Friday, April 5, 2013

Get the Funk Out of Here

Between district benchmark testing and state mandated end of course testing we've been testing for what seems like forever.  This always results in an altered bell schedule and an overall weird mood for teachers and students and alike.  It just seems like it's really hard to get in a groove.  I always end up in some sort of a "funk" this time of year - I'm frustrated about things that didn't go as well as I planned and irritated by the rampant senioritis that has laid claimed to my students.  I have a hard time finding the motivation to do much of anything.  I've found the best way for me to counteract this funk I'm in is to start making plans on how to improve next year.  What can I do differently so that this time next year I don't feel this way?  Obviously, I've yet to stumble on a solution, but this yearly quest is what gives me hope and keeps me going.  And I do find something every year that I have improved on from the year before, so it's not for naught.
My big plans for next year right now include transitioning to some form of Standards Based Grading.  I also plan on introducing Interactive Notebooks in my classes.  Lately I've been playing around with my INBs for next year.  I want to incorporate foldables as much as I can because I think they're so much more visually stimulating and organized than traditional notes.  Here's something I came up for my Calculus INB - a foldable and practice over Continuity.


Practice - Taped on the Left Hand Page with Solutions glued down underneath

Solutions to Practice - glue down underneath Practice problems

I left space on the practice page for them to complete the exercises on their own, but I believe in giving answers to the practice problems because it gives students immediate feedback on whether they're getting it or not.  They don't have to practice doing all of it wrong and then have to wait for me to grade it and hand it back before they realize they didn't understand.

I'm so excited to incorporate these notebooks!  I'm hoping that this time next year when I'm reviewing my students for the AP exam they'll have a resource they can reference instead of just saying "How do I do limits again?  I don't remember."


  1. I love your advanced math ideas, and will definitely be using some of your activities this year. Thank you for posting these activities for INB. It is really getting my brain turning. I was just wondering if you use your INB you put all of your work and homework in it? How exactly do you use it on a day to day basis? Also, do you have multiple notebooks throughout the year? Thank you for your help!

    1. Thanks! I actually haven't ever used an INB before! This will be my first year. I plan on just using one notebook, but we'll have to see how it goes. I plan on using the left page-right page format where the input (notes) go on the right page and the associated output (assignment/activity) go on the left page. I'll be posting about the INB all year, so please check back! And if you implement an INB in your higher level math class, please share what you come up with!

  2. I intend to post whatever I can from my INBs on: Not much there right now, but check back soon, I start school after labor day.

  3. Hi Jennifer!

    Would you mind posting the document you used for the discontinuity examples?! Your's look so great, I'd rather use them than create my own! Can't wait to try this with my students :)

    Thanks for the great idea!

    1. I am having trouble finding those exact images - I think I might have gotten them out of my "Complete Idiots Guide to Calculus" book which I can't find. However, this worksheet has some examples that you use. If I find those original images, I'll post them later. Sorry!

  4. Found 'em! :)

  5. I have lots of resources for Calculus ( 75 PAGES WORTH) in my Calculus Survival Kit.
    Find a link to it on my website (blog coming soon)