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Quality over Quantity: A New idea for Math Education

08 Aug

“I can’t do Math,” you hear this said over and over by children and adults alike.  It is even “acceptable” to tout that “math isn’t your thing.  You don’t hear people saying, “I can’t read,” yet it is okay to almost brag that you can’t do mathematics.  Why is math such a hard subject for our country?  When and how does it fall apart?  As a math educator, I see so many solutions to our national math crisis that have just never been tried.  We always seem to just play around with the ideas of “the basics,” learning the concepts behind the mathematics (conceptual learning, new math, mathematical modeling), and procedural learning (very similar to the “basics” in many ways.)  All those things are important and we have a problem of tending to lean to one side vs. the other rather than keeping a reasonable balance between the two.  However, what I see as the biggest problem is looking at, “what is our ultimate goal?”  When I read an article that says a California College has done away with the requirement that all students must show mastery in Intermediate Algebra for college because non-STEM students don’t need math, it gets me thinking.

 

If non-STEM majors don’t need math, then do STEM majors no longer need to take literature classes and humanities classes required in the general education classes, these are not “needed” for their majors?  Why do undergraduate degrees require students to take general education classes in addition to their major focus?  We know the answer. It is the same reason why high schools require 4 English classes, 4 Math classes, 3-4 Science classes, 3-4 History classes, etc., in order to make a well rounded educated person.  Just like English, knowing math provides a level of competence for getting around in the world, it allows you to think critically, math is used in many places that kids don’t realize until they get to be an adult.  Adults who truly understand Intermediate Algebra, will be able to make more sound financial decisions in their own personal financial choices.

 

Additionally, Intermediate Algebra as a prerequisite for a college level math course, shouldn’t be too hard since Intermediate Algebra is a class that should be mastered in high school.  So, why is a high school math giving college students so much trouble that a college has to drop a high school remedial math class requirement?  This is because how we currently teach high school math is a failure.  Let’s face it, some students will struggle more with mathematical concepts and others will move on and take Calculus 3 before graduating high school.  There is nothing wrong with either student but we act like there is and we need to stop this.  We need to stop putting on kids on the same math trajectory and expecting it to work.  

 

My feeling is that the goal for graduation of high is to pass, with a B or better, Intermediate Algebra (which should replace tedious useless work with real world knowledge like understanding the Normal Distribution so you can talk intelligently about IQ scores and statistical research as well as linking concepts to real world like amortization tables for car loans and mortgages, these ideas are more important that long division of polynomials and adding rational fractions which is tedious.)  Students should be able to take the “slow path” to math if they need it where they learn the main topics in Algebra 1, some lighter topics in Algebra 2, and some of the basic ideas of Geometry (no geometric proofs).  The goal would be mastery of these topics at a B level.  Anyone graduating should be ready to prove their understanding to a college prerequisite test and be ready for a Pre-Calculus class, although, if they are not a STEM major, they may choose Statistics or Financial Math.  

 

Right now, in NC, we require students to take 4 years of math.  They start learning Algebra 1 concepts as early as middle school so that once in high school, they are already learning topics in Algebra 1, Geometry, and some starter Statistical topics.  By Math 2, they are being introduced to Trigonometry, Algebra 2, Probability, more Geometry, including proofs, and a small amount of what used to be in Pre-Calculus.  By Math 3, the students are finishing Algebra 2, finishing Geometry, taking on more topics from Pre-Calculus, and adding in more Statistical topics.  After Math 3, students must take a fourth math course.  Most non Honors students take Intro to College math, which ends up being a review of Algebra topics or Discrete Math, which goes into Probability, Statistics, and Decision Making.  If students were mastering all these topics, this would be wonderful but students are barely grasping all of this.  We need to slow it down and cut out the fourth class, cut stuff from Math 1-3, and although still require 4 full years (not semester blocks) of math for the non-Honors track but focus on QUALITY of instruction and MASTERY of learning, rather than QUANTITY of material we can “say” they were exposed to.  We will have students who learn more, are less stressed, and have a higher success rate in future math courses in college.

 

Students who are on the Honors track, can continue to be on their own schedule as they should not be slowed down.  They can meet that high school requirement while in middle school, take the “test” showing mastery and once they get to high school, they can be moving on to learning the missing pieces from Algebra 2, Geometry (with proofs), and move into modeling classes or Pre Calculus, Calculus, Statistics, and beyond.

