Monthly Archives: October 2015

Evolution of a Theorem (or How to Save All the Animals)

[Edited 7/31/2018 with further information and credit about the origins of the theorem]

Greg (@sarcasymptote) is responsible for the first known instance of puppies in peril. Chris Lusto formalized it into a theorem.   It all started when Bowman Dickson posted The Dead Puppy Theorem and Its Corollaries. Others joined in on the effort, most notably the additional corollaries developed by Math Curmudgeon   I also joined the cause, making a worksheet that covered the do’s and don’ts of exponents.   Lisa Winer at eatplaymath took that idea and made an a full-page warning worksheet for her Algebra II students.

Lisa posted her worksheet at just the right time as I was about to start one of the more dangerous chapters: Trig Identities and Equations!  EEEEK!  So I made this and we spent about 15-20 minutes discussing the various problems that come up, why they’re illegal and what to do instead.Save the Trig Kittens

(file here) We also added more to the back as we needed them (e.g. can’t cancel sin x in 1/sin x + sin x.)  I really think it worked as the identities section of their quiz was really quite pretty!  Only 4 kittens were harmed in 75 tests!  It really made them think about each step and I got a lot of “Mrs Craig, is this hurting an animal?” or “Mrs Craig, is this legal?” questions when we were working on them, whereas before I think they just did magic and didn’t care.

What are some constant mistakes that you would want to warn your students about?

Twenty Day Digital Organization Challenge

I was asked to give some professional development about tech to a local teacher group. I was told that the teachers there probably weren’t the tech-i-est so I started listing things I wanted to show them. Then I thought, well, if they’re anything like me, they are going to file this paper away and then never try anything so because they don’t have time. So I made it into a ten-minute-a-day challenge. I mean, we can all find an extra ten minutes, right? I came up with 20 so it would be a month’s worth of school days. I’m sure most of you are pretty tech savvy, but maybe there’s something new for you (or you can hand it out to your other non-tech-savvy friends). Here’s the challenges:

Twenty Day Digital ChallengeFile here

And I copied these shortcuts to the back:

Word and Equation ShortcutsFile here (whoa, I just noticed that half of the equation stuff is for the new (gross) editor! Will try to fix it ASAP!)

If you’d like to know more about equation editor and math autocorrect, visit this post.

I also asked about some good tech tips on Twitter and I got a ton of great responses! Some totally new to me, some old favorites, and a lot of apps/add-on suggestions!  Check out the tweet and replies here!  Thanks to everyone who made some great suggestions!

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Little Miss Organized

I know, I know, if you saw my desk photos on twitter, you would think I meant “disorganized” but I really try to have my act together. Here are two things that are helping me this year that I thought I would share so those Type A types would stop giving me that disapproving bunny look.

One thing is this year my schedule does not have all my preps grouped together.  No, this is not the first year that that has happened, but it’s the first time I’ve found something that has kept my sanity: 2 clipboards. I have one for each prep. My notes for the day, homework from last night, bellringers for the week, seating charts, etc go in the clipboard. At the end of the week, I go through it and file the stuff away for each class (I keep a hard copy of my filled in notes). This really helps when I haven’t finished the notes from one day so I need to keep those handy for tomorrow, or if I have one homework worksheet I’l be using all week. It would be even awesomer if I had different colored clipboards for each class, but these were free from another teacher and I’ll always take free over cute.  Well, not always. I mean, just ask Addison.

The second thing is that I have always been pretty good about keep a blog updated daily for my students (now, training them to use it when they are absent is a whole different manner).  After going through 4 different “blog” platforms in the last four years, each with its own pros and cons (like an Amazing Race detour!), I have found what works the best for me: a google doc. WHAT? I know. Welcome to the ’90s, Mr Bah-nks. (Kudos to the three of you who got the Father of the Bride reference.) Here’s what a typical week looks like:

PC Google Doc

I just put a view-only link on my school site and now I can update the file daily (I set a reminder to pop up at the start of my prep period to remind me to update it) with links to filled-in notes, homework, updated schedule because no one told me that we’d miss an entire class period to talk about ordering school rings, etc. (note: I think in the 6 or 7 years I’ve been posting a blog I may have gotten 4 comments from students, so that was not something that I was looking for).  Bonus: at the end of the year, I’ll have something I can print out and refer to when planning next year (question: if I add comments, can the students see it?  I would love to be able to add reflections to it. Or can I make another google doc that syncs to this one so I could add my reflections to that?).

Double bonus: I can also share them with my faithful and loving blog readers, in case they are up nights wondering what I did in class last week (or, you know, if they want to use some notetakermakers or homework or such which may be the more likely scenario). Here is Algebra II w/ Trig and here is PreAP Precal.

And just in case you’re still not sold on the idea that I am actually organized, I’ve been asked to give a presentation on being digitally organized/time-saving tech tips. I’m thinking snipping tool, blog readers, dropbox (seriously), saving a blank starter doc, dragging a web address to the toolbar, middle-clicking a link. If you have any great tips, share them in the comments or on twitter! 🙂

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