Tuesday, November 17, 2009


pretty decent.

eight students were asked to go speak to the reviewer regarding the school environment, academics, etc. one student came to tell me she talked about how great i was. i thanked her for the flattery.

then in the presence of some school staff but no other teachers, my principal said that while she would never say this in front of the teaching staff, it was clear when discussing the teachers that the students overwhelmingly favored my class.

pretty awesome although i sometimes question my principal's motives and wonder if she's being 100% truthful. either way, it's a pretty effective strategy to help teacher feel confident in their practice.

oh also i found out the final regent's passing rate for last year including summer school: 78%. kind of overwhelming because i think it will be highly impossible for me to attain that again this year.


note to self: i know that right now, i can't make my lessons interesting to the students every day. sometimes i even go day after day of difficult skills and practice. i found that right now, for me, the best way to engage the students is to alternate fun topics and projects with rigorous skill development. maybe one day i'll be masterful enough to teach every topic in an interesting, innovative manner. but for now, i'll stick with infusing the curriculum with chart paper, markers, projects, and games every 2-3 weeks. i stick out the tough stuff as much as possible, and push them to their limits of pure mathematical skill. then we take a breather and enjoy an easy, project based unit.

i know some teachers teach everything inquiry and project based but i haven't gotten to that point. in some ways what i do is a cop out, but OTOH it works for my students and i think the change of pace every few weeks invigorates them.

i'm interested in what my take on this method of teaching will be a few years down the line.


Mr. D said...

It's hard to make every topic interesting, but the fact that you're stressing about it is a good sign. The balance between "boring" and games/projects etc you describe is really the ideal--you make the latter more special when it happens infrequently. What you're describing is in no way a cop out.

Also, remember that "interesting" is a subjective idea. Kids can seem bored when they're really frustrated that they don't understand the difficult concepts, not because you're presenting it in a straightforward way. Explaining things with the simplest language possible, using analogies and lots of examples to clarify points, and making real world connections to explain why something is important to know--these are just as important as breaking routine with a fun project or game.

If you need some ideas for specific topics, dig through the archives on my blog.

Good luck this semester!!

Adelaide said...

thanks mr. d!

i actually came across your blog when i was searching for a lesson online (i think for probability) so i'll definitely look through your archives as need be.