Thursday, July 5, 2007

Long time no write

Well, here I am, with few minutes to write. In case anybody missed me, and they don't know where I've been, here is a little update. We moved. Well, most of us moved. We now live in Salt Lake City, and life is good! Our new house is starting to feel like home. There are few more boxes that need to be dealt with, but it looks decent. Three days after we moved in, I had to go to another mathy thing, this time at AIM in Palo Alto. We were shipped out to learn how to run Teacher's circles. In case anybody heard of Math circles, that's basically it, just for teachers. So anyway, we're starting that in September and if any Salt Lake middle/high school teachers happen to see this and are interested they should let me know. But I'm sure I'll find them either way.

Then PCMI started at Park City. I have expected a lot more from it, and am rather disappointed. PCMI organizes a three week event that is supposed to do what administration thinks is vertical integration. There are several programs running at the same time, and people are supposed to interact and learn. There is usually a mathematics topic around which the whole program is structured. This year it is statistical mechanics. There are research program, graduate seminar, undergraduate seminar, mathematics education research seminar, secondary school teacher prof. development, and professional developers' seminar. I am there as a part of prof. development program, but that only meets about 1hr a day. The rest we hang out with high school teachers and observe what they do. The teachers' schedule is something like this:
8:20-8:45 there is one or the other administrative thing that needs to be addressed.
8:45-11 teachers work in groups on some math problems, statistics and probability. Good idea, but I think poor implementation and not great problems.
11-12 research teaching topics. This as far as I can tell was just a disaster. We were given a choice of several topics, groups were formed based on a topic, we got a list of few research articles that we were supposed to read and write a little report about. However, at least in my group there wasn't much discussion. We each wrote up a blurb on the article we read, but when the time was to write it up, they had the prof. development session running parallel, and I think half of us were gone. I think I am likely to miss tomorrow's presentations.
12-1 lunch
1-3 working group. I went to geometry, but that too was rather disappointing. It mostly appears to be Geometer's Sketchpad advertisement.
3:15-4:15 cross program. This is where we listen to talks whether they're given by research mathematicians, high school teachers, math ed people.... or there is nothing.
4:30-5:30, 6 is when prof. development group meets and so far this mostly consisted of them giving us math problems to work on. Hello! Half the people have Ph.D. is math. It just seemed like not a good use of time.

In the meantime, my preparation for my classes has stalled. My preparation for the session of ThEMaT has stalled as well, and I am supposed to be presenting it in less than three weeks (this is another potential PD that involves geometry). Also, since I am back in the most fun Salt Lake there are plenty of things to do that do not involve sitting at a computer. However, if the temperatures continue the current trend I may be writing more :)