Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CIS(theta), 2017-2018 October Meeting: Administrativa!

CIS(theta), 2017-2018 
October MeetingAdministrativa!

(1) Wreath of the Unknown Server: We visited our LAST ever Linux ssh/sftp server, Shadowfax, which is still in the Room 429, though dormant. Yes, I'm afraid it's true, IT replaced all my Linux Boxes with WimpDoze!

(2) Planning: So we have to find an alternative to installing MPI on native Linux. In the mean time, here's our first reading assignment!

(3) Display Case Unveiled: We took down a ton of fractal prints and ray tracings from Room 429 to the 2 display cases on the 1st floor near the art wing. We decorated both display cases as best we could and left before anyone saw us. Must have been gremlins. BTW, we also have an HDTV with Chromecast to showcase student work here.


(4) NCSHS: We're going to continue our chapter of the National Computer Science Honor Society. We talked about the requirements for membership and how we started a chapter. Each chapter is called "Zeta Omicron something." We're "Zeta Omicron NY Hopper." This is a pretty new honor society. The first few chapters were called Zeta Omicron Alpha and Omicron Zeta Beta. We have the first NYS chapter! BTW, NCSHS is not to be confused with my Calculus class and the CML.


NEW SMARTBOARD SETUP
NOTE: MIC FOR SCREENCASTING!
NOTE: TI nSPIRE CX CAS EMULATOR!!
NEW DECOR IN THE REAR OF ROOM 429
NOTE: SLIDERULE!
NOTE: NEW SERVERS!!
NEW DECOR ON THE SIDES OF ROOM 429
NOTE: FRACTALS AND RAY TRACINGS!
NEW VIEW FROM LEFT REAR SIDE
NOTE: UBUNTU DESKTOP!
NEW VIEW AS YOU WALK IN
NOTE: SIDERULE!


====================
Membership (alphabetic by first name):
CIS(theta) 2017-2018:
BrandonB(12), FabbyF(12), JoehanA(12), RusselK(12)

CIS(theta) 2016-2017: 
DanielD(12), JevanyI(12), JuliaL(12), MichaelS(12), YaminiN(12)

CIS(theta) 2015-2016: 
BenR(11), BrandonL(12), DavidZ(12), GabeT(12), HarrisonD(11), HunterS(12), JacksonC(11), SafirT(12), TimL(12)

CIS(theta) 2014-2015: 
BryceB(12), CheyenneC(12), CliffordD(12), DanielP(12), DavidZ(12), GabeT(11), KeyhanV(11), NoelS(12), SafirT(11)

CIS(theta) 2013-2014: 
BryanS(12), CheyenneC(11), DanielG(12), HarineeN(12), RichardH(12), RyanW(12), TatianaR(12), TylerK(12)

CIS(theta) 2012-2013: 
Kyle Seipp(12)

CIS(theta) 2011-2012: 
Graham Smith(12), George Abreu(12), Kenny Krug(12), LucasEager-Leavitt(12)

CIS(theta) 2010-2011: 
David Gonzalez(12), Herbert Kwok(12), Jay Wong(12), Josh Granoff(12), Ryan Hothan(12)

CIS(theta) 2009-2010: 
Arthur Dysart(12), Devin Bramble(12), Jeremy Agostino(12), Steve Beller(12)

CIS(theta) 2008-2009: 
Marc Aldorasi(12), Mitchel Wong(12)

CIS(theta) 2007-2008: 
Chris Rai(12), Frank Kotarski(12), Nathaniel Roman(12)

CIS(theta) 1988-2007: 
A. Jorge Garcia, Gabriel Garcia, James McLurkin, Joe Bernstein, ... too many to mention here!
====================

Happy Linux Clustering, 
AJG

Sunday, October 1, 2017

How Do I Reach These Kids?

How Do I Reach These Kids?

Over the past 34 years that I've been teaching, I've tried everything I could think of to make learning fun in my classroom and encourage my students to succeed. I don't know if I want to get into every little gimmick, which ones worked and which ones didn't. 

