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
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
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.