Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The projects are finally done (after a one day extension and some issues with videos). Today in class we had our "gallery walk" where the kids had the chance to see and make comments on the other projects. Then they voted on their favorite project (the winners will get some extra credit).

These were the two winners:

I'm pretty sure they voted for the second glog because of the kid in the video at the bottom. He's a former class member who was the charismatic sort that all of the kids liked.

I haven't had much of a chance to look through them all, but I was really impressed with the kids who used Prezi. It's definitely harder to figure out than Glogster is! But it's so cool when it's done.

This is one that the kids enjoyed. Here's another. I wish they'd figured out how to get their videos on them (I know it's possible) but they didn't. One group did a Harry Patter video that took them three hours (with an admitted "wii" break in the middle).

We've had some issues at school lately with a conversion of our computers to a new system. They did the teachers' several weeks ago and are slowly getting to all of the labs and carts. Yesterday (of course) they decided to do the cart that the kids were using. One girl lost her whole project (she did a powerpoint and hadn't uploaded it to empressr yet even though it was due today) but everything else turned out ok. Hopefully the lost files can be recovered. Our fingers are crossed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I assigned my precalc kids a Conics project today. After wrestling with what to have them do (in the past couple of years I've assigned a wiki -here's 2008 and 2007) I decided to try something new. I prepared a powerpoint (via Google Docs) yesterday with some directions and links and requirements, etc. My plan was to assign the students groups and a conic, then they were to make a glog (a digital poster) on glogster.

This morning after I arrived at school, I changed my mind. Instead of requiring them all to do a glog, I gave them 3 choices - a glog, a presentation via prezi, or a presentation via empressr. I was hoping that one of these tools would make each of the groups excited about working on the project! Most of the kids hadn't heard of any of the options.

I hurriedly changed my powerpoint to include those options, made sure I had accounts set up on prezi and empressr for the kids to use, and off we went. (Oh, include in there a worksheet with links, directions, criteria, and recommendations, and that adds up to a very busy morning!)

My first class seemed pretty excited about the project - I think they were happy that it wasn't like the last project they did (a combinations of functions thing that a lot of them struggled with), that they'd have 3 days in class to work on it, and that they got to work with their friends on computers (I relented and let them pick their groups after they told me it would make their projects better - we'll see about that!). I assigned their conics and they started exploring the tools I'd shown them.

It looks like most of the groups will end up using Glogster while some ambitious groups are going for Prezi (it just looks so cool!). There are some groups talking about making a video (which I soooo hope they do! I reserved the school's flip cameras for them to use in class tomorrow/Friday). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the end products are good!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I just checked out the website for the International Slide Rule Museum (from which my class set was borrowed). My kids are famous! The girls would die if I told them their pictures made the front page, so I'll just keep that piece of information to myself.

Here's our blurb:
I think the reference to the color of the ribbon is because I changed the maroon and white ribbon (our rival high school's colors) to orange (ours).
My fellow precalc teacher told me after school today that she had her kids working on the tablets (a cart somehow lives in her room unless someone else signs it out) on graphing exponential and log functions. Then I guess she was projecting some of their answers so the class could check. Nice idea when you have a class set! Anyway, she projected one kid's graph just to see this written at the top of his screen:
"Holy shift! Look at the asymptotes on that mother function!"

She said she couldn't help but laugh, but chastised him for the "mother function" bit. I can't imagine what I would've done besides pee my pants giggling.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some pictures of my kids working with the slide rules yesterday...

(The boys on the football team got their hair cut into (modified) mohawks when they made the playoffs... no, they don't normally looks like that!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh, poor blog, how I've neglected you so.

I've been crazy busy lately, both with school-work and with home stuff. My boy's 5 billion activities (or so it seems) have temporarily abated so I currently have a few moments to let you all (and myself) know what's going on!

My Algebra 2 class is slowly chugging along. The kids started out the quarter horribly (with a 65% class average on our first test) and while things aren't great (a 73% class average now) I think they've learned a lesson and have started to work again. There are, of course, some exceptions to that, but aside from forcing them to come see me for extra help and camping out by their desks while they have time to work, there's nothing that I can do! I hope they see the light before it's too late. We have a test tomorrow (over systems of equations) that we've been reviewing for for ages, so hopefully things will continue to pick up.

I tried a couple different activities in class to help review that I got ideas for from twitter. @k8nowak has posted before about using a Row Game - she makes two columns of problems with the same answers. The students work through the problems in pairs (each doing one column) then compare answers to make sure they match. It sounded like a great activity (and would probably work in a different class!) but with these guys not so much. They didn't want to pair up, didn't want to work, etc. Bleh. Here's a link to the sheet.

Today I arranged the rooms in clusters (as we called them) of 3 desks apiece (there were 8 clusters). @msgregson e-mailed me some sample review cards that she'd used on solving systems and matrices which I altered to fit my needs - I made four different cards (2 copies each) and laminated them. Then each cluster had 8 minutes per card to solve before we rotated the cards. This seemed to work better (except for those kids who just can't get in gear right now). The kids talked about what they were doing and what was right/wrong (I wrote the answers to previous cards on the back). I'll definitely be doing that one again! (I can't find the file on my computer... hopefully it'll pop up!)

In Precalculus we just finished a chapter on logs and exponential equations. The test was Friday, so I'd been trying to think of something we could do for these two days this week before Thanksgiving (and wanted to try something new). I found a link for the International Slide Rule Museum which said they have class sets of slide rules that they'll mail out for free. I contacted the site and very promptly received a response... and a set of 30 slide rules in the mail! Of course, I didn't know how to use a slide rule, so I set to learn enough that I could teach (always a harder task than we can imagine!). Today was day 1 of Slide Rule class... one precalc class was pretty receptive and seemed to enjoy themselves, the other whined and complained and basically made themselves pains. Oh well! It was interesting! Here's a link to the lesson that I put together (but couldn't print because our network was down!).

Phew. That at least gets me caught up for this past week! :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just giving this a shot before trying to add it to my class blogs. . .

I received a Google Wave invite from a follower on Twitter... but now what? My username is klb925@googlewave.com, so please add me if you have it! I'm thinking that it's like Twitter and it's all about who you follow and who follows you. Time will tell!

