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Archive for February, 2014

Today was a snow day.  I should have used it to do some planning.  Or grading.  Or something productive.  But instead I reread a book for pleasure, The Circle of Ceridwen. A book with no connections to education at all.  A book to get in the mood for the new season of The Vikings.

But as it gets late, I start thinking about Friday’s field trip to Maine Maritime Academy and all the logistical things that need to be done.  And all the math we haven’t done in that class.  It hasn’t been a very mathy week, because the marine part of the class has taken precedence.  By Saturday, the kids need to know enough to pass the certification course for commercial fishing vessel drill instructor (also none as the cold water safety course).  Some of them (about a third) already have this certification and will be doing other safety related things.

So next week we need to get down and dirty on the math content.  I’ve noticed that some of my “Algebra 1” level kids may still be at a pre-algebra level.  I think I’m going to have to split that group, somehow.  And I am switching my only stats student to a better book.  Almost two weeks in, and we haven’t covered half of what I was hoping for, so I will have to look for ways to make up the time.

Speaking of time, I have noticed that it flows much differently in my MSP class.  Out of a two block period (150 minutes), I usually only get 40-50 minutes.  It is forcing me to really think about my priorities and objectives and really tighten things up.  This unit has been focused on the marine industry certification related to cold water safety.  I was able to pull some good unit, scale, and measurement learning targets out of the activities they did last week, but this week it has been harder.

On Tuesday, I did a short, DI type lesson on functions vs relations.  We also delved into domain and range, but I had some students really struggling with that.  Also, with my Algebra 2 group, it was review for some, but new for others. Because of our snow day today and the field trip on Friday, I probably won’t get them for math again until next week!

 And they all asked what functions vs relations had to do with fishing.  I told them I didn’t know of any connection, but it was a standard we had to cover.  (I hate giving that answer, especially when I suspect there is a good reason that I am too dense to see).  Ah, well. There will be other standards that do flow nicely out of their marine content.  

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Tomorrow is the second Monday for this semester.  That means I made it through the first week.

Good stuff that happened…

Kick off was mostly successful in spite of the weather.  We took the kids to the Town Dock and split them in two groups.  One group went on a local fisherman’s boat and surveyed it for safety hazards (pre-test for marine studies) and the other group stuck one hand in 33 degree F water for a minute (if they could stand it) for the science teacher, then we used an infrared surface temp reader to compare wet hands and dry hands at regular intervals (for the science teacher).  DATA!  Then the groups switched places. The kids were miserable in the wet, but at least it wasn’t actively raining. And they weren’t in the classroom, hooray!

We used their data to work on graphing and analysis skills in the following days.  We also used the data sheet from the marine trades instruction about the rate of water flow when a boat has a hole below the waterline.  More data and more graphing. In the end, we had the chance to discuss units, scales, variability, quadrants in the coordinate plane, axis labels, domain, and range.

Tonight I read Gregory Taylor’s post on SBG, http://mathiex.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-grading-iep.html?spref=tw which  led me to Michael Pershan’s post on other things, http://rationalexpressions.blogspot.com/2012/06/4-things-more-important-than-sbg.html, which led me to believe I need to have an assessment. Soon. So I’m think I will give them a data set and a graph and ask them what’s wrong with the graph (formative).  Then I will just give them some data and ask them to graph it (summative).  When I have the assessments built, I will post them here.

For now, I need to take the time to sketch the upcoming week.  I use a simple table, write in just a word or two, and keep it on a clipboard (with bell schedule and school calendar, so I always have them even if the ‘net is down).  WeeklyPlan-12

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It’s Thursday and first semester is almost done.  All that’s left is the make up exams and grading. Then we start the new semester on Monday.  I have been really stressed about the new Marine Studies class, but now I also have concerns about my other class.  Sigh.

I teach a special ed science class that alternates between physical science and life science year to year.  I have tried to have it follow the content of the regular ed classes in the past.  But the new physical science teacher is throwing in a lot of chemistry this year.  Yet another topic about which I know little.

My motivation to become a teacher had a lot to do with my preference for a high learning curve, but I didn’t expect it to be near vertical. Between chemistry, SBG, PBL, co-teaching, and marine studies I feel like I’m in an 18 credit semester while carrying an outside job. I don’t know when I will have time to breath.

And I am still. not. ready. for the marine studies pathway beginning on Monday.

(Forgot to post this, so I will now, even though the semester started a week ago Monday).

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