Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Odds and Ends

A few odds and ends today.

First, a friend of mine emailed me with some of her great tips for reluctant math students. I thought I would include them here since they might be of help to someone else out there who has a student(s) who really don't like math.
I have a few suggestions for Math, which I struggled with for 14 years.

First of all, I myself always hated Math, so how could I expect anything different from my students. I had one student who had problems as well, so we only got through Algebra I in High School, but the Junior College took care of the rest and now he is at a typical college student doing very fine.
My next set of students also had some troubles with Math. Each morning I always had a short class time with them, followed by their math workbook time. They needed me to help oversee their first problem or two. If the workbook was especially stressful, I would assign a much shorter time than it would actually take, for example 12 minutes. " If you work real hard for 12 minutes I will let you do ( favorite subject) next. After that favorite subject they would have to do math again for perhaps 15 minutes or until they finished. If they couldn't finish they did another subject followed by math. If you think this was cumbersome, just realize that one of those students is now in college in an honors level math course. In those earlier years, knowing they didn't have to finish kept them working hard for that shorter period of time. They eventually did finish their math lesson but not all at once. This was useful only during the middle grade school years, during long division, etc. ( I usually used a timer to help make the shorter time especially exciting!) They knew if they did a lot, their math time later would be shorter. Instead of watching them gazing at the ceiling because they were so overwhelmed by the amount of hard problems they still had left to do, they worked hard for the shorter periods of time.

Sounds like some good advice. I know I am usually the kind of teacher who likes to push until it is done, but I've come to realize that it doesn't always work that well for the student!

Also, an update on our potty training experience (in case anyone is interested :) My now 3 1/2 year old son is finally doing much better. He usually only has one accident a day. Not bad considering how poorly he was doing with it a month ago! I think I can officially say now that we are finally out of diapering/pull ups after 16 years, 6 months and 15 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippee!

And finally, we watched the Presidential debate last night. I only have two things to say - how can the first commentator that they had on afterwords so confidently say "Well, it seems obvious that Obama won that debate." Sorry, I guess you are only going to see what you want to see. What worries me are the people who just hear that and think, "Well, if they said it, it must be true."

And secondly, continue to pray every day that this country will turn back to God. Both candidates admitted to a lot of problems in the government, but neither of them stated the obvious -- that nothing will be truly turned around until God is allowed to rejoin this country!

God Bless!