We’ve been busy in Algebra 2 as well…

Just a few highlights from the last 2 weeks in Algebra 2:

My first foray into VNPS (Vertical Non Permanent Surfaces, I think?) – I had the students go up to the board with their entire table to answer a series of questions as we began our unit on Quadratic Equations.  I can honestly say I was filled with delight – truly – to see all thirty kids at the board talking to each other about math.  The novelty of it excited them, and this normally passive class has been enlivened ever since.  Not all of the work was accurate, but when they sat down and looked at everything they had all shared, they were visibly impressed, as was I.  And most amazingly, I had NOTHING to do while they were working except observe.  And that’s a very unusual feeling.
VNPSicosa mathnot so good

Then, doing a 180, so to speak, I taught one lesson as a screencast.  The students were 2:1 on the iPads, and they worked through a lesson on Dividing Complex Numbers that I created using Explain Everything.  It was a bit time consuming to create, due mostly to my home technology situation, but the kids loved it.  I saw a lot of pausing and ‘rewinding’, stopping to work examples and then resuming the lesson, and also a lot of cooperation between the 2 students sharing the iPad.  (I even brought along alcohol swabs for the shared earbuds.)  The response was very positive – although I don’t think it would remain that way if I did this more than once every couple of weeks.  One student who struggles told me she felt like I was tutoring her.  There were, interestingly, several students who were adamant that direct LIVE instruction was better, but the overwhelming majority liked this approach.  For me, lots of work up front, but the class itself was a breeze.  And, of course, now that I have the screencast created, it can be reused.  I made an error (found by the first class) in a worked example, which I turned into a challenge for the second class – find the error, get a free homework pass!  I wish I didn’t have to block out the faces of these happy students – most kids duck when I am snapping my photos, but they posed!


And speaking of amazing students, the latest from my animated progeny studying animation/illustration:



Isn’t this a book you want to read?


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