However, we as teachers all try to cultivate a culture of learning in our classrooms and I think I will list a few that have become traditions in my room for future reference. Warning, some of these gimmicks tend to be on the geeky side 'cause, let's face it, I'm a bit of a geek! What follows is a list of the top 10 traditions, in no particular order, that seem to have a life of their own in my classroom in that they resurrect themselves year after year!

1) Ceremony Of The Seats
The first day of every quarter, even the very first day of school, in fact, starts with the Ceremony Of The Seats! Every single class that day starts with the students walking into a dark classroom. The only light source is the SmartBoard playing the original sound track from the film "A Beautiful Mind" that you hear playing above. Then I lead each student to their seat, one at a time, with my cellphone flashlight like a bouncer at a movie theater! OK, I'll admit to a little flair toward the dramatic. Instilling a little mystery and wonder in class never hurt anyone, say I!


2) YouTube Wednesdays
Every Wednesday I show a short clip from YouTube that has at least something remotely to do with STEM in general or a recent lesson in particular. This started a few years ago when I played some FILKs related to Calculus. What's a FILK? It's a recognizable tune where the words have been changed to make fun of something. As you can see above, I start the year with several FILKs by Tom Lehrer. Then I ease my way into documentaries about Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, then I get into NOVA episodes and the like! I start the year more or less the same way in every class. Then my Math and CompSci classes start watching different documentaries! This works great especially if you keep it short and have a brief class discussion afterward. Of course, Gracie is one of my greatest idols because she would always encourage everyone to do things their own way. What we would call "thinking outside the box" today was an everyday event for her. She even had an analog clock on her desk that ran counterclockwise just to show that you don't always have to do everything the same way everyone else does it. I suppose that she was akin to a modern day Henry David Thoreau following the beat of her own drum! For example, she would always say, and I'm paraphrasing, that "it's a lot easier to act first and ask for forgiveness later." In other words, asking for permission before you do something is just putting responsibility on someone else's shoulders. Be a leader! If you think there's a better way to do something, go ahead and do it! Stand up for what you believe! Have the courage of your convictions! That's how I got Linux into my classroom back in the 1990s when Linux first came out. I couldn't stand how programmer unfriendly our Windows OS and Novell Network was. So, one day, I just downloaded and installed Slackware Linux. 

Here's my conversation with my boss the day after installation 24 years ago,
Boss: "Wait, that's not Windows, what is it?"
Me: "Right you are, it's Linux!"
Me: "I don't do Windows, 
Me: "and neither does my maid!"
Boss: "Oh my, how much does it cost?"
Me: "I use FLOSS everyday!"
Me: "Free Linux Open Source Software."
Boss: "Aren't you breaking CopyRight law?"
Me: "Nope, it's CopyLefted!"
Boss: "We can't run that here!
Boss: "Who will maintain it?"
Me: "Well, I will, of course!"
And it's been that way ever since .... except, this year, IT replaced all my Linux Partitions with WimpDoze!


3) NEW: SAGE & Processing Tuesdays!
Every Tuesday in Math class we use SAGE instead of a Graphing Calculator to do our work. You can see one of my recent ScreenCasts using SAGE in PreCalculus. SAGE is a Computer Algebra System (CAS) that can do everything a Graphing Calculator can do plus it will do all your Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus giving you exact answers in simplest form! You can even do 3D graphs from your browser on COCALC! In Computer Science class we use Processing on Tuesdays to make coding graphics and animations a snap! We only just got Processing installed, so we are starting this tutorial from The Hour Of Code.


4) Hour Of Code
My 1999-2000 AP Computer Science class was cancelled due to low enrollment. Ever since then I take a day near Admiral Grace Murray Hopper's birthday (12/9/1906) to conduct an in-school field trip. This Field Trip is not for my own students. I try to get all the other Honors Math teachers on board and have them bring their classes to my room. If I have a lot of Juniors, I will also take a day to do this with my own students. Over the past few years my Field Trip has dove tailed with the Hour Of Code and CS ED Week. Here's a whole other blog post about what we do during the Hour Of Code. This year I'll be using some of the inspirational videos from code.org, but I will be doing my own presentations. My Math classes will be learning about SAGE. Each presentation will include something related to a current lesson as well as an introduction to python. I'll do a bit of Arithmetic, Algebra and Algorithms in each class. Then in Calculus we'll do some Riemann Sum Programs. In preCalculus we'll do some Scalar Dot Products and Resultant Vectors with graphs in 2D and Vector Cross Products with graphs in 3D. In AP Computer Science, I'll introduce Processing. With the Field Trip students we'll solve Quadratic Equations by coding in SAGE and Python.


