September 24, 2006

Blogging On Blogging

On Wednesday I had to leave school at little early because I had a meeting at the school division. We had basically finished our first unit, Quadratic Functions, and were reviewing some word problems. When I left you asked if you could all make one big group, sitting in a large circle, so that you could work together on the problems and help each other out. Mr. Dixon, who was supervising the class while I was away was quite impressed with the way you all worked together ... so am I. Actually, I'm impressed with the way you've been supporting and helping each other for the last week or two. This is the first time I've had a class that has started working so closely together so early in the semester. You've all heard me say "learning is a conversation" many times already. I'm really quite pleased to see you having that conversation on a regular basis. If you all keep working together this way throughout our course I'm confident you'll all finish off with grades in that 80%-100% range we talked about on day one ... keep up the good work.

We were talking about exactly what sort of post you're supposed to make to get that mark on your test. The kind of post I'd like you to make should have one or more of these characteristics:

  • A reflection on a particular class (like the first paragraph above).

  • A reflective comment on your progress in the course.

  • A comment on something that you've learned that you thought was "cool".

  • A comment about something that you found very hard to understand but now you get it! Describe what sparked that "moment of clarity" and what it felt like.

  • Have you come across something we discussed in class out there in the "real world" or another class? Describe the connection you made.

  • Respond to a Blogging Prompt I posted. (see below)

Your posts do not have to be long. I'm far more interested in the quality of what you write rather than the quantity.

Blogging Prompt
To help us along our blogging journey I've decided that I will also occasionally post a Blogging Prompt. It will be easy to find because I'll always put it under a heading like the one above this paragraph. Feel free to create your own Blogging Prompt for the rest of us if you like. If it's a really good one (i.e. has rich possibilities for blogging) we'll count it as your post. ;-) Here's my first one:

Use your graphing calculator (or an online tool; x2 is written as x^2 and do not include the "y=".) to graph these three functions (y is the height and x represents time):
  • The height of an arrow is given by: y = -16x2 + 112x + 0

  • The height of a baseball is given by: y = -16x2 + 64x + 0

  • The height of a football is given by: y = -16x2 + 64x + 75

Blog a brief paragraph identifying ways in which these three functions are similar. Blog a second paragraph outlining the ways in which they are different and what causes these differences.

This sort of compare and contrast exercise can be made easier to do using Venn Diagrams. Draw two large overlapping circles. List the similarities in the overlapping section and the differences in the appropriate non-overlapping sections. If you like, you can use this web tool to do it online. If you do blog about this prompt and want to post your diagram we'll talk about how to post pictures sometime in class. ;-)

Happy Blogging!

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