Sunday, December 14, 2008

College Football Bowl Picks - No school related content here

Oklahoma 57,349 Florida 35
Oklahoma has too many weapons on offense. The only one we know of is Sam Bradford. Seriously...high scoring game and I like Stoops (can't stand Urban Meyer)
UPDATE: Would love to change this pick now that Demarco Murray isn't playing. It'll be a close game, and the backup halfbacks are nothing to sneeze at.

Ohio State 28 Texas 17
Go Bucks! Texas leaves game saying "Wait...Teams play defense?"

'Bama 38 Utah 21 (Ouch...Actual Score Utah 31 'Bama 17. Had a lot to do with the best lineman in the country not playing. Hey, I almost got it right the backwards way.)

Virginia Tech 31 Cincinatti 21 (actual VT 20 Cin 7)

USC 17 Penn State 14 (actual USC 38 PSU 24)
I'll refrain from commentary on this one until Jan. 6

No commentary or score for the rest of them... (Update: Man did I miss all of these irrelevant bowl games. Good for those teams that showed up on game day - Ole Miss, Iowa, LSU, Notre Dame, TCU. Teams that didn't show up: Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Pittsburgh in the same game, BYU, South Carolina. The rest were good games that were pretty entertaining)
Ball St. over Tulsa
Buffalo over UConn
East Carolina over Kentucky
Texas Tech over Ole Miss (good game here)
Georgia over Michigan State
Clemson over Nebraska
South Carolina over Iowa
Georgia Tech over LSU
Minnesota beats Kansas
Boston College over Vandy
Pitt beats Oregon State
(Oregon State is not that good!)
Air Force over Houston
Oklahoma St. over Oregon (more than 5,000 points will be scored here)
Nevada over Maryland
Western Michigan over Rice (randomly generated a number between 1 & 2)
Northwestern over Mizzou
N.C. State beats Rutgers
Northern Illinois over Louisiana Tech
Miami beats Cal (look out for Miami in 2-3 years)
UNC over WVU (like this matchup for the early bowl games
Florida State over Wisconsin
Central Mich. over Florida Atlantic
Hawaii over Notre Dame

TCU over Boise St.
Troy over Southern Miss.
South Florida beats Memphis
BYU over Arizona
Fresno St. over Colorado St.
Navy over Wake Forest

I make this picks to keep myself interested in those December bowl games. If you would like to comment/dispute/offer your own picks, please do so by leaving a comment on the blog (not during class time). Let's see how I do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interims AKA Huge Freakout Over Nothing

Interims will be issued Friday. There are two assessments factored into your interim grade: The 2nd Unit II Test and the Chapter 11 Quiz. That's it. Some students will not be happy with a D or F on the interim. They will freak out. Their parents will freak out. Everyone is freaking out, because in the moment, that letter grade is the most important thing.

The solution to all the freakouts: Relax. There are numerous grades to be factored in for the remainder of the marking period. Unit III Test, Ch. 11 IT, Ch. 13 IT, Ch. 12 Quiz, Ch. 13 Quiz (maybe), AP Problem Set. Do well on these, grade comes up. Do your homework, grade comes up.

Why am I writing this? Your score on the AP Exam is the most important thing to you, not the letter that gets put on your report card that may or may not be put on the fridge. Trust me, you are well on your way to getting a good score on the AP Exam.

UNRELATED NOTE: If you're in the hallway while class is going on, there is no need to yell. Especially when the person is standing right next to you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What happens in Stat class...

On a quick evaluation of myself and the activity we did today (Rolling Down the River), I am really impressed with myself and my students. Here's a quick rundown of what an observer would see upon entering my classroom:

SILENCE - small conversations between 2-3 students related to topic
21 kids with a worksheet, calculator, and laptop on their desk
Kids switching from calculator, to sheet, to laptop
Teacher at front of room on laptop typing

The "old school" conclusion that would be made: This teacher is lazy. He's probably checking his e-mail or entering grades.

What's actually happening: Kids are on laptops entering data that they have obtained. This data is unique to each student. The teacher is organizing the data as it comes in to be displayed on the Promethean board, so that students are not only making conclusions and observations about their own or their class data, they are making conclusions about every Stat student's data. Teacher is also blogging about what is happening in his class.

But where's the learning that's taking place? The teacher is not standing in front of the room and lecturing to them?!?!?!?!? Technology is amazing - it keeps me from lecturing to you.

Give yourselves a pat on the back for being producers of your own learning instead of consumers of mine. You guys rock! So do I.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Hallways

The reason that hallways exist is to provide an avenue for students to get from one classroom to the next. Coincidentally, students recognize each other and say hello in the hallways, maybe pausing briefly to chat. I've observed several occasions where massive amounts of people gather and block the hallway. The reason this is frustrating is that these people are well aware that they are blocking the hallway...if they are not, they should get the hint after 600 people have said excuse me, and several teachers have asked them to move along.

Why must they continue to stand? There is no productive value to standing in a hallway. Most of the students I observe are standing there and saying nothing. So why are you standing there?!?!?!? It seems that in the 4 minutes to get from one class to the next, it has all of the sudden become "uncool" to arrive to class on time. I have no idea why the adolescent brain determines that arrival to class on time is something that detracts from your status in the teenage jungle (I'm thinking of the movie Mean Girls). Has there ever been a time when someone has poked fun at you because you got to class on time?

The business world that I have participated in while I was obtaining a teaching certificate values those that show up on time. In fact, a characteristic of employees that eventually lose their job is chronic lateness. Now comes the argument of, "Well we don't get paid to go to school", to which I respond, "I don't get paid to tell you when you can go to the bathroom or ask you to take your hood off, but it's something I have to do when I'm here." So, while you're here, participating in the school institution, one of your jobs as a student is to show up on time. If you have a great distance to walk, so be it, I can understand that. But if you're late because you're posted up, think about the impression you are making and the persona you are building by being the "late guy".

