Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Packer's loss in the NFC Championship has left me somewhat desheveled (sp?) and I have been unable to watch sportscenter since that tragic day. Fortunately I've kept myself busy by being overworked and getting married. Despite the hectic nature of my life, things are going well. The dog (Logan) has gotten calmer, I really feel like I'm doing significant things teaching my students, and while the Emory girls aren't as good as previous years, Chowning and I seem to be able to coach together without killing each other.

I really do feel like I have been on fire teaching recently. While my AP Physics class is feeling a little stale, the follies of last semester's honors physics class have paid off (perhaps because I have better math-equipped students) and my activites, including a vector-based Ticket to Ride, have gone really well. But I am most happy with Multivariable Calculus. While I haven't focused on improving their content, I've pushed visualization to the point that most things that we talk about we build in the classroom. The first day we defined a coordinate system, then we have been using string to build our 3D lines, planes and vectors. When going over dot products and projections we built two vectors on the floor and projected one onto the other then measured the length to validate our calculations. When discussing the distance from a point to a plane we have built the plane (or a series of lines in it) using string then chosen a point. The advantage is that you can see the distances and angles much better. Soon we will start a complex surface project where they will have to calculate the z coordinates at each vertex of a 10 x 10 grid, then will have to cut dowel rods to the appropriate length based on the z coordinate and place the dowel rods in a holding board so they all stand vertically at the right height. Then we drape a sheet over it and viola, we have our surface. We're also reading flatland and discussing game theory.

There are lots of things in that class that I think will help me get a job closer to the city for next year. I really want to stop driving since the Prelude is getting older and the VW constantly over-revs?

On the game front I am happy to have Mike's 360 back so I can start playing all of the great games I missed last year. I've been playing Portal, and while it is a lot of fun, I don't know if I like it more than it's flash counterpart. Rock Band has been great, but living in the top floor of a condo makes me nervous about playing the drums. But most importantly I want to continue the amazing experience I started over the holidays of Bioshock.

Chowning is well, and is losing more weight despite not following the strict weight watchers regiment she used to be on. I can't wait for the wedding day to pass so we can relax.