5) preCalculus and Calculus Carols
Every class in December starts with a little caroling practice! These classes are our rehearsal for the day before XMas Break when we tour the school Caroling for whomever will listen. BTW, we have a preCalculus song book and a Calculus song book each with 12 songs we've collected over the years. Some are original compositions by my students. Some are stolen from the web. So, sue me! This year we're putting together an APCS song book based on Tom Lehrer lyrics!


6) Continental Mathematics League (CML)
CML is a competition a lot like Mathletes but is done in-house and there are several levels. My AP Calculus BC class competes in the Calculus League. There used to be a Computer Science League with AP Review styled questions, but that's over. There's basic Math and CS competitions for Elementary school students. We've participated in this competition for over 10 years. It's great practice for AB Calculus Exam level questions. There's 4 competitions: December, February, March and April. Each one can be done in a class period. The competitions have 6 short answer and 2 longer questions. The long questions are a lot like AP FRQs. The short qustions can be MCQs, T/F or Fill-in. Each year we compete against about 100 schools. Most of these schools are in the USA, but some are International American High Schools. We usually place in the top 3-5 schools in our region that includes NY and NJ. We have our first meet on 12/1/2016 this year. Wish us luck!


7) CIS(theta) & NCSHS
I've been running a Computing Independent Study (CIS) course every year since 1995! Recent years have been focused on Parallel Computing setting up a cluster we like to call Shadowfax using MPI. First thing we do each year is reinstall our whole PC Lab Classroom with the latest version of Ubuntu Linux Desktop 64bit OS. Then we install the MPI compiler software stack. This year we'll have to figure out how to use WimpDoze instead. Then we figure out a project that needs all that computing power. Last year we had 100 cores running at 50 GFLOP/s and we tried to make a Fractal Zoom Movie, but ran out of time. Let's see if we can do it this year. Next month we're gonna fire up the cluster for the first time with the Pelican HPC DVD! These students also usually join our chapter of the National Computer Science Honor Society (NCSHS) Zeta OmicronWe call our chapter Hopper-NY. BTW, the main reason for the existence of this blog is to keep a record of what my students do with Shadowfax in CIS.


8) Screencasting
Whenever I teach a new concept I record a ScreenCast on YouTube and link it to Edmodo for my students' reference while doing homework. These ScreenCasts are also great for reviewing old topics as needed. Students find these videos useful when they miss class too! I've been ScreenCasting a new PlayList for one class every year since 2009! This blog came about in part to showcase my ScreenCasts. The sample ScreenCast above is a summary of what we did in AP Calculus BC class after AP Exam week last year as a final project. In my ScreenCasts, you see everything I write on my SmartBoard and you hear everything I say as I teach.


9) MCQ Mondays and FRQ Fridays
I've been doing MCQ Mondays and FRQ Fridays with my AP classes for some time now. This is the first year I'm doing so in all my classes! On Mondays, I take an old MCQ Exam (Alg2Trig Regents for preCalc, AB Calculus for BC Calc) and practice a few questions using Socrative. In preCalc this review is a great skill builder. Also, some of my preCalc students need to retake the NYS Regents Exam in January. In AP Calc, this review is great preparation for the AP Exam in May. I cover each MCQ Exam in about 3 weeks. That's 2 Mondays in a row that count as Formative Assessments. I give 15 minutes to try 10 questions, then we go over those 10 questions. On week 3, I give an actual MCQ Exam in class for a Quiz grade aka a Summative Assessment. On week 4 I return the Scantrons and review the last exam. I haven't started this process with the AP students as yet since they need to get more content under their belts first! FRQ Fridays occur at the end of a unit. That Friday I give a preTest to review for the actual test. Then I give a Take Home Exam that's due on Take Home Tuesday the following week.


