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Showing posts from April, 2009

Three things...

I managed to sign myself up for a How to write a better blog online course. Because, dear reader, this blog isn't just for you... no, this is to teach me how to be a better writer and a better reflecter (I'll bet that's not even the right use of the word... but I'm going to pull a you can do anything on the internet, grammar and spelling don't count)
So my task today to improve said blog is to provide a list. Totally open-ended. The rest of the 10,000 participants in this online course are mostly marketers, trying to sell something (not necessarily material but also opinion). That's not my goal so my list then is this, right off the cuff. I have to get this done because I have planning to do for tomorrow. I want to use Google Sketchup in my MPM1D Geometry class and that will take a little time.

Three things that will make me a better teacher:

Reflection. Reflection. Reflection. Reflection on what I am teaching, how I am teaching it, how it was received, h…

Parents...

I had a great conversation with some parents the other day. When they first emailed, they mentioned they wanted to talk about their students' math. My first thought was why? Very bright kid, very self-motivated, always at the top of the class - I figured they wanted information on his continued acceleration.
No... they wanted to discuss assessment and grading practices. We had a great conversation, mainly because they have a daughter in the same course taught by another teacher. Now, I have to admit my approach to teaching in my non-Calculus classes is non-traditional for an independent high school. I'm very much a constructivist, I don't like to be the one talking in the class and, most important to the parents' discussion, I refuse to just average scores for tests throughout the year. I patiently track the students' progress through all our assessments and adjust scores as they exhibit understanding (thank god for spreadsheets). It may take all year before a…

KenKen

Over the March Break (when I had some unstructured down time) I ran into a new puzzle form -- the KenKen. While it has a superficial similarity to Sodoku in that the numbers can't be repeated in a column or row that's where the similarity ends. In KenKen, the large grid has been broken up into cages - highlighted areas that have to be filled in with an arithmetic expression to hit the target number written at the top of the cage. There is also an arithmetic operation at the top of each cage. So, for example, if 24 x is at the top of the cage, the cage would have to be filled with as many numbers as cells in the cage and those numbers would have to multiply to 24 (so it could be 2x3x4 or 4x6 depending on the number of cells in the cage and the restriction against repetition, of course). As an exercise in class, it's a good reinforcer of basic skills (no calculator, of course). Once my students have the hang of completing the puzzle, we're going to move on to cons…