Monday, April 26, 2010

We played a fun game in Algebra 2 today... Trashketball!  (Much thanks to Dan Greene at The Exponential Curve for the directions!)

The kids enjoyed it and (hopefully) did some reviewing for tomorrow's quiz.  Here are the slides that I made.  Not too pretty, but I didn't feel like typing all of the radicals and such.

Trashketball 7.5   7 review
View more presentations from Kristen Fouss.

And now I've got one made to use in Precalc tomorrow. :)

I had to do some research (via twitter, of course) on how to make a tapeball.  I'm not sure I did a good job of it, but Shauna offered to have her kids make one to send me.  Pretty cool, huh!

Friday, April 23, 2010

What a nice day it was today with a computer that actually responds to clicks.  Ahhhh....

The first thing I did at school this morning was to try and find the little tech guy to see if he'd give me administrator rights for my tablet.  He wasn't in his office (and I discovered that the icon that should've been installed to help me submit a trouble issue wasn't appearing) so I stopped by a neighbor's room to use her machine and make it known that I needed some help.

By the time I got back to my room, I had an e-mail update to my ticket; our district tech lady had upgraded my submission to "critical" status, saying that I'd been waiting so long for my computer that they needed to get it fixed ASAP.  That was definitely nice!  The tech guy was in my room within 20 minutes. 

He got everything fixed up and gave me rights and I was all set!  The one last thing that bothered me today was that I can't get the screen to flip to the secondary landscape position when I go to tablet mode.  But I can live with that for now. :)

Hopefully everything's been resolved.  It's been a long time coming!

Another cool thing today - I got an email from Barnes & Noble saying that there was an update for the software on the nook (I got one a couple of weeks ago).  I updated it when I got home from school, and my nook now has sudoku, chess, and a web browser!  So cool.  I just can't wait until summer comes and I might actually have time to read. :)

Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's home!  My baby is home!

The nerdy little tech guy came wandering into my classroom about 10 minutes before school was to let out today with a present for me... my tablet!  It's so little and cute and FAST!!  I can't believe how quickly it responds to clicks (because I've been working with an ancient computer for the last six months that took hours and hours to do anything). 

I'm thinking now that this whole situation was meant to be.  I appreciate this computer so much more now!  And I am so excited to spend some time with it. :)

I've almost gotten things back to how I like them... with 2 exceptions.
1.  I can't get tweetdeck installed.  Boo.
2.  I can't get my book software installed without administrator privileges.  Double boo.

But, YAY!
Yesterday was a weird day for me.  Three pretty major things happened (in terms of my school life, anyway).

1.  At the end of 2nd period, I received a tweet from our tech coordinator-person saying that my tablet had been found.  Hallelujah!  Turns out that it was sent back to the school in mid-February (yes, 2 months ago) and then disappeared.  It was found yesterday sitting in the tech office at the other high school in the district.  We have a new company this year taking care of our tech, and things have not been off to a good start.  Just the communication is crazy!  There are multiple techs in and out and I'm not sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.  Anyway, I was told that I should get it back today or tomorrow after they reimage it.  You can believe that I'll be down in that office tomorrow afternoon looking for it if it's not in my possession by then!

2.  Near the end of the day, I received an e-mail from our department head with the plan for teaching classes next year.  I currently teach a general-level sophomore class (along with Honors Precalculus and Algebra 2) that will morph into general-level geometry next year.  I'm not a big fan of geometry (to say the least) and had asked for the general-level juniors instead.  So yesterday was a bit of a shock to see our general Algebra 1 class listed instead.  Whew.  My second to least favorite class (after geometry) is freshmen.  I think the last time I taught general-type freshmen was my first year of teaching (ages and ages ago), and it's left a bad taste in my mouth.  I just need to remember that this will actually be Algebra (as opposed to general math) and there are only going to be 12 kids int he class.

