March 20, 2010
March 14, 2010
At 3:14:15 PM, I was tutoring mathematics: inscribing circles in triangles and circumscribing circles around triangles.
Update (10:47 PM): Fixed a typo. I had written 3:14:59 instead of 3:14:15!
March 13, 2010
March 10, 2010
2 + 3 = 10
7 + 2 = 63
6 + 5 = 66
8 + 4 = 96
Then: 9 + 7 = ????
It took me, what? 15 seconds? 30 seconds? 3 minutes?. It was fascinating how my subconscious grasped the answer, but then it took 1/4 second to 2 seconds for me to identify explicitly the pattern needed to get the answer and to put the answer into words.
(HT: my brother)
March 6, 2010
March 5, 2010
Thursday, yesterday, had a good ending: two hours of tutoring for the SAT in which a student learned some effective ways to attack some math, reading and sentence correction questions — but also learned a bit about logic and reasoning. He’ll find this only rarely. Unfortunately. I wish such things as I taught were all over the country. How much better the culture would be…
Then one hour tutoring a student in geometry — specifically, in the Pythagorean Theorem and similar right triangles. And, wow, what I was able to relate these things to: reasoning, logic, science, law, history, and more. All in an effective, relevant way, using concretized abstractions. And all in a way that, too, will be found only rarely. Unfortunately.
Next up: helping some people with a dead battery, after I did a 10 PM shopping stint at my local HEB. They just needed jumper cables; they already had a big truck to give them a jump. I liked the look in the husband’s eye and the strength of his handshake. It’s nice to help people who are good (well…who seem decent, as that is all I really know about them).
And then, to my surprise, and pleasure, someone asked, while I was waiting at a stop light on the way home from HEB, if I tutored for the SAT. (She saw my “MGTutoring” graphics on the back of my truck.) I had a flier with me in my briefcase, so I got out of my truck and gave it to her husband. I liked seeing the gleam in his eye and the smile on his face when I handed the flier over. Priceless.
March 2, 2010
Things have been busy lately, and so it has been difficult to do any decent blogging.
This past Saturday, for example, I taught two hours of calculus and two hours of TAKS math. (An unusually light day, thank goodness! A break! Yay! I got to sleep till 10 AM!! I so needed that.)
But Sunday started at 8:20 AM and was not over until I made it back home after 10 PM. The day was comprised of two+ hours of algebra 2, an hour and a half of algebra 1, an hour of geometry, two other classes for two hours, then two hours of TAKS math.
And Monday was a long day spent tutoring math for ten hours: the day started at 8:15 AM and did not end until 10:20 PM, with some of this time spent on the road, and some spent at home tutoring on the Internet. First thing up was a math marathon at 9 AM, doing 5 hours of college algebra, all with one student; then two hours of TAKS math with another student; then an hour of algebra with a third; and finally two hours of AP calculus to finish my day. Monday, like Saturday and Sunday, was also spent teaching students reasoning and logic. We focused heavily on math, of course, but ranged from there to important, essential connections concerning (depending on the student and what time allowed) thinking skills, note taking skills, logic, Socratic questioning, ancient Greece, Aristotle, Plato, deduction, induction, science, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, and more. Students saw — in general terms and in particular detail — how not merely to do math but how to reason; they learned how math teaches reasoning; they saw how math applies to other areas of life; and they saw the importance of math and of ideas. They are getting a quality education like they will rarely or never find anywhere else. And I love it.