I will be starting at another school this August (high school math and Earth Science) and would greatly appreciate your ideas on unit lessons that use technology as the backbone. (I would like students to see how we use technology in our everyday lives). Unfortunately, all I have for equipment is just a computer lab and smart board. I would love ideas on how to motivate all of my students using everyday common equipment and not just the expensive manipulatives. Did I mention this is an At-Risk high school? Apparently these students are gang members, teen parents, students that need to work to help support their family, SPED, and/or every other young adult that is 'at risk' of graduating high school. Thank you for your ideas! ~G

I'm in the same position... if you get any good ideas, let me know I am also in the same exact type of high school

Hi George, I'm Katie, nice to meet you too Do you already have a set up syllabus? We should keep in touch with eachother

No, I have not yet written my syllabus. I will be in the next couple of weeks. I want to get a copy of the previous teacher's syllabus to see what he did. He was there for 5 years so what he was doing must have worked. Why recreate the wheel? I'll keep you informed of any ideas or lessons that worked or not. ~G

I know nothing of teaching math, but I've been teaching at an alternative high school for four years. If you need any help along those lines, give me a shout! I read your high expectations post, too, and while I absolutely agree that you have to expect the most from your students, you also have to realize that sometimes real life makes being a model student difficult if not impossible. If you haven't already, take the time to drive around the area in which your students live. Shop in the local stores, visit the barber/hair dresser there, eat at one of the local restaurants. Just try to get a sense of their world before you meet them, and it will help.

How about Webquests? Here's a link for science webquests http://webquest.org/search/webquest...rrscience&grade=grade912&Submit=Search+Matrix If you explore this site (this guy is the guru of webquests) you might find something in other content areas that might work as well. Webquests would be a great way for students to explore technology. Good Luck

Ok I just ran across this website, and personally, I am loving it. There are a ton of great project ideas!!!! http://www.teachersnetwork.org/teachnet/mathematics.cfm You'll have to change to the science section if you want, but there are a TON of cool math ideas on there

Using Tech on a low budget Hi All, Make room for one more person on the using-tech-in-an-at-risk-HS boat. I like webquests, and have been looking for a way to use them as assignments in my 9th grade Bio class. The problem is logisitical: how do I assign online homework to students who, generally speaking, don't have computers at home? Sure, the school has a computer lab, but I have over 200 students (five classes with 40+ students each - welcome to LAUSD!). Even utilizing computers at the public library, I just don't see how that will be enough computers to go around. Other than that, here's my tech list: - I plan on using Powerpoint/digital projector to guide most lessons - I have about 1 dozen compound light microscopes - I own and will use a digital handheld microscope that hooks up to my computer to examine 3D objects, living specimens, etc. - I am making use of several online activities and websites, including virtual electron microscope activities and virtual dissection (which we will do as a class before engaging in the real activity) Surprisingly, I am not planning to use many videos. Most of the ed videos I've found on the internet are abominably boring - as are the "Animated Concepts" videos that came with my textbook. Who makes these things?! To the Earth Science teacher: I taught sixth grade Earth Science last year, and made use of a number of virtual web-based simulations that the kids really enjoyed. At the start of a unit on plate tectonics, for example, I alerted my students that at some point during the unit I would be simulating a 6.7 earthquake. I told them that the simulation would be realistic, and that they should try to react as though it were the real thing. Then, I went online to a stock sound effects website and downloaded a free 2-minute sound recording of an earthquake. I overlayed it with sound effects of books falling and glass breaking. On the day of the "earthquake," I hid powerful computer speakers at the back of the classroom. I also readied a video from Youtube simulating a message from the Emergency Broadcast System, which included typical information one would hear following a large earthquake in Los Angeles (damage reports, magnitude, etc.) While the kids were busy taking notes that day, I began the simulation. This gave them an opportunity to practice the earthquake safety procedures we had be practicing (stop, drop, and hold on) while measuring their own emotional response. After the quake, we listened to the EBS message and analyzed the report, defining words such as magnitude, Richter scale, and epicenter. Then, each kid determined the epicenter of the quake using basic triangulation (ruler, pencil, xeroxed map of LA county.) The whole activity took about 25 minutes including the quake itself. The students were rapt the entire time, even during the relatively boring written parts of the activity. And they were bursting with content-related questions afterward! Anyway, hope this helps some. I'd love to know what others are doing to integrate technology on a budget. - Sarah

http://www.mathmotivation.com has excellent examples of ways to sell students on the value of learning math, and projects to engage students. On your first day of teaching, you should address the issue of students' motivation. You could create a handout, poster, or overhead slide that lists all the benefits of studying math. Here is a list you are welcome to use: Simple math helps you to learn harder math. It also helps you to learn science, computers, and other things you'll be taught later in school. Advanced math is crucial for a variety of careers: scientists, computer technicians, accountants, and bankers, for example. Basic math is helpful for an even wider variety of jobs, such as business owner, plumber, carpenter, electrician, mechanic, salesperson, clerk, and clothing designer. When people try to persuade you to believe something, they sometimes talk about numbers that seem to prove what they say. If you know how to check their math, you can avoid being fooled. A famous nurse, Florence Nightingale, used math to convince people in government to change how medical care is done. Some day, you too might need to test something and measure the results. Even if you eventually get a job that involves dealing mostly with people and not numbers, you probably will still need math. And you certainly will be required to study it for science, engineering, or computer work. Math allows you to understand ideas that may seem surprising at first. For example, disease tests sometimes wrongly show that a person has a disease when really that person doesn't have it; math reveals that this mistake will happen much more often than you might expect. If you want to remodel your home someday, you'll use math to add and subtract measurements and figure out square footage. Math could help you decide where to place furniture and other things when planning a special event like a birthday party with lots of people at your house. Math is crucial when you must decide how to create the very best arrangement of equipment and people at your workplace. Math can help you make art. Sometimes you can't just look at your artwork as you create it. You'll want to use numbers to get sizes and color mixing correct. Multiplying fractions makes it easier for you to adjust cooking recipes for the number of people you want to serve. In your personal life, you will use math to plan how to spend your money. At work, you might plan how to spend the company's money; if so, you'll need math for that too. You might decide to work in medicine. Doctors and nurses need to know how to calculate appropriate drug doses using basic math. At some point, you might decide to work in law. Lawyers must sometimes evaluate facts involving dollar amounts, measurements, and other numbers. Some cases might demand that you understand more difficult math than just multiplying and dividing. Also, law students' thinking skills are improved by studying math. Jobs that pay above average for unskilled labor are becoming hard to find. Good pay increasingly depends on you offering special skills that not anyone can offer; some of those skills require knowledge of math. Arithmetic gives you the ability to compare different choices you have. For example, if your boss at work offers a choice of a 4% bonus now or a 2% raise starting after next year, which should you prefer? Arithmetic and logic let you choose wisely. Certain kinds of math, including one called "game theory", tell you how to make strategic decisions. This might help you in your personal life and in many kinds of work situations. Computer programming requires at least a basic knowledge of high school math. Programming 3D computer games requires an excellent grasp of physics and advanced math. By solving word problems, you will learn what kinds of real world problems you can solve with math, and you'll have