Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Challenge and an extra video

Pre-Calc Kids:

Your wiki-Challenge:
Dragon to Marine
Kelsi vs Jordan


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We're back!

Welcome back to the new 2011-2012 School Year!

If you're looking to "Like" the class on Facebook you need only look here:!/pages/Mr-R-Osterman-Math-Teacher/190134860999203

It's also important to note that if you're not a FaceBook user you can still bookmark the fan page and visit it for updates and notes.  As a rule, the Facebook page is used for short updates (quiz dates and the like) while the blog is used for longer notes regarding things like study strategies, commentary, news bits, and the like.  Using an app called RSS Graffiti all of my blog posts are pulled into FaceBook making it a valuable tool in the flow of information.

I will be updating this page in the coming days with my revised syllabus and other key files.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Geometry Review Link Dump

There is a test on Block 2 this week for Geometry.  Here is a collection of links and embeds that you may or may not find interesting:

1)  Class notes:

Please send an email to RobertOsterman (at) WLCSD (dot) org if you need (and I mean ~need~) a copy of class notes.  Most of them are electronic now and can be emailed out as a Powerpoint Presentation (which should be openable in most Powerpoint like software).  If you need a different format please ask in the email.  This applies to all classes at all times now.

2)  YouTube:

You can start at the main channel or you can look around for the specific video you need.  There is also a tutorial video posted with explanations of all the YouTube Features.

3)  UStream:

You can point your browser at the web address I listed in class or simply come back to this page this evening.  The review is going to run from 7:30 until 9:00 pm.  If there are no students with questions I may take a break or end early but check the channel and see what's there.  I'll post when I need to go AFK.

4)  Online Textbook

Just head to the Holt Website and enter the log in information (listed earlier on the blog) to get access to some solid chapter 9 review.  Remember we focused on 9-1, 9-2, 9-3 and 9-6

5)  Facebook Page

Nearly all this information is also available on the Facebook Page for my classes.  Just scroll down through the various posts to the video or link you need.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Off Topic: The Speed of Light and You

A friend of mine is a fan of No Ordinary Family and was asking about how the speed of light works with the effect of time.  Since this is a fun topic I thought I'd write something over here and point him at it rather than just doing it in an email or a Facebook Page.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Moving to Facebook

While having multiple places to post information for students is a good thing, I am trying to also streamline the process of getting information out to students and parents as the year goes on. In many ways I feel like this was a year of experiments, and learning with good ways to use Social Media and Web 2.0 to really connect and share.

To this end I am going to be posting more and more information on the FaceBook fan page for my classes. It is probable that next year I will have a separate fan page for each course I teach, but that remains to be seen. With RSS Graffiti, everything from this site gets pushed to FaceBook and often ideas appear there twice. SO I am going to advise students and parents to check the Fan Page first, then follow links back here as you need to.  This site will be used for longer thoughts, the static list of useful links (on the right side of the page), and for dumps of multiple related links.

FaceBook will be the primary source of test dates, extra credit, the weekly Friday Fun video and other short but time sensitive tid bits.

Here are some things that I want to be sure are out there regarding the Facebook Page:

1)  I am not asking to friend any student or parent on FaceBook.

By "Liking" the fan page, you will recieve updates to your news feed when the page is updated.  However, they are not updates from my personal FaceBook, nor does this grant me access to anything of yours (student or parent) that is locked as Friends Only or Friends of Friends Only.  In short, becoming a fan of "Me" does not make us friends any more than I am friends with Micheal Bolton, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga and Niel Patrick Harris.

2)  You do not need to have a Facebook Account to access the page.

Simply going to the URL:  will take you to the page and you can see everything there posted.  You are welcome (and encouraged) to bookmark the page and access it that way.

3)  I will not be in direct contact with any students through Facebook.

This is a personal assurance.  All interactions on the page are done in the open with me posting important information.  At no time do I, or will I, contact a student directly on Facebook.  My personal policy is also not to Friend anyone who is a current student in Walled Lake Schools.

All dialogue should still take place through my WLCSD email:  RobertOsterman (at) WLCSD (dot) org

4)  Some news might not appear on your own FaceBook news feed.

