Saturday, February 19, 2011

Working on a Webpage

I have never been much of a person who journals. In fact, I will be frank and state that I dread thinking about the time I will be putting into writing these blogs. I will therefore do a forewarning and promise to myself that I will not over think these sessions of blogging. I accept I will be most un-entertaining. I am going to try to keep these short and sweet, and I may be all over the place with my line of topics. 

As my first blog suggested, I have a mission in blogging and I will keep to it:
~ I want to keep documentation and grow from my experiences
~  Mostly, I want to develop my teaching by collaborating with other teachers
~ I will pursue finding, collecting, and creating the math lessons that will stick with my students, get them excited and confident with problem-solving, and help them see the power of learning.

Today, I had a hold up in starting this "place" of collaboration. First, I am still trying to decide whether it will be a webpage or a wiki. I am more familiar with wikis, so I think I will be going with that. If anyone has any suggestions I will gladly take them. 

Second, my launch of the ultimate lesson sharing location was annoyingly held up because I was having issues with finding a space that would allow me to freely write equations in if I needed. I think I have found a solution: http://rogercortesi.com/eqn/index.php   Thank you Roger. I apparently just need to master LateX...

At this point, I really need to sink my heart into the idea of using a wiki to create this project. I will be posting soon, hopefully, about the wiki I have created.

Look what I can do:
Believe it, or not, putting this equation on was really hard for me to do. It actually disappeared overnight too. I just found out I have to go to Roger's site, type in the LateX code, get the site to convert it as an image file, save it on my desktop, and then upload/insert it as in image here. Whew! There she is.

Math Revelations and Genesis

I seek the ultimate group of collaboration that will build and share the ultimate lessons with one another. To go ahead and loosely give definition to “ultimate lessons”:  they are the lessons that make students understand the concepts they are learning by making them wonder enough that they think, they work, and they succeed in solving a problem. When students take their books home to practice concept skills, they should be able to hope for an eventual enlightening, interesting activity that will showcase and force those skills out of them.  We all know formative tests do not always make that cut of what the students are hoping for. We all know formative tests do not always make those concepts stick.

 I am a first year teacher, and I may sound na├»ve, but I know I am very small right now in a very big picture. I feel like for every one awesome lesson or activity that comes through to my classrooms, I should have had three more. But every night, I find myself struggling to gear myself with the expertise of applications and ability to create real life activities.  I feel like my life consists of searching and creating. I search for the jackpot resource that has the ultimate lessons. In reality, I search and search to find bits and pieces. Then I find myself building and creating the activities that I hope will become the ultimate lessons.  Am I just not looking in the right places? 

I have this burn to make something happen because I had heartbreak in my classroom. I teach a freshmen pre-algebra class at a high school. We are doing a unit on operations of fractions. I decided to do an activity that dealt with taking a coloring book picture, cutting it onto equal rectangle pieces and having each student enlarge this piece by a scale factor of 3. To sum up the cause of heartbreak, I found out my students could not measure and cut out a rectangle that had the dimensions 4.5 inches x 8.24 inches. It came down mostly to not being able to use the ruler. Blank stares were the response of the task. I asked a student to just point out 3 ½ to me. Her response was she did not know what all the lines meant.

THIS CANNOT HAPPEN. I need to know that all of these standards that we are teaching and being guided by are actually being reached. I look around my trig class some days and just know they are not receiving what I am teaching. I can sound excited about my content. I can selectively call on students to get them more involved and "engaged". But, I feel the only way to know they are receiving these skills is if my students are truly engaged on their own terms. Thus, I seek the ultimate lessons.

I am on Twitter and I am making this blog in the hope of building collaboration. I will be making a website, maybe a wiki, in order to create a spot of collaboration and ultimate lesson sharing. I am desperate to follow other teachers like me, and I am desperate to share my lessons with followers. 

I just want to improve, and I know I am improving and developing at a much slower rate than what is possible. I always tell my students that they have no excuse not to find what they are looking for when technology has put everything at the tip of their fingertips. I am looking for the ultimate group of collaboration. Please, help me!