 

Written by:

Lynne Gregorio, Ph.D. Mathematics Education

 
 

Freshman year for free… pay for only 3 years of college

11 Jul

College is expensive.  It can be a lot of work too and for many, they get stuck taking classes that just don’t interest them to meet their general education requirements.  IS there a way that you could either

  1.  only need 3 years of those high college bills
  2. go four years but with 20% less work each semester so you have time for a job, college theater, sports, or other interests.
  3. avoid many of those gen ed classes you are not interested in

The answer is yes!  Just follow this easy plan.  Depending on the type of student and opportunities available, you may need to pick and choose which options work best for you.

My first recommendation is that you, as a student, know what school you want and what major your looking to do.  This helps target the plan and makes it more successful.

Secondly, look at the school or schools on your list and see what credit is given for:

CLEP test, AP tests, and any other advanced credit options

Next, look at what courses are required at your school and see if the classes you plan to work on will be able to receive credit and at what score.  If you are considering dual enrollment, look to see if the classes you are taking will transfer.

Once you have all that information (mostly found on admissions page), you can look at your program of study and see how you can replace required classes with test or dual enrollment.

Lets do an example:  In  the Colleges of Engineering at NCSU, they  have a common first year for all COE majors. R. Wants computer science which is in the college of engineering.  He will need all those courses plus general education classes, some of which are specifically for his major, like Economics has to be taken as your social science.

To get a head start, he takes the Calculus CLEP test.  Passing this gives him 4 credits and allows him to sign up for dual enrollment and take Calc 2 at the community college.  He could have taken Calc AB and BC and then took the exam but he felt dividing it up into 2 different test situations was better, rather remember 2 full classes for one test.  He also needed As to get into the computer science major.  Additionally, he took AP computer science (not offered at his school but found it online) the year before and scored 4.  This will allow him to skip the first CSC class at NCSU.

Next, he notices NCSU required Calc based Physics 1, 2, Chemistry 1, and another science course beyond that.  So, although he chose to just take Honors Earth Science, he knew enough to take the AP Environmental Science test, scored a 4 and gets his “extra science ” class out of the way.  The AP Physics class offered in his school was not Calculus based, so he took it as an overview and then self-studied the Calc based Mechanics class, scoring a 4.  This gives him credit for Calc Physics  1 and its Lab.    He tried to do the AP Chem test but his score was not high enough, he needs an A (5) in order to meet requirements of the computer science major.

Now R. hates non – STEM classes, so it is in his best interest to get those done quickly and painlessly.  Therefore, he chose to get some things of his social science done with CLEP testing.  First he chose sociology.  This just requires you to memorize vocabulary and then be able to relate those words to an example.  It was a quick study of two weeks and his test was passed.

The other social science class required by engineering is Microeconomics.  R. Has been self studying for that test, although it has s harder since it isn’t just memorizing, you have to have a sense of the relationships between different parts of the supply and demand concepts.  Hopefully, the plan for s that R. will CLEP out of microeconomics as well.  You don’t get a grade, it is just pass /fail.  And a C is passing.  He gets to avoid all the homework and only has one test to focus on and if he doesn’t pass, he can also retake it again in two months or he will be well prepared for the actual class.

Finally, R. Has time in his high school schedule to take some additional classes.  If they were 3 credit class, it would be easier to schedule and he might make two but with 4 credit classes, it doesn’t leave you much else, so he usually take one 4 credit class plus two high school classes and if time, self studies other things.  For the coming year R. Will take Calc 3 and Physics 2.

Assuming he passes all, this is how it will look when he applies to and attends NCSU.

NCSU first year coursess

  1.  Calc 1. MET
  2. English 1
  3. Enginnering / computers 1
  4. Gen ed class – Sociology- MET
  5. Chemistry 1
  6. calc 2 – MET
  7. Physic 1 with lab – MET
  8.  Csc 116 – first computer class –  MET
  9. Microeconomics –  MET
  10. Basic Sxience elective  – MET

plus he will have Physics 2 and Calc 3 which are softmore classes met.

Total Credits:

Calc 1,2,3 — 12 credits

Physics 1, 2 — 8 credits

APES – basic science- 4

APCS – first csc class- 3

sociology – 3

Microeconomics – 3

————————-

Total: 33 credits

This will allow him either to graduate in three years or take 12 credits instead of 15-16 per semester.

