Category Archives: Classroom Happenings

They Do What I Say

I am grading written out  “word” problems this morning.  Many of my students are using the steps I gave in class and explaining them well.  They are doing what I said.  For a moment I felt overwhelmed by the responsibility. … Continue reading

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FOIL is Verboten

My students and I have a habit of referring to the act of multiplying two binomial forms as FOILing, recalling the acronym FOIL (First, Outer, Inner, Last) for remembering the process.  My excuse for using the term  is that they use … Continue reading

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Here’s What You Don’t Get to Do

I started last Monday’s Precalculus II class with this little speech(edited). “Here’s what you don’t get to do.  When you have children, you don’t get to say, “I was bad at math.”  Because you are good at math.  You could … Continue reading

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Derooting with Radicals

My students were working in pairs on this problem, One group, looking for perfect square factors, had gotten this far, One person asked the other, “Now what?”  The other replied, “Just deroot the x to the eight and the y to the … Continue reading

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PEMDAS Strikes Again

Our pre-calculus class was going over how to combine sums and differences of logarithm expressions into a single logarithm when Steven Orton (He gave  permission to use his name.) asked, “What about PEMDAS?”  PEMDAS is an acronym used for remembering … Continue reading

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Too Old for This?

I was going over a written assignment: “Using a calculator, graph f(x)=(x-1)(x-2) and g(x) = |(x-1)(x-2)|.  Describe and explain the difference.”  Several students said there was no difference and produced these graphs copied from their calculators. To demonstrate the error of their … Continue reading

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Socratic Dialogue – To Have the Time

I have been “volunteering” in our math tutoring center  at SOU for seven years  and before that for 24 years at College of the Siskiyous, ever since I started teaching mathematics.  Working one-on-one with a student  is enlightening, fun, and frustrating. … Continue reading

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