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Wednesday - October 1, 1997

Boy, is this school cold in the morning! Apparently, they are installing a new boiler that will handle both the high school and the new elementary school. This new boiler is still not hooked up and won't be for some undetermined amount of time. As a result, there is no heat in the school right now. My classroom is freezing first hour and is only marginally better after that.
    I lectured on solving inequalities and equations containing absolute values today. Rather then just show them examples on the board, I would write the inequality and have a (not-so) randomly picked student "step me through" working it out. It seemed to work well. I also used a memory device that Maureen suggested to help the students remember some key points. Namely, inequalities with the > (greater than) symbol are disjunctions ("or") and inequalities with the < (less than) symbol are conjunctions ("and"). The way to remember them is to think "greator" and "less thand". It's cheesy, but I'll bet it works! I also had the students do the oral exercises in class. They seemed to catch on pretty fast.
    For Algebra I, 4th hour, I wanted to go through the material as fast as possible without losing anybody in the process. 4th hour was a section behind 5th hour and this would not do when it came time to take the chapter test. Since sections 2-12 and 2-13 are largely review (dividing with fractions and adding fractions, respectively), I felt I could rush them a little without confusing too many people. I think it worked. I made sure I involved the class as much as possible and after each section, I had them do the classroom (or oral) exercises in class. They seemed to catch on. We'll see tomorrow.
    Now we come to 5th hour. Where to start... How about, they were great today! Really. Maureen sat down in the front of the room after class started and proceeded to tell them calmly and rationally that they were all acting like a bunch of irresponsible, immature brats and if they didn't shape up, them we would turn this class into a boot camp. That wasn't exactly what she said, but that was the gist of it. She never raised her voice, even! I was impressed. The class looked like a bunch of whipped puppies. Some of the their faces were so long, I was afraid they were going to hit the floor.
    And it worked! There was no talking during class. They asked quite a few questions. When I called on people, they were paying attention. Wow! If they were like this everyday, I might not mind teaching the class, even. We'll see how long it lasts...
    As a result of all the questions, though, I was not able to get into my lecture at all. So I just told them to read the next section and do the classroom exercises. This means that 5th hour is now an hour behind 4th hour. I guess I like it better that way, though. I had wanted to spend an extra day doing chapter review with 5th hour, anyway. Now I'll get my chance.
    So all in all, the day went great (minus the shivering during the morning). Hopefully, this lasts until tomorrow.

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