Projects
days until the end of spring semester.days until Snakes on a Plane.
Boxes unpacked
Math article project
Finished mathematical core of article. Next: Write analytical core of article.
Dummit and Foote, Abstract Algebra
Finished section 1.6 (86 to go)
Silverman and Tate, Rational Points on Elliptic Curves
FInished 2.5 (31 to go)
Conway, Functions of One Complex Variable I
Finished section 7.5 (27 to go)
Munkres, Topology
Finished section 21 (60 to go)
Royden, Real Analysis
Finished section 2.4 (97 to go)
Nonfiction book project
Todo list uptodate
Fiction book project
1443 out of 100,000 projected words written.
Top 100 novels of all time
Reading Ulysses
IMDB top 250 films
Tengoku to jigoku next in queue.
Blogroll
This academic life
Academic CoachConfessions of a Community College Dean
Learning Curves
The Little Professor
My Hiding Place
New Kid on the Hallway
One Bright Star
Planned Obsolescence
Tall, Dark, and Mysterious
Math blogs
Ars MathematicaMathForge
MathPuzzle
Think Again
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Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.
Monday, December 22, 2003
20:34The spring Saturday teaching plan
Thursday, December 18, 2003
14:04Change in Saturday teaching
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
15:31Algebra Rock
Algebra, algebra, algebra rockwritten by Notre Dame High School (Niles, Illinois) students Joe Casey and Jeff Ramirez. Found courtesy of Eric Zorn.
Algebra hip and algebra hop
Learning equations as big as the sun
Now that alge' class has begun
Algebra, algebra, algebra rock,
Intersecting points on intersecting lines
Laughing and graphing
All at the same time
Algebra is divineProblem solving so involving
To pass the time away
Operations, variations
Keep me busy all throughout the dayRight angles, triangles all have degrees
Someday and so will I
Adding and subtracting using TI83
That's the algebra, that's the algebra
That's the algebra rock
15:08My options for the spring
So I got to see the classrooms where I'll be teaching. The exact student list won't necessarily be available right away: There is an expectation of significant numbers of failures and transfers (very different from my own experience in high school, where the track that I was in had pretty consistent enrollment). I do get a choice of when I'll have my prep period, it looks like. The Algebra teacher, Ms R, has three sections of Algebra, in periods 1, 2 and 5. Geometry will be periods 4 and 6 with Ms C. I'm guessing that the determination of when I'll have my prep will be at least partly determined by what advanced class I'll teach and when it's offered, but I believe that it will be during 3rd period.
I had lunch at a different time period, and I have to say that I like this group. It's largely the young male math teacher group at the math table in the teacher cafe at this lunch, which is a milieu I fit in with better than I did the older married female math teacher demographic who made up the bulk of the folks at the math table at the lunch period that I went to earlier in the fall.
Here's what I'm thinking will be my schedule for the spring (with some gaps here and there):
 Algebra
 Algebra
 Trig (prep for roughly the first 6 weeks)
 Geometry
 Prep
 Geometry
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
12:34A bit more of a preview of my student teaching
Saturday, December 13, 2003
17:53Saturday teaching
The sum of two numbers is 5(I'll leave the answering of this one to the commenters). When I showed some of the kids how we can turn some of the problems from geometry into algebra, they also got excited about that. I've got a big fat stack of grading to do, though, and finals to write for next Saturday.
Their product is 7
What is the sum of their reciprocals?
Friday, December 12, 2003
00:22I'll bet you never saw this one coming
Like just 4% of the population you are an ARTIST (DIAF)creative, adventurous, and deep. Although you are an introvert, your dominant ideas lead you to assert yourself oftenespecially through your work. You actively put your creativity to constructive use, and because you are ruled by your heart you are less likely to be inhibited by logic.Thanks to Ms Frizzle for the link.You have an intuitive understanding of emotion and know how evoke it in others, but the real world can be a prison of foolishness and embarrassment if you don't get your head out of the clouds a little more. Also, you are 87% likely to write poetry. Please, for the love of God, stop now.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
19:14And then I was done
There are two math teaching courses in the credential sequence. This one is the only one with any math prerequisites. And yet the math that we're doing is often at the junior high level. The teacher herself doesn't seem comfortable with writing proofs and is a poor grader. The bulk of the test consisted of recall of fact questions. Even though I did nothing to prepare for the final, I still know I aced it (not to mention finished first). I even sketched out a bonus proof of the pythagorean theorem at the end of the test. Like the midterm, it wasn't just that I could answer every question on the test easily, but I could answer every question on the test before I took the class. I truly hope they don't allow this professor to teach this class again.
Monday, December 08, 2003
14:58I'm Charles the Mad
14:53I've got my student teaching assignment
Friday, December 05, 2003
22:25I can't take it anymore
I just got the following email:
I want to tell you that I don't understand any of the things you have been teaching us since I got transferred into your class. I haven't told this to you earlier because I thought that I can catch up on the proofs and everything else, but I found out now that I can't because today I tried doing the homework you assigned to us, but I'm having a lot of trouble with it and I can't do any of the problems.Now to the students credit, she asked for extra help, but the big problem here is that it's been two weeks since the assignment was given. The homework has a short assignment listed for each day. So, she should have been doing a little something EVERY day. Instead she sends me this email after midnight the morning of class. And this is typical of the class. I don't know where to begin in determining what's gone so wrong here.
I've decided to skip new material for tomorrow and we're going to try to consolildate the learning so far. Reteach reteach reteach. I know it's not all my fault, but it still leaves me feeling like a failure that these kids are not learning. Frankly I'm almost ready to say that I'll not do this next semester. I just don't think that the goals of the program and the structure of the program are compatible and I'm not getting anywhere it seems. I'm a better teacher than the results I'm getting. These are better students than the results they're getting.
17:36Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP)
It's a pity that the math people don't have anything quite so compelling.
10:03Do I expect too much?
 English teachers should read and write for pleasure. They should seek out new authors, dig through the obscure, think about reading and writing and what it means. You should not be an English teacher if you don't spend time thinking about what the purpose of literary criticism is. You had better have an opinion about the various schools of literary theory even if you never mention the word deconstructionism in your classroom.
 History teachers should pursue history for pleasure. They should have strong feelings about Ken Burns.
 Social science teachers should be constantly learning about their particular discipline. If you're teaching government, you should really have been involved in a campaign or other political action. If you're teaching psychology, you should have read Roy Baumeister and Martin Seligmann and have opinions about what they think. If you teach economics, you should be able to articulate exactly what's wrong or right with Paul Krugman's views.
 Science teachers should keep up with developments in the sciences. They should pose questions about their discipline to themselves that go beyond the curriculum and conduct their own experiments to answer these (within ethical limits of course).
 And last, but not least, math teachers should constantly pose their own questions about the discipline. They should read books like The Art of the Infinite. They should attempt to write proofs of things which are merely asserted in the text. They should propose their own theorems and attempt to prove them. They should pursue mathematics as recreation.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
20:13Wow, classes are almost over for the semester...
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
14:11No royal road to geometry?
There's a lot of mathematics that we teach which, in the real world, is put off onto calculators and computers. No one should be proud of, for example, filing their taxes without using a calculator, if not actual tax software. And I doubt anyone would hire an accountant who insisted on doing all his calculations by hand. And I doubt that anyone really wants to trust their loved ones to a car whose engineers felt that it was better to do all calculations on the computer.