I started probability today in my general classes; instead of just going right into the new info, I had the kids all grab a white board and marker and eraser and told them to draw 5 dashes. I set up the random number generator on my virtual TI (on my tablet... I mean, on my colleague's tablet - I still don't have mine!). Their goal was to get the biggest number possible by placing the digits as I gave them. The kids seemed to enjoy it - they wanted to add additional spaces and then we switched to the smallest number possible. I gave the student in each class with the most wins some extra credit. After we finished, we talked about the probability of making the number 99999 - they were amazed to find out that you'd have a 1 in 100000 chance of getting 5 nines in a row! It was a great intro to what we'd be talking about. Many thanks to Dave Marain at MathNotations for the idea!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I had an e-mail from my principal last week saying that she was going to be out observing in the next couple of weeks and asking when a good time to come might be (in the next couple of weeks? really? can we narrow it down a bit?). I responded saying that anytime we don't have a test or quiz will be fine (which is true) but it also got me thinking that I need to find some activities to do to help spice things up. I think I've done a pretty good job of that so far this year (and I've been working hard to try and do it!) but I'm sure everyone realizes that being observed in class is just more incentive to do better.

In Algebra 2 we just spent 2+ painful days on piecewise functions. I was having a bad day when we started and don't think I explained them that well, but I really don't understand why they're so hard. One thing that really annoyed me that first day was that I started out with a chart of t-shirt prices (you know how when you buy stuff like that they get cheaper the more you buy? perfect piecewise function!) and we talked about how much it would cost for 8 or 15 or whatever, then wrote the piecewise function to match. (Wasn't that a good start? I thought it would be.) So then 2 minutes later as we were graphing a pw function, one of the kids said, "When are we ever going to see these?" I just scrolled up to the top of my sheet and circled the problem we'd started with. Didn't say a word. He was like, "Oh."

Anyway, today we moved on to translating functions. There aren't any good "life" problems that involve translating functions that I'm aware of, but I wanted to try some different activities for them, so I put a call out on Twitter asking if anyone had anything. I got three responses back, two of which consisted of my class lesson today. (Yay!) @msgregson sent me a copy of her Parabola Story then @dgreenedcp sent me a link to his translating function material that I pulled a worksheet from. My plan was to do the worksheet tomorrow, but we didn't get to the notes that I had ready, so we'll do them tomorrow and the worksheet I think will fit for tonight. We'll see how that goes! I <3 twitter!

My idea for tomorrow (originally) was to do the worksheet (that I gave tonight), then play some bingo with the cards that I made from this site. That might wait until Monday....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The good news about my tablet coming home was short-lived. The day after I wrote that, the tech guy in the building came up to my room (in the middle of class) to tell me that he had good news and bad news. Uh oh! The good news was that my tablet had arrived back at the building. The bad news was that he was checking it out and the mousepad (my original problem) still didn't work. He was boxing it back up and sending it back to Toshiba. :( I haven't heard anything since.

I'm hoping that it's back by Christmas.

I really shouldn't complain. If I didn't have a tablet to use then I'd definitely be having issues. I do, however, have a loaner tablet, so things have been proceeding pretty normally (although this one has issues sometimes when I have too much going on). I set up a new folder on the desktop to keep track of all of the stuff I'd normally keep on my C: drive... at quick count, I have almost 125 items in that folder. Wow! A lot of the items are pdf's of Windows Journal notes (I create a .pdf so I can upload it to embedit.in and then post in on my class blogs), but that's still a lot of work done in the last month!

Speaking of Windows Journal... I've abandoned my attempt at using OneNote. I love the idea of it, and it definitely kept me organized. There were just some aspects of it that didn't make it easy to use.

1. You can't scroll easily when writing on a blank sheet. Like if I were giving notes in class and wanted to scroll up so the writing wasn't too near the bottom of the board, it would move everything up and you wouldn't be able to see any writing. For the kids who are still trying to catch up, though, it wasn't a good thing.

2. When you print out a page, the lines don't come along with it. That really stunk. I like to prepare an outline of notes to give to some of my classes, but I didn't like how they don't have the lines to help them out. I did a little bit of research on it and found that there's no easy way to get those lines on the page! Boo.

3. Printing worksheets to it just wasn't pretty. Often I type something up in Word then want to print it to OneNote (now Journal) to write on in class. Maybe I'm being picky, but it just didn't come out nice! I had to re-size documents to make them fit the whole page... then they'd be all pixel-y. If it took up too much of the page I'd lose the title. There just didn't seem to be a nice way to do it all at once!

OneNote just wasn't meant for me. There are some things I miss about it - especially the nice drawing tools available right there on the screen (unlike Journal). If I were a student and had a tablet I would definitely give it a shot! But for me, I think my experiment is over. I'm a Journal girl.

On a different note.... I'm amazed at how busy I've been so far this school year - I just can't seem to catch up! Today's the first day all year that I've been able to sit in the library after school (doing my duty) with nothing to do. It's wonderful! I haven't even opened my Google Reader for several days, though, so everything's not as rosy as it could be. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

I thought it might be fun to try and get the Jeopardy! theme song on my Algebra 2 and Precalc blogs since we're playing it the next couple of days in class. So off I went to search for a way to do it.

First, I found a version of the song online that I could download (as an .mp3).

Then I came across a website called DivShare where you can upload and store media and then you're given an embed code to use on your blog. It worked perfectly and was so easy to do!

Here's a link to my Algebra 2 blog where you can see how it turned out!
Still no tablet. :( (not mine, anyway)

A couple of cool things already have happened today.
1. I checked out the "eSolutions" disk from our new Algebra 2 book. You can actually customize the solutions that are shown! Like if I assign #1 - 4, 6 - 10 on a certain page, I can plug in those numbers and just show them. Love it!

2. I just threw together a Jeopardy review for my Algebra 2 kids for tomorrow. Their Chapter 1 test is on Wednesday. What I liked about it is that because I already had the powerpoint format, all I had to do was plug in some questions/answers. Did it in about 30 minutes. Love it again!

Monday, September 7, 2009

I came upstairs to go to bed almost an hour ago and got sucked into Twitter. Dan Meyer posted an interesting question about grocery store lines - Which line would you choose? A line with one cart (of 19 items) or a line with four carts (of 1, 2, 3, or 5 items)? It was cool to see the responses coming in!

