Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Oct. 22-26

SOLs Covered: 8.2 Subsets of the Real Number System
Math Dictionary Sections: (12) The Real Number system
Upcoming Assessments: Test #2 (Tues. 10/30)

What a week!  Make that two weeks.  For the past two weeks, I've been putting in quite a few extra hours, due to making a lot of parent/guardian contact through calls and emails regarding grades, predominately in relation to missing and/or incomplete assignments and the need to get everything in before it's too late.  I've been overwhelmed (in a good way!) with the amount of work turned in this week and so proud of the students who buckled down to take care of everything.  Many students have pulled their grades up, some by several letters!  At this point, the deadline has passed for turning in any assignment (aside from the two projects) that was assigned before this week.  There are a few exceptions due to special circumstances, but I have discussed that with the students and parents this affects.  Assignments from this week can be turned in on Monday without penalty (standard operating procedure).  From this point forward, the leniency is cracked down and students will need to spend their points (Liberty or Lambie) for turning in late work in the second term or loose points for the lateness, almost like a late fee.   This works into our consumer applications unit, which I usually extend to try to teach a bit more financial literacy, something I wish had a little more emphasis in the curriculum as it's the most practical form of middle school math and something they will always need in my opinion.   I'm hoping students will not need to worry about this as much after learning the lesson to not put their work off until the last minute and that there are consequences (at the very least academically speaking) for not taking care of their school responsibilities.  A huge thanks to all the parents for their support at home!

When not handling make-up work, we started working on the real number system.  This threw the kids for a bit of a loop as they would have never known before this point that there is anything other than "real" numbers.  While they will not be dealing with the "not real" numbers until they get into the nitty gritty of high school math, we learn the proper terms for each of the subsets (aka inner groups) of the real number system, some they were already familiar with but did not realize were part of a greater system. I like to introduce the concept using a Russian matryoska doll (aka nesting doll), with the inner most doll representing the natural (or counting) numbers followed by the whole numbers, integers, and rational numbers respectively.  To represent the irrational numbers, I place a piece of paper along side the "rational numbers" doll inside the "real numbers" doll.  Some of the other teachers use mnemonic I'm not entirely fond of to help students remember the order (going from the rationals back to the naturals), so we brainstormed ideas for a mnemonic in my block 1/2 class and came up with our own (and IMHO a much better):   Raising Iguanas With Nutella®.  These kids love their Nutella® plus that's a visual that won't leave any of us soon and proved valuable to most of the kids when it came time to today's quiz.  After singing along to our favorite math song (for this unit, as we now have quite a few favorite math songs!) and playing an identification game, most students really rocked the latest quiz!  For those who didn't (see grades on Edline), they will have time on Monday to do their Error Analysis at the end of class, but the should study their Math Dictionaries over the weekend and try out some of the other sites bookmarked on the class Portaportal.

Number Systems Muncher by Jim Reed of the Argyll Centre

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