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May 2008

Set Up Lesson (2)

The pythagorean theorem expresses a nonintuitive relationship – that’s where a lot of its power comes from. Unfortunately, the way it is usually taught involves a formula (or two or even three depending on how it’s taught) and learning which numbers to plug in where. And it almost never sticks. This is the lesson I […]

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Slope Intercept Worksheet

I know. Worksheets suck. They don’t teach our kids anything. But I liked this one, and my kids did too. In fact, they liked the graphing more than they liked the punchline. I’m never going to be hip.

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Set Up Lessons

I’ve noticed recently that I’ve been doing something almost subconsciously, and I want to start doing it some more intent. I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve got an idea of where kids will get hung up, get frustrated, and quit. I haven’t found a way to force them through that in situ, but […]

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I’m out of touch. I know I’m old, and even when I was young I wasn’t culturally ept. But still, I expected this video to hold their interest. No way. Wrong kind of tagging, i think.


That Science Article

I finally managed to read the original text of that Science article. You know, the one that raised hackles? It addresses an issue I’ve troubled myself over before. For all of the naysaying about the validity of the study, it rings true to me. How do I get my kids to see the connection between […]

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What are we preparing our kids for?

Dan asks what to do with a kid who has shown up only one out of 5 days, but has mastered the material to a C+ level. The kicker is that this kid is in a remedial class. It seems obvious what’s happened here: the kid is bright but unmotivated. Previous teachers took the lack […]



Sam asked about this problem: I’m going to show off because (a) I got this an about 2 minutes, and (b) I totally geeked out and spent 40 minutes making an animation for it. It’s first worth noting that sine is asymmetric, and cosine is symmetric. Switching the sign of one of those ends up […]


My Fat Mouth III

I was just elected math department chair for next year. It was mostly by virtue of my not ducking as quickly as everyone else. Do these people not know what they have done?


My Fat Mouth II

Note: It appears that this may be an ongoing theme1 We’re in the middle of state testing. To lessen the stress on the kids, it’s spread out over 6 days, with a two hour test on each day, and 3 half hour periods of what is effectively goof off time. The kids get out at […]


Words are not ambiguous

Well, I’ll never let it be said again that ELLs don’t understand that some words have very specific meanings, and must be used judiciously. Yesterday, one of our kids (who had been truant for a couple of weeks) was brought over to our school from the high school across the street. She’d been brought there […]