A second example, C. had AP credit for English Composition, he didn’t want to do all the extra work required to take an AP class, so he self studied and got a 4.  He also took AP Computer Science and got a 3. He took APES and got a 4.  But he only has 3 AP tests.  He did take a lot of dual enrollment classes, he was going for a degree in simlation and game design and took two iintroductory classes in this but they did not transfer.  He did take both Calc 1 and Business Calculus.  He took Macroeconomics and two programming classes one in C ++ and the other in Java.  He had 29 credits to transfer.  He went in as a freshman but took 16 credits his first semester and tha numbers him to a second semester sophomore.  He was able to graduate in 3 year and save his family an entire tear of tuition, room, and board.  If C. Had known about CLEP tests, he would have tried coming in with more of his gen ed courses met.

Stdents can manage even more than one year but I think one year is good, it gives them options, doesn’t put them too far ahead of their peers, is doable during the four years that f high school without overloading the child to try and do a year of high school and college at the same time unless they are in an early college program that has them all in college classes full time by senior year.

Remember, if you don’t get a merit scholarship, taking a semester or a year from payments can offer similar financial advantages.

 

 

 

Your kids about to drive… how can you keep them safe? Cars to consider

08 Jul

My son got his permit at age 15, fast forward a year, he barely drives.  He doesn’t really want to drive and isn’t very good at it.  Six mnths later, we realize we need to get him driving more.  We increase the frequency but still, no one feels good about it.  More time ticks away and now we are down to a few months before the start of school.  He HAS to drive by the end of the month.  He has no transportation to his college classes from his high school.  We start driving daily.  He drives in our car.  It has a blind spot warning, which I love and precollission warning and breaking.  But, the car is big, hard to park, and doesn’t have other safety features I wanted.  So I started showing around.  I wanted to spend under $20k and it had to have:

  1.  Lane keep assist, this will beep if you leave your lane
  2. Steering Assist, this steers you back into your lane if you go out
  3. backup camera
  4. pedestrian brake assist, will brake automatically if radar spots pedestrian
  5. high speed and low speed break assis – if you are going to crash, car will notify you and auto brake (may just slow you down so your crash isn’t as hard or completely stop you, depending on speed)
  6. blind spot detection mirrors can be installed ($650)
  7. adaptive cruise control, car auto brakes based on distance between cars and set speed

The 2017 Toyota Corrola LE met these goals and came in just over $18k when all costs are added in plus 8 years of oil change package I bought.

The car was sporty look, we got white with grey inside.  It gets decent gas mileage, it drives well for a lower end car.  And most importantly it was the only car I could find with all the safety options on a low end car.  Many other models were missing one of the things on my list, they might have all but no,adaptive cruise control or another might have a funky blind spot camera for one mirror but not he other.  Or the cars didn’t have steer assist or they wouldn’t auotbreak in all settings.

So, this we think is he safest affordable car out there and my son will be trying for his license this month in his new Toyota Carolla.

 
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Tips for rehabbing a fear aggressive dog- Solid K9 please help!

04 May

We started with a severe case of fear aggression in an 8 week old full bred border collie pup.  He was fearful of everything, he was weary of playing, he was unsure of our other dog, he growled at half the people in the family such as the two young girls and one son. He would growl at every stranger he saw and he didn’t like to be held or touched.  At a dog park, he stayed with his big brother at first and did okay but as he got more afraid, he started getting aggressive and started attacking the other dogs.  We tried him with a muzzle and he muzzle slammed them.  We had people try to pet him with his muzzle on and he would try to bite them. Off leash he would stay with us but started venturing further out to scare away the bad guys, barking and showing teeth.  One man just laughed since he just a puppy and I came and got him but a child got scared and ran and that made him run after him and nip his leg.  Nothing too major but it made things clear to us, he needed help!

We hired 3 different trainers.  Fired the first one on the first day.  The second one was an e collar trainer and he went to a board and train but he took a very harsh stance and Whisky is very fearful, so harshness breaks trust so although we learned somethings, he regressed because he was too heavy handed for his temperament.  The third trainer was a positive trainer, she didn’t do e collars but we encorperated what she taught us that heled his anxiety, that was working, along with what was working with the ecollar to find a mix that seemed to work for him.  We used it lightly for small things and use it for big things that were serious at medium but not use it for every command that he would follow anyway without the collar anyway.  Too much collar causes great anxiety for him, so overuse is a problem for him but used correctly for him, it is a great tool.