FaceBook prioritizes your news feed by the people you interact the most with.  When you comment on people's statuses and post on their wall, the system puts a priority on that interaction and works to bring you more of it in your news feed.  Since there is not much interaction with class updates, it is likely that the system will consider it a low priority.  You may need to access "Recent News" instead of "Top News" at the top of your news stream to see updates.  Also if you have many active friends, even then an update from Tuesday could have dropped off the first page of stories by Thursday.

5)  All postings on the page are open to comment and will remain so as long as it is properly used.

Students and parents are invited to share thoughts on relevant news articles, updates, test reminders and the like through the comments feature on the website.  So far students have shown that they understand the permanence of the Internet and that the Facebook page is considered a public extension of the classroom.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Online Textbook

For those that need it here is the login information for the online book:

First:  Login:  gfirst5  PW:  z5f9v
Third:  athird  PW:  p5j4j
Fourth:  gfourth3  PW:  z5f9v
Fifth:  afifth1 PW: z9s8r
Sixth:  asixth  PW:  e4p3p

Friday, March 18, 2011

MACUL Conference Day Two

And my adventures continue.

My presentation went off without a hitch and I talked to an absolutely packed (standing room only) room.  It was a blast, and everyone was interested and engaged.  It was some of the most fun I've had as an educator outside of watching you guys learn.

As to the rest of my day.....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

MACUL Conference day one

Okay kids, here's where I'm going to dump all the interesting links and videos I get to see and find at the MACUL conference.  I do sincerely hope you're being good for the sub and that you're staying on top of the stuff we covered before I left.

All the goodies are under the break:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thursday and Friday

As I've mentioned I'm going to be out for a professional conference.  I'll be off talking about how Video Gaming provides an insight into how people learn "stuff" and what questions teachers need to ask themselves about how to use this in their own classroom.

For you guys, all assignments are posted in Skyward and are to be completed by Friday at the end of class.  My sub will be picking up all work at the end of each period.  No Exceptions.

Here are the plans that are left for him:

1st Hour: Geometry
This class is taking a BA test. Please pass out the scantron sheets to the appropriate students, then the exam.  There is a set of trig tables for students without graphing calculators and the sin/ cos/ tan of an important angle is written on the board.  This should stay there for the test if they need it.

When they are done with the test, they are to work on the “9-1 9-2 Packet” which will be next to the test.  This is due at the end of class on Friday.

3rd, 5th, 6th: Algebra

Students are to use class time to work on “Riddle Collection 1”.  This will be in a stack on the podium as well, and notable by the first page being “Why Couldn’t the Chicken…”.  This is due at the end of class on Friday but students should note that they will get another packet on Friday.


1st, 4th: Geometry

Students are to finish the 9-1/9-2 packet that they got last class meeting.  4th hour got theirs on Wednesday.  Please collect at the end of the hour.

3rd, 5th, 6th:  Algebra

Students are to finish the Riddle Collection 1 worksheet if it is not done and complete Riddle Collection 2 (one sheet, 2 sided).  This is notable because the first page is titled “Why are babies…”  Both assignments are to be collected at the end of class.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Algebra: Quiz? Today? Maybe?

Okay.  Here's the skinny.  We have to get to the BA sooner than later.  I need to give a quiz.  However I want to give it when we're ready and have enough on it to give students (and parents) feedback on how well we're learning the content.

To that end, I'm pushing the quiz back ~again~ to Thursday.  It will have 7.1-7.4 on it.  Exponents.  All Exponents.  LOTS of exponents.

That's 2 more days to get this stuff DOWN.  Good?  Good.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Monday's Work

Xander is sick again (yes second time in as many months) and is going back to the doctor tomorrow.  I had hoped he'd kick this on his own but apparently he needs antibiotics.

Bring your books to class.  Check back here later tonight to see the actual assignment in class.

Update:  9:34pm

Geometry:  Continued practice on Sin/ Cos/ Tan.  Tuesday you will get a full answer key, with open review, Q&A etc in preparation for the quiz at the end of the period.

Class assignment:  Pg 538, #21-35, Pg 543, #8-20

Algebra:  Exponents.  On the block day we will review all the answers as well as pass back previous work.