Just ran across this joke on twitter user treed's blog. Would be a funny one to show when we talk about interest!

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Worksheet Generator. Hopefully worth a look!

I seriously can't wait to get my tablet back. Seriously. From what I hear, it's been sent back to the manufacturer to get some parts replaced. It took almost a week for the tech guy here to get the box to ship it in. I'm hoping to have it back by Christmas! (Said with only a little bit of sarcasm!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Something new to remember:

This is a website with interactive measuring of lines/angles. Would be a good thing to show my Integrated Geometry classes when we get to our geometry chapter (yes, that's singular... we just switched names but not curriculum yet - the parents were all confused about it at Open House last night!).

An Algebra 2 project where we make a catapault? Could be fun. Could be dangerous. :) Definitely a blog that I need to add to my reader!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My tablet's been sent away to have some repair work done, so I'm borrowing a fellow math teacher's for the time being (he got a new tablet this year because he's an e-coach). It's killing me! Sure, I have the tablet (which is nice) but I'm missing a lot of the things that I have on my desktop.... and didn't think to save to my network storage before I gave my computer away. :(

One big thing that I'm missing is my inability to use Diigo to save links - I actually e-mailed myself one earlier today! I was just about to do that again when I thought about putting them on here so I can come back to them later.

1. This is a link to an article about Michelle Duggar, who is pregnant with her 19th child. (Can you imagine?! I can't - my two drive me crazy!) The projections near the bottom are funny. It would be something to show my algebra 2 classes when we get to exponential functions.

2. I've been thinking that it might be fun to try out a slide rule with my precalc kids when we do logs. Here's a link to a tutorial (hopefully it'll be a good for a first timer, too!).

3. I discovered last year that my Integrated kids really enjoyed looking at optical illusions. Seriously, they got really excited when I found some new ones. Here's a cool one that Sol at Wild About Math found.

I think that's it for now. I'm sure I'll be adding to this as I'm tablet-less!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 1

One day down... 179 to go?

So I spent my day talking through my powerpoints and handing out lots of papers. The powerpoints went relatively well... I know it's not the "cool" thing to do right now, but it has to be better than being read to from a handout (like I've done in the past). I even linked to an Aretha Franklin video of "Respect". The date on the video was 1967 - can you think of any current songs that will still be around in 42 years? The kids couldn't.

They seemed pretty impressed with TextMarks. I plan on updating the assignments daily (must remember to do that!) so they can text in and get the homework if they forget to write it down or are absent. I actually had a former student in the hall ask me about it after hearing from one of his friends! I told the kids to pull out their cellphones and give it a shot. One kid was like, "I've been waiting to do this all day!" Funny.

I spent a brief moment on Twitter, talking about the new account I've set up for my classes. None of the kids have twitter accounts and didn't seem interested, but I'm still going to give it a shot. I was told in my 7th period class that twitter was "dumb". It definitely hasn't hit that age group yet!

All in all, a good day. The weather wasn't so bad (we don't have a/c), though tomorrow's supposed to be warmer. The best thing is that this day is over - I always dread this first day and all of the boring talking that needs to happen! Now we can get to the fun stuff. The math. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Although the web 2.0 class that I took this summer is over, I did like the idea of listing some of the items that show up in my google reader that I enjoy. So I'll probably do that periodically when I find something that I think is worth it.

I just opened up my reader (by accident, actually, but we won't go into that) and saw a post that said "Is This Your Life's Work?" and the first statement said this: I'm starting to believe that my and other math teachers' blogs are giving the impression that we stay up all night making amazing lessons to deliver to every single class starting immediately. It was from f(t), by Kate Nowak. She was responding to an e-mail she'd received from a teacher who was starting to freak out about all the work that was ahead of her. Kate's response was basically that it takes time... years... to get your work where you want it to be. I've heard several times that once you get a basic curriculum down, start to revise it by 10% a year. That's not too overwhelming, and in a few years you should have quite a few good activities going. Although I've kept that in the back of my head, Kate's post was very reassuring.

Another neat one (I've got my reader open as I write this and have been scrolling through things). I've never really understood how Prezi (although it looks neat) could work for me. But this is a really cool presentation that Alison did called "Math is Not Linear". Really neat. I couldn't figure out where it came from, but I just ran across Alison Blank's blog and voila! There it was.

I intended to write a post about getting ready for school... getting all of my stuff over to OneNote (from Journal) and blah blah blah. But I think these two links were much more interesting. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I got my phone! Although there were several people at lunch yesterday trying to talk me into getting an iPhone, I stuck with my choice of the Nokia 5800. Now I just need to figure it all out. . .

I just found a tutorial site for it, which I think will help. We'll see!

On a totally different subject, my classes have changed a bit for this year - I talked to my department head yesterday afternoon and because of a recent hire some classes needed to be juggled around. Unfortunately, I got the short end of the stick. Instead of 2 honors precalcs, 2 algebra 2s and 1 integrated geometry, I'm losing an algebra 2 for an integrated geometry. The general classes are usually divided up where everyone gets one - now I'm up to 2 for the year. The kicker is that the classes are back to back - 6th and 7th periods. Ugh! I always request that my integrated class is in the morning - I've had horrible luck with them in the afternoon (which seems to be the case for most teachers). So now I have two of them at the end of the day! Not looking forward to this. . .

I do have to admit that there's one good thing about the switch. I was going to have some girls in that algebra 2 class that I had in algebra 1 as freshmen and wasn't looking forward to having again. Gotta look for positives, I guess!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I've never been into the whole cell phone thing. I got one late into the game (probably around 1998 when I had a car accident and realized that I had no way of getting a hold of someone to pick me up!) and really don't use my phone too much (it's a Nokia 6086, which is a pretty basic flip phone). We actually don't have cell phone reception at my house - we're out in the country with lots of trees around - and have phones that work with the wifi at the house. I'm not sure I've ever actually used it for that purpose. Actually, I usually just keep my phone in the purse, which I keep in my car. (So don't call me on it if you think I'm at home!)

Lately I've become envious of the people with all of the cool stuff on their phones... like internet and the ability to stay connected. I'd love to be able to do neat stuff on my phone! I wasn't going to say anything to my husband about it (because he hates spending money on stuff like that) but then a couple of weeks ago he told me that he was surprised that I hadn't said anything about wanting one. That put some wheels in motion!

