Carol's Blog, 2006 archive

Monday, December 11, 2006
I created a Google blog using the "Blogger" tool... will try and make it easier for people to send me feedback on my site. We'll see if it works!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006
I've updated all the Algebra Review exercises through December 8, for style consistency with the rest of the site, updating the timing feature, and adding "in a nutshell" information as needed.
Thanks to my many girls testing the exercises, a few coding mistakes have been found and corrected. Also, my "Google" ranking (and search engine rankings in general) is going up, with so many people using the site!

Saturday, November 4, 2006
I've updated all the Algebra Review exercises through November 10, for style consistency with the rest of the site, updating the timing feature, and adding "in a nutshell" information as needed.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Happy Halloween, everybody!
I've updated all the Algebra Review exercises through November 3, for style consistency with the rest of the site, updating the timing feature, and adding "in a nutshell" information as needed.
Also, I've written and uploaded a new Algebra I exercise, Adding and Subtracting Simple Fractions With Variables. Check it out!

Sunday, October 22, 2006
I've updated all the Algebra Review exercises through October 26, for style consistency with the rest of the site, updating the timing feature, and adding "in a nutshell" information as needed. Have been busy writing college recommendation letters, too!

Monday, October 16, 2006
I've updated all the Algebra Review exercises through October 20, for style consistency with the rest of the site, updating the timing feature, and adding "in a nutshell" information as needed. I've also finished the Measures of Spread Algebra II web exercise.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006
I've updated all the Algebra Review exercises for the week of October 2–6, for style consistency with the rest of the site, updating the timing feature, and adding "in a nutshell" information as needed. This updating takes a lot of time! Now, I've got to get back to finishing up the Measures of Spread web exercise.

Saturday, September 30, 2006
I've uploaded a preliminary Algebra II web exercise, Measures of Spread. Check it out!
I really struggled with how much to say about populations versus samples, but I'm reasonably pleased with my final decisions.
The exposition is finished, but the web exercises aren't yet done.

Thursday, September 21, 2006
 I've updated all the Algebra Review exercises for the week of September 25–29, for style consistency with the rest of the site, updating the timing feature, and adding "in a nutshell" information as needed.

Sunday, September 17, 2006
I've posted a new Algebra II web exercise, Arithmetic and Geometric Sequences. Try it out!

Friday, September 15, 2006
Whew! Even after about 25 years of teaching, the first week never seems to get any easier!
The girls are starting to fill in some of the "blanks" on Algebra Pinball, which is great. I'm still letting them earn a free Quick Quiz point for each time they bring in a posting from someone outside MHS, so I'm hoping to get a lot more entries from outside the school.

Sunday, September 10, 2006
Welcome to a new academic year, everyone!
All the course materials for my four classes (AP Calc AB, Precalculus Honors, Precalculus, and Algebra II) are online: Course Overview and Policies; Daily Syllabus; Review Exercise Schedules. I've also put a multitude of the CLASS FORMS that I use online, including grade sheets and sign-ups for Parent/Teacher conferences.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I've finished entering ALL my timed exercises in Algebra Pinball. They're ready and waiting for people to post fast times!
I finished the AP Calculus AB Algebra Review chart for the 2006–2007 academic year. Now, it will be easy to adjust this review chart for both Precalculus Honors and Algebra II.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I re-wrote the Identifying Place Values web exercise to make it more challenging, so I reset its Algebra Pinball time. It's ready-and-waiting for someone to submit a time! I also added "in a nutshell" material to this web exercise.

