I haven't written in a while. One reason is that I've been too preoccupied with making various decisions. And thinking about the courses I'll be teaching next semester. I'll teach two and neither I taught before, and I sort of have books for them. I definitely have a book for one, which is the math for elementary teachers course. But the second, which is the methods for secondary teachers, they have used Principles and Standards for years, supplemented with various other texts and articles. I don't actually know what they've done and how they've done it, so I've been thinking what to do and how to do it. I'm almost panicking. Luckily there is lots of time left, but also a move and three trips and a three week workshop, and then another workshop. Lots to do. But first things first: a trip to Hawaii. It will be fun!

As for the pledge: they recited it in a middle school I visited as well. And I talked to a friend's mom who is a second grade teacher. She says that she makes her students stand. She gave three reasons: to keep them form making noise and fuss during, to teach them that they should be grateful for living in the us (as opposed to unlucky kids without freedom that we enjoy here) and, if I remember correctly, to teach them respect. I am fairly certain that all of those things could be done without standing and reciting the pledge of allegiance. I am surprised that this is still going on and that people are not complaining.

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I've been part of a team that teaches several related classes including the secondary math techniques. The class I teach runs the 2 hours before techniques. It used to only be 1 hour long, but this hour I added a 0-credit lab. It has some advantages for my class (which is a computer lab class), but it also has great advantages for the techniques class because students can give more presentations without eating up more class days. That's one of the keys to keeping the students positive and actively involved: have them up in front teaching mock lessons (15-20 mins each) as much as possible. We managed 5 of them this semester.

The other key we found this semester is to keep it focused on what they are interested in--bring authentic HS materials; discuss different ways to present topics; not only discuss, but also do problem solving and have the students analyze student solutions of varying degrees of correctness.

This one you're not going to have time for too, probably, but be aware that a few of these math major seniors are going to have significant gaps in their knowledge--things like being able to write a decent multiplication of fractions word problem, or setting up the solution to a trig word problem correctly. If you don't have these problems I'm sincerely jealous, but anyway, don't shy away from discussing the math/asking them to discuss or demonstrate the math just because it's stuff that they are supposed to know by now. The earlier the content, the more likely they are to have forgotten.

Good luck and have fun. It's a great, rewarding class to teach once you get the bugs worked out of it.

Welcome back, Lsquared! I know I haven't written much, so there wasn't much to comment on. Thanks for the tips, though. I will definitely not shy from mathematics :) These are all good suggestions, and I'll come back to reread them and hopefully implement them. I like the mock teaching, but the ones I've seen have been badly executed (10 minutes only, which I think is almost too short, and mostly scripted so that the students ended up reading most of it).

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