Saturday, March 21, 2009

Updates Squared...

Update: My RSS feed seems to have been repaired. I want to thank Denise for contacting me with helpful info...

  • I think there may be a problem with my RSS Feed. Please email me (dmarain at geeemail dot com) or post a comment here to let me know if you're still getting my feed or if there has been any interruption. Also indicate which feed reader/aggregator you are using (Live Bookmarks, Google reader, Bloglines, etc.). Since Google purchased Feedburner I've noted some quirky behaviors of late...
  • I decided to place an SAT Math Tip of the Day in the sidebar. If any of your students (or students who happen to visit) find it helpful, let me know. I'm also working on an SAT Problem of the Day (different from the College Board), but that will require some work to make the math symbols appear correctly.
  • Blogger, unlike Wordpress, doesn't make it easy to have expandable posts (aka, Read More...). There are some solutions out there from techies so I hope to have this feature up soon. This would be particularly helpful for challenge problems where I can "hide" the solution until you click on something. This is done very well in the Math Problems of the Day in the sidebar but the solution is not easily transferable to the layout in Blogger.
  • Have you looked at the Math Problem of the Day in the sidebar recently? Some excellent algebra and geometry problems which are quite challenging. They're along the lines of math contest problems, some close to AIME questions or even higher. Some require careful derivation or justification and the solutions are done well. I have noticed a few repetitions in the problems but, overall, the quality is good. I'll have more to say about the source of these later on...

  • Achieve/American Diploma Project/Algebra I
    As soon as released items/practice test for Algebra I is posted, I will let my readers know. My understanding is that this should be coming very soon, considering that the test will be operational in May! Anyone in your state participating? I would strongly recommend looking into this for your district as the benefits will be great IMO:
    • Helps to standardize your Algebra curriculum and insure consistency of content and instruction; helpful for programmatic review
    • Aligned with most state standards and may well serve as a basis for national algebra standards
    • May become a mandated test in the future in some states
    • Individual report forms can identify students with potential weaknesses who may require additional remediation or can even be used for placement purposes
    • My understanding is that levels of proficiency will be set this summer and that reporting will be more timely the following year
    • Excellent practice for students in taking standardized tests
    • Early exposure to this type of testing usually results in better performance later on
    • Contains both calculator and non-calculator sections consistent with current recommendations for assessment
    • Contains objective, short-answer and open-ended questions, again consistent with most recommendations for assessments

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