Friday, January 11, 2008

My Gen-Ed Class is Going Disturbingly Well

Normally the gen-ed class is where all the losers end up. Didn't pass in the fall, back in the spring. Can't pull together the grades to get into calculus, go for the gen-ed class. Not majoring in something where you can make money, don't need much math. Success and ambition are rarely hallmarks of the gen-ed students.

Today, the second day, we did some more problem solving. We worked in small groups on word problems. Somewhat sneaky word problems.

The entire class was on task and focused. I couldn't spot anyone who seemed to be a likely candidate for failure.

Of course, this ups the ante. If they're going to make an effort to learn, I'm going to need to figure out something good to teach. I'm going to have to dig through my files for all those scribbled notes of things to do to supplement the textbook. It was only the luckiest of coincidences that led me to remember that I had that Die Hard clip on my iPod about that problem with the three gallon jug and the five gallon jug*.

Looks like I have some work to do this weekend.

*Why is it that Samuel L. Jackson has more credibility in my classroom than I do? I used to teach this problem before I knew about the clip from Die Hard, and my students would argue that they could put some sort of mark on the three gallon jug and measure one gallon. I, as the assigner of the problem, would tell them that it wasn't allowed, and yet they would insist. Now, when someone proposes this idea (which was Bruce Willis's idea), one of the other students shoots them down with, "[Samuel L. Jackson] said you couldn't do that."