It has been a crazy week. I picked up a class at the last minute for this week. It was offered by The University of Akron and The Akron Chamber of Commerce and it was titled "Opening Doors to STEM in the Workplace." We are supposed to get a nice stipend, 2 hours of graduate credit (paid for!), and they fed us lunch every day (good eats all week!). It was WELL worth it in spite of the timing. I got a much better understanding of what businesses are looking for in employees. Oh - and at some point, there is a great WCYDWT about CFL and why they are designed in a spiral vs. the original design of 2 upside-down u-shaped tubes. No time to think that through right now (not teaching Geom now) - more about that later.
What troubles me now from this workshop is that the last couple of years I have gotten away from doing the application problems in the textbook because a) students don't tend to do them anyway and b) there has been such an emphasis on getting the content taught for state testing/getting them ready for the next course or college. After talking to several business people, I now understand that application is key for people to be successful in the business world as well as problem solving. So, now what? The obvious answer is that I need to incorporate application problems into every concept or as much as possible. I am thinking that when I have my practice problems list for my students that there will be 2 parts to each assignment - problems where they practice the concept, and 1 or 2 application problems.
The reason for the title of this blog...
Which brings me to issue #2 on my mind at the moment - school. It is now 10 days until I have students in my classroom. I have no planning done other than Day One. I got the SMART Notebook file done for it and that's it. I have done nothing this week. Granted, it's been a busy week for me. I had Girl Scout meetings three of the five weeknights this week and DH had a meeting on one of the other nights. We are winding down in summer and the kids are realizing that they will be getting less time with Mommy, so they have wanted more of my attention this week. But in addition to all of that, I think I'm just stuck. Paralyzed with fear and nervousness about setting up my lessons using the SMART Board.
For my 18 years of teaching, I have taught using a chalkboard or overhead projector. Put up all the notes by hand. No big deal. I have my own notes on what example problems I want to use and definitions that I want students to know and other important notes that I want to make sure I pass along to students. But how do I set up these slides to put up on the screen for them? Do I put everything up on the screen and use the cool shade to pull down as I go along? Do I just put the basic notes (definitions, procedural explanations) in and the example problems up and write on the SMART Board to show the solution process? Do I go through the SMART Gallery and the Internet and see what I can find that someone else has done and modify it or just start from scratch? Do I go find "creative" stuff on the internet from You Tube and Teacher Tube to integrate in? And on, and on, and on go the questions in my head.
I can't put it off any longer.
That's the bottom line. I am stuck in my head but I cannot wait any more. I have to start tomorrow or Monday. I have four sets of slides to create. I know that I hate when the presentation slides have everything on them and the presenter reads them to you pretty much verbatim and maybe adds a comment or two. I don't think that's what I want to do. But given the visual nature of mathematics when explaining processes, I know I have to have stuff up there (either already on it or a start of it).
The dumb thing is, I have really looked forward to having the SMART Board. I couldn't wait until I had it. Now that I have it, I'm paralyzed as far as what to do with it. But I need to figure it out and fast. Next year at our new school, everyone will have them and people will be looking to me for some help and advice since I will have had one for a year and I want to be able to give them good advice. At least I'll understand their inital fears of it due to what I am going through at the moment. But now I have to get past it. I don't ever remember having these kind of feelings about using technology before. I have always just jumped in and figured it out. Not sure why I am at this point at the moment. Regardless, it is now time to move forward. Any advice and swift kicks in the rear are welcome... :-)