Class assignment:  Pg 464, #18-52

See you all on Tuesday.  (Mrs. Osterman will be staying home with that day if he's not well enough for "School" himself, or he'll be at his Nana's.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fun: Free Falling FFX

Back in College I made a hobby (briefly) of making mash up music videos. This was in an era Pre-Youtube so the hardest part was finding a place on the internet to post them. Hope you enjoy.

Up Coming Quizzes

There will be quizzes in both classes on Tuesday (or Wednesday depending on block).

1)  Tuesday:  Sin / Cos/ Tan triangles.
3)  Wednesday:  Negative Exponents, Scientific Notation, Multiplying Powers
4)  Tuesday:  Sin / Cos/ Tan triangles.
5)  Wednesday:  Negative Exponents, Scientific Notation, Multiplying Powers
6)  Tuesday:  Negative Exponents, Scientific Notation, Multiplying Powers

Tentatively the BA for Geometry on chapter 8 will be on Monday March 14.  In Algebra it will be, tentatively, on Tues/Wed March 22/23 depending on Block.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Talk About Algebra: Scientific Notation

We're working with some pretty big numbers in class lately and for an example I pulled up the national debt as a big number probably better written in Scientific Notation rather than Standard Notation.  For those interested here is the website that uses Standard Notation:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Off Topic: Friday Fun: Les Mis International

After having One Day more stuck in my head for two straight weeks I recalled this collection of Val Jean's singing parts of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" in their native languages.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Algebra Study Videos

All of the vidoes for chapter 6 can be found on the YouTube Channel Playlist for Chapter 6:

But for those that need a quick refresh of what's on tomorow's test:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Test Prep Reposted

Here are two articles from earlier this year that I wrote to help students prepare for upcoming exams.  There are exams in both Geometry and Algebra between now and the day we leave for midwinter break.  I'm reposting them for those that might find the advice in them useful.

Click on Read More to see them:

Geometry: Stagecraft Project

For those that need the extra review/ assignment here is the Stage Modeling project again.

This is due 2/28, the Monday after Holiday Break:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Algebra: Quiz 2 Answer Key

Geo: Quiz Answers

Friday Fun: In FRENCH!

Students have been asking a lot lately about me playing the World of Warcraft in the evening. I'm guessing it's a way to mock me.

Well.... would they mock the world renowned martial arist and action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme?


Talk about Math: Forced Perspective

In geometry we've been talking a lot about the use of camera tricks to create various optional illusions related to scale.  One trick often employed in the theatre is to use different scaled back drops and flats to make the stage appear to be deeper than it really is by having the scaling shrink as you move away from the action.  Only if an actor walks upstage and stands next to the small scale tree do you realize that the tree is not 40 feet away, but only 10. 

It's nearly impossible to talk about these kind of scalings without talking about The Lord of the Rings, a cinematic masterpiece that combined computers and cutting edge digital technology as well as some good old fashioned 1920's era camera manuevers to create the illusion that Elija Wood was a 4 foot hobbit, towered over by Ian McKellen's Gandalf. 

But how did they do it?  Click below to see:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Algebra: Quiz Friday

So... what's on the quiz on Friday in Algebra?


Geometry: Quiz Friday, Test Friday

Friday 2/ 11:  Quiz on Chapter 7 Sections 1, 2, 3 (no proofs) and a hint of 4.  Expect a lot of movie magic and other modeling problems.

Friday 2/18:  BA Test on Chapter 7.  There will be a study guide available on Monday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quizzes: Policies and Practices

When do students know about quizzes?

Generally I announce quizzes a week in advance.  In addition to saying something verbally to my classes students can check for quiz dates in the following places:
  • On this blog I often have posts with the label "Quiz dates".  If you click on the label on the right side of the page you will see all the posts with that label.
  • I post in Skyward the day of the quiz so it appears on a student's calendar view.
  • For BA Exams I also create an event on the Facebook page.
How much is a given quiz worth?

All quizzes are weighted so that they are worth the same ammount.  That is all quizzes are effectively 100 points.  This last quiz in Algebra was 9 items, which was then "Weighted" by a factor 11.11 making it worth 99.99 points. 

Overall quizzes represent 30% of a student's total final grade.

I was absent.  What now?

