemed to really appreciate it. I was so nervous, but in the end, it was worth it.

The Geometry Challenge....
When I posted the pictures of my classroom, one was of a bulletin board called the Geometry Challenge. This is my Geometry extra-credit board, where kids can weekly earn extra credit for answering a problem (problems come from the NCTM calendar from the magazine Mathematics Teacher). I print the posters using a free software called PagePlus and paste the pages together. The kids seem to really enoy this weekly puzzle. Here's a pic of the board w/ the PagePlus pages:

I hope things are going well for all of you! Off to grade a mountain of papers :)