We work on densenitisizing him to many things that triggered him, one at a time and on obedience at the same time.

  1.  Easily crate trained
  2. when guests come over, he will want to go to door but will go to bed on command.
  3. sleeps by self in gated area near open crate
  4. will wait for dinner politely if asked
  5. will take turns pulling meat off  a bone with his brother while I hold it
  6. can take any food from him
  7. will play ball with strangers (wouldn’t when young, was too afraid of them)
  8. Ignores people on walks (barked and lunged when young)
  9. can ignore people in house IF I can trust they will ignore him(most people I don’t trust the people, they think they know better), so we crate or gate him 90% of time
  10. cant have people touch him, big no, will bite.  Not too hard but enough… after he has bonded with someone consistently for a few months, he will approach them and make it clear, they can touch, he might climb in their lap.  He loves touch from us.
  11. he will do touch games for treats with strangers
  12. dogs are a big trigger, on a walk, he will ignore 75% of time unless other dog initiatiates.
  13. dogs walking by his yard, set him off big time, he can be called away, if alone, will usually listen on first call, if his brother is out there barking (brother never listens), he won’t listen until 4th call.  I reward every time.  If collar is on, he comes right away.  He will distract himself from the stress by bringing us a ball or frisbee to throw.  It is all anxiety.
  14. if a dog comes to edge of gate, He will try to bite him and goes crazy.  Harder to call him off, collar I can on high, words, not until up to six tries or if I throw a ball.
  15. His brother is a huge instigater, he acts much better when his brother is not out there but we don’t have control over brother, old sick dog, didn’t do well with e collar.
  16. He can chase our cats, getting better.  Cats mostly stay upstairs and dogs stay down.  Sometimes cat decides to come down, dog rushes cat, 95% dog listens and I call him and he listens and cat runs up stairs, once he caught cat.  We separated them, no damage done to either.  He also chases bunnies that he could catch but chooses to,run slow,because he likes the chase and doesn’t really want the catch part.
  17. Goals:  Trust him consisting with people (but that means trusting people to follow his rules, no look, no talk, no eye contact, and NO Touch, and no fast movements)which may not be realistic?
  18. Goals:  Get him conditioned to,accept other dogs, he lives with one fine now and he likes,to play, he just needs trust and coping mechanisms, but how,do,we get there, saw videos but I don’t have access to calm beta dogs to practice with…
  19. Goals:  be able to take a vacation again!! please!  Everyone says kill the dog, but we love him.

would love to hear from Jeff Gellmen at http://solidk9training.com/about/

 

Early College Credit through North Carolina Community Colleges, CCP, Dual Enrollment

03 May

Have you heard about dual enrollment?  Dual enrollment allows your high school student to take college classes at one of the community colleges for free and get both high school and college credit for the class.  Many kids can enter college with 1 semester complete or a full year complete, a few can even do more than that.

The program as it stands in Wake County is called the Career and Collge Promise program.  It is mostly designed for juniors and seniors in high school.  Students have to have a certain GPA and permission from their school.  They can split heir time between high school and college.

I have had two children do the program.  My kids earned college credits through a mix of AP exams, CLEP exams, and dual enrollment classes.  My first son took AP Environmental Science and AP computer science classes, he passed those tests earning credit.  He also,self studied for AP English and got credit for that.  Through dual enrollment, he took C++ programming, Java Programming, Economics, Calc 1, Business Calculus, and all these gave him 29 credit hours, allowing him to start as 1 credit short of a freshman and he was just considered a transfer.  He got better housing, earlier registration, etc.

My other son now is in the program although they changed how they do it and limit the classes you can take.  He just started this semester.  He had taken AP Calc AB at school in the Fall but AP exams are not until spring, so to get college credit for what he learned, he took the CLEP Calculus test, he had not even finished the course yet but skimmed the remaining lessons and went for it as he needed a passing score to register for Calc 2 at the community college.  Even though he took it a month before his class ended, he still scored a 68. 20 points above passing on their scale.  So he was allowed to take Calc 2 as a high school junior with all the college students at Wake Tech.  It was a great experience for him.  He made friends with his classmates and teacher and he was accepted by everyone, they all were amazed at how well he did as a 16 year old!  He got an A and is ready to continue in the program.