10) AP Week Movie Marathon
In my AP classes, we do a Movie Marathon after the AP Exams. We usually watch Math Movies. After the AP Exam Weeks are over, we alternate watching movies every other day. In between, we complete a final project. For example, last year we watched ProofA Beautiful MindThe Theory of EverythingThe Imitation Game and The Man Who Knew InfinityI haven't been able to show Stand and Deliver since Jaime A. Escalante died. Maybe I'll sneak it back in this year?

Oh, one more thing: I name my Graphing Calculators after Science Fiction and Fantasy characters. See if you can name each TV show or movie:

TI81 O B Wan
TI82 Klaatu
TI83 Ziggie
TI84 Frodo
TI85 Johnnie 5
TI86 Spock
TI89 Hal 9000
TI92 Colossus
TI200 Voyager
TI nSpire CX CAS Castiel

So, how do you reach your kids? I hope I've inspired you to "think outside the box" yourself. Maybe I gave you a few ideas you can use in your classroom? Time to get creative with your kids. Go find the beat of your drum!

Generally Speaking,
AJG

Well, that's all folks,
A. Jorge Garcia
Applied Math, Physics and CS

2017 NYS Secondary Math PAEMST Nominee


Sage Ebay
TpT

Saturday, September 30, 2017

preCalculus 2017-2018: Sequences & Series (September)

preCalculus 2017-2018:
Sequences & Series 
(September)

Chapter 12 ScreenCasts
We talked about Sequences & Series in general, Recursive Sequences, Arithmetic Sequences, Finite Arithmetic Series, Geometric Sequences, Infinite Geometric Series and The Binomial Expansion Theorem. 

Can you believe that CC Algebra II students were not exposed to Factorials, Combinations, Permutations or Probabilty? 

I encourage students to follow my TI84 or my SAGE ScreenCasts, it's their choice!


We usually start the school year reviewing all of Trigonometry since CC Algebra II doesn't do it justice anymore! However, September was all about CH12: Sequences & Series. Why? Because we're going to introduce a bit of Python Coding using SAGE WorkSheets on CoCalc.com! Python is an easy to learn and powerful programming language with the List Data Structure that makes coding sequences a snap!

This year I'm trying something new:
MCQ Mondays
SAGE Tuesdays
YouTube Wednesdays
Think Pair Share Thursdays
FRQ Fridays

MCQ Mondays will start in October. Even months we will do practice MCQ Exams using Formative Assessments via Socrative. On odd months we will have actual Mock MCQ Exams as Summative Assessments.

SAGE Tuesdays will make use of Pythonic Math reasoning whenever possible, instead of the TI84C. 

My YouTube Wednesdays are infamous for STEAM related Filks as well as month-long documentaries (10-15 inutes each Wednesday).

Think Pair Share Thursday is a review day. Students get into groups of 2 or 3 with a WhiteBoard to help each other complete HomeWork questions they had trouble with.

FRQ Fridays occur at the end of every 2-3 week unit. On Friday I give a preTEST review sheet. We go over it in Think Pair Share sty. The real TEST, similar to the preTEST, is then given at the end of the period as a TakeHome Exam due the following Tuesday.

Last, but not least, I'm starting each month with a Filk for YouTube Wednesday. For the next several months, we'll be concentrating on the infamous Tom Lehrer. Remaining Wednesdays each month will be devoted to educational STEAM related  documentaries from PBS (Nova) and National Geographic (Star Talk TV).

1st YouTube Wednesday: Tom Lehrer


September YouTube Wednesdays


Teaching with Technology, 

Computer Science 2017-2018: Bits, Bytes & HelloWorld (September)

Computer Science 2017-2018:
Bits, Bytes & HelloWorld 
(September)

Bits&Bytes (LAB00) ScreenCasts

HelloWorld (LAB01) ScreenCasts




We are moving right along with our Java Boot Camp! We are covering Chapters 1-7 very quickly, highlighting the most important topics only. Once we cover the basics, we will go back and cover everything in more detail. During Java Boot Camp we are using javac, java, javadoc and an ASCII editor in a Linux shell aka a CLI environment. 

When we are done with Java Boot Camp, we will switch to more graphical projects using Processing, which is based on Java, in a GUI environment

We are also trying out Cloud9 for the first time this year. Now students can login from home and see their classroom desktop on their home PC and finish any LabWork they need to without going to extra help! I think this is great for practicing our coding skills. Students should be reading and writing code a little bit every single day!