I think I've found what I want. The Nokia 5800 looks like their version of the iPhone (I think) and looks pretty cool. The only downfall is that it wouldn't work with the wifi... at least to make calls at home. But, again, I'm not sure I've accessed that feature in the past anyway.

So happy shopping to me! :) (Now I just need to get hubby past the fact that not only will it cost $30 more a month in services, but it'll be something like $200 for the phone itself.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Around the same time I started this blog, I also started a more school-related anonymous one. I haven't kept up with it and thus am going to delete it, but there are a couple of posts that I didn't want to lose. The following is one.

Dated 6/5/09:

Day 2 of exams today. I'm bored out of my mind. My google reader is all caught up, I've been checking twitter every 2 minutes to see if anything good has come up, and I've played more than my fair share of a dumb game on facebook. We come back on Monday for 2 more exams (due to an excess of snow days this winter!). I have my conference period first (which hopefully will allow me to get mostly checked out!) and then 4 kids are taking my 7th period precalc exam.

I set up a survey a couple of weeks ago (on survey monkey) and asked my kids to take it. Totally voluntary and on their own time. Here are my results:

Out of 106 students, 53 took it. (69.8% were precalc, 7.5% were general, and 22.7% were algebra 2)

Question #2 (the first was "What class are you in?"): I put forth my best efforts in this class.
a. strongly agree 24 (45.3%)
b. agree 26 (49.1%)
c. disagree 2 (3.8%)
d. strongly disagree 1 (1.9%)

  • I could have tried a lot harder.
  • When (student teacher) was here not really. I was lost a lot and didn't feel like trying
  • I just do the work (for the most part) and my grade is always high. Your notes are organized enough where if I don't understand I can just look at an example and figure it out. The class is pretty easy, so not much effort is required.
  • I kind of avoid the stuff I don't understand because I get scared.

Question #3: I felt comfortable asking questions in class.
a. strongly agree 39
b. agree 11
c. disagree 2
d. strongly disagree 1

  • I'm very shy in class, but going after school helps a lot.
  • best math teacher ever!! crazy helpful- sorry i talked a lot and asked MASS questions (especially when workin on that review)
  • I know I could have asked more questions earlier in the year to reassure myself, and I wish I had.
  • You always did a great job answering questions! You are my favorite math teacher ever!
  • teacher was always very willing to help the students and answer questions and did not get easily annoyed when student didn't understand topic at first

Question #4: I felt comfortable asking for help outside of class.
a. strongly agree 30
b. agree 18
c. disagree 3
d. strongly disagree 1

  • I was very greatful that you were available after school but I am afraid that next year I don't know what I am going to do because I will be leaving early for and internship :( so I will have to come in before school but you will not be here. So I will have to figure something out.
  • just didn't have enough time

Question #5: My understanding of mathematics has increased as a result of this class.
a. strongly agree 33
b. agree 17
c. disagree 0
d. strongly disagree 2

  • Really helped me on the ACT (radians and trig)
  • much better prepared for college math, cemented understanding of topics already learned
  • I understood everything when you taught it to us...I'm just not good at math and don't retain well. However, as we've brought some concepts back recently, I've been excited to remember what they are!!

Question #6: My enjoyment of mathematics has increased as a result of this class.
a. strongly agree 21
b. agree 21
c. disagree 8
d. strongly disagree 2

  • I really understand concepts a lot better, and I enjoy math a lot more because of this. I find radians easier than degrees now!
  • enjoyed the structure of the class
  • You make it seem so much simpler than I've always thought! When it doesn't seem like nothing but an incredibly complicated time-waster, math is a lot more fun!

Then I asked a specific question to the Algebra 2 kids about note-taking, and my last question was: What advice do you have for students in this course next year?
  • Make sure to do and turn in all of your homework and do the extra credit
  • Make sure you get help if you are unsure of anything
  • Pay attention during note taking. This is (student's name) by the way
  • Don't be lazy and do the problem of the week every week.
  • Be smart where you sit
    it'll keep your grade up.
    oh and problems of the week too.
  • I'm not sure to be honest. Just do your homework and pay attention really.
  • Take excessive notes
  • >>Appreciate<< the well-given help you receive!
  • They'll do great as long as a student teacher isn't involved. Study more for tests and quizzes than they have in the past.
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • pay attention while taking notes and write down examples so you can refer back to them during homework
  • Do the homework and study!
  • Don't spend too much time on the problem of the week and just try to keep your grade up to begin with.
  • do your homework because it really helps you learn the material, and it makes the tests really easy. Mrs. Fouss makes precalc fun!
  • It's a generally good time.
  • Have fun because because your teacher knows how to make it fun!
  • study
  • study for the tests and if you don't understand something, ask! (or talk to the teacher after class!)
  • Always do your homework, the problem of the weeks, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand something.
  • Make sure they do all of the homework
  • make sure your organized! it will help a lot with notebook quizzes and studying for exams
  • GET AHEAD EARLY! You will need those points at the end of the semester.
  • Pay attention to note taking and ask questions if you don't understand a certain concept.
  • To study as you go and don't learn everything the night before the test. and pay attention when Mrs. Fouss goes over hw- its helpful
  • always ask for help. there is no stupid questions. the stupidest question you can ever ask is when you don't ask.

There were more "do your work" type comments, too.

I'm pretty happy with the results and am already planning how I want to use this next year. I think I'll compile this list to give to next year's classes - maybe that'll help them get a good idea of how I roll!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I discovered a new website tonight that I think will come in handy when I try and keep up with my class blogs. It's called embedit.in, and it gives an easy way of embedding documents into a website. This should be super nice in getting worksheets and such online. Yay!

(No download necessary, nothing to save!)

Thanks to Steven W. Anderson at web20classroom.blogspot.com !

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm taking my tablet over to the administration building tomorrow morning so the tech guys can (hopefully) fix my mouse pad. It's been working intermittently the past few days. I hope that they can get it done tomorrow... can't imagine being home all weekend (without the kids) and not having my tablet! Of course, that means I might actually get my book club book re-read... and the house cleaned... and get some time in on the elliptical...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Google Reader catch-up

Here are a few posts that have jumped out at my from my Reader:
1. Jackie (via her delicious account) saved a link to a collection of AMC questions. These will be great as problems of the week! (I haven't decided what I'm going to do with those this year... but that's a whole other post.)

