Monday - October 13, 1997
Today was fairly standard. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one
hand, there was no nasty surprises, but on the other hand, I also didn't
have a fun time or learn anything new. Ah well..
I started out the day going over solving equations and inequalities
of two variables with Algebra II. I had the class do their homework on
the board and after I saw very few mistakes (without notes, yet!) I
decided that they were ready to move on. So I worked on word problems
with two variables in class. They did not like that... but I plowed
on anyway. It wasn't until after class that Maureen tells me that
they always skip that section! Great! Tomorrow I need to tell the
class that "okay, you worked your butts off on this material and were
probably all stressed out over it. Guess what? You did it for nothing?"
I should practice ducking, now...
Algebra I could have been more interesting. We are starting on
solving equations. Since algebra essentially is solving equations, this
is not a good section to screw up. I tried to make the entire process as
concrete as possible. For instance, to illustrate that the equations had
to "balance" out (what you do to one side, you have to do to the other)
I brought in an actual balance and played around with different weights.
I think that brought the message home to a few of the slower students
in the class. I was also helped out by the fact that they have already
done a little bit of solving equations in 8th grade. Quite a few people
remembered how to do it, too.
Whether it was my teaching or their previous knowledge, they sure
demonstrated that they knew the material. I had the class put several
exercises on the board to see if they were getting it. With only two
notable exceptions, they all did fairly well on it. The two exceptions
were not a surprise, either. Both were students that rarely paid
attention and will doubtlessly flunk this class or squeak by with a 'D'.
I'm going to go over the homework with a fine tooth comb tomorrow.
We'll see if they really did get it.