Recently, I’ve been trying to be super duper conscientious of every part of my lesson. For example, I wrote out comprehensive solutions to some calculus homework, paired my kids up, handed each pair a single solution set, and had them discuss their own work/the places they got stuck/the solutions. I actually had made enough copies for each person, but I very intentionally gave each pair a single solution set. It got kids talking. (Afterwards, I told them I actually had copies for each of them.) That’s what I’m talking about — the craft of teaching. I don’t always think this deeply about my actions, but when I do, the classes always go so much better.
In that vein, of super thoughtful intentional stuffs, I wanted to share two crazy good “do nows” from last week. Not because they’re deep, but because they were so thought-out.
For one calculus class, I needed my kids to remember how to solve (that equation was going to pop up later in the lesson and they were going to have to know how to solve it). I also know my kids are terrified of logs, but they actually do know how to solve them.
I threw the slide below up, I gave them 2 minutes, and by the end, all my kids knew how to solve it. I didn’t say a word to them. Most didn’t say a word to anyone else.
How I got them to remember how to solve that in 120 seconds, without any talking, when they are terrified of logarithms and haven’t seen them in a looong while?
I can’t quite articulate it, but I’m more proud of this single slide than a lot of other things I’ve made as a teacher. (Which is pretty much everything.) Not deep, I know. It’s not teaching logs or getting at the underlying concept, I know. But for what I intended to do, recall prior knowledge, this was utter perfection. The flow from each problem to the next… it’s subtle. To me, anyway, it was a thing of perfection and beauty.
The second slide is below, and I threw it up before we started talking about absolute maximums/minimum in calculus.
As you can imagine, we had some good conversations. We talked about (again) whether 0.9999999… is equal to 1 or not (it is). We talked about a property of the real numbers that between any two numbers you can always find another number (dense!). I even mentioned the idea of nonstandard analysis and hyperreal numbers.
So I know it isn’t anything “special” but I was proud of these and wanted to share.