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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
2
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 nonvariable 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 orderwise. They should have had Sec 211 first,
since you need the info from it to simplify the fractions in 210. Since
4th hour is a fairly good class, I covered the material from 211 very
quickly and assigned a few problems from 211. 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
be interesting.
