Monthly Archives: August 2013

geometry strings


ooh string designs. Our book introduces these as straight line patterns. Minimath projects has very affordable card supplies and patterns that even I, the inartistic math teacher, can follow. 2013-08-31 20.08.47I made one example of each for the students to see what they look like. Really, only card 3 is very mathy, since it uses coordinates. However, one has to follow instructions in order, which is a challenge in itself for my students.

I use crochet thread and tapestry needles, to minimize the eye-poking-out possibilities in the classroom. The last time I had geometry, 5 years ago, some students liked these, and made them as christmas gifts. Not bad for the mean Jewish math teacher.


Pre-school school


This week I have been part of a pre-high school camp, to help our students get used to working together in  high school. It’s free for kids – 50 places. We had 17 the first day, down to 12 by the second day. How sad.

The kids who did come were quite amazing –  total participation, total effort, working together. There were 4 adults, and 2 of us did everything, despite our unfitness and age. We were whipped. The other two – not so much.

If we could get half the incoming freshmen to be part of this group collaborative, our high school experience would be completely different. I can only imagine a high school where students work together, support each other, and try new things. I plow on with a different style of geometry ( sadly, I have been here 8 years ago, when we made terrific progress, but then I got taken out of that slot, being too unconventional).

Life goes on 🙂

Another new start


Whee! I have Geometry this year- at least so far! I have my same beautiful room, with a  refinished floor. Rumor has it there will be a smartboard in place of the one whiteboard, so I have wildly spent $13 on the piece of panelboard from Home depot, and had it cut into 6 pieces. As I covered the edges with fancy duct tape, I realized that someone will complain. My 6 groups will have to cooperate at their little piece of whiteboard. If I have to, I will get more.

I love geometry. The cavils of Paul Lockhart notwithstanding, I love Geometry. It includes art, language, construction, design, awareness, observation, interpretation… It’s the closest math to Physics, since it’s about naming of parts, and watching for when they come back again ( ooh, let[‘s call that a circle – wait, there’s another one! We are masters of our universe, we have named something!).

I’ve also learned how to make problems in WebWorks, and I’m going to use them for students to self-assess and then for assessments. No more multiple choice rubbish, no more re-creation of tests for students to take them endlessly over and over. And every kid gets a different test. Yes, Mike Pershan, the master of patience when it comes to teaching me LaTex, might be shocked, but I have learned a new computer skill!

So I hope the combination of hands-on activities, computer interaction, reading Alice in Wonderland, and groups in the classroom will provide at least one positive experience for every child. I plan to try the number talks from “how to learn math. ” All of these are a direct violation of the orders to endlessly grind on ACT questions. We’ll see how it goes.