Little Things and Community

Calculus made all the key connections and proofs to the next idea for me today! It was a satisfying class, and they felt confident when they walked out the door.

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Precal did the ambiguous case of the Law of Sines. I’ve never felt good about that – most of my students have usually left confused, probably because I tried to do all cases on a single day. We slowed down and just did the ambiguous case today, and they felt good about it! I heard a lot of students say things like, “This is fun!” or “I like this!” or even “This is easy!”

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As I was walking around the room, I saw a student write their answer in a way that gave me a new insight that I could immediately incorporate into the lesson! It wasn’t huge, but it helped me make the transition a lot more easily.

Also, I randomly wrote something on the board in a particular way that turned out to be really useful.

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My plan for Calculus II today was “talk about 3d stuff, and explore.” I had a couple of ideas – make them move around the room to graph 3d points, and maybe talk about equations of lines and planes? – but we were mostly just going to roll with it and see what happened. It worked! Mostly because there are only two kids in the class, and they’re fabulous. But it was really fun! And once I got them up and moving, they never went back to their seats, which was great.

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The faculty wanted to practice today for the student-faculty quizbowl match in a few weeks, so the faculty team all trooped into my room after my last class so I could run a practice for them. Several football players who had an off period were sitting outside, and they got curious and wanted to come in and watch. I handed them buzzers, and they played, too. I think they had fun, and I think I have a bridge to talking about some more meaningful things – how they relate to peers who are different from them, how they handle setbacks, etc – in the near future. I loved watching these kids try something that was a little outside their comfort zone but that they were curious about.

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A former student’s father died (not a good thing!), and I found out because a student’s one good thing was that she’d gone to the funeral and been able to spend some time helping the former student. I talked to the administration to figure out who should get in touch with the family to make sure everything’s ok, and it turned out the headmaster has already called the mom to offer the school’s support. I love working in a place where the school is actually a community.

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