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Monday - October 13, 1997

Today was fairly standard. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, there was no nasty surprises, but on the other hand, I also didn't have a fun time or learn anything new. Ah well..
    I started out the day going over solving equations and inequalities of two variables with Algebra II. I had the class do their homework on the board and after I saw very few mistakes (without notes, yet!) I decided that they were ready to move on. So I worked on word problems with two variables in class. They did not like that... but I plowed on anyway. It wasn't until after class that Maureen tells me that they always skip that section! Great! Tomorrow I need to tell the class that "okay, you worked your butts off on this material and were probably all stressed out over it. Guess what? You did it for nothing?" I should practice ducking, now...
    Algebra I could have been more interesting. We are starting on solving equations. Since algebra essentially is solving equations, this is not a good section to screw up. I tried to make the entire process as concrete as possible. For instance, to illustrate that the equations had to "balance" out (what you do to one side, you have to do to the other) I brought in an actual balance and played around with different weights. I think that brought the message home to a few of the slower students in the class. I was also helped out by the fact that they have already done a little bit of solving equations in 8th grade. Quite a few people remembered how to do it, too.
    Whether it was my teaching or their previous knowledge, they sure demonstrated that they knew the material. I had the class put several exercises on the board to see if they were getting it. With only two notable exceptions, they all did fairly well on it. The two exceptions were not a surprise, either. Both were students that rarely paid attention and will doubtlessly flunk this class or squeak by with a 'D'.
    I'm going to go over the homework with a fine tooth comb tomorrow. We'll see if they really did get it.

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