Today was our first “real” day of school. And it just so happened I only had two classes. Which was nice, because I needed the free time to do tons of logistical things. Here are some good things that happened:
- One of my fellow math teachers (from the middle school) gave me an awesome hat that she got from her daughter. She earlier last week gave me the world’s best scarf that she got from her daughter. And last year she gave me a different hat that I never stopped getting compliments on. Huzzah!
- I had my first geometry class (one of two) today and the kids came in super excited and talkative. And I led them to a problem, and they worked hard on it. One group — or at least some members of one group — I think “got it.” Two groups are close. And two groups are on their way.
What I loved was that before they did the problem, they started doing a lot of conjecturing/noticing/wondering. At first, they didn’t come up with much. But when they started grappling with this problem, they came up with two really nice conjectures which I stopped to class to share when I heard them.
- In my first full multivariable calculus class, we went over something I had my kids work on over the weekend (we had a 30 minute class last week). It was a tough problem, where students don’t have all the tools they need to solve it, but they do have enough information to come up with a plan of attack. I told them to work on it for 30 minutes, but then they could stop. One student came in with (a) a typed writeup, (b) an interactive geogebra sketch with two sliders, and (c) a program written in java to test thousands of possibilities. Unbelievable. UNBELIEVABLE.
- Last year I had a precalculus student come up with some social justice math problems for her “math exploration.” Today we had lunch together and talked about how I could successfully integrate one or two of those problems — and facilitate a discussion around those problems — in class this year (during our first unit). How cool is that? Yup. Pretty cool.
- We have a new math teacher in our department, and we take the same train home. He stayed late working, and then we both went home together, and I got to talk with him about standards based grading, textbooks, and curriculum design. I can’t wait to when we’re both teaching the same course together! I think I can learn a lot from him!
I have a lot of things that happened today there were less than ideal, but I’m so glad that there was much more good than bad!