2. This is a post from Dave Marain at MathNotations talking about his upcoming contest. I'd registered to do it last year but didn't get a chance to give it to my kids... there was just too going on with kids in and out on field trips. I'd like to give it another chance this fall!

3. Jeff Trevaskis at Webmaths just wrote a post about lesson planning and the difference between US/German teachers and Japanese teachers. I've seen/read before that the Japanese teachers teach by giving thought-provoking problems, let the kids work on them, then have some students present their answers to the class. I have questions about this - does it happen every day? Where do the kids get the background knowledge that they'd need to solve the problems? My student teacher this past semester started out wanting to do this every day. By the end, though, he saw that it wouldn't work with these students - they don't care enough. Trying this with sophomores/juniors in high school is just too late.
I've been having tablet issues lately... it seems that my mousepad doesn't want to work. It's funny - when I first got the tablet I didn't like the mousepad and always used the pen as my mouse. Over the past couple of years, though, I've adjusted and now hardly ever use the pen (unless I'm playing Bejeweled Blitz!) so it's been a pain to have to go back to it again! A computer tech-y friend of mine took a look at it and couldn't figure out what's wrong. It looks like I'll have to take it in to school and see if the tech people there can figure it out.

A recent assignment from my web 2.0 class was to create a voicecast or screencast. I wasn't quite sure what to do with that, so I ended up using Jing to create a screencast of me solving a cubic equation (it's quite magical, I assure you! :) ). Here's the link.

I taught Honors Algebra I a couple of years ago - here's a link of them singing the Quadratic Formula song.

If you haven't used Jing (and you have a tablet!) I'd highly recommend it. What's nice is that it creates a link for you, so it's not just storing something on your computer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I've been working with OneNote lately - I think I'm going to switch from using Windows Journal to it this year (we've got new books, so it's a great time to start something new!). Now I'm trying to figure out if I can upload my notes onto my class blog (which is here, but there's nothing really on it yet!). I'd like to be able to link an image without having to go to slideshare first. Hmm. I may have to go to Twitter with this issue!

Later. . .

It doesn't look like there's a way to do want I want to do. :P I guess I'll have to go through slideshare and then embed the file.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Have any of you heard of shirt.woot.com? I saw a link the other day from someone on Twitter that led me to this shirt I just had to buy.

It'll be great for Pi Day and for the first day of radians! Can't wait. :)

I just wish I would've gotten this one, too....

It's called Popstical Illusion. Funny.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're back from vacation, which means two things:
1. I skipped a week of my online class, so I'm here to catch up!
2. Summer is over. Bleh. Well, OK, it's not totally over (I still have a month before I have to report) but that's how it feels! I should be digging into my new books here soon to figure out exactly what I want to do this year. Bleh again.

Ok, so here I go catching up on my class! :)

Before I get to my 3 Google Reader items - I figured out yesterday how to share some of my "starred" posts on this blog. If you check out the column at the right there's a new box that says "Kristen's shared items". It's not everything I've kept, but there's a good list over there of posts that I wanted to keep for the future. I hope that helps someone out!

So here's my 3 (kinda):
1. It doesn't have anything to do with school, but one blog that I've subscribed to is called Cincinnati Cents. The author, Katie, posts a lot about deals she finds both online and in stores. Lately she's been listing a lot of school supply offers. I may have to head over to Staples sometime soon!

2. This is a link from Will Richardson's delicious account. It lists over 70 podcasting tools - thought that would be appropriate for our current readings!

3. My last item isn't a specific post; I just found this blog and have 14 items to catch up on. It's called TeachPaperless, and although that isn't my goal (I don't think it's doable right now in a math classroom!) it looks like Shelly has some interesting ideas using technology.

So one of the assignments that I neglected to do last week was to pick an article and respond to it on my blog. The article I chose was this one: Living and Learning with Social Media, by Danah Boyd . A couple of things stuck out to me as I was reading it.
  1. She starts out mentioning the "old fogies" (her words, not mine!) who are a bit freaked out right now about the technologies that are emerging. I don't think I saw too much of this at my school (everyone I know seems to be on board for at least some part) until we had a one-day inservice that brought both high schools and the junior high together. I was in a session with nay-sayers; people who didn't like the idea of using technology and what it could do for us. I felt bad for the guy leading the session (who was our main speaker for the day) and tried to stick up for him, but I was surprised that that feeling was in the district. Call me naive.
  2. The gist of the article is how the kids are using social network (facebook, myspace) sites. This is their way of just saying hey... not having deep conversations. Heck, we didn't even have cell phones when I was in high school - how did we keep track of our friends? The home phone? I dunno - I'm not much of a phone talker anyway. But what Danah Boyd says makes sense to me. I'm "friends" with several former students on facebook. (I make them wait until they've graduated... and then those who remember send me a request.) I can totally see what she's talking about - they're all about what time they're working and "text me here" and "what do you want to do later" type posts. Just another way of talking on the phone, I guess!
This was the clincher at the end:

"At the end of the day, the biggest disruption brought on by technology has nothing to do with the youth themselves, but with the way in which it forces us to reconsider our position of power as adults. We cannot simply tell it like it is; we need to re-learn how to learn and how to evolve with the changes all around us."


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I just read my newest assignment from the online class that I'm taking. The assignment was to create a weekly post sharing 3 meaningful posts that I've read (from my "newly-set up" RSS Reader... which I've had for a while now!). The kicker was that it was supposed to be just like the post I did last week. Oops. Guess I missed that! (But the thing is, I'm working a week ahead because we're going on vacation Saturday... so I'm really not late! Just doing two at once.)

