Algebra II is skewed towards the high "C" to "B" range, with students making it through the quadratics and complex numbers chapter in higher-than-usual spirits. As of this post, they have also completed the unit on polynomials, but I just haven't gotten it in yet. In general, Algebra II is doing well across the board (as long as they are doing their homework!).
PreCalc remains a near-perfect bell curve, with over three-quarters of students at C and above. As is typical with an AP-level course, many students are seeing their first true challenge in mathematics and I believe that they are coming up strong. After we finish the current unit on trig functions (probably the toughest of the course), it should be a slow jog to the finish line.
Applied Math is setting the precedent for this new, permission-only course. We don't have a set agenda, only that we want to relearn and master older concepts before moving on to bigger and better things. I am especially proud of the change in attitude that many of these "math is my mortal enemy" kids have shown. The dramatic increase in maturity, perseverance, study skills, and work ethic is mind blowing for most of these students. Great job, guys!
Of course, the big news recently was the confirmation of students taking advantage of some of my favorite, student-friendly policies. For nearly 10 years, I have allowed extended time for tests, including a three-day test window for those unexpected circumstances and allowing retests. Sadly, in education, for every confirmed case of a certain type of cheating, there is four times that much happening and it only becomes more prevalent as students catch on to "the easy way." With 70 students coming in and out of the room from three different courses, the amount of policing needed to prevent technology-based cheating is unfeasible, so retests and extended test periods have to go. Students must now submit notes and phone to get or receive credit on their tests. To try to offset the change, I am experimenting with allowing students to alter their notes sheet used for tests, so long as it is turned in with the exam. So far, students are calling this a reasonable trade-off.
Game Club continues the weekly shenanigans every Thursday afternoon in my room. With our new abundance of games, we have been fortunate enough to have a new theme night every week. From co-op games, to World Domination, to Angry Accusations, we are now never short of ideas for a new night of fun.
We are also looking forward to a few projects such as a draft-style Magic: The Gathering tournament (thanks to a large collection donated by Dice-to-Mice), and playtesting games for a local game-maker.
Personally, I have to admit that the utter lack of any spare time caused by this guy is reducing my efficiency as a teacher. Grades are happening slower, parent contacts are delayed an unacceptable margin, and sleep deprivation has lowered my cognitive ability a full standard deviation. The huge smile and flailing octopus arms when I get home every day make it all worthwhile, though.