Students who are absent the day of the quiz can take a Make Up quiz later that week.  This will be a different quiz and often will not have mulitple choice problems, but rather short answers instead.  This is so that I can give the official quiz back without waiting for all students to make up absent work.

Can I retake a Quiz?


Okay.... what can I do?

You can Redo the problems you missed on any quiz.  This means you take the problems you got wrong and rework them on seperate paper.  You must, for each problem you missed:
  • Have the right answer
  • Show the work, or provide explanation as to why that is the right answer
  • Write a sentence to explain why it is the right answer.
Once you have done that, show me the reworked problems during class work time, or after class and you will earn back half the points you missed.

Where can I get the answers to a quiz?

I will be posting the "Answer Key Videos" at the end of the day for any given quiz.  These will be posted on the YouTube Channel (see the links to the right for that), here on the blog, and posted directly as a link on the Facebook page.

In addition I will be posting the actual answer key in the room as well.  Students are responsible to review these resources themselves.

Alg: Extra Credit/ Brownie Point

In class we did 3 example problems.  If we had done a 4th example, what would have been the name of the person the problem was about?  Email your answer to me by midnight 2/8.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Algebra: Quiz Monday

Friday's Quiz in Algebra has been moved to Monday 2/7.  The Quiz will include items from 6.1 (what is a solution to a system/ Solving by graphing) 6.2 (solving by substitution) and 6.3 (solving by elimination).  Because Monday is a PLC day it is likely we will use the entire period for the quiz.

I expect all homework collected through Friday to be passed back no later than Tuesday (since we might run out of time to pass stuff back on Monday) and will give all students time to review their work for extra credit reworkings.

I also want to apologize for the "scare" about me being home with a sick kid today (friday).  I had not thought about it but I have been out, often at bad times, with both my own bouts of illness and with Xander's.  It's part of managing a household where when someone gets sick you can't just leave him home with a few DVD's and some microwave-able soup.  There is also a careful balancing act with my wife as to who stays home and who works on a given day because we can't send a sick child to daycare and staying with my parents is not always an option.

I commend my students for their patience on those occasions when being a parent conflicts with being a teacher.  In this case, today, Xander is fever free, but still spending the day with his Nana (my mother) since his fever yesterday kept him out of daycare today (he needs to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning).  I am very lucky to have the kind of relationship with my parents where they are willing to get up at 6:00am to drive over and pick the little guy up for a day with them so my wife and I can both get in to work.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Geometry: Too Cute not to Share

Snow Day Extra Credit

Geometry Option 1:  Quadrilateral Pancakes

That's right.  Make 5 different quadrilateral pancakes and email me (at my work address of RobertOsterman(at)wlcsd(dot)org ) pictures of them.  Let's see those Rhombuses, Squares, Kites, Parallelograms and if you're truly daring the elusive, the mysterious, the often whispered of but rarely seen Isosceles Trapezoid.

Disclaimer:  I am not responsible for any mess you make, or any trouble you get in.

Geometry Option 2:  Quadrilateral Mnemonic

A Mnemonic is a trick used to help remember a set of things.  For your exam which will be given on the day you come back from your snow holiday (for 4th hour) or the following day (for 1st) you absolutely need to memorize, simply, a lot of stuff.  You need to memorize all the properties of diagonals.  You need to memorize all the conditions of quadrilaterals.  You need to memorize if a square is a rhombus and if a kite is a rectangle.  Come up with something to help remember one ~Set~ of things.  Some examples would be:
  • A phrase such as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" to remember the quadrilateral Heirarchy.
  • A visual layout (but not a venn diagram or concept tree like we used in class.)
  • A poem or rap explaining how the sides of shapes change as you go from Quadrilaterals down to Squares.

Here is your challenge:

Step 1:  Figure out the volume of snow in your yard.  Remember that the volume for any 3D shape is V = Length * Width * Height.  Now you may have to be a little creative about how to get around your house, or how to figure out the area of your yard.  Also you can pick any moment today to do your measurement of snow depth (since it's still coming down here).

Step 2:  Take an ammount of snow, and measure it's volume.  Then let it melt, and see how much water you have.  I recommend getting a cup of water (as in a measuring cup), and then bringing that in and letting it melt.  A microwave will speed this up.