Navigating your high school and college classes and after school activities can be difficult.  Normally, you would take 2 high school classes and 2 college classes but since this was a 4 credit class rather than a 3 credit class, it met more often and caused conflicts with most other classes.  We decided to use the extra time to self study AP exams.  So my son sel studied Environmental Science and Physics C Mechanics.  He had taken AP physics 1 with Algebra but the leap to Calculus was a lot and he neede Calc based physics for his college classes, not the Algebra ones.  So he self studied to take that AP test as well.  As of this writing, he took his APES exam and next week is his Physics test and then in July the scores come out.

So, we are getting ready to register for his senior year.  We hope he gets a 4 or 5 on the AP Physic c  Mechanics, if so, we can have him take Physics 2, if he doesn’t, he will need to take Physics 1 but at least he will be prepared and should get an A.  Registration is this week and we need to find classes that will also work with his high school schedule again.  The hard part is that we don’t even know his high school schedule, so,we are just guessing at this point.

Our top pick would be Calculus 3, so he can finish all his Calculus at the same college.  But, we don’t know if it will work with his high school schedule and you have to consider teachers.  There may be a time that fits with a poorly rated teacher and it is not worth taking a class with a poorly rated teacher.  Other options would include Physics or English and Chemistry or Linear Algebra.

we are also planning on having him study sociology and Microeconomics this summer and hopefully get CLEP credits for those.  Three full weeks of study should be enough and then take it he test and one less class in college.

His goal is to enter as a sophomore and since it is a very demanding degree, only have to,do 4 classes instead of 5 each semester so he can do well on them.

So, overall, I love the program.  I love that my kids enter college with a year complete and they can graduate in 3 years (first son did), choose a,double major and still only cost me four years of tuition, do a masters for the same cost as an undergraduate degree, or take a lighter load to make sure they do well if they are in a competitive school and major.

i prefer actual college classes to AP exams because it better prepares the for real college, some AP classes are great and other are terrible (we had a terrible one or two), would rather my kids self study for AP,exams unless I know their teacher has students consistently getting 4’s and 5’s.  This is not the case at my son’s school, very few kids even pass the AP tests, so I would rather he take the college class than the high school AP class with the exam.  Our first experience with AP was Chemistry, my son was doing well, understood stuff but teacher was out so,much, they never finished the course, never did practice exams, and free response practice, my son got a 2.  That is when I knew we needed to change things!

Instead of doing an art project like his fellow peers are doing in AP Calc BC (instead of studying for AP exam), my son was in a real college Calc 2 class,with college students, earned an A and doesn’t need to take a single test to determine his grade and his future college will weight a 3 as a C 4 as a B and a 5 as a A, so he would need a 5.  He has that now, the traditional way without having to make comic strips and art projects.

 
 

Getting your high school student ahead, free college credits

30 Apr

is your child ready to head off to high school ?  Exciting isn’t it ?  Just three short years ago, my son was heading into his freshman year and now after what seems like a blink of an eye, he is going to be a senior in a couple weeks.  My daughter will be a he new entering Freshman now.

These aren’t my first two kids to do high school.  I already had two other high school graduates.  Their years flew by too.  I have learned some things though.  First, is a question for you, how do you feel about college?   We pass a lot of how we feel onto our kids, sometimes that’s a good thing, other times it is not.  College has become a debated issue lately, it is expensive, s it necessary?  Well, that depends on a few things:

  1.  You feel strongly your child should go to college.
  2. your child feels strongly that he or she should go to college
  3. your child’s career goals match one where a college degree is expected
  4. you or your college want college for maturity and growth and the college experience

Now, if your child wants to do a job that doesn’t really require a college degree, like work a restaurant, be a fed ex driver, be in sales, etc. college isn’t worth it except for the growth, maturity, and experience.  You can also get training from vocational programs that don’t require college like hvac repair, beauty school, ekg tech.

Lets say that college student son the plans, your child wants to be an engineer or computer programmer.  Most jobs want a four year degree.  So, what does that have to do with freshman year of high school?

