Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back in the saddle . . .

. . .or at least one foot in a stirrup.

Today is the first blog in a long time. Once, if I hadn't written down my thoughts, I'd feel them trying to crawl out of me. After a while, the daily blogging became more work than fun. I've been taking sabbatical from the online persliflage and instead have been making novice attempts at songwriting, although I'll never develop past the nascent stage, it has been enjoyable activity. The song I wrote for my daughter has been a family favorite, that is for everyone in the family except my son. I guess the line "I love you so so so so much more than I love your brother" can cause any 9-year-old to sing out of key.

Seriously, though, I've decided to try to contribute to the blog again without the pressure of producing something daily like I was doing it for biscuits. It is an ambitious recommittment on my part, though, since I've been putting my typing skills to good use this year in my math classes by typing up my class notes, complete with copious math symbols, graphs, charts, and tables (no chairs.) I have envisioned for years having My notes with My examples the way I like to teach in the order that I see fit all typed up and available online for students. Ideally they could print out the Notes and/or note template from the website prior to coming to class whereby they could simply fill in the blanks during class. So often, I move quickly through examples and definitions writing things on the board that are different from the myriad of things that are coming out of my mouth. Having an outline in front of them will not only require them to write less, but more importantly, they'll be able to pay better attention to what I'm saying.

Additionally, their "independent practice problems" (homework has such a pejorative connotation) would be an excquisite sampling of the finest examples I have accumulated in my 10 years of teaching, problems that are not necessarily found in a textbook, a university, or a small sedan . . . . No, students would have the opportunity to master their math skills through a meticuluously chosen assemblege of easy, moderate, and challenging problems that will balance "quantitiy" and "quality."

Of course, this has only been a dream of mine for 10 years because it take so much darn time to type all this stuff up. I've started to do it this year, and whether I can keep up with the frenetic pace of my festinating fingers on the keyboard is yet to be seen. Trying to blog again is only going to make my math notes a jealous mistress. I'm hoping my wife will let me make time for both of them . . . . wait a minute . . . . . I'll be right back . . . . . . I've just got an idea for a song.

So why blog today? Well, because I DO have a little time on my hands. Today I had my 4th surgery in 4 years on my right knee. Although the last 3 were four years ago, today brought back some painful memories. Today's surgery was to repair a torn lateral meniscus (click to see) I damaged when I jumped off some monkey bars . . . . stupid, I know . . . . now. My list of "thinks I should never do again in my whole life" is getting longer. After today's successful surgery, I hope I can add "knee surgery" to the list, right below "buy wife Ab-Cruncher for her birthday," "jumping off monkey bars," and "telling my son in verse how I love his sister so, so, so much more."

As a result, I missed school today, and I'll miss again tomorrow. Not to worry! The students have hand-typed notes (much easier to produce that foot-typed notes) that read as if I was actually teaching them in person (see an example HERE.) They have selected problems to complete that are of such high quality, they are going to be incredulous when they realize they don't have to pay any money for them. This Friday is a school holiday. Actually, except for people involved in the medical profession and my newspaper carrier, it's a city holiday. It's Fair Day, as in the Comal County Fair. I won't be hobbling around the parade and fair grounds this year. Instead, I'll have to rely on my memory of 20 years' past. I doubt things have changed much. Besides, I have my first physical therapy session on Friday at 10:00am, that is, if I can find a ride there, since both my physical therapist AND my wife work in the medical profession.

Time for another Vicodin.

See you tomorrow.


LaurenC said...

YEA, the blog is back!!!! It's been a lonely few months without something interesting to read.

Your notes look great. I hope that's more than 1 day of notes!!

I hope the knee feels good today.

bob s said...

Welcome back and hope your knee is doing well. Full notes, now that is an ambitious project but I'm sure your students will appreciate them. How's Hannah doing?