Sunday, August 19, 2012

Inside Four Walls: 2011-2012 CST results

So a few months ago, but only two posts down :-( I predicted my scores for my Geometry class, but not my Algebra B. First I predicted my Geometry would be a 73%, which would be my highest scores ever. Well, I did better. It came out to be 75% of my students were proficient or advanced. And yeah, like I said in the post, if it was above a 70% it would be high for our school because we are usually in the high 50s. Well, the school average was in the mid 50%s. So yeah, really excited there.

But what about my Algebra scores? I didn't give a prediction because I forgot to update it, but I was looking at, hopefully, a 30% (based on their grade). Well, I guess I was a little too hard on them because they came back at 93%. That isn't a typo, 93% of my students were either advanced or proficient. School average was 57%. I got nothing to say.

So for those that stumble upon this and want to know how? In Geometry, I give a 15 minute weekly quiz over anything that we have done. So if it is March and I want to ask questions from Chapter 2, it's fair game. I think they have something to do with it. I started doing it during the second semester of the 2010-2011 school year and I ended up with the second highest scores. Or it could be I just had really motivated students.

In Algebra B, same thing. A 4 question daily quiz covering factoring, graphing, systems of equations, and whatever else (usually rational expressions). I barely covered word problems, like only two types. But if they can master those sections, they are almost guaranteed a proficient score. I also don't have any partial credit. It's all right or wrong. Plus multiple choice tests get them ready for the CSTs. In Algebra, they can just plug in their answers. In Geometry, they can eliminate some.

Finally, I don't allow calculators 2nd semester...at all. I don't want them to have their first test without a calculator being the CSTs. In Geometry, I make them solve right triangles with special angles or leaving answers with trig functions in the answers.

So do I think I am a good teacher? Actually, no. I think I have found a way to teach to a test. I put my students in the best position to pass. Kind of like a coach making adjustments at half time, that's all I have done.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Right Now: a little update

So where have I been the last 2 months? Just sitting around waiting for some good music to finally come out, but it never happened. I'm in the middle of summer school and realized it had been a long time since I posted, so here is a quick run
-down of things I want to talk about;
- albums of the year (of course)
- saw the Avengers & Thor
- new cartoons (some soon to be cancelled)
- new school year It's a lot on my mind and I am going to try and post one topic per day...I say try because I probably won't post again until Christmas.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Inside Four Walls: CSTs are here - 2012 edition

So here we go state testing is 2 weeks away and it is crunch time. Now I have been doing more work for my Geometry students this year than I have in years past, meaning trying new things. I started a weekly quiz that was 5 questions based on any material we covered until that day. My hope was that it would force the students to always be reviewing past material, in turn they wouldn't have to review as much before the CSTs.

So this week I took the state released questions, which is about 80+. However, the test is only 65, so I went old school and cut and pasted...literally a 65 question test for them. On top of that I selected the same number of questions they would have for each cluster. It took a long time to select them and get them all made so hopefully it will pay off.

So instead of doing the normal looking at grades to predict my CST scores, I am going to be looking at this test they took this week. Basically a proficient is about a 67% or so and that was the cut off I used. So for each period it broke down like this;
1st - 56%
2nd - 81%
4th - 72%
6th - 79%

Those are very good, unfortunately most of my students are in first so overall the average is just a 73%. If I could be above 70% I would be happy and would be looking at my highest scores ever, especially considering my 58% was high for our school last year.

Unfortunately, I don't know if the quizzes had any effect or not. What people don't understand about education is that we are simply a piece of the learning puzzle. Maybe I have great students? Maybe I had parents at home that valued a good education? Will I try it again next year? Yes.

Now comes the test and then the wait.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Music Non Stop: new Soul Cycle

I have talked about Soul Cycle before. They play instrumental thrash. It's very good music. Well out of nowhere I received an email saying they were releasing a new album in a couple of weeks. These guys are pretty good at what they do and with only 4-5 albums on my radar right now (including this one) who knows where this will end up at the end of the year.

Here is the album sampler to get a feel for what I am talking about.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Music Non Stop: another batch of 2012 music

Been kind of a slow year for music, but two bands that I do like have some new songs out. First up is Dirge Within. Their debut was really impressive especially some of the guitar work. This sounds pretty good...nothing special, but hey its new.


Next up God Forbid. They are a hit and miss with me. Some of their stuff I love, other stuff is just meh. They have changed up their guitar tone on this album, can't tell if I like it or not yet. I think I will have to hear the whole thing before I pass judgement.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Inside Four Walls: Why do you want to be a teacher...

I feel like I have asked this before...

In Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, an 8th grader attacked and beat his science teacher.
An 8th grade student confronted Williams, his science teacher, about a bad grade, when it turned ugly. 
"I saw him take a swing," one student told Fox 29. "I couldn't believe it."
I am really at a loss for words here...and if you know me, that's a surprise.

Venting the Anger: New Power Girl costume

I have talked a lot how DC has screwed up costumes over the years, well with the new DC Universe some more characters got some new looks. The latest is Power Girl. Now for those who don't know who Power Girl is (or whatever she is now), she is a clone of Supergirl, a more mature version...which is funny that she keeps the "girl" tag in her name.

Anyway, here is a look at her suits through the years.

There seems to be one constant of her suit...the hole right in front of her chest. I really don't know how this started, but as you can see it has been a staple from the beginning. Heck they even made fun of the blatant sexual nature of the suit.

So now they are bringing her back into the new universe and here is the new look

What the...? How do we go from this

to this?
Let's look past the obvious chest and focus on the hair...it looks like Black Canary's hair from the 80's.  By the way, if Power Girl's suit wasn't so bad I might focus some of this anger on The Huntress' new suit.  What is up with those freakin' ears?!?!

Now if DC was getting rid of all sexual costumes I would be fine with it...but here is the new Starfire look

Yeah...explain that DC.

Thoughts Without Words: Prop 209 challenged

Prop 209 basically got rid of race as a reason for admission into California colleges or as most know it as affirmative action. You can go read the story HERE, but I had to post the comment by a poster named mat3 who summed it up nicely;
I want to be treated as equal except for this, and this, and this, What a bunch of BS. You're either treated equally or not.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Video Killed the Radio Star: New Spider-Man Trailer



I could have turned this into a Venting the Anger post, but let's try and be positive here. Spider-Man does have web shooters again and he does appear to have some of the classic wise cracking humor going on here.

So I won't mention Peter creating the formula to turn Connors into the Lizard or the fact that once again we will have a super long scene in which Spider-Man runs around the city without his mask on. Or the fact that Peter's parents are somehow related to Connors, even though they are best remembered for a 90's storyline in which they were spies/traitors/SHIELD agents...so I am sure this movie can clear that up.