Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Course Outlines

This morning, I spent quite a bit of time looking for activities/lessons on rational expressions.  I got distracted and veered way off topic when I discovered Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere's blog.  After reading through a few posts, I found links to his course outlines.  I have only read the first one but absolutely love how it begins.  I definitely plan on stealing borrowing the introduction.  Don't panic...he gives permission for anyone to do this on his blog!

Here's the portion I love but feel free to check out the course outline in it's entirety here.


Howdy! This year we are going to discover beautiful, useful and extraordinary islands of knowledge.  I’m going to be challenging you consistently as you build bridges from island to island – from lines to quadratics to polynomials to matrices. These islands will provide resting places for our adventures, while we explore what great things these paradises have to offer. Still, any adventure isn’t an adventure unless there is uncertainty, unexpected perils. I can promise you that you will not be immune from confusion, wandering dazed and confused.

But don’t worry! Yes, at times it will be hard – all good adventures are – but rest assured that I’m always going to be right there with you. I am here to tell you now: we are in this together and we can conquer all. In fact, I’m going to make sure we make it to the end of the year with lots of sparkling mathematical treasures to your name: graphs of neat functions, complex numbers, quadratic functions, the remainder and factor theorems, compound interest, and other surprises.

teaching goes both ways
With this said, you are now at a point in your education where you are responsible for your own learning. You are old enough to know what you need to do when you are having difficulty. Wait, are you? Pop quiz.

When you are feeling lost in class, you should:
(a) wait until the next class and hope that it will all begin to make sense.
(b) not do anything… it’s only one concept and you know you’ll be tested on a bunch, so it won ‘t be a big deal to not learn it.
(c) ask someone else for help – whether it be Mr. Shah, your desk partner, or a friend.
(d) watch America’s Next Top Model and hope that the concept will be explained during a photo shoot.

You are in this class to learn some math – and even though we are in this journey together (remember: I am always on your side), that does not absolve you of responsibility. For this class to operate smoothly, for us to have a good time, to get all we need to get accomplished in mere months, you need to
… come to class prepared every day
… spend quality time working on your homework daily
… not be afraid to ask questions about concepts or homework problems you are struggling with
… be an engaged participant in every class
… be kind and respectful to the other members of the class

If you keep your end of the bargain, I guarantee you that your mind with be brimming with intellectual riches at the end of the school year. You will have learned a lot.

Just as I expect only the best from you, I want you to expect the best from me. I promise to come to teach class well-prepared, ready to embark on our daily adventures. I promise to try my best to make my presentations clear and interesting. I promise to respect you.

I can't wait to get back in the classroom and add this to my course outlines.  LOVE IT!

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