Monday - September 29, 1997
Algebra II went by fairly well. I quickly summarized the previous section
(Solving inequalities) by saying "Solving inequalities is exactly the same
as solving equations with one exception: when multiplying or dividing by
zero, you need to flip the inequality sign." Apparently just saying that,
I answered a few questions. I'm not surprised. My lecture on Friday was
a bit on the disjointed side. I think I lost sight of the forest while
i was concentrating on the trees. When I presented the forest to the
students today, most of their hands shot down. That was good.
I had them write out their answers on the board, then. With the
exception of a few careless mistakes, they did all the procedures correctly.
So maybe my lecture wasn't that bad after all...
In any event, I started lecturing on solving combined inequalities (like
I still can't shake the feeling that my lectures are boring, though. I
saw Mike put his head down on his desk midway through my talk. I didn't
have heart to say anything, though, because I couldn't blame him. If I
were a student, I would be put to sleep too! But what to do? I have
absolutely no clue how to make this material interesting. Oh sure, I could
incorporate some of the ideas from a few books I've read... but let's
face it: those changes would require radical restructuring of the class.
Let me rephrase that. Those changes would require radical restructuring
of Maureen's class. What happens when I'm gone in a few weeks? I'm
not sure that the class could easily switch back to a different style. So
I'm stuck. Ah well...
Algebra I, 4th hour, also went fairly well. When I did the section
on generalized problems (x^n instead of x^6), they seemed to grasp it
much faster then did 5th hour on Friday. All in all, I was satisfied
that they understood what was going on. We shall see tomorrow when I
quiz them, though. I lectured on multiplying and simplifying fractions.
Much of it (the non-variable part) was review for them. They caught
on fast to the variable fractions, too. The book has this section and
the next one screwed up order-wise. They should have had Sec 2-11 first,
since you need the info from it to simplify the fractions in 2-10. Since
4th hour is a fairly good class, I covered the material from 2-11 very
quickly and assigned a few problems from 2-11. This should catch
4th hour up to 5th hour.
Speaking of 5th hour... well, let's say that there are quite a few
slower students in that class then there are in 4th hour. I was helping
quite a few of them out on the assigned homework and was shocked at how
little they were thinking through the problems. What is x times y? I
heard an answer of "1" more than once. These students just aren't
synthesizing previous knowledge with the current material.
Tomorrow, I start teaching both Algebra I sections. It should