Friday, November 21, 2008

Update 11-21-08

Some thoughts...

1. The new calc videos are getting many views but not comments. I'm depending on others to comment on the quality -- is it readable, is it sufficiently audible on your browser? Is the writing too small or too sloppy to be viewed? By the way, I tried using a whiteboard and colored markers, but, unfortunately, the lighting and contrast prevented this. I'm still working on adjusting the camcorder settings. Apart from the technical aspects, is the content helpful? Let me know...

2. Part of me is getting a sense that these videos belong on YouTube or simply a separate website that can be linked to from my blog. Or am I fooling myself here -- perhaps I need to abandon this blog and simply develop a website for instructional uses. I know that I haven't been a very good member of the blogosphere of late. I should be far more attentive to the contributions of the excellent boggers out there. I'm not really sharing and for that I feel guilty.

3. Let me try to get past this catharsis and remind everyone of our MathAnagram for Oct-Nov-Dec. Thus far we have only received one response. For those who forgot, here it is:


Here is the link to the details.

4. I am putting the finishing touches on another optimization (Max-Min) calculus problem involving a ladder. It demonstrates many of the complications students confront in Calc I or AP Calc and builds on the ideas developed in the "cone in the sphere" problem from last year.

5. Those who are involved with teaching or writing Algebra I or Algebra II curriculum should definitely take another look at the Achieve site for the End of Course Exam for Algebra II. It is frequently updated and now contains more information for the upcoming Algebra I test. It is clear to me from studying the benchmarks, illustrative examples and the released items that there is a considerable raising of the bar going on here. Traditional Algebra 2 topics are being moved to Algebra I (more operations on radicals, more sophisticated absolute value expressions, more graphing of both linear and non-linear functions, more probability and data analysis, etc.). Furthermore, traditional precalculus topics are being moved to the regular (not honors) Algebra 2 curriculum (exponential and log functions, piecewise functions, etc.). How are teachers going to incorporate this more advanced material? As the middle school curriculum moves forward, students should be better prepared to handle a faster pace and more advanced work at the high school level. Further, there will simply be less time in September for the review of everything students forgot (or claim they never learned!). We simply cannot afford weeks of review of prior material at the beginning of the year. Yes, folks, I'm saying this knowing full well that many educators are dealing with youngsters whose basic arithmetic skills seem sorely lacking and whose recall of basic algebra material is weak. Sorry, kids, we need to move on. If you're confused in class, ask questions, take good notes and if it still doesn't make sense, be prepared to spend lots of time after school. No one provides more extra help than math teachers do! I guess after this rant, there may still be a reason for me to continue this blog, at least for now!

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