Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The New Semester...

I've been trying to write this for months.  Seriously.  Months.  I don't think it's my inability to reflect that has been preventing me to get this done.  Rather blame my life—it's busy.  That's all I can really say.  Part-time teacher, part-time math coach, wife, and mom to a very high-energy toddler,

Ok, so it's time to reflect...

The new semester has started, and is well on it's way.  I am be teaching one section of Common Core Math 8, and one section of intervention math, where anything is game.  For now, I will be temporarily abandoning my interactive notebooks for Math 8, and will continue next year at the beginning of the school year as the course norm.  I've been going through the new, school-chosen textbook with some degree of fidelity to see if I actually like it.  And the verdict is that I don't.  I'm a bit disappointed that colleagues that I trusted chose something so dry and well, lame.  It's ok.  Next year, I go rogue anyway, so whatevs.  :-/

My intervention class will continue to use interactive notebooks, although sparingly, because I intend on sprinkling other projects and other fun games and activities.  So far, we've had a decimal unit, which culminated in buying furnishings for their 'apartments'.  I had planned a larger, overarching unit that would include paychecks, paying rent and writing cheques for bills, but I think that assignment may have been too mature for them.  The last time I did something similar, my students were three years older, most of them understood taxes, and some of them actually had jobs.

After the decimal unit, we had a fraction unit that ended disastrously.  We had a how-to foldable at the end of the unit and culminated in making cookies.  Given the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, they were supposed to multiply it by 1/2 and physically make those cookies.

I would take them home, bake them off, return them, and have a taste test.  If they had cruddy cookies, it's because they're cruddy fractioneers.  The cookies came out like garbage.  Every.  Single.  Batch.  Garbage.  Who screwed up their math?  Me.  I gave each group 3 cubes of butter (1 cube = 1/2 stick = 1/4 cup).  They should have  had half that amount.  Sigh.  Better luck next time, right?  I'm making it up to them by baking my FamousCookies.  The cookies whose recipe will go with me to the grave.  Those cookies.

Next up are integers, equations and graphing lines.  I'm not sure how I'll end the integers and equations, but I know that the graphing will end with making paper airplanes.  They will make airplanes on stock graph paper, then write the equations, then pass the equations to a partner.  The partner will then make the airplanes and fly them.  Winners get a cookie?

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