Monday, January 10

First day of teaching in 2011

Before leaving for the year, the staff was reminded to turn off our computers, projectors, printers, etc. I, of course, already do this daily. However, someone in staff also followed up on this and unplugged all our projectors from the projector itself, where it hangs suspended from the ceiling. Upon plugging it back in, I had to readjust the alignment and recalibrate my SMART board so that the mouse would click where I touched rather than an inch below. But all that is fairly standard. However, my colleague's projector couldn't find a source. Even after consulting with me (during which time I made sure everything was plugged in, connected and turned on), still no dice.

Her (both of our's really) plan was to use a PowerPoint from last year to introduce quadratics. Remember, this is the Monday morning after a 3 week break. So it was either leave her hanging to wing class sans technology or bring her class into my room and squish the students all together. We went with the latter and it was actually a great lesson.

However, it really made me realize how dependent upon technology in the classroom we are becoming. I had my first formal observation in the weeks before break and one of the comments I got was on how well I used my SMART board. While I don't feel as though I'm doing anything revolutionary, it is hard for me to imagine teaching without it. It's easy to save all my lessons as pdf files and then post them online for students to access (the perfect solution to "what'd I miss?") While teaching it's easy to go back and say, "Remember this? We talked about it <10 minutes ago>, , ." Beyond that, I find my lessons are much better prepared because I can create an outline in advance that gets filled in as class progresses.

Today I had students looking at a "Deal with the Devil" type problem where the devil offers you $1000 today, but at the end of the day he takes $100 commission leaving you with $900. Tomorrow though, he'll double your money (giving you $1800) but will also double his commission and remove that at the end of the day. And the question was, would you take this deal for a month? By day 8 the numbers start to get big. And I would immediately turn to a spreadsheet to help with the calculations. But this class I was working with all groaned and said that they "hated" it. And then told me that they would just type the numbers in rather than having the spreadsheet make the calculations. These students are 16/17 years old! I'd assumed that they'd be comfortable with entering formulas by the time they got to me. But I guess not. And I guess it's up to me to turn their hate into love.

By the way, at the end of day 10 you're left with zero dollars. So remember, it never pays to make deals with the devil.


courtney said...

Good to know.

Wow, math class has come a long way since I was in high school. It's good that you're teaching them about spreadsheets, because I don't remember using Excel until college.

Mickey said...

Try using the Devil to illustrate math problems in a Cobb County classroom and you'd probably get fired. But creationism is okay.

I got to see my mom's Smart board in action a few times: crazy high-tech. Those things are magic.