Remember how fast I said these years would fly by, well, freshman year is not a huge deal but even then it can be setting you up…. Sttin you up for what?  For future classes, the big plan… th enigma plan actually starts to come together Freshman year when you select classes.  Students need to start thinking long term, start thinking about college and goals.

Here are some examples:  Case wants to be a computer programmer and wants to get in a competitive college.  He needs to be taking the right classes now,that lead him to the best classes latter:

Freshman year, he takes Hon Eng, Hon World His, Hon Math 3, Hon Bio, PE, intro programming 1, Spanish 1, intro Engineering

**These set him up for future classes

Sophomore year:  Hon Eng 2, Hon US Hist, Hon Pre Calc, Hon Chem, AP Chem, Spanish 2, programming 2, Engineering 2

*** Notice he took his first AP class and arranged it to follow Honors Chem

Junior Year:  AP Eng, Hon US Hist 2, AP Calc AB, College Calc 2, AP Physics c AP Computer Science, AP Environmental Science,

** notice now we have, AP English, APES, AP Calc AB, AP Physics C, AP CS tests…. that is up to 16 credit hours plus 4 college transfer hours

Right now, his transcripts show 2 full semesters of Calculus with college credit, one aken at a college, 1 Calculus based Physics class, a Computer Science class, another regular science, a Chemistry credit, and Engineering she credit (if allowed).  This all looks great to a prospective college.

Additionally, over the summer between Junior and Senior year, I would suggest taking two gen ed CLEP courses and getting credit.  It is just memorizing and asking a test.  This will give you another 6 credits.

Finally, senior year, take more AP and or college classes.

Case might take:  Senior year:  Hon Eng 3, Hon Civics, Theater, AP Statistics, Calc 3’atnthe college, Physics 2 at the college,

When he graduates, not only will he have met most of his freshman classes for college, he will over 30 hours and start college as a sophomore, saving money or with the ability mtomtake a lighter load.

 

 

 

 
 

Updated, post on our Prozac trazadone fear aggressive dog

30 Apr

Many of you have asked for an update on our pup.  First, I am waiting on an iPad so please excuse my mistakes, later I hope to come back and fix any error or typos with a real computer but thumb typing isn’t my thing.

So, Whiskey is 4.5 years old already, time flies.  We still have his brother, Golden Retriever, Ares, who is almost 11.  They adore each other.  Ares is getting old though and we don’t know how much longer we will have him for.  Whiskey still takes Prozac each day, 30 mg, and 200 mg of trazadone in the morning and 200 mg at night.  If we miss a dose, you can tell.

He sleeps in as we like to and is fully awake and bugging us after 11:00 am.  He usually wants to play or interact by each then.  We usually will either throw a frisbee, throw a soccer ball, play get the dog with tug included, or catch the hose game.  After he will settle down for a while.  Later, he asks for a second play time and we do one of the same or dog training.  Finally, around dinner, we take him for a walk.  On a weekend, we might go to a public park or our 4 acres where he can run for leash and run in the creek.

On walks:  he ignores people, 99 percent of the time unless someone gets right in his face talk to him or f he felt his space was being invaded.  We keep distance from people in general, he wears a vest that says give me space.  When walking in close proximity, I have him heel to me and he is fine.  He never lunges or tries to go after people like he used to. He doesn’t seem triggered by them at all.  He trusts that we won’t let them touch him and this is the only thing that would set him off.

My sister in law thought she was “different” and could touch him and it would be fine, so she did, he gave her a light bite to say, no, I am not okay with that.  I think it was good, he controlled the bite, didn’t over react and made a clear statement, she handled it well too by reading his message, not overreacting and not freaking but just moving on calmly.

When people come over, he can be behind a wire only fence hat he could easily break through but it acts as a psychological barrier to define his space.  He sees someone new, he will give a little warning growl but that’s it.

He can be loose,in the house with strangers if they follow he rules and are not fearful.  They must do no look, no touch, nomination all, no eye contact.  Then they must play some bonding games with him, that’s all it takes.

