Monday, February 18, 2013

Follow up on quick 1st period student & Summative evaluation

It's President's Day. Days off are so great. I have a couple updates. 

The first is about my quick 1st period students. I've decided to get him some open ended things to work on in his spare time. I'm not going to grade it. It won't even really help him improve his performance on the quizzes we use in the class. It will, however, help develop his analytical thinking skills in ways that our curriculum doesn't come close to doing. I've pasted in a copy of the assignment below. I'm hoping to give him a series of them through the semester and I think I'll call them "Character Builders".

The second update I have is that I had my summative administrative evaluation on Friday. It's annoying being a new guy and having my summative assessment mid-year. I feel like I'm just getting things under control. First semester was very rough for me. I had a handful of very difficult students in each class. Now my classes are a little more controlled and I'm doing a much better job of keeping them focused. We're two weeks in and things haven't completely fallen apart. Still, my evaluation reads pretty poor. My admin focused, in his comments, on my failures more than on my growth. I put a comment on it describing what my admin and I have talked about and the progress I've made. Anyway, the whole thing doesn't matter too much because I was hired as a 1-year temp position on a grant that runs dry this year. My admin told me, truthfully, I'm sure, that he does not know if there will be a position for me here next year. So I'm going to start looking for new positions. Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.... Anyway, if any of you know of any openings for math teachers in Oregon, leave a comment. 

Character Building Work: Properties of Quadrilaterals
Name: ___________________                  Date: _______________         Per:___

1) Make a list of your hobbies (anything you do for fun):
(e.g. biking, video games, hiking, dinner parties)


2) Pick one hobbie from your list: ______________________ (e.g. biking)

3) What items/objects/artifacts are required for you to do this hobbie?
(e.g. bike, helmet, bike light)

4) Look in your notebook (Quadrilaterals section page 5) at the quadrilaterals we have discussed. Which of these quadrilaterals can be found within your list of artifacts? Draw pictures, make a list:
(e.g. the basic frame of a bike follows the shape of a trapezoid)

5) How would this hobbie change if a different quadrilateral was used for each of the artifacts you listed in 4)? Be descriptive. Use the vocabulary words found on pages 2 and 3 in your notebook for the quadrilateral section. Consider whether you would still enjoy this hobbie. Consider whether it would change how expensive this hobbie is. Consider EVERYTHING! Be creative!
(e.g. One of the nice things about using the basic shape of a trapezoid for a bike frame is that it allows for the forks and seat stays to be non-congruent lengths. This allows for a wide variety of bike frame shapes to be made. Keeping the top tube parallel to the wheel brackets keeps the biker balanced on the bike. If the frame were made into a kite, say, the seat post would almost have to be on top of the handlebars. That would be very uncomfortable to ride. It could make for a more interesting challenge though….)

6) Return this page (w/ any addition pages used) to Mr. Laxton as soon as it is completed. 


  1. There will be an opening at Marshfield High School this fall. It requires a middle/high endorsement as well as basic and advanced math. They hired a temp for this semester, but I'm not sure if he's working out.

    1. I'm not middle endorsed, sadly. Well, I guess it's not too sad since I'd probably not deal well with middle schoolers. Thanks for the heads up, though!

  2. Hey Kevin. Hang in there with your current position. Important to focus on your growth! I taught in Portland for 14 years before moving to CA.

    Not sure about title of worksheet as "character builder" though. It seems like one needs to do it due to lack of character.

    1. Huh. I had not thought of the title that way. I meant it as something that will build upon already existent character. I'll have to test it out with the students and see how they react to it. Or at least get feedback from my 1st period stud on what he thought about it. Good heads up, thanks!


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