Archive for the ‘geometry’ Category

10 Things I WILL Miss About Teaching

While retiring is going to be a joy, there are definitely some things I am going to miss about teaching. So here goes:

1. The Kids. Even the class from H*** this year had its good moments. The kids keep me young, they keep me laughing, and they’ll believe just about anything you tell them. Case in point: Nicole a year ago asking me where zombies go when they die. Despite my trying to get across to her that zombies don’t exist, she kept asking, saying “Hypothetically.” So I finally answered “They go to algebra heaven.” And she was fine with that answer.

2. The challenge of teaching so many different subjects and learning so many new things. Over the years it’s been high school American History, AP US History, psychology, literature and writing, grammar, earth science, basic math, middle school social studies, elementary gifted programs, middle school math, and finally high school math. I’m a walking Jeopardy board.

3. Mathematics, particularly algebra and geometry. After some dismal experiences in high school, I have relished understanding the ins and outs of algebra and geometry, and I will miss the opportunity to continue to improve my explanations of how algebra really works.

4. The Kids. I am in touch through Facebook with so many former students, and I just love watching them grow and have families.

5. Student theater. I did this for 15 years, thanks to one of my first mentors, Sue Ann Loudon. From Carousel to Oliver to Music Man to Peter Pan and numerous small plays in between, I loved every moment, and I have the pictures and tapes to prove it. But that’s a job for someone much younger.

6. Conferences, especially when paid for by the school districts. I loved my time with the art partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A great time at the ASCD conference both in Baltimore and Anaheim – and if the principal had approved our plan for taking kids to the Getty, so many more would have benefited. To think it all started with the National Association of Gifted and Talented in Portland, and included being in DC the night of – and day after – the 2000 election for the International Dyslexia Conference.

7. The creativity of planning a successful lesson. When it goes right, there’s nothing better.

8. Being “on stage” and having a good time with the kids during lessons. There’s all the voices and chants and little dance moves, the quadratic formula to the tune of Jingle Bells, and all the videos.

9. The “Big Projects.” All the plays, World Peace Day in April 1972, Model UN in 1973, the Shakespeare Festivals with 150 kids, the Learning Lab, and many more.

10. The Kids and making a difference in their lives. It took me a long time to realize that this is what I was meant to do.

Geometry and Quilts

I work with a really wonderful geometry teacher, who is trying a new project with her students. Now those of us who quilt are well aware that quilting is just lots and lots of geometry. I wish when I was struggling many years ago (Ms. Foglio….I do not have fond thoughts of you….) that I had been able to do something beyond proofs to see all the cool things that shapes do – and how you can work with them. This is what Lisette brings to her students.

This project is to make a quilt block, but there are a whole bunch of steps needed before the blocks get assembled. First, students had to design a 4-inch block with squares, triangles, rectangles, and trapezoids. Then, with a trip to the computer lab and the help of a wonderful piece of software called Geometer’s Sketchpad, students recreated their block and then had to rotate it and reflect it to look at additional designs. Once they saw how the design would look in its new forms, they were to choose one they liked and print out their now-8-inch block.

This is where color selection now comes in. Lisette  bought red, white, and black fabrics, plus some muslin for the base. Our school colors are red and white, and students could now look at color placement for their block. They had to carefully (which with teenagers means a lot of things…) cut out all their pieces and use a glue stick to adhere them to the muslin sheet. At which point several of us with sewing machines would then begin to satin stitch everything into place.

I completed three blocks this evening, and I think the students will be pleased. There are a lot of secondary patterns that show up once everything is stitched into place. Now I discovered, as I fixed my bobbin, that I had absolutely no regular white thread in the house, so I did all the blocks with red. Kinda like them!

And forthwith – here they are…

Dontcha just love all those trapezoids? One of life’s truly unappreciated shapes…..

Geometric Drawings

The kids are finishing up another line assignment – filling a sheet with nothing but geometric shapes until they have something they like, then adding color to the shapes.

It is really interesting to see where the kids decide to put color. Some go all out, and some do just touches. Some really get into it, and some just want to be done with the assignment. The framing was interesting – I decided to do that after each assignment, to value their work ahead of time. One or two of the kids really get creative with the framing!

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