Unit II Test performance was similar to that of last year. There will be three quizzes, three IT's, and one Unit Test in Unit III. We will also see our first problem set over winter break(happy holidays) . It is a very manageable unit, if you understand the rules of randomness, sampling, bias, and experimental design.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Field Trips...

Every year I rack my brain for a good field trip related to statistics that I would be able to take students on. What topic is so essential that it is necessary to take students on a field study to investigate this topic fully? Every year I ask myself this question, and I have yet to take students on a field trip. I have enough paperwork to handle, the last thing I need is to remind kids to get their yellow form signed and manage. The yellow form........the Golden Ticket of NPHS.

"Hey Mr. C, I will not be in your class because I am going on a field trip. I do not intend to make up the work. In fact, you are going to need to work harder and take more time out of your day to account for everything that I'll be missing. I'm allowed to do this, I have the yellow form that you NEED to sign."

I'm considering an initiative in which I would refuse to sign any field trip form. Another idea is that when a kid hands me a field trip form, I'm going to hand them one back. The teacher that is taking them on the field trip is going to sign it, enabling that student to miss their class once to come to mine and make everything up that they missed as a result of their field trip.

I love how the yellow form gets handed to me...powerfully, with a minimal exchange of words. Should I start requiring a 2 page typed essay about what each student learned on the field trip? Then when a student hands me their essay I just throw it in the recycling bin without even reading it? Is that cruel? Would it end the slew of yellow forms that inundate my desk at the most inconvenient times?

This blog was more therapeutic in nature than any others. Maybe I'm a jealous math teacher who can't take field trips. It does get terribly stressful to manage the 10 tests that I have sitting in a makeup folder right now. I just needed a bit of a release. Thanks for the read!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hoods, Tests, etc.

Okay, my first rant has to be regarding the newest fashion trend at NPHS known as the hood. Every kid that has a hood insists on wearing it from one class to the next. It doesn't rain in the hallway, there is no need to wear your hood. The best response is when you ask/tell a student to take their hood off, they act like its the most offensive thing they have heard in their life. You get the scowl and then the stareback like..."Who are you to tell me to take my hood off?" I'm a teacher here, you're not supposed to be wearing a hood. Not only is it disrespectful of school policy, it doesn't look cool.
Famous Hood Wearers

Do yourself and your friends a favor...don't wear a hood in the hallway, in my classroom, and tell them to do the same.

So the Unit II test, not sure whether I want to do a Wednesday-Thursday thing or a Thursday(1st and 3rd)/Friday(4th-6th)/Monday(all) type of testing situation next week. We are so done with Unit II.

Grades - I give a very generous homework grade as some of you may have noticed. I have it built into my gradebook that every student receives +.05% to their grade to account for test grading/test/grader error. After these two "bonuses", I am not going to mess with your grade matter how close. A pre-emptive sorry to any and all affected by this. One final time...I don't care about your grade, I care about your score on the AP Test. Your grade before the homework kicker is what should be the most important.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Unit II Test

So now it is time for our first test dealing with Unit II. The material covered is from Chapter 7 and 8...understanding everything about correlation from Chapter 7, and being able to interpret, calculate, and make predictions with a least squares line from Chapter 8. There will not be any material covered from Chapter 9 and 10.

In preparation for the Unit II Test, there should be a focus on answering the question that is asked. No need to elaborate with generalizations as long as you answer the question and support it (if necessary). Look over both chapters and make sure you can perform all the skills listed at the end of each chapter.

Anyone that needs extra help: use Google, look in the Statistics resources section of the wiki. The Statistics walkthrough that is found there is quite valuable.

That's it for now...

-Mr. C

Monday, October 27, 2008

Friday's Graded Activity

The graded activity that was given on Friday will in fact not be graded. It seemed as if things were 50-50 as far as understanding goes, so I wanted to investigate to see just where the understanding level of the entire class was.

I can't stress enough that you need to use all resources available to you. Do the readings. Do the homework by putting a strong effort into it. Look online for alternative explanations. Something as simple as Googling "linear regression" can provide a great deal of sites with a lot of information.

Chapter 7 and 8 need to go together, and over the next day or two I want us to understand them together. We will spend a lot of time Monday doing some error correction with some past assignments (Ch. 7 Quiz and the AP Questions).

You're learning something when you're uncomfortable and feel like you don't totally understand.

-Mr. C

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Unit I Test Performance

So, my first blog entry will be providing summary statistics of the Unit I test, and discussing where we go from here.

First of all, great job on the multiple choice. Out of 10 multiple choice questins, the mean score for the multiple choice was a 6.8 with a standard deviation of 1.5. The median score was a 7 and the IQR was 2 (the third quartile was 8, the first quartile was 6). Pretty remarkable that 75% of students got 6 out of 10 correct on the multiple choice. Great job!

Out of a total of 20 points, free response had a mean score of 12.5 with a standard deviation of 2.8. The median score was 12.5 with an IQR of 4 (Q3 was 14.5, Q1 10.5).

This is good for the Unit I Test, much better than my results last year. The areas to improve upon are the free response. It appears as if there is a great deal of uncertainty as to what to include, what not to include. Solutions for this are for me to continue to provide examples of student work that shows what is needed (like the images of student work in reviewing for the test). I will also say that it is imperative that you know the material front and back. You need to have a strong knowledge base in a subject matter before you begin to write about it and interpret it. I suggest with homework that you spend some time practicing this skill, doing it so that it is finished in a short amount of time will not help you. I assign only 4 exercises or so each night in the hopes that you can do the highest quality of work with the homework.

That's the first blog entry, feel free to comment. Enjoy!