Sunday, July 9, 2006
I submitted my slide show to NCTM Web Bytes. Hopefully, it will appear this summer, while teachers have time to go through it. It would be great to get some new teachers using my site for the next academic year.
Take a stroll through this fun, interactive slide show! Learn about the language of math, the evolution of mathematics typesetting, TeX, Math Markup Language (MathML) and much more—set in the context of a site that uses it all, with 200 dynamic Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II web exercises. There are lots of special effects to keep the presentation engaging and light. Visit and click on the "slide show" link.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006
I'm doing updates on the Algebra I course: adding in a feature that tells you, as you're timing yourself, how many correct problems you've done, and what time you're averaging. I'm also fixing some "focus" issues to make the forms more user-friendly, and adding "in a nutshell" material where lacking. Have posted the emerging year-long-review schedule off my homepage, so students can get started over the summer, if they want. Unfortunately, this work is quite time-consuming and there isn't much "new" to show for it—but I guess that's what summer is for!

Thursday, June 29, 2006
I've been so busy enjoying summer and time to work on all my projects, that I've neglected my blog!

I've finished creating an "Introduction to Moodle" course (using Moodle, of course). I'm impressed with the user-friendliness and capabilities of this free, open-source, Course Management System. If our school decides to host a Moodle Server, then I'll put the course online, open to everyone, as a gentle introduction for new Moodle users.

I've finished two books on XHTML/CSS, and feel confident to move forward, on all my new files, with strict XHTML. I won't convert my existing files to XHMTL until (perhaps) many years from now, after I've finished my entire high school math curriculum. It would just take too long—I have hundreds of files—and I want to keep making progress.

I'm having fun with PHP, but have run into a glitch with MySQL. (It may be because I have MySQL in two different places on my computer: one from installing Moodle, and one installation from the "Learning Php & MySQL book. But I'm working on it.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006
Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there!

I just finished reading "Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML"—this is my first introduction to the "Head First" series. FANTASTIC BOOK! I'll be using it to teach my next XHTML class at Miss Hall's School.

I'm also reading "Learning PHP & MySQL". From now on, I'll start writing everything new with XHTML, and my site is certainly big enough that it could benefit from some database management. And, I definitely need some server-side stuff for more interactivity (online quizzes, feedback forms, and so on).

I'm also reading "Using Moodle" (another O'Reilly book). I've downloaded Moodle (I'm "my own" server) and am creating a little course, "An Introduction to Moodle," so I can show colleagues at Miss Hall's what Moodle can do for them. So far, I'm really impressed with its capabilities and user-friendliness.

I've had all three nieces over for "pre-Julia" sleepovers, which was great fun. And, I'm actually COOKING meals every night, now that school is out (and no longer providing me food). Mexican chicken corn chowder tonight!

By the way, I want to re-read my Javascript book (actually, I never quite finished it, way back when). I have the THIRD edition of O'Reilly's "Javascript, A Definitive Guide". I notice that they're up to the fifth edition, and the sixth is coming out soon. Can anyone please enlighten me—has it changed significantly? Is everything in the third edition still valid, or should I trash it and buy the new one?

Enjoy summer, everyone!

Friday, June 9, 2006
Yeh! I've finally finished all my grading, comments, and end-of-year stuff, and can now start settling into my summer routine.
I've bought seven books for my summer reading, on XHTML, AJAX, MySQL, and MOODLE.
And, I've still got books on PHP and SVG that I haven't finished.
So, I've got my summer work cut out for me!
I just added a "concept web exercise" to Expressions versus Sentences.
(Go way down to the bottom to see the new exercise.)
This way, students don't have to print out (or view) a concept questions worksheet; they can just practice with the questions online.

Thursday, May 4, 2006
I've finished the new Algebra II web exercise, The Quadratic Formula (for now, at least).

Sunday, April 30, 2006
I've uploaded a preliminary version of a new Algebra II web exercise, The Quadratic Formula.
The exposition is not yet finished, and the exercises aren't yet finished. But, it's a start!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I turned the factoring trinomials Algebra I web exercise into a TIMED exercise (and will soon get it on Algebra Pinball).
Also, I added some new equation types to the identifying quadratic equations Algebra I web exercise.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006
I added a bunch of new problem types to the Algebra I web exercise, Word Problems Involving Perfect Squares.
Also, here's a neat fact:
At two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 AM early tomorrow morning (i.e., on April 5, 2005), the time will be:

1:02:03, 4/5/06
Isn't that cool!

