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Thursday - October 30, 1997

Today wasn't quite on par with yesterday, but not bad just the same. Maureen was in school during the morning (I guess, I only saw her for a few minutes at a time) but was driven home during 3rd hour with a splitting headache. Practically speaking, I had the classes to myself for the entire day. Not bad.
    Algebra II was almost a disaster. I think a less-confident person than myself would have totally botched it. As it was, it was only mildly embarrassing. I am referring to the fact that for five minutes I was teaching the exact opposite of what I intended to teach the class. I was trying to convince them that all points above y=x+2 is denoted by the inequality y<x+2. This, of course, is totally untrue. The proper inequality is y>x+2. But for five full minutes I stood my ground. It wasn't until I started to make no sense to me that I sat down for 30 seconds and looked over my lesson plan. It didn't take long for me to see my mistake. After I corrected myself, the class caught on. I gave the class the rest of class to work on the exercises.
    A note on that: Since 2nd hour is a pretty good class, I usually allow them more leeway in areas like talking in class and getting off task. I may have to reign them in a little, though. Today, a few of the girls were getting a little too out of hand. I'm going to try to just talk with them individually, at first, but if that doesn't work, I'm going to have to crack down. I really don't want to do that...
    In 3rd hour Geometry, I gave a quiz that took roughly 30 minutes. They spent the rest of the hour working on their exercises and on the chapter review. A pretty standard class.
    I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do in 4th hour. In fact, I didn't even make up a lesson plan (good thing Parker didn't come in!). The thing was, they were a day ahead of 5th hour and were done with all the word problems in the section. Since 5th hour is struggling so much on the material, though, I am having a hard time believing that 4th hour is acing it that easily. So I gave a homework quiz. I told the class to put away their notes and open up their textbooks. That done, I assigned them to do problems number 17 to 28 as a quiz. This was the homework that they had been working on for the past couple of days. I was expecting it to take them 30 minutes or so and I still wasn't sure what I was going to fill up the rest of the time with. Thankfully, the quiz took nearly the entire class the entire hour. Whew. I didn't grade it yet, though, so I have no clue how they did on it. I do know that they all got all the answers right -- I put them on the board when they started the test. I wanted to see if they understood the procedures, the answers themself were fairly meaningless.
    5th hour was almost enough to dampen my mood. I had to tell three kids to stay after class for talking and I warned quite a few others. What it comes down to is that a few kids just won't stop talking, no matter what I do. One of them is always a "victim"; as in "I wasn't doing anything. You're always picking on me." sigh I worked out a bunch of the hard problems on the board in infinite detail. I then had the class work on the "even's" for the rest of the hour. The class was productive, but my stress level was certainly raised from all the talking.
    7th hour bordered on fun! The entire class was in an incredibly good mood and even the quiz didn't dampen their mood. A few of the kids had brought in snacks and pop for a mini Halloween "party." I allowed a bit more off-topic talk then normal while still keeping the class relatively on task. They got at least as much done as 3rd hour so I didn't feel bad for given them a little more free reign.
    I wasn't all that pleased by a few of the kids' performance on the quiz, though. The first question demanded that the student construct a circumscribed circle around a triangle. This is exactly what we have been doing for the past week or so. They have all (in theory) done tens of similar constructions in the past couple of days... So why is it that at least 3 kids had absolutely no mention of either circumscribed circles or circumcenters. NO mention. That bordered on impossible. How is it possible to keep up with the class, doing even some of the required work without using circumcenters? It's not! This totally baffles me. Ah well. This wasn't enough to dampen my spirits. It was a fun class.
    All in all, a fairly decent day.

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