So now to find 3 good posts that I've read this week... (or 6!)
1. A post about Google Sketch-Up from Simon Job - looks interesting! I'll need to play with it some to figure out what I can do with it.
2. A post from Classroom 2.0 listing a number of web 2.0 tools that the author came across at NECC (man, I wish I'd been there!). I have the Classroom 2.0 forum posts fed into my reader. Every once in a while I come across a good one!
3. A short-but-sweet post from Darren Kuropatwa's blog with a link to a TED talk. I've seen a lot of discussion lately (I think a lot of it stemming from the video that he embedded) about gearing the math curriculum more towards a statistics emphasis than a calculus one. I still need to watch the video.
4. This is a post on 360 about dealing with homework in class. I've been thinking lately about re-doing how I assign/deal with homework. I'm trying to gather all of the ideas that I can!
5. I really like this post from Jeff Trevaskis listing his top 10 math blogs. Ok, I didn't make it ;) but I love seeing what other people are reading and what I might be missing out on!
6. Last but not least... a neat puzzle that had me puzzling from Dave Richeson.
I'm not sure how tech-y this will be, but it's something I've been pondering (with thanks to Sam Shah, who ran a survey earlier this summer). With our new precalc and algebra 2 books this year, I'm thinking about changing up how I "do" homework.

Precalc old way
  • Give 20 - 30 problems a night, some odds, some evens
  • Walk around to check for completion the next day while projecting even answers to check
  • Go over questions as a class
Does it work? Yeah, maybe. But I know there's copying that goes on and the time that they're supposed to be checking their answers is usually "catch up with my neighbor" time.

Precalc new way (?)
  • Give 10 problems a night, all odds
  • Have 3 options for checking the next day: walk around & check for work/completion, collect and grade work on 3 - 5 problems, or no points assigned
  • Go over questions as a class
  • Give 4-question quiz (which would be graded and I could include some review problems, too, which I really like)... or I could pass this out as they walk in the door and they complete it then. Can't decide.
I think this would de-emphasize the importance of doing the homework just to get the points (or copying the homework!).

I don't know if this would work for my Algebra 2 classes. The Precalc is an honors-level class and the kids typically care more and want to learn. The Algebra 2 is college prep and you've got a wide range of dedication and abilities. I definitely like the idea of the 3-choice homework option (should I make a spinner? should I find one online and use it? there's one here and in my smart notebook too) but giving only odds could be somewhat iffy, especially when there's not much work involved.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A couple of things today. . .

I just saw that the Math Smart Notebook software has been released in its beta version. I'm currently uploading it to try it out! I don't use Smart Notebook much (when you write on it with the tablet it doesn't look very nice and I tend to be needlessly picky about that) but I might be persuaded to change my mind if there's some cool stuff!

There was a spammy e-mail sent to my school account about a Master's program in Education Design & Technology. Because I have nothing better to do (ha! There's a load of unfolded laundry sitting at my feet in a house that desperately needs vacuumed.) I clicked on it. It looks like a neat program (though I already have my master's) but do I really need a whole program? I think I'll try to be smart about it and just look for individual classes/seminars/conferences that interest me.

I just searched Flickr for a good picture of a laundry basket to put above. . . it's amazing how many cats and kids like to play/sleep in the baskets.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I haven't done much educationally in the past week (since getting out of school). Any time spent on the computer was me wasting time on facebook (probably playing Bejeweled Blitz, which I am unfortunately addicted to, or Chain Rxn) or checking e-mail. I keep thinking about school and what I would like to do before school starts but I've decided to give myself (and my kids!) some time off before I start tackling it all. And yet my new precalc materials are sitting in a chair in the corner of the kitchen tempting me! My 5 year old son is spending next week with my folks and I have a feeling that I'll pull out that stuff during my 2 year old's afternoon nap time.

I signed up to go to a tech workshop in August (Will Richardson will be speaking) that I'm looking forward to. Not necessarily for Will, but because there looks like there's going to be some good tablet-related presentations (and non-tablet ones, too). I expressed my interest in the 1-semester hour course that was offered... looks like we'll be reading through Will's book and trying some stuff out related to what the chapter was about. Hopefully I'll learn some new ways to do stuff (and hopefully it'll be an easy hour earned!).

I'm at the point now where credit hours don't do anything for me in terms of my salary, but unfortunately it's a necessary evil to be able to renew my license! And when they come cheap and interesting it's even better.

So until I delve into the fascinating world of precalculus, my time will be spent taking the kids swimming, to the zoo, to King's Island, to the library, cleaning, cooking, reading (hopefully), playing games on facebook, occasionally checking twitter, encouraging my little one to go potty (today was our first panties-wearing excursion!), and e-mailing. I think that'll do for a while!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Life is a little busy right now. We're having a department meeting today to figure out how our loss of one teacher will affect what we do next year, then I pick up the kids, get back to school for the annual teacher/student wiffleball game, then I take my son to t-ball practice, then I go with my hubby to see The Chorus Line tonight. Phew.

Nine more days of school (which is surprising, but not in a bad way!).

_Then_ I might be able to keep up with this thing. Maybe.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our school levy failed yesterday - 53% to 47% (actually, it was 55% to 45% - edited 5/10). The district had already cut 12 million from the budget, and both teachers and administrators agreed to a 1-year pay freeze. I wonder what will happen now!

I'm thankful that I've been here for 8 years (well, almost - will be 8 years on June 8!) and therefore don't have to worry about my job security (a continuing contract helps some, too). We haven't heard what will happen with possible teacher cuts, but I'm sure our new hires for this year have reason to worry.

Technology was supposed to be a big part of the levy monies, too, so there's another issue up in the air. This district has been so good with supporting the use of technology (especially with the tablet project and our inclusion in the PLP cohort) that I'd hate to see them pull back now.

Stay tuned. . .

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We're heading back to Chicago on Thursday for our second f2f PLP meeting - it's hard to believe that the year is just about over now! I forget how many school days we're actually down to. . . 25? (Which still sounds like a lot because today is May 2nd - we have to go until June 8th because of an extra snow day off!)

Our PLP project is the construction of a wiki: Out of the Box We're hoping that we can get other teachers involved to show how they are thinking "out of the box" in their classrooms!

I met with a few other teachers at school on Wednesday to talk about cell phones in the classroom and how we could utilize them. Face it - all of the kids have them (some are much more visible than others!) so it would be nice if we could actually use them for good. Tonya led the meeting - we talked about texting Chacha and Google, using polling websites (like Polleverywhere) for kids to text into, and we also talked a little bit about how we could "police" the kids and make sure they were using their phones for only the task at hand (not texting their buddy). Hmm.

