Sunday, September 7, 2014

Teaching Math 5H: Quarter I Week 1 First Week Back!

Teaching Math 5H:
Quarter I Week 1 First Week Back!
9/1/2014 - 9/5/2014

I don't usually do a day by day rundown of the week, but here goes nothing!

MONDAY: Labor Day (nothing to report)

TUESDAY: Superintendent's Conferences where we spent all day in meetings except for the last 2 hours of the day when we finally got to set up our rooms. I spent those 2 hours moving 100 textbooks, arranging and tweeking 25 PCs, finding 25 chairs and placing 6 tables. Then I found that my SSH server's RAID drive crashed, so I had to setup openSSH on an alternate server I used to have for FTP. That's OK since I don't need the FTP server much anymore. I use the SSH sever for my AP Computer Science students to login from home and finish their Java projects. I share files with my students through Edmodo. I upload my files on DropBox, SageCell and YouTube aka my cloud!

WEDNESDAY: First Day of Classes

The first day of every quarter starts with the "Ceremony Of The Seats" (new seating assignments). The students come into a dark room except for the PC monitors and the SmartBoard. On the SmartBoard I'm playing an MP3 of the sound track to "A Beautiful Mind" over VLC. Since this isn't an MP4, VLC adds some wild special effects on the SmartBoard so it's all cool. Then I walk to each seat and call each student using my SmartPhone as a flashlight as if I'm an usher in the Movie Theater. It's all very dramatic. Then we hand out books and book cards, go over the syllabus and fill out some biographical forms. Sorry, there's no instruction the first day of classes.
YOUTUBE: Since it was Wednesday, after all, I had to show a FILK or two! So, at the end of the period I snuck in our own student made Frozen and then the infamous Mathmaticious!

THURSDAY: Lesson 101 Intro to TI-nSpire

Finally, we say goodbye to Hal (TI-89) and play around with the KARMTI emulator on each PC as we don't have all our TI nSpire CX CAS Graphing Calculators from DonorsChoose as yet. The students are still trying to get some FREE Google Gift Cards from Codecademy!
TECH NOTE: I was ScreenCasting Lesson 101 from the front of the room at the SmartBoard using SmartNotebook with my USB Mic attached to the SmartBoard. This was all well and good until the keys on the emulator started sticking. So, I had to go to my PC in the back of the room to use a standard keyboard and mouse instead of the SmartBoard for input on the emulator.

FRIDAY: Lesson 106 Implicit Graphs

I used to do a whole UNIT1 on preCalculus Review. Now I just sneak in a few of those lessons before UNIT2 on Limits. These UNIT1 Lessons are mainly an intro to the calculator and review of a bit of Algebra and Trig. We play around with Function, Parametric, DiffEqu and Polar modes all in the first few days of class!
TECH NOTE: I was ScreenCasting Lesson 106 from the back of the room at my PC with the USB Mic attached to the PC to fix the problems I listed in the last technical note. I still had a problem late in the ScreenCast when xournal, the pen app I was using, started drawing random lines all over the SmartBoard whenever I put the stylus down on my tablet. I was using xournal instead of SmartNotebook and a DROID Tablet over WiFi instead of the SmartBoard like the old days when all I had was a PC Projector. Maybe I'll try using SmartNotebook with the Tablet on Monday to see if that's a bit better. The problem with this setup is that when I use SmartNotebook with aconv, my ScreenCaster, and SplashTop (to connect the tablet over WiFi) then SmartNotebook is a bit laggy.
UPDATE: Today is Monday and I recorded ScreenCast 107 as above. I got a lot of lag between writing with the stylus and seeing what I wrote on SmartNotebook. So, I moved every thing back up front next to the SmartBoard. I attached an extra USB keyboard and USB mouse as well as the USB Mic directly to the SmartBoard. Luckily there's 3 USB ports! So, Tuesday I'll record ScreenCast 201 from the front of the room using the SmartBoard with SmartNotebook which worked well the first day (101). When I need to use the nSpire emulator, I can now use the keyboard and mouse at the front of the room to avoid the sticky keys! Neither will I need SpalshTop nor the Tablet. I still have the standard keyboard and mouse on the teacher/smartboard PC at the back of the room.


YouTube desciptions include links to handouts and notes if you need them.

Teaching Math 5H:
Hal Must Die - No More TI-89!
Quarter I Week 0 August Preparation
AP Calculus BC is switching gears this year. We're leaving our TI-89s behind for the first time in 20 years! We will go forth and conquer with our new TI nSpire CX CAS Graphing Calculators! We've been running project after project on Donorschoose and nearly have a class set of nSpires to loan out. 

We used to call the TI-89 "Hal," hence the title of this post: Hal Must Die - No More TI-89! It shouldn't be a tough transition, however, as the 89 and the nSpire are very similar Computer Algebra Systems aka CAS. However, the nSpire has a nicer color, hi-res, bright interface and a document system to save our work. It also has the LUA programming environment, but I think we'll stick to TI-BASIC when writing programs for Calculus class!

Whenever I change textbooks or technology, I have to rerecord the course for YouTube. So, I'll record AP Calculus BC all over again with a bunch of new screencasts featuring the nSpire! This was the first course I ever recorded, so it's about time.

Here's a taste of the nSpire (not my video):

Here's a taste of the TI-89 (this is mine):

Well, that's all folks!

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