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Thursday - October 16, 1997

Today was nothing like I expected it to be. I totally forgot that the sophmores were taking some standardized test (the "PLAN" test) that would take up most of the morning. My Algebra II class has exactly two non-sophmores... hardly enough to justify doing any teaching. So I finished up the quiz I was making for Algebra II for Lois' class and I'll just give it to them tomorrow. 2nd hour became just another study hall for the 2 juniors.
    Fourth hour was roughly like I expected it to be. I went over the homework on using multiplication and division to solve equations and there was not very many questions. I then started into a quick lecure on combining terms in equations before solving. Since simplifying was the point of chapter two, I didn't spend too much time on it. I had the class do the classroom exercises individually and I asked random people to do them on the board when they finished. When all takers got their problem right, I split the class up into groups and gave them the rest of the time to work on the assignment. They were very quiet, though. I'm not sure that group work (at least in this instance) is doing anything for them. We'll see.
    I thought I was going to have a class full of angels in 5th hour, today. Hah! That list of kids going on the field trip (you know, the list of troublemakers) apparently did not include the JV football players. The JV football team was leaving for somewhere at 2:50 and the field trip wasn't coming back until 3:10. It just so happens that of the 5th hour kids in the class, only 2 were not football players -- Levi and Brent. This meant that my class had every bit as many potential trouble spots as every other day. There went my ideas of group work in 5th hour...
    So I just lectured. The hour was a near mirror of 4th hour, with the only exception being the group work. I thought briefly of splitting them up anyway... but after telling them to quiet down twice while working problems out on the board, I scrapped that idea.
    I did one particular problem (5x-18=2x+3) on the board in both 4th and 5th hour. I thought it was similar enough to what they were doing in this section to be able to understand what I was doing. Boy was I wrong! 4th hour got it a little. 5th hour had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. It turns out that solving problems like that doesn't come up for at least 4 more sections. Whoops!
    Sixth hour was a surprise, too. Maureen and I usually spend that hour just shooting the breeze. Today, though, with the shop teacher gone, they needed a classroom to contain his 8th grade shop class. Maureen's room was empty, so they trucked 'em in there. There went our rest hour. At least the kids were quiet.
    And seventh hour, I taught geometry for the first time. How anti-climatic. I suppose I have been helping out in that class for so long that the students know me... but it still seemed strange that it felt absolutely no different to be teaching that class than it did to be helping out. The section we covered involved using construction tools like a straightedge and compass (as opposed to measurement tools like a ruler and protractor) to reconstruct congruent lines and angles. The class had already done similar things in 8th grade so they caught on fast. I asked if they had any clue why their construction methods worked and got the answer of "Mrs. Codere said so." I'm not surprised. Well, that changes this year!
    All in all, not a bad day -- just unexpected.

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