Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spinning My Wheels

For reasons I won't go into, I'm teaching one geometry class this year. I've never really enjoyed geometry, but that's neither here nor there--I'm credentialed to teach it, the powers that be need me to teach the course, QED.

What bothers me, though, is that I'll spend a year teaching this course out of our old textbook, and next year we'll switch to a new textbook. And yes, there are legitimate reasons why I cannot pilot one of the new textbooks this year.

So I'll work and create lesson plans this year, lesson plans that I'll never be able to use again because we're getting new textbooks.

Why don't I just get lesson plans for others who have taught from this book? Because as near as I can determine, none of them has lesson plans. The closest I've come is a day-by-day listing of what sections of the book one teacher covered during a semester and what assignment was given--which isn't a bad start, I guess, and I'm glad to have it, but it's nowhere near as detailed as what I create for myself. And what I create for myself isn't near as detailed as a Madeleine Hunter lesson plan.

Sigh. They're obviously much more used to teaching the subject than I am.


Ellen K said...

The only math course I ever really enjoyed was geometry. There's something about the logical progression of proofs that somehow makes sense to me. I think why my own kids hated it was because they didn't make them learn the theories. You have to know the "why". I have heard Geometry described as the foreign language of math. It was fun drawing angles with compasses....I guess it's the artist in me.

Anonymous said...

What's so hard about that?

You count the number of sections you need to cover, divide by the number of meetings, and voila! You now have a lesson plan.

Admittedly, there is a little more effort required for writing tests and quizzes, but you can make those fairly text-independent, so they can be reused.

Do you lack testgen software? It is possible to find decent testgen software for certain geometry texts. The Prentice-Hall crew (Addison Wesley, P-H, et al.) has at least one text with bank for their TestGen 7.3 product. Haven't seen it, so I can't vouch for the quality. Back when I taught geometry, I wrote my own tests on a word-processor, but that was before we had kids...

Final thought: make them do the proofs. A proof-free geometry class is like trying to do calculus without ever using algebra (i.e., a pie in the sky).

Darren said...

If it were that easy, I'd have done it already. Just for example, are there any topics on which I should spend more than one day?

ET said...

Geometry? Oh man, there's a reason God made me want to be a history teacher. Math? Ugh. Better you than me Darren.

Oh, but I hope you get your lesson plans quickly and that you are simply inspired in writing them!

Anonymous said...

It's been more than 10 years since I last taught the course, using this text.

I probably could have told you at the time, but not now.

I can recall that I enjoyed the course quite a bit, even if the students did not.

I will repeat my suggestion to check out the P-H TestGen 7.3, which can be obtained here. It isn't half bad. You get the question banks from inside their site... registration is required.

NYC Educator said...

The only time I taught math, I was given a book of easy-to-follow lesson plans which worked like a charm.

In most of my ESL classes, I steal activities from books I like, since no one knows enough to require books. The only time I write detailed lesson plans is when I teach novels. I re-use them and readily lend them to my colleagues.

It sounds like you're in a rough spot. If I were you, I'd map out what I want to do with the book and outline what I'd selected day to day with shoestring lesson plans. I wouldn't spend more than 15 minutes writing a daily plan, and I'd always know what to do next in case time remained.

Hope that helps.

Darren said...

It does--and while I'm spending a little more time than that, it pretty much describes what I'm doing!