LAB00 is new this year. We had a lot of hardware issues at the beginning of the year, so I started with Bits&Bytes instead. This unit is all pencil and paper based as it's just positional arithmetic. I usually talk about this topic later in the year. Now my students know all about Binary, Hexadecimal and arithmetic is other bases. So, our YouTube Wednesday this month was all about "The Martian" movie. 

LAB01 is all about getting used to our setup and writing several variations of Hello World. We're using Chapter01 from Horstmann's text. All the labs about main classes, main methods, println() and String.



This year I'm trying something new:
MCQ Mondays
Processing Tuesdays
YouTube Wednesdays
Think Pair Share Thursdays
FRQ Fridays

MCQ Mondays will start in October. Even months we will do practice MCQ Exams using Formative Assessments via Socrative. On odd months we will have actual Mock MCQ Exams as Summative Assessments.

Processing Tuesdays will make use of a Java compiler from Processing.org that makes it easy to do graphical applications!  

My YouTube Wednesdays are infamous for STEAM related Filks as well as month-long documentaries (10-15 inutes each Wednesday).

Think Pair Share Thursday is a review day. Students get into groups of 2 or 3 with a WhiteBoard to help each other complete HomeWork questions they had trouble with.

FRQ Fridays occur at the end of every 2-3 week unit. On Friday I give a preTEST review sheet. We go over it in Think Pair Share sty. The real TEST, similar to the preTEST, is then given at the end of the period as a TakeHome Exam due the following Tuesday.

Last, but not least, I'm starting each month with a Filk for YouTube Wednesday. For the next several months, we'll be concentrating on the infamous Tom Lehrer. Remaining Wednesdays each month will be devoted to educational STEAM related  documentaries from PBS (Nova) and National Geographic (Star Talk TV).

1st YouTube Wednesday: Tom Lehrer



September YouTube Wednesdays


Teaching with Technology, 

Calculus 2017-2018: Limits & Derivatives (September)

Calculus 2017-2018:
Limits & Derivatives 
(September)

UNIT02 ScreenCasts

UNIT03 ScreenCasts

We are really flying through our review of the AP Calculus AB material! September was all about UNIT02: Limits and UNIT03: Derivatives. I don't do UNIT01 anymore as it's just PreCalculus Review! I'll cover those skills as needed! 

We talked about basic 2-sided limits and even developed the limit of the secant line slopes as deltaX approaches 0.

We developed the Algebraic Laws of Differentiation. We played with the Power Rule, Trig Rules, Product Rule, Quotient Rule and Chain Rule. We even talked about the derivatives of e^x and ln(x). Finally we worked with Implicit Differentiation and Related Rates!
This year I'm trying something new:
MCQ Mondays
SAGE Tuesdays
YouTube Wednesdays
Think Pair Share Thursdays
FRQ Fridays

MCQ Mondays will start in October. Even months we will do practice MCQ Exams using Formative Assessments via Socrative. On odd months we will have actual Mock MCQ Exams as Summative Assessments.

SAGE Tuesdays will make use of Pythonic Math reasoning whenever possible, instead of the TI84C. 

My YouTube Wednesdays are infamous for STEAM related Filks as well as month-long documentaries (10-15 inutes each Wednesday).

Think Pair Share Thursday is a review day. Students get into groups of 2 or 3 with a WhiteBoard to help each other complete HomeWork questions they had trouble with.

FRQ Fridays occur at the end of every 2-3 week unit. On Friday I give a preTEST review sheet. We go over it in Think Pair Share sty. The real TEST, similar to the preTEST, is then given at the end of the period as a TakeHome Exam due the following Tuesday.

Last, but not least, I'm starting each month with a Filk for YouTube Wednesday. For the next several months, we'll be concentrating on the infamous Tom Lehrer. Remaining Wednesdays each month will be devoted to educational STEAM related  documentaries from PBS (Nova) and National Geographic (Star Talk TV).

1st YouTube Wednesday: Tom Lehrer
September YouTube Wednesdays


Teaching with Technology,