Ask me a question…

Today in two of my classes, I concluded the “Name Tent” thing I’ve been doing (a la Sara Van DerWerf’s post). My last question to them was to ask me a question, and I would respond. It was actually really fun to see what kids asked. Most had some variation of when did you know you wanted to teach, did you always know you wanted to teach math, or something like that. Others that I remember as I type this were my proudest and least proud moment as a teacher, where my fashion sense and daily use of sunglasses came from, what I do in my freetime, and the hardest math question I’ve ever answered. I totally loved answering those questions. Maybe I should have put that question earlier, instead of last!


In Advanced Precalculus, I asked a “do now” question that was to test if kids had understood the basic probability questions we’ve been sprinkling into each class. And in fact, it was nice to see that they got the answer super quickly — which means they were grokking it. The questions weren’t hard by any standard, but I liked that they had to think a bit.


In Advanced Precalculus, I asked an exit ticket question. I made an awesome google form to do this (see #6 in this post here for more info on this thing). This was the second class I’ve used it in, and it gave me such good insights into what my kids were thinking. This question was “I used to think … but now I think …” and here are some of the responses:


I have an insight into how my kids are thinking!


We got to play with teeny tiny blocks in Advanced Precalculus, at least for 25 minutes.


I feel good when I can get manipulatives into the classroom. It’s very rare for me. The problem they were working on was this block problem. My favorite part was watching kids work on the 4x4x4 case (some wanted to dive right in to the nxnxn case, but I told them they had to first construct the cube). And almost all groups — near the end of class when they were going to the nxnxn case — messed up. And I know why… It was awesome.


Someone told me today that a student in multivariable calculus was super excited about the cool insights we had yesterday involving Pascal’s triangle.


All of my technology worked today. I’ve been having major issues with interactivity not working on my Sharpboards. But today it all worked!


A former student was working on “Quarter the Cross” in her calculus class. And she was so excited about it that she told me I had to see hers and that she knew I would love it. The fact that she was excited to tell me made me happy.


One of the calculus teachers who has a lot of my Advanced Precalculus kids from last year paid me the biggest compliments. She told me that they just come in and are ready to do work in groups well, and write explanations for their thinking. It felt really good that all the hard work I put in to help them with these things lasted beyond just their behavior in my class.


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