## Saturday, September 8, 2012

### New Blogger Initiation - Week 3

Welcome to another exciting week of the New Bloggers Initiation! I am so excited to get to share more great blogs with you! Please take a few moments, read through these submissions, and leave a comment to welcome them to our community.

### Kyle Harlow - War and Piecewise Functions

Kyle Harlow (@KBHarlow) has a blog named "War and Piecewise Functions". The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "HS Math & The "Dump" Theory" and the author sums it up as follows: "The biggest misconception I see in my new students is their belief that math classes are entirely self-contained. They think that anything they need to know this year will be taught/learned this year. Then I try to take a few shots at fixing it."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "I’m just tired of spending days reteaching fractions, properties of exponents/radicals, factoring, solving equations, the quadratic formula, the unit circle, function transformations, and a dozen other things in every single course I teach, no matter the level."

My thoughts... Kyle's post really hit home with me. I gave a "review" yesterday in Algebra 2 over concepts from Algebra 1, such as slope. I was shocked at how many kids had no clue where to start on such a simple concept! Oftentimes, kids "rent" the information until the exam, then immediately break their lease. They never "own" the material and get that it is something that needs to stick with them. I blame some of this on the "mile wide, inch deep" curriculum, but that's a whole 'nother post!

### Frank McGown - Finding the Process

Frank McGowan has a blog named "Finding the Process". The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "Less than one, equal to one, greater than one" and the author sums it up as follows: "From estimations that students are sure will be too high or too low to benchmark judgements, quick check-ins with students can provide a lot of insight on their thinking. This post relates a scenario as students work to understand part-to-whole relationships."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "Their reasoning was that 147 is greater than 100 so the fraction must be greater than one."

My thoughts... Reading Frank's post makes me realize how much I truly love small group work. Like Frank, I enjoy eavesdropping and asking questions as students struggle to internalize a concept. I also realized that I need to find the video clip he is talking about so I can use it next year!

### Jeff Brenneman - Trust Me - I'm a Math Teacher

Jeff Brenneman (@brennemania) has a blog named "Trust Me - I'm a Math Teacher". The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "It's School Again! Huzzah! (Part 1 of 2)" and the author sums it up as follows: "This is the first of a two-part blog reflecting on the first week of school. In this post, I discuss my interactions with the freshmen on their first day, and also post a really cute picture of my dog. Because I love my dog. And I also love freshmen."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "Some [freshmen] looked at us as if we had just picked our noses with an acetylene torch."

My thoughts... I truly enjoyed reading about Jeff's first day of school. I love that each teacher stood outside to personally welcome each incoming student. While I adore my school, sometimes I miss the personalized touch that comes with teaching in a small school.

### Katrina Hamilton - Lady Leibmiz and the Galileo Girls

Katrina Hamilton (@klwarsin) has a blog named "Lady Leibmiz and the Galileo Girls". The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "This is Math" and the author sums it up as follows: "This post is all about what I believe mathematics really is. It starts with some wise words from Einstein and Descartes, and ends with how I put that into my classroom. It's the most personal post I've written, because it goes to the core of who am I am as a mathematician and a teacher."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "There's nothing like it to make you feel like a genius and an idiot all at once."

My thoughts... I love Katrina's story about David, the college professor that truly showed the beauty of mathematics. I know, that as a teacher, I don't spark this curiousity nearly enough. I get too wrapped up in the minute details that seem to rule my life at times and forget that I should be fostering that love for a beautiful discipline. Thank you, Katrina, for reminding me of that love.

### gooberspeaks - Reflections from an Asymptote

gooberspeaks has a blog named "Reflections from an Asymptote". The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "Day 1 .... DONE" and the author sums it up as follows: "Algebra 1 takes all those skills you learn in elementary school and middle school and apply them to three topics (1) writing and solving equations of lines (2) writing and solving equations of quadratics and (3) graphing. Algebra 2 is the same stuff – we are still writing and solving and graphing – but instead of looking ad nauseum at lines and a little less ad nauseum at quadratics, we are going to spend time writing, solving and graphing many different kinds of problems ..."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "Algebra 1 takes all those skills you learn in elementary school and middle school and apply them to three topics (1) writing and solving equations of lines (2) writing and solving equations of quadratics and (3) graphing. Algebra 2 is the same stuff – we are still writing and solving and graphing ..."

My thoughts... I totally agree! I also teach Algebra 2 and it reminds me of those awkward "tween" years. Too grown up for the basic and simple "childish" things, but not grown up enough for the "adult" issues. I try hard to make Algebra 2 interesting, but it's so difficult!

### Lisa Nussdorfer - Instruction for all

Lisa Nussdorfer (@nussder) has a blog named "Instruction for all". The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled "Negative and Negative is Positive, Right?" and the author sums it up as follows: "This is about how I address the concept of the subtraction of integers which many students haven't completely mastered. I write about the ways I work with individual students and the whole class."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "Especially teaching 9th through 11th graders, many student have had Algebra I multiple times which unfortunately can reinforce certain misconceptions."

My thoughts... Lisa brings up such a great point about student misconceptions here. I think the abstract nature of Algebra is really difficult for many kids to grasp and oftentimes it is a struggle for me to see where the student misconception is. I have a student this year that was really struggling with how to visually tell a positive slope from a negative slope and try as I might, that was a misconception that I just could not fathom. Sometimes I really wish I could jump into the kiddo's brain and see what they are thinking.

### Wesley - Intervals of Convergence

Wesley (@wp202) has a blog named "Intervals of Convergence". The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled ""Can I do this?"" and the author sums it up as follows: "A student uses her own understanding of linear equations and slope to come up with her own way to find an equation of a line."

A memorable quotation from the post is: "Glad to see the main concept stuck."

My thoughts... I really love that Wesley didn't use a "formula" to teach writing equations of lines. I had a similar thought the other day about point-slope form and since I had just taught transformations, I had them write an equation with a slope of 3, going through the point (-1, 4), so that the "vertex" had shifted left one and up four. I was so pleased to see that most of the students easily wrote the equation of the line correctly, without me teaching "point-slope form".