Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Exciting Morning!!!! Praying History Repeats Itself!!!!

Round One of the 5774 International Ulpaniada Mathematics Contest

It is an exciting morning here at Frisch for the math department. I simply had to share.  Seven of our brightest female math students are currently taking round one of the Ulpaniada along with 8000 other young orthodox woman from around the world.

The Ulpaniada is a three round math contest run out of Michlalah-Jerusalem College.  Held every two years, the Ulpaniada's test questions are very different from those found on the SAT or any other math contest currently held in the US. It is a rigorous exam combining math and logic and Torah.  These Frisch students have to be creative and insight to even attempt to answer these 14 multiple choice nonstandard questions. Two questions in today's round one even require understanding the Hebrew calendar and numerical value of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet to be answered.  It is not everyday do these students see Hebrew in the middle of a math test!

With two past Frisch students qualifying for the final round held in Israel, I are optimistic that our current group of bright young Cougars have a fabulous chance of repeating history.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Give your student an iPad and YOU might learn something new!

So above is a photo of a typical day in my 9th grade Honors Geometry math class. From the first day my freshmen were given their iPads all I see from the front of the room is propped open little grey Otter Boxes. And there folks is the problem!  I have been standing in the front of the room too much.  Let me explain.....

This past week I happen to walk to the back of the room and glance at a student's iPad while the kids were working on some problems.  Immediately I saw colorful buttons and quickly assume the student was not on task.  A quick glance at her neighbor's iPad screen showed the same colorful banner across the top of the screen.  Before saying anything I walked around the room and discovered the majority of the kids had this colorful banner superimposed on their textbook pages.  Little did I know from my vantage point, in the front of the room, that my students had been taking screen shots of their textbook pages in DropBox and then opening them in Educreations.  Educreations, a powerful recordable whiteboard app, was allowing my students to technically "draw" on the screenshots of their textbooks.   I of course have modeled this technique up at my Smartboard but having the kids do that technique at their desks is way more powerful.  They can take the givens of the proof, mark up and dissect the figure, and then decide how to proceed writing out the "if .., then" statement/reason proof.  A more interactive and hands on approach than simply copying something from the board. I love it and I couldn't believe I didn't know this was happening in my own classroom.

I learned two important lessons that day.
1) move around when teaching.  You will be amazed to see what is really going on in your classroom.
2) be open and ready at any moment to learn form your students.

I know I have a lot left to learn.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's 4AM and I am entering the Twitter world......

I am having an adverse reaction to yesterday's flu shot and can't sleep so why not be up and work on mission #2 of the Math Twitter Blogsphere.  The focus of this week's mission is Twitter so the ever helpful Rabbi Pittinsky helped me set up a Twitter account. As someone who doesn't have a Facebook account it took quite a bit of reading and explanations ( from various people)  for me to understand what this whole Twitter thing is. I am not an expert now by any means but I think I am getting the hang of it.  And I am liking it!

I played around with it this morning and was shocked to see that I have ten followers and even an offer from a close colleague to join a book club. Who knew?... Luckily I checked or I might have insulted people or at least look like I have no idea how to read a twitter feed. ......which technically before ten monutes ago i didn't. I have not yet had an  on going 140 character dialogue but I can see the beauty of this social media. The quick shout outs and instant connections to those people you want to converse with is really cool. I will have to figure out how to add this all to an all ready busy day but I gather it will be worth it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My open ended mission one question

Mission three of "Exploring the Math Twitter Blogsphere" has recently been posted and here I am finishing up mission one. I have plenty of valid excuses why I am behind but let's move on to the mission.

I have to reflect on my favorite open ended question I have or would like to ask my classes. As a professional goal, I would like all my algebra classes to write equation given a few simple guidelines. For example"  Write an equation of a line with a positive rational slope with a negative y- intercept."  Or another one could be " write an equation of a quadratic with a double root, leading coefficient being negative, whose roots are on the positive x-axis." I think that would show a deep level of understanding about the various small components of any equation.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This weekend I will begin my first of 8 missions through the "Math Twitter Blogosphere". I am so excited to learn more about the online community of math educators. And today by starting this blog I am becoming one of them! Yeah. I hope to do my first mission this weekend. Wish me luck.