I’m not sure if they actually were interested in the equations that made this graph. We went through them though, and it was at the very least amusing. No, it was more than that, as we were making it, and the parabola was too wide, or too narrow, or too far to the left…they were telling me which numbers to change. And by how much. This is what I mean. Developing thinking and problem-solving skills. Nobody will ever ask you to draw a smiley face using equations. But you can, and isn’t THAT a cool skill to know? Besides – you never know when you’ll end up on Jeopardy! and have a clue be something about functional art.
I don’t know if any of the things that were supposed to happen on the 29th came true, but I did feel like all my classes made pretty good progress so I’d call it a success. And with September winding to an end, my inclination is to declare the first month of school a success. There’s still tomorrow, but I don’t know of a whole lot that could make it turn bad. The week, maybe. But it certainly won’t leave a bad taste in my mouth for Septembers to come.
I give lots of little quizzes, just to see where students are. I’m not sure how I feel about this, because missing half a point is not a big deal, it’s probably just something like forgetting to bring a negative sign or something. Little amounts of points are generally not conceptual problems, but little mental lapses that we all have but which I also have to point out by way of a small deduction on a formal assessment. The problem I’m having is – the kids are WAY too into their grades, and if they get a 7/10, they’re not seeing “well it’s only 3 points, that’s easy to make up.” They’re seeing “Oh shit, a 70%” Which to some extent is good – not being thrilled with a 70%. But seriously, 3 points? Do your homework, people. THOSE 3 points missing don’t seem to bother you….