3.  As I was sitting in the media center after school yesterday (doing my math tutoring duty), I received an e-mail with a proposed change to our daily schedule.  The transportation department would like to re-organize the schedules to save money on buses - pretty legit, right?  Our school day would go from 7:35 - 2:30 (instead of 7:20 - 2:15).  Not a big change, but I currently stay after school until 3:30 for the tutoring and it seems that this would change to 3:45.  My kids will be getting off the bus sometime between 3:50 and 4:00 (and I live 20 minutes away), so this just isn't going to work out for me!  Looks like I'd be going back to the "normal" schedule.... which includes being here by 7:20 or so and taking a homeroom.  Ouch.  (But, to be done by 3:00 would be nice, too!)

Crazy day.  (And notice that none of this was actually related to the students!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fun stuff today at school!

In precalc, we talked about parametric equations yesterday. I'm normally not the sort to do any sort of application-type problems (give me bad flashbacks of high school and college physics - yuck!) but I've been expanding my horizons this year!

Last night I was trying to think of something fun I could do with polar coordinates (like something with radar screens or battleship) and re-discovered my list of all of the topics covered in the TV show Numb3rs. They actually had 4 - 5 shows that addressed parametric equations, so I took a look. I ended up downloading an episode about a plane crash and the resulting trajectory of the plane parts. They had a nice activity online (here) using quadratics, vectors, and parametric equations to predict where things would land. I think the kids enjoyed it - or they at least enjoyed watching part of the show! There's actually a problem on the activity (which I retyped, so I don't know what number it is from the original packet) that I can't figure out... and my smartest kids can't, either. Hmm. (Here's my version.)

In my Integrated class we're talking about Systems of Inequalities (and I'm so ready to be done with Systems!). I was planning on just a random practice worksheet today before we moved on until I saw Dan Greene's post about an activity he did in his Algebra 1 class with systems. (Yes!) It was a cute little worksheet where the kids graph systems of inequalities to lead them through a temple. The worksheet promises "a sweet treasure" when they make it through - so glad I had some twizzlers stashed in my desk!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I never updated you all with the most recent news on my tablet (and I'm sure you've been waiting breathlessly!).

It's missing.

They don't know where it is.


Friday, April 2, 2010

It's been so nice to be on spring break this week! The weather's been absolutely gorgeous the past few days - it was even supposed to hit 84 today! The only downside that I can think of is that it'll make it even harder to go back to school next week. I heard someone at the park mention that they only had 38 days of school left, though, so it hopefully won't be too bad!

I've had 2 students e-mail me while we've been out, both basically begging for grades ("Is there anything I can do? I've worked so hard."). Blah blah blah. That drives me crazy! I feel bad for saying "No, it's over. Deal with it." But then again, I give an extra credit problem every week and both students did 1. Yes, that's one problem out of 8 or 9 possible at two points each. Now I'm not feeling so bad about being the curmudgeonly old math teacher. There are definitely times when I feel like I need to get a little more of Kate Nowak in me! I can't imagine her having trouble saying no.

I have gotten some work done while I've been home (amazingly!). As this is our first year with the Algebra 2 book, I've been working hard just to stay a section ahead of them prep-wise. But on Tuesday and Wednesday I sat for a while and wrote up notes for the whole next chapter! All ready to print and copy. Woo hoo! Last year towards the end of the year I did powerpoints and typed up notes for the kids - I think I'll hit those topics after we get through our rational exponent stuff. So in all likelihood I'm done with Algebra 2 notes for the year! Now I just get to look forward to editing stuff next year. But that's much much much better than starting all over again!

I often tag stuff on diigo or star posts in my google reader (If you don't use this, please check it out! It's amazing.) and then forget about them. Did I say often? Make that very often. Unfortunately, I typically find them just after completing the topic in class. Sam Shah, though, just took the time to organize all of his finds on a specific page on his blog (using the "page" option? I'll have to check that) so that he has a list of topics and what he can use for each. Definitely a must-do this summer! I'm not looking forward to that process.... though it'll be fun to find all the neat stuff that I'd forgotten about!