Sunday, April 2, 2006
Posted a new Algebra II web exercise, Quadratic Functions and the Completing the Square Technique.
The web exercise isn't quite finished, but classes start again tomorrow, so it might be a little while before I get back to it. (Sigh... for the end of vacation! It was glorious!)

Saturday, April 1, 2006
Posted a new Algebra II web exercise, Equations of Simple Parabolas.

Friday, March 31, 2006
Posted a new Algebra II web exercise, Parabolas. This one has lots of neat Geometer Sketchpad explorations!

Thursday, March 30, 2006
Posted a new Algebra II web exercise, Probability Tree Diagrams. This one took me a long time—about 20 hours. It has loads of variability with the following types of problems: flips of a fair and unfair coin; colored balls in an urn with and without replacement. Enjoy! I've also improved the previous exercise, More Probability Concepts (see below), and I've posted a lot more "Fun Facts" in the Algebra I curriculum. I'm on vacation! I finally have time to get things done!

Monday, March 27, 2006
Posted a new Algebra II web exercise, More Probability Concepts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2006
Posted some new Algebra Pinball exercises, and adjusted many links for consistency.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Uploaded a new Algebra II web exercise, Advanced Set Concepts.

Sunday, March 5, 2006
Uploaded a good start to a new Algebra II web exercise, Basic Probability Concepts.

Saturday, March 4, 2006
Fixed a minor bug on "Solving Linear Inequalities with Fractions".

Saturday, February 25, 2006
I want to start putting some FUN STUFF into each of the Algebra I sections.
Here's a great site with lots of FUN FACTS that I'll be linking to: Math Fun Facts!
Also, I moved the "Back to the top" links, to make the page less cluttered.

Saturday, February 11, 2006
Rurika Oka has written Japanese instructions for Algebra Pinball, and we've put a link to these instructions from the Algebra Pinball page. Thanks so much, Rurika!!
Also, I've added links from several of the pinball exercises back to the main pinball page, so someone doing the exercise can quickly find out what the current best time is.
And, I've only got five more (of 51) end-of-term comments to write! Yeh!!

Friday, February 10, 2006
Happy Friday, everybody!!
I'm reading Fermat's Enigma (by Simon Singh) to my Algebra II class (last ten minutes every day; highly recommended reading). In today's reading, I made a discovery that escaped me the first time I read the book! We were reading about perfect numbers (numbers whose proper factors sum to the number itself: for example,   6 = 1+2+3   is the first perfect number). I was writing the first few perfect numbers on the board...
28    (I'm thinking: cool, my birthday is on the 28th)
I stopped. This number (8,128) looks like a date that I frequently write: 8/28. (The forward slash looks a lot like a "one".) That's my birthday! August 28th! Look, my birthday is a perfect number!

So, enough of that excitement. (Now, all future students will be subjected to this joyous bit of trivia when a class is getting bored.)
Something more serious: I would like to check into MATH EDUCATION GRANTS that I could apply for, to get more time to develop this web site. I want to develop a conceptual "skeleton" for an entire high school mathematics curriculum online. (Algebra I is well along the way. Still to come: Geometry (started), Algebra II (started), Precalculus, and Calculus. And I want "pinball" for the whole lot.) Teaching five courses, there isn't much time left to do this. Along the way, this site will promote MathML (Math Markup Language), which will change how math is taught and learned, once it catches on. If anyone knows of any grants that I might apply for, I would greatly appreciate it if you'd pass this information along to me. (Just use the comment form link above.) Thanks!

Tuesday, February 7, 2006
First entry of the new year! Sigh... this is a sign of how busy things are.
I adjusted the Recognizing Products and Sums; Identifying Factors and Terms web exercise so that, in the printable worksheet, there is a random ordering of the words product/sum and factors/terms. Hopefully, once I have taxes and financial aid stuff done in the next few weeks (and have finished writing comments), then I can return to making some regular progress on the web exercises!

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