Step 3:  Calculate how much water you would have if the volume of snow in your yard were to completely melt.

Step 4:  Find out online how much water a typical person should drink each day.  Use that to figure out how many "days" worth of fresh water you and your family could have by simply drinking the snow.

You must show all your work neatly for this to be considered.

For All Classes:

Geometry Option 1:  10 Homework points
Geometry Option 2:  10-20 Homework Points
Algebra:  10-20 Homework Points

This is all Extra Credit and any student can turn in any ONE extra credit project.  If you turn in an assignment for a differnt class you only recieve half the points, however.  These are due to me at the start of our next class session.

As a hint:  If you get stuck, it's very normal (and probably acceptable) to ask a parent, older sibling or friend for some hints/ help.

And here's one set of pancakes!  (though they look suspicously like they were cut to shape....)

In the News: Time to get off the Couch Gamers!

As reported on Attack of the Fan Boy:
It has recently been discovered that  Microsoft may be planning to give the Xbox 360's biggest exclusive franchise, Halo, the Kinect treatment.  According to gaming reloaded, Microsoft has secured the domain name KinectHalo.  A quick check of the WHOis profile can verify that Microsoft did indeed register this domain on June 14th of 2010.  Is this the next Halo game that fans are waiting for?
If it's anything like I think it could be, it's time to get off the couch and start working out.  Doing things like jumping from prone to a sprint won't be a single button press.  It'll mean, you know, standing up and starting to jog in place.  But I gotta admit I will revel in the day when I can tell my mother (who yes, is ~still~ nagging me about how many video games I play) that "Yeah I exercised; I played Halo."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Algebra: Homework Reminder

Friday Fun: Everything's Amazing...

You know, I wanted something fun but as I thought about what students (and teachers) have today to help get the content they need I am amazed at how much has changed in just my carreer. Props to Louis CK for really putting it all in perspective.

Algebra: A Polite Warning

Students who knowingly give classmates higher grades than they deserve while we grade papers in class will lose points on their own assignments.  If we cannot grade each other's homework in class then I will be forced to collect them to be graded personally, and students will lose that time to review their work. 

I realize that many students do not like having their homework graded and I understand, completely, the pressure to overlook some wrong answers when it's a friend's paper.  This is not, however, an excuse.  Homework is not "just" practice, and we cannot wait until the day of the test to worry about knowing how to do these problems.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Techincal Difficulties

I have to apologize, I just discovered that the microphone on my laptop has been dead for a few days.  That means that many of the videos I've been posting are silent films.  I'm very sorry and assure students and parents that I've got a temporary fix for future videos.  If there is demand I can go back and put in an audio track for some of the videos.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Geometry: Quadrilateral Hierarchy

For students who did not get this last semester, or who lost those notes, or who forgot what they were doing with it, here is a break down of how the various quadrilaterals relate to each other.

As a Tree:

As a Venn Diagram

Geometry: Quizzes and BA's

Since we started chapter 6 before the semester break here is the current up coming list of dates for Quizzes and BA's:

Friday 1/28:  Quiz on 6-1 through 6-5.  Chapter 6 Review Guides will be available.
Wednesday 2/2 (4th hour) or Thursday 2/3 (1st hour):  Chapter 6 BA test.

Mark your calendars.  Also, I have posted an "event" on the Facebook Page for the BA.  I will only be doing that for BA's, and not quizzes or tests.  If you're not sure how to find the FB Page, here is the link:!/pages/Mr-R-Ostermans-Page/190134860999203

Monday, January 24, 2011

Algebra: Revised Homwork Policy

Homework is to make permanent the practice we complete in class.  Repeating mistakes in homework only makes those mistakes permanent.  Therefore, homework must be taken seriously and every effort must be made to complete it accurately.

For my algebra classes the following policy will be in effect for the second Semester:

1)  Homework will be graded for accuracy.  Students are expected to complete all assignments to the best of their ability, and to have it ready at the start of class.  I will work to make assignments shorter so that students aren't penalized with long stretches that they can't finish and it will be less common for me to assign problems where the answers are in the back of the book.

