liebster award

liebster award

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MTBoS challenge #2

I've been on twitter since April, I think.

I teach in a small urban high school.   Of the 6 math teachers at the school, only I am really online with regard to anything at all relating to math.

The MTBoS is the math department I could never have imagined belonging to.  I find the relationships I have formed in twitter to be just as fulfilling and enriching as many of my off-line friendships.

WHO would i like to meet:  TheJLV. If I met you in real life I'd hug you and invite you to meet my students.  I hoped you see the promise in the future of this country and its citizens.   I recognize that we're not there yet, but the next generation is very accepting and non-prejudicial in a way no previous generation ever was.  He understands that equality in education, mathematics especially is key.  If you've not followed him, you should be.

WHY twitter ROCKS:  If you don't know about twitter chats, please let me inform you.   This is the most valuable thing about twitter to me.  On Mondays I participate in #alg2chat a forum in which topics, standards or whatever you want relating to alg2 , by alg2 teachers is discussed.  On Thursdays I participate in #statschat and #precalcchat, at the same time and haven't left a chat without something valuable each time I've participated.  The #msmathchat on Monday nights has trended on twitter overall a number of times recently.  Props to you guys!!

Then again there is my MTBoS crush... Fawn Nguyen...but that's another post...

Friday, October 11, 2013

For my students...

This week I found out that 2 of my classes were being changed.  I was asked not to reveal any of this to my students, that an administrator would come in and make the announcement.  For me the stress involved taking on another new class.  One which I haven't taught before.  I knew a new curriculum map was created and I did proof read it, but I wasn't considering the possibility that I might be teaching it so I really didn't study it.  This post, however really isn't about me.

This shift affected my second hour and fourth hour classes.   They are very different groups.   One is a little slower, but more easily drawn into the material.  They struggle well with the math, and tenaciously figure it out.  They love the puzzles and discuss them amongst themselves, with little prompting.  The interruption occurred after our warm-up and there were tears and yet we did return to and continue working on the math.   Three of these students came by at the end of the day, with a couple of Freshmen in tow telling them, "he's my favorite teacher".

The second group is comprised of students for whom math requires less struggle.   They need a bit, read "a lot", more coaxing to get talking about the math (though this isn't true about talking in general). They enjoy the warm-ups we're doing (Thanks Fawn and Mr_Stadel).  They also were the group I was hoping to show the greatest growth.  Our goodbye was less teary, but no less difficult.

I welcome my new Precalculus students, and I'm sure we'll have fun, but this posting is for the students who I will miss, who still smile when they see me in the hall and who are so excited when I stop by their new classroom and see how they're doing.

We're looking for a new math teacher, if anyone is searching for a position in the southeastern Michigan area..

Exploring the #MTBoS - favorite rich lesson

In Algebra 2 and Statistics we discuss Normal Distributions.  This interesting topic sometimes has difficulty really sinking into the students' minds.

The students, however, have no problem recognizing that I am not a very tall math teacher.  I top out at just over 5 feet 5 inches tall.  As I teach high school, many of my students are taller than me, particularly the male students.  given that height is a topic applicable to Normal distributions, I decided that this would make a good way of engaging the students with regard to something they are already interested in .

My lesson is : "Is Mr Hills Normal??"

Given that I'm the "fun" and less conventional math teacher around here their immediate response is "no" (or maybe they're just commenting on my height).

We decide during the course of the discussion that I am probably "normal" if my height is within 1 standard deviation of the mean.  Data collection is always fun and I usually get measured 2-3 times to make sure I'm not cheating.

When all the results are tallied and z-scores are computed, the results are always surprising to the students.  At this point a discussion always ensues, because the result isn't what they expect.

Cause the thing which I know that they don't is that when you factor in both genders I do fall within a normal (in both senses of the word) height. On the first day I don't concern myself with such trivialities. On the second day of the lesson I do have them divide the data up to look at samples of the data, and the natural division is by gender.  On this day I generally, though not always, end up losing the title of "normal".

I have data from the past 2 years of students saved, I really should use it in class next time I do this lesson.