Saturday, April 21, 2007

Untold Bits From the Week

  1. My calculus class this semester has been uncharacteristically hard-working and good-natured. Additionally I've finally found a way to do the "hard homework problems" that I believe need to be part of a serious calculus class. In the past, I've assigned the routine problems as daily homework (graded based on existence rather than on correctness -- just try the damn problems and turn something in instead of whining about how you can't do them) and the hard problems as short problem sets. The students procrastinated the problems sets, were too proud to ask for help, and generally got nothing out of them (and received grades that reflected that). This semester I've set aside a few days as "lab day" and I have them work in groups on a few hard problems and write up the solutions at home (to be due at a future date). Works much better. On Thursday we did a "lab" about finding volumes of solids of revolution, and one of the problems was finding the volume of a solid torus. I also bought bagels for the class.

  2. Yesterday at the cafe, grading the exams from the gen-ed class, I wish I had my laptop and my Huckleberry with me because I would have loved to show you a picture. There was this guy, probably in his 20s, probabably at least 6' tall, with the most spectacular accessories. He had a plaid briefcase, a felt hat decorated with multi-colored feathers, and green sneakers with some sort of beaded trim. While outlandish, none of it matched, leading to an overall impression of "different drummer" and not "gay."

  3. Someone needs to tell one of my students that if you really need to pass this class in order to keep your scholarship, then it's to your advantage to spend time creating a notecard for the exam (permitted by my exam rules), bring it to the exam, and then not show up 18 minutes late to a 50 minute exam.

  4. My hair color was complimented by a student whose fashion style appears to be a linear combination of goth, skater, and school shooter.