Other dogs are the biggest problems.  His brother Ares, makes it worse.  He gets Whisk all,triggered by barking at them.  When Ares passes, we will have better luck calming Whiskey about other dogs.  He sees dogs on walks and gets tense but I say, leave it, and he will probably ignore.  He never starts it with a dog but if a dog starts it with him, he will get more physical and difficult to distract.  I would never put him face to face with a dog, maybe a puppy, slowly.  I think he has potential but it will require work.

i tried to meet with the Si Means Sit trainer to discuss Whiskey’s progress and what we learned about him and how he responds.  I really feel like an expert with all I have read and worked through with my dog and I know I am an expert on MY dog since I have trained him it’s many approaches and have learned how he responds to different methods based on his needs.  I was hoping he and I could work as a team, that I could learn from him and he could adjust things based on what I had learned works and doesn’t work,specifically for Whiskey.  He didn’t seem interested in that, he seemed to imply HE was the he expert on all dogs with anxiety and you have to push them to get anywhere.  Pushing Whiskey shuts him down, makes him lose,trust, and no growth is achieved because all he has is flight, flight, fear going on.  You have to teach these dogs at a place of safety, close enough to the water that they see it, maybe get their feet wet but don’t throw them n and hope they learn to swim.  It’s called threshold and I strongly believe in it.  So, I was very disappointed not to continue  what I was hoping could be a partnership to continue to improve Whiskey.

We have been busy with other things but still work on his training and hope to get back to a situation where we can find someone to help us work and on his proximity to people and dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathematics- the best curricular approach, why was it so hard to think of?

08 Apr

This is going to be a multi-part post outlining a very intuitive but common sense approach to making math work for ALL students in our schools.

It requires some flexibility and learning to do things differently but will be the solution to mathematical success for our country.

Step 1:  what are your goals?  Before you can meet an expectation, you need concrete measurable goals.  I would suggest that each state set these up in order but not by grade level, just sequentially.

** Example:  Learn to understand the meaning of fractions, when fractions are appropriate, how to do arithmetic with fractions (multiply, divide, add, and subtract).  Along the way learn skills that are needed to teach these skills like LCM and credits cross cancellation.  Have student solve and write one and two step problems that use fractions.  Do applications with fractions like altering a recipe.   Students should test at 90% before they leave their his unit.

Each unit builds on old skills, can incorporate old skills and includes applications.  Each unit stands on its own and students do not progress until they pass each unit with 90% or better.  They also should have regular mixed reviews, they must pass to show hey are retaining old information.

Each Math grade is marked by what level you are in:

you can move as fast or slow as needed and those who struggle will have a smaller ratio of teachers to students to help them.  Students further along can get extra pants by helping those who need it.

  • Sampe School

Kindergarten:

(form sake of ease, lets have 8 students)

Students 1,2 are at about same level and are working at level 1, they work on counting to 10 and matching quantity to the numbers.  They also learn about symbolic addition and subtraction and subtraction with stories of there were 2 cookie, mom baked 3 more and put them on the plate, now there are 5 cookies on the plate.  The OR Amy had 4 cookies, her friends ate 2, now she has 2 cookies left.  Fnally, the learn about counting by 2 and exploring what even means.  They also learn and match core shapes and discuss how many sides they have.They do many hands on and teacher directed activities related to these concepts.  Some are concept build and some will be tested.  They practice for the tested skills.  Can they match quantity with number?  Can they count to 10? Can they tell which number is even ? And can they match a number sentence to a story problem read to them?

Another 3 students can already do all that or do it so quickly, they are moved to level K2.  In this group, students have to explore numbers from 11-15.  They have to learn to count by 2’s to 20.  They begin to do addition and subtraction with the numbers 0-5.   They also have to match it to stories.  They study odd numbers.

Another 2 students are in K3, here they count to 100.  They count by 10’s and by 5’s to 100.   They look at the numbers 1-100 if even or odd.  They add and subtract with 0-9 digits and with two digit number where you don’t carry.  They introduce the idea of place value.

The last student is smart enough that she is doing grade 1 math in kindergarten, so she in in Level 1 math.  She learns place value for thousands, hundreds, tens, ands, ones.     She starts writing bigger numbers, she learns how to exchange for place value and the difference  between states c and dynamic addition.  She also applies this to subtraction.  She starts looking at data and graphing.  She can now count by 2,3,5,and 10 and they investigate the patterns of 9’s.  She leans to apply her knowledge to real world problems and think of problems where she might need her math skills.  All of these skills are tested and she stays at this level until she has 90% mastery.

First Graders may find that they did not finish all of the K goals and may not start at level 1 or they may be ahead and may be doing much higher level work.  No levels, except for the K levels are associated with a grade and a K student doesn’t have to finish the K levels after leaving K.