I like the idea of being able to text the kids with any information that I need them to know - whether a test or quiz date has been changed, a reminder of something they need to study, or even a daily assignment. I don't have unlimited texting on my phone (though it would only be $4.99 a month) so I've been checking out the possibilities of using the web to send out mass e-mails to kids (like setting up groups of classes and doing it that way). I thought I'd found a good free option, Tatango, but then I finally got logged in tonight (after a stupid mistake on my part - duh) and they've changed it from a free service to a subscription service. I'm going to keep looking, but everything else I've seen also involves fees. I'd like to avoid that if possible, even if I end up paying the $5 a month and get unlimited texting on my phone. Oh well - that gives me something to play with this summer!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I made a powerpoint for my Algebra 2 class to use in class today... it worked pretty well, and I think I may do this on a more regular basis!

Here's the end result:

Any thoughts?

Monday, April 13, 2009

40 more days. Actually, 39 now. I think this is do-able!

It's crazy to think that Spring Break is already over and we're on the last leg of the race that is our school year. It seriously feels like last week that we started (in the nasty heat of August) and now it's April!

I started teaching my Integrated Math II and Algebra II classes again today - took them over from my student teacher. I'm checking with all of my fellow math teachers at school to see when he can get in their rooms in the next couple of weeks to observe them running their classes. I'm probably easing him out a little too early, but it was an easy time to make that break (since last week was spring break) and I definitely want to get him watching some other people and getting some tips.

Our last PLP Elluminate session is on Wednesday night - the time slot that we're doing is from 4:30 to 6:30, but unfortunately my son has t-ball practice from 4:30 - 6. Hmm. I'd planned on just doing the later session (from 8 - 10 PM) but because the session is really a report of how and what our team is doing, waiting wouldn't do much good. Maybe I'll just take the boy to practice a little late so I can jump in with my team as soon as possible. Guess that's still something that needs to be worked out!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun! Or are really busy. :)

I feel like I've been busier lately at school despite having a student teacher (or maybe that should be because of my student teacher!). I have had the chance to keep up with Twitter quite a bit... it's a nice easy thing to keep up with and scroll with during the day (and it's not blocked at school - yes!).

I tried to update my Internet Explorer this weekend to version 8.0 and failed miserably. Suddenly I couldn't connect at all unless I disabled all of my add-ons... but having to do that every time was annoying. I tweeted about it and received a reply from @lekahe about how she uses firefox. So I went ahead and downloaded & installed it and have been using it ever since. (I know, a whole 3 days, but still!) After I figured out how to open a new tab (I admit to looking in the "help" section) everything's been smooth sailing. I especially like how my favorites are spread out across the top for easy access - I have progressbook (school gradebook) and teacher webpage login right there! Awesome.

The one thing I don't like about Firefox is how it works with our school e-mail - it doesn't refresh at all to show when new messages arrive. I finally figured that out today (it was hard to believe that no one had sent any e-mails today!) and might ask around to see if anyone else uses firefox to see what they did about it. But if that's the only thing I don't like, I can totally live with it. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I sent Darren Kuropatwa an e-mail the other day and was pleasantly surprised with a response within an hour or so. It's so nice to have nice, helpful people willing to teach! Actually, he sent me three e-mails within that hour... the first was a one-liner saying "flattery will get you everywhere" (and then nothing else); the second was an apology - he was at lunch and meant to save the e-mail, not send it; and the third was a true response. Very cool and lots to learn. Thank you, Darren!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach recently created a post on the PLP ning called "Ten Tips for Creating a 21st-Century Classroom Experience" that I've been struggling with lately. (Here's a link to the article she was referencing.) I've struggled with a lot of the ideas that have been listed. Don't get me wrong - I love the technology and using it in class, but this seemed to be more of a push towards the idea of discovery learning... always a tough thing to do in a math classroom. I definitely believe that you need some direct instruction - how else do you learn the formulas? But maybe I'm being too old fashioned (I think my student teacher would agree with me, which is ironic because he's 6 years older than I am!).

I've also been pointed towards Darren Kuropatwa's direction several times (whom I was already following on Twitter and subscribed to his blog through my Google Reader!)... I may try the scribing with my precalc classes next year (I think we'd have a major rebellion if I tried it now... especially with a student teacher). I set up a blog over the weekend to help me get started. My next plan is to actually contact Darren to see how exactly he runs his class. From what I've read on his blog, I really don't think that there are any major differences... he presents problems, talks through them, then posts his slides on the blog. The kids then summarize each class day. I need some more info before I draw any additional conclusions, I guess.

Just signed up for diigo... we'll see if I like it better than delicious (which I like, but maybe change is good. :) ). That'll give me something to play with today while I'm observing my student teacher.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I've been neglecting things. . . my Google Reader, the PLP ning. (Luckily, I haven't been neglecting my kids at home, though the house itself could stand a good cleaning!) For some reason I've been busier at school with my student teacher than I would normally be. He's teaching quite a bit (some would say too much, he would probably say not enough) but even when I'm not teaching I can't seem to get caught up. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I have a tablet pc that I use in class to do notes on, show answers to problems, and pull stuff in from the 'net when I find it. Yesterdy I gave (ahem, lent) it to my student teacher for him to use while he's teaching - I'm using his school-issued laptop in the meanwhile. I'm miserable! This thing is big and clunky and it's harder to press the buttons and I don't have a pen to help me select stuff. It'll be nice to get it back. (Just to note - he just has it while he's teaching during the day... I still take it home at night and while I'm teaching.)

Photo from flikr courtesy *bene*

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thanks to those of you who have commented on here... I'm still having issues coming up with some sort of "authentic" project that lends itself to collaboration.

For now, I'm collaborating with a teacher across the hall. :) She's always wanted to do something with cell phones in the classroom, so I'm jumping onboard that idea. Hopefully I'll be able to find something to do with that and actually be able to use it in class! Heaven knows the kids can't leave those cell phones put away like they're supposed to.

