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Pick Your Brains?
Posted:
Aug 2, 1995 1:42 PM


I'd like to pick the collective brains of the readers of this mailing list. I realize what follows is not exactly in keeping with the usual traffic on the list, but I beg your indulgence.
Please consider what follows. If you wish to reply by email (directly to me) so much the better.

I'll be starting a oneyear contract at a local public school in just a few weeks. I'll be teaching geometry and algebra II.
I have 2.5 years worth of experience teaching mathematics at the university level and one semester of experience at the middle school level.
I have some questions.
1) What kind of homework collection/credit policy do you use? Normally I assign/collect daily (especially at the university, where the classes meet just two or three times per week), but when I did this at the middle school I found if I missed one or two days of grading a massive backlog was created.
I was thinking of collecting daily and then picking two or three days out of the week to grade.
I am also entertaining the idea of *not* collecting and just walking the rows, marking those who don't have any work done.
What method do you use?
2) I have never used portfolios, but I am interested in trying this. My training in portfolio use consists of brief discussions in the context of a methods class. (In other words, I know practically nothing about this.)
Have you ever used portfolios? What does one need to know in order to use them effectively? Sources of portfolio ideas? Methods of assessment?
3) Do you commonly have the students work on a warmup problem, or warmup problems?
4) When I was at the university, teaching a class which ran for an hour or so (we have two formats; 50 min. and 1h 15 min.), I'd typically lecture for 7585% of the time. The first 1015 minutes would be homework Q&A, the next 2545 minutes would be straight instruction (data + examples), and the last 1015 minutes would be a semicollaborative inclass activity which usually highlighted certain aspects of the topic of the day.
When I was at the middle school we had 50 min. periods and I *never* lectured for more than 15 minutes at a time.
With respect to the high school setting, would it be wise for me to try and minimize the straight instruction time, or what? What format do you usually pursue in high school classes?
5) Any other tips/suggestions/advice? Any and all advice is appreciated.
Thanks in advance...
limitzero@aol.com