Promotions:

once all the levels are determined, the goal will be that all students take four full years of math and meet the minimum of finishing the highest level which will equal 90% mastery of Algebra 1,2, and Geometry/Statistics/Finance blend for graduation, with a prorated number of levels required for grade promotions in between.

College bound students are enoured to finish all levels and one additional courses beyond such as PreCalc, Discrete Math, Or statistics.

STEM students are encouraged to finish all levels plus pre Calc, Calc AB, Calc BC, and if possible AP Stat.

The difference with this and the current plan is that it breaks Math into small pieces and goals with required mastery of that area before moving on.  The focus becomes quality, not quantity.  I would rather graduate an A student in Math 1-3 than  D/F student in Math 1-4.

 

 

 

 

 
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High school choices for gifted students in Wake High Schools

27 Feb

Your child is academically gifted and you want to maximize their potential. Great, good job being proactive in your child’s life, strengths, and awareness of their needs.  I would be remiss to not point out that academics is not everything and a good balanced person is ideal.  Someone who is smart but do not make  others feel dumb, someone who can connect socially with many different types of people,  and someone who appreciates that other people can have fantastic gifts that are not intellectual.

So, what hgh schools offer the most for children?  Let’s look at the pros and cons of a few:

 

  1.  STEM EARLY college…I generally like this project gram, it has a very set theme, kids earn college credits while in high school, however, all electives are in science, math, computer science,and engineering somthta better be your passion.  Now a con, it is very difficult to get a spot.

2,  Raleigh Charter High School, a great school for the basics. There is very little offered in electives and the ones they have are weak.  So, if you choose this, is you can expect a no bellls,r,whistle learning environment for math, science, English,and social studies.  The kids are very studius and don’t interact the same way you see  a traditinal highschool. They get lots of HW but go to school 1.5 hr less per day.

 

3.  Southeast Raleigh Magnet Charter HS…. they have lots of academies like Engineering, Bimedical, and IT.  These are good programs but there has been a lot of turn over in faculty in these academies and the school as a whole.  I aslomfind that some teachers are great and some are lazy.  I have not been pleased with the AP classes at the school, I wish I knew the exact number but I would guess only 10% pass the math and science exams.  The teachers are terrible at teaching AP classes.  My child ghastly enjoyed being the big fish their but we have had to supplement to keep him on track academcally for the competitive college class of engineering  at NCSU that he wants to go to.

 

4.Cardinal Gibbons HighmSchool….l cant say too much because I have only had a small experience with students from there.  What I found is that they are academically weak. For example, there Math always a year behind ours.  When kids taken Algebra 2 there, they learn what we taught in Algebra 1.  There precalc be is like our math 3.  They never win national merit scholarships or get n best high school list so it is academically weak.

5.  Enloe will be the last school I talk about.  It has a good reputation.  it offers lots of great electives, a strong core and I hear good things about their AP scores. There is decent level of diversity, but the it does start at 7:25!

 

*sorry for typos, ipad keypad is acting up.

 

Nora Snoring Device an independent review

25 Feb

Snoring was really becoming a problem for my husband and I.  I was not sleeping but we did not want to go to separate beds.  We tried a sleep study and he was borderline for a Cpap and that seemed expensive and like a lot f work.  We tried the nose strips, the xhim straps, and he saw several ENTs.   Some nose sprays helped but would give him bloody noses after a week.

When I would get frustrated while sleeping, I would try moving his s pillow and that would “adjust” him and sometimes stop the snoring for a bit which is why Nora applied to me. It was doing what I was intuitively trying too do.  It was expensive though, still it had a mney back guarantee and I had to try.  I looked for reviews but they were all reviews from biased sources trying to sell the product so I couldn’t trust them. I have no affiliation, just a customer.

Ths smday 2, so the jury s still out too.  But, so far, i will report what we have seen.  It took a long time to get here, was back ordered.  It was easy to set up.  The pad under the pillow surprised me with how much it inflates.  As f now, hubby will start to snore and just get into a light snore and then it triggers and he stops.  Before, his light snore would get louder and louder until we were both awake. He says he has been woken up from it but didn’t elaborate but seems to fall right back to sleep and the great news is that I am not waking up all night long. So, on day 2, I am pleased, I will let you know if anything changes.

 
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