It’s been a slow start to the new year. I suppose that is ok though; my students aren’t in regular classes until next week, so I’ve been doing all the stuff teachers do apart from actually teaching. There has been a lot of professional development (as if that isn’t what I am doing every waking hour of every day given the position I am currently in), there’s been a lot of observing other teachers at other schools, there has been some helping out with electives (the students are exploring algebra & geometry by building mobiles – it’s really quite amazing), and there has been a fair amount of job hunting / bureaucratic hoop jumping.
But my pride and joy for the last three weeks is the unit that I am writing. At the start of the new year I was told that I would be teaching a unit on an intro to calculus (limits and such) in March. This is a standard aspect of my graduate program and a necessary step in obtaining a teaching credential. What is non-standard is that I essentially have no support in this task (besides a few virtual filing cabinets). I read through a couple text books for some ideas, but didn’t want to introduce limits by giving the definition of a derivative, nor did I want to skip directly to integration as was the direction of the two text books I had as references.
So I wrote the curriculum myself and I have to say, I think this will be a lot of fun. In the seven days I’ve currently planned there are twenty documents made (including classwork, homework, warm-ups, exit slips, and every other miscellaneous slip of paper to hand out). We’re starting Zeno’s paradox as a motivation for limits and exploring the infinite with modern mathematical tools. We will get as close as we can to asymptotes and continue to approach the concept of a limit from both the left and the right until the students’ knowledge is a continuous stream.
This will be a fun quarter.