Another PLP Elluminate session today after school - hope it's a worthwhile one! It definitely makes for a crazy afternoon. Leave school around 3:30, go to pick up the kids at the babysitter (and chat for a minute... oh, just remembered - I need to stop and get some money for said babysitter!). Get home between 4:10 and 4:15. Session from 4:30 to 6:30 (with crazy kids playing in the background!). Actually, at the first Elluminate session that I tried from home, the kids were fine. They were in and out of the room, and I found my daughter sitting in the middle of the kitchen surrounded by boxes of cereal (see this post). Who knows what will happen tonight?!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I met with my PLP group on Wednesday night (the night of yet another snow day... which means the last day of school is pushed to June 8 - yuck!) for some yummy Thai food. I left my leftovers at home for my hubby, though I'm hoping he forgets about them so I can finish 'em up tonight! We needed to cement plans for our project that we'd be hemming and hawing about.

After quite a bit of discussion (and again, some yummy food!) I think we came to a consensus. Our project will be connecting. We started with a more specific idea of connecting with teachers in other countries to try and complete a project/have kids work together. The English teacher, Spanish teacher, and Social Studies teacher in the group were excited and seemed to have quite a few ideas. As a math teacher, though, I was struggling to come up with what I could do to have my kids work with others and make it a true learning experience (and worth our while!). Then we backed off a bit and decided that it would be ok to just make connections for our own personal/professional benefit. Through my PLN I feel like I've made some connections and gotten some good ideas (Especially Twitter, it seems! And to think that I was about to give up on it.) and I'm hoping to just extend this a bit.

So now I just need to reach out some more and see if other math teachers have ideas or would like to connect. If you're up for anything, let me know! I'm planning on having quite a bit of free time here lately as my student teacher takes over more of my classes (and as of next Wednesday, all of them!).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Probability everywhere!

What a crazy week last week was! My hubby and I were in Vegas for a few days - oh the math that was there! We went out to the Hoover Dam... heard about the hours worked, the budget, the height involved - it's amazing how much number crunching was involved!

And you can't avoid the gambling (and I didn't, I admit!). I mostly play the slots/video poker. I'd love to get my general kids thinking about a 3- or 5-card poker hand when we do probability. Nothing fancy, because I don't know that they could handle it (some of them have issues just dealing with the cards themselves - the suits, the numbers, etc.) but even just with a 5-card hand... If you have 3, 4, 5, 6 and are going for a straight, what possible cards would you need? What's the probability that you get them? It probably wouldn't look too good if I tried to get the kids playing poker online... but they'd certainly enjoy it, I'd think! Or what about probabilities involved in one-deck Blackjack. Hmmm....

I'm watching the last couple of minutes of the Super Bowl right now - what a game! 0:49 left, the Steelers have 1st and goal and are down 23-20. I'd like them to win because Ben Roethlisberger went to my alma mater (Miami U.). As I was sitting here watching, I was also catching up on some of my rss feeds. (Wow - what a catch by Santonio Holmes!!) Over at 360, there's a great post with a lot of probabilities of possible scores. Definitely need to save that one for next year's pregame!

Back to school tomorrow after a week off. It felt like Spring Break! I was off on Monday because of our trip, but came back to 4 days in a row of snow days. (One of which need to be made up now - yuck!) What's the probability of that happening in a district like mine? Next to nil, I'd think.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I discovered this morning during our keynote speaker that I can't just sit and listen to a speaker anymore I need to multitask. There was a backlog chat that was being projected on the walls in the auditorium where we sat. Unfortunately, I'd left my tablet in my classroom and couldn't participate. It was killing me!

So now I'm being a bad listener while in my small session... typing away, trying to catch up with my thoughts. Bad me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My husband and I are going out of town for a few days - we're leaving Saturday morning. It'll be interesting to be away from e-mail, twitter, skype, facebook, and my rss feeder for that long! I can't remember the last day that I didn't at least check my e-mail! I'm cringing now just thinking about when I "plug back in"... how long is it going to take me to catch back up?! It's crazy just to think about. But, on the other hand, it'll be like going back to times of old (except we'll have a cell phone!). I don't even remember what it was like before e-mail... I seriously wrote my friends snail mail letters?!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I decided against assigning my Algebra 2 kids their wiki. That class is so divided ability-wise that is would have been an interesting result; I guess I just didn't want to deal with the whining that would have resulted from the assignment. Maybe I'll do it second semester. I think the learning of the tools is an important lesson, as is the actual review involved in getting their pages put together. Hmm.

The precalc kids' pages turned out pretty good. We had some issues with getting it all together, thanks mainly in part to some students (apparently in one of my other classes, not precalc) that decided to hijack it a couple of different times. They were somehow able to log in as kids in my precalc class and then editted their little hearts out. Thank goodness for the ability to revert to previous versions! Needless to say, my precalc kids were not happy about it (and neither was I!). From what I understand, one student was punished for it. It took place at his house, but he claims innocence. He was in alternative school (our version of in-school suspension) for the past 5 days and should be back in class on Tuesday. I'm interested to see if he says anything to me about it or not.

I gave the kids a follow-up to their wiki assignment where they had to go back to the wiki, look through 5 of their classmates' pages, and evaluate them. I wanted them to know what all was on it and what could have been done. Everyone seemed pretty pleased and it was funny to see how harsh they can be on grading. They also had to answer questions for me about what they learned and if they enjoyed the project and if I should assign it again. Aside from remarks about the hackers, most kids seemed pretty pleased with the project, learned some new uses of technology, and would like to do something like that again. Yay! Mission accompished.

Check it out!
As part of the PLP process we're supposed to come up with a group project to present at our May f2f meeting. My team consists of 5 people - me (hs math), Tonya (hs computer science), Tricia (hs English), Sherry (hs Spanish), and Pat (jr high social studies). We have quite a variety of interests, so it's been interesting trying to pin down a topic.

Tonya just proposed an idea that I think is very interesting that involves screencasting lectures and podcasting lessons and posting them to our school website; I guess our principal is very interested in letting the parents know what all is going on in class. I think the idea is interesting (as long as I can get the kids to do the podcasting - I hate to hear my own voice!) and I hope everyone else agrees... this is an opportunity for me to learn about these new ways of communicating that I don't yet know about. I've done a couple of wikis (hmm... on last count, make that 4), I'm pretty active in the twitter community now (username Fouss), I have a few blogs, I use RSS feeds... but podcasting is something that I know nothing about. Could be neat.

My student teacher for this coming semester asked me to show him how to use Google Reader/RSS feeds. Thought that was neat.