2)  Papers will be graded in class.  Students will exchange papers, score them, and then turn them into me to be recorded.  Students will put their names on papers that they grade and will be expected to grade them honestly and fairly, just as they would expect their own paper to be graded.  Once graded, all students will have a few moments to see what problems they missed before turning them in.

3) We will review problems as a class once they are collected.  I realize that this means students will not have their own work to review during this period.  Students will make notes in their notebooks as we review the homework.  Some will get their papers back to show their work on the board.

I'm trying to balance a lot of things here and so here's part of why these are going to be the new rules:

a)  Students deserve immediate feedback and review.  It's not valuable to make students wait a day or two to see how a problem is supposed to be done.  For that reason I really want to keep homework review the day the assignment is due, and not a day later when I pass it back.

b)  Grading every assignment myself every night is not sustainable.  I will still grade every quiz myself, and I will review the homework to be sure that it's being graded fairly, but at this age I believe students can share some of this work.

c)  I do not want students tempted to change their answers or work during the review period.  This is why I prefer to collect it and to have students write down the correct solutions in their notebooks.

d)  The homework grade should be a reflection of how well a student is progressing though the material and the unit. 

Lastly students will have a chance to redo assignments.  This will be reflected in an "extra credit" category and students can earn up to half the points they missed on any given assignment if they show that they can indeed do the work with review and reflection.  Also if a student has consistently low grades on a given set of home assignments I may offer them the chance to do a "make up" assignment to show that they now have mastered the ideas.

Geometry: Midpoint Review

In case you forgot how to do midpoints, here's a quick example that we didn't get to in class that might prove helpful in both remembering the formula but also in applying it here. This is already posted on the FB group, so fans will get it twice. As I said in class I won't do that often.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Geometry Finals and Grade Scales

The Geometry Final Exams are scored and in Skyward.  Grades are not yet finalized as I have a small stack (pronounced "Mountain") of makeup quizzes, absent work and other things to enter.  Overall the grades were good and I am proud of all my geometry students and the success they showed me on their exams.

I did want to take a moment and explain grade scales because I can with the data I have here:

The traditional scale, and the one used on this final is the standard 10% split for all grades.  The exam was out of 75 points so the scale goes like this:
A:  75-68, B:  67-60, C:  59-52, D:  51-44, E:  44 and down

Now for one of the two classes, I won't say which, the mean score was a 64, median was 67, and there was a Standard Deviation of 15 points.  So if we had used a Curve to figure the grades we'd have a different scale:
A: 75  B: 74  C:  73-59  D:  58-43  E:  43 and down

That means that to get an A you had to have landed right smack dab on a perfect paper.  Why?  Well remember that with a true Curve, the objective is to have the majority of your scores be considered "average" or a C.  With this grade break down, because everyone did so well, it pushes that curve upwards and makes a B and an A harder to get.  Also, remember that with a Curve you should have roughly the same number of A's (3 students out of 30) as you do E's (3 students out of 30). 

Because grade curves are highly competative, I generally don't use them.  They just put too much presure on students to do better than their peers rather than to do the best they can do.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Algebra: Quiz Review

Hopefully this video will help you guys review for the first 15 questions on your final (the Absolute Value and Weighted Averages BA). I strongly encourage you to review your worksheets on absolute value (they were the less successul problems on the quiz) and to pause this video as often as you need to digest the material.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Algebra: How to for Study Guide

What follows is not the answer key for the final exam but rather a set of hints, plans and strategies for the review sheet.  Not every problem is included but a lot of information on how to approach the problems and some answers here and there.  It is offered up to help you work on your study guide.  Good luck!

(click on the read more to see them)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some Test Prep

Well here we are.  One weekend remains, followed by one day of class, and then:


Here's a bit of a "Link Dump" to help you find some of the tools already floating around the Innerwebs just from our class alone.  More resources are coming and there may be Brownie Points for students who find additional resources to share as we prepare.  (Yes, BP's carry over to the next semester).

How I Prepared for Tests:

The notecard and other stuff:

The YouTube Channel:

Playlists for:
Chapter 2 is absent as we hadn't started yet recording them
Chapter 3:
Chapter 4:
Chapter 5:

Chapter 1 is absent as we hadn't started yet recording them
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:
Chapter 4:
Chapter 5:

And officially if you're a Facebook user:!/pages/Mr-R-Ostermans-Page/190134860999203

Happy Studying!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So when is this Review Due?

I'm going to be fielding this question a lot over the next few days so let me do my best to address it here.  For both Algebra and Geometry I'm not planning on grading or collecting the reviews.  This is becuase we are, literally, days away from the final exam and we have, a lot of ground to cover and review before that.  I want students to do their best on the review but I do not want to rush them to have it done and not take each item seriously.  Likewise I do not want students to come to class with a blank review and to fill it in as we go; that won't be useful either.

Here are some "Due Dates" to consider for each class as of this posting tonight:

Due on Block 2 (Wed or Thurs):  All Book Review problems (covering chapters 1-5)
Due Tuesday:  Review Packet Problems (passed out on Thursday)

Due on Block 1:  As much of the review packet as you could.
Due on Block 2: All Weighted Average Problems, rest of Review Problems.
Due on Tuesday:  Any Additional Review.

Note:  On the day of the final exam students in Algebra will be taking the Absolute Value/ Weighted Average BA as well as the final exam.  There will be time for both and students may stay after if they need more time.

Coming Soon: Facebook

It's a work in progress.  It will be announced when it goes live.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Let's talk about Finals!

Here are some things to think about as final exams begin to creep up on us.

On all of my finals, students are allowed one (1) 3 inch by 5 inch notecard which they can write on both sides of.  Alternatively they can bring any paper that is limited to 30 square inches of space or the equivelant of two sides of a 3x5 card.  Yes, I specify units because I've had students and classmates who have taken advantage of teachers and professors who don't specify.  You only need to have a class mate bring an 8 foot by 11 foot piece of paper to a final exam and say "You said 8 by 11 paper, and this, I assure you is 8 feet by 11 feet" one time and you know never to let that happen in your classroom.

On Monday 11/10 all students will have recived or will recieve a printout of their Benchmark tests to date and what objectives they did not show mastery of.  Students absolutely must review these documents to focus their studying.

For the specific finals:

  • Chapter 2:  Equations
  • Chapter 3:  Inequalities
  • Chapter 4:  Linear Functions
  • Chapter 5:  Graping and More Functions
  • Absolute Values
  • Weighted Averages
  • Chapter 1:  Introduction and Review
  • Chapter 2:  Logic and Reasoning
  • Chapter 3:  Parallel and Perpendicular Lines
  • Chapter 4:  Triangle Congruency
  • Chapter 5:  Special Triangles
  • Some of Chapter 6:  Quadrilaterals
So we all know exams start on January 19th:
1/19:  1st Hour Geometry
1/20:  3rd Hour Algebra, 4th Hour Geometry
1/21:  5th Hour Algebra, 6th Hour Geometry

Did you get a Kinect?

I did!  I have to admit that I did not expect to get a video game for Christmas, especially as my mother has been complaining about me "shooting aliens" since I was 8 when nearly all games were about shooting aliens, or what were supposed to be aliens but were in fact shapes made up of 8-10 squares.

But there's a recent news story that I just have to share with students about the future of gaming and the future of technology.  Why do it here?  Because the people who are pioneering this, the ones designing it, who will be writing the story of the games, and writing the programs that bring that story to life, are the ones who stick it out, get degrees, and get the good job.  Folks if something this cool can't keep you in school, well I'm sure there are other things that will, but this is still pretty danged cool.

From Wired:

A Microsoft Kinect hack lets World of Warcraft players cast spells, fight opponents and maneuver their characters using simple hand gestures and body movements.

Using Kinect and an open source framework tool called OpenNI, University of Southern California researcher Evan Suma and his team at the school’s Institute for Creative Technologies hacked together a middleware program called the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit, or FAAST, which lets World of Warcraft players plug Kinect directly into their computers’ USB ports. Then the software translates real-world gestures into in-game commands, so players can level-grind with their fists.

In the demo video Suma and his team released this week (embedded above), the researcher shows off his implementation of FAAST in Warcraft. He uses his left hand to move the in-game camera, his right hand to select attack spells and his body to walk. The number of possible gestures is currently limited, but Suma says more will be available in coming weeks.