Rookie Year: Day 135 Or Apologies to Kate Nowak

I had planned to show my students completing the square today.

The lesson that I had in my head would have started with a geometric interpretation where students figure out what is the appropriate area to fill in on a problem and literally complete the square and then we would have moved onto symbolic representations keeping in mind the more concrete idea.

I got up later this morning than I had intended to because I had trouble sleeping last night and so I got to work later than I had intended to and there simply wasn’t enough time to really create the activity that I wanted to create.

So instead of reinventing the wheel I hit up Google for “completing the square discovery activities” and was immediately rewarded with a great post on the topic from Kate Nowak. I’ve been looking up to her and a bunch of other #mtbos regulars since I was in my education program so I knew it would be a good lesson.

I butchered it. Sorry, Kate.

I was also trying to stick a quick lesson about finding x-intercepts of quadratics on TI-Inspires in today as well as a quick word on how to use the discriminant to tell how many zeros a quadratic will have. So I was pressed for time and because I planned to give the Unit test this Friday before kids leave for Spring Break all next week I just started going through the lesson with them, talking up front while they filled things. It was no longer an activity but guided notes. It’s also my fault for forgetting about completing the square until this weekend and realizing I still needed to do a lesson on it before the test. Rookie mistakes is how I am going to rationalize that, thank you very much.

Overall the classes went smoothly discipline wise, but I could tell that I had a lot of disengaged students. I didn’t have the energy to try to pull them in to get them all to participate and my lesson execution wasn’t exactly stellar so I didn’t really blame them. I still struggle with classroom management so I find myself not minding the disengaged kid who is quietly browsing their chromebook over the disengaged kid yelling across the room to a friend about a snapchat they just got.

Baby steps I guess. I’ve enforced proper classroom behavior with most of them. Now I just have to focus on proper learning behaviors. I guess those really should the same thing, but hopefully you know what I mean.

The rest of the week shouldn’t be too bad. We will take a practice exam tomorrow, play a review game Wednesday, I’m out Thursday for professional development, and Friday is the exam. Spring Break is almost here. I just hope I have the gas for the final 6 weeks after that.

Not to mention my wife is 36 weeks pregnant, I am wrapping up 2 online calculus courses as an adjunct and then starting a new one before the end of the semester. Up until this morning I was operating under the assumption that the online classes I teach during summer semester would start in the, you know, summer, but they start in May and I will still be teaching high schoolers in May. Or maybe I will be home with a newborn and my toddler son.

Ah well. I have been teaching online on the side since the beginning of the year so it just means I don’t get the break that I thought I did. It will still be nice to hit June 3 and complete this rookie year.

Thanks for reading.


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