Sunday, February 21, 2016

Weekend comments

First, the bad:
I'm frustrated with Math 3 kids who can't factor. I'm going to start assigning a weekly factoring review. And including it on every single quiz for the rest of the year.

I'm annoyed that Math 3 kids don't know the difference between numerator and denominator. And therefore mix up the zeros of a rational function with its vertical asymptotes.  Do I need to say "top" and "bottom" for high school juniors?

Now, the good:
I'm done grading for the weekend and it's only 3:16 pm on Sunday afternoon!
Time for a run :)

*Edited to remove anything that might be taken as personal for anyone. Just me venting. If all students did their own work all of the time, I'd be happy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Car Conversations

My kids like math. I think it's partly because I like math, and partly because we've made it such an ordinary part of our every day conversations.  Especially in the car, when they're a captive audience. :)

Today on our drive to the babysitter, my son (who just turned 12) asked me how much I weigh. He then figured out how much water I should be drinking per day; I've told him before that the recommended amount is 1/2 of your body weight in ounces.

This turned in to how many bottles of water I should drink per day (I have a 24 oz bottle that I use) and how many ounces I actually drink per day.

It was fun to hear him think through the steps.
"So, if you drink 4 bottles per day, that's...
20 times 4 is 80.
4 times 4 is 16.
So that's 96 ounces."

And then I asked him, "What if my bottle was 25 ounces??
Him: 25 times 4 is 100.
Me: But how much less is my bottle?
Him:  1, so 4 times 1 is 4 and 100 - 4 is 96.
Mom, that's the distributive property!

(I swear, I didn't prompt him for this at all.)
Him:  25 times 4 minus 1 times 4
Me: Did you use the distributive property before, too?
Him:  20 times 4 plus 4 times 4.  I guess I did!

Ah, sweet music to my ears. :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

This is what Common Core is to me

From my 3rd grader's math teacher:

I couldn't resist; I sent her a response.

Hi Mrs. X - 

I just wanted to say that I really liked your comment in the weekly newsletter about letting the kids choose their preferred method of addition. I know Common Core gets a lot of flack for doing things differently, but to me your statement really gets to the meat of it. Giving the kids options and then letting them use what works for them is how I try and run my high school classroom, so I love seeing it at the elementary level too!

I just wish that other parents understood that the way they learned something in school isn't necessarily the best way. 

I'll step off my soapbox now. Just wanted to say thanks!  :)

Reflections (in more ways than one!)

My Math 3 kids took a quiz on Friday with operations of rational expressions (add, subtract, multiply, divide) that I'm trying to avoid grading. Some of the questions they asked during the quiz were depressing despite the time we spent reviewing and talking and trying to make sense of things.  I even posted these memes from @mathcurmedgeon to help them remember not to kill the kittens.

We'll see if it worked.

There were several students in my 1st period class who ran out of time, so I decided that I would give them the opportunity to finish up today. But I also wanted everyone else to have a chance to look through their work (in case the rushed). So for the first 10 minutes of class, I gave back the quizzes.  I told the kids that they had to keep it for a minimum of 5 minutes. I know there would have been kids who wouldn't take advantage of the time I gave them, so I forced it on them.  You HAVE to keep it for 5 minutes. If you sit and do nothing, that's fine.

You can lead a horse to water...

(I'm still not looking forward to grading them.)

In my Math 1 class we're talking transformations; last week we did translations and reflections and I found some patty paper so I can do rotations today. You wouldn't believe the trouble I had finding the patty paper!

Anyway, I gave the kids a little project to work through on reflections; I wasn't planning on it until I saw the trouble they had flipping things.  (Here's the link if you're interested.)

Got some cute results!  And most of them did a nice job with the actual reflections.
Part of their work was to list all of their ordered pairs; it was neat to hear one of the girls say, "So these points just have a negative here, right?" instead of counting out the point itself.

I'm currently listening to my precalc kids talk through verifying trig identities. Love it! My table of over-achieving sophomores is about to explode with excitement. :)  I love that they're feeling challenged!