quick post

A lot is going on, and the learning is coming fast and furious.  Today the student teacher asked if we’re worried about the pacing guide.

My response:  “[Forget] the pacing guide.  We go at the speed of the students.”  (i was feeling inspired by punk mathematics)

I’ve given a quiz every other class (that’s about once a week – block schedule) and we’ve already identified weaknesses and strengths in both Algebra II and Precalculus.  We’ve found that 4 students in Algebra II can’t read points off a graph.  We know that many of our Precalculus students still have trouble finding slope from a pair of points.

We may be behind at the moment, but we are not going to leave a student behind.  And in a couple of weeks, that patience and loyalty is going to pay dividends.

On another note, by simple counting my lack of grading homework has led to an increase in homework “completion.”  I say “completion” because I only ask how many people did at least one problem from the homework.

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First Week

Although this blog is for my own personal reflection, I have to pretend I have a vast audience that is chomping at the bit for regular postings.  Perhaps this can be another avoidance strategy to lesson planning on Sunday nights.

What’s different and wonderful about this first week of the school year?

To begin, I know nearly all of my students already.  Those that I don’t know, know a fair amount about me and how demanding and strict I can be.  I gave an exit slip on the first day of each class asking for questions about me.  I didn’t give any spiel about who I am and how I teach.  I figured if they were interested, they would ask.  When the question, “are you strict?” came up, I was in a great position to explain how I am strict, but I’ve gotten very good about not being a jerk.  Yes, I will hold you to a high standard.  No, I will not let you pass just because you’re sucking up.  But there’s just no good reason I would need to be mean while enforcing my rules and standards.

Also, It’s wonderful to know the curriculum I’m teaching.  I taught Algebra II last year, I taught PreCalc two years ago, and this is my third year teaching Physics.

I’m very excited about standards based grading.  The concept is not new to my students.  Most of them have had SBG in their language arts classes for the past two years.  The shift for them is from pieces of evidence to make the grade, to multiple assessments.  I’m not grading homework, and I won’t accept homework as evidence of learning.  There has been a strong culture of copying for the past several years and I’m not going to forget.

Finally, it’s wonderful to have a student teacher to work with.  I couldn’t help but step in when he was leading an activity on the first day, but I do think that we’ve established to the students an expectation that we are partner teachers.  As time goes on, I’m sure I’ll need to step in less, and I think that’s appropriate.  Planning the first days of lessons was incredibly productive.  We’re both tossing out ideas, we’re both weighing in on what we think will be effective.  I still have the final say, which again will change when he takes over the class.

Goals for curriculum:

– Make something cohesive out of the first semester of Precalc (before trig)!

– Document the heck out of Physics, so someone else can step in and take over next year.  I just realized that video is going to be important there!

Right.  Enough procrastinating.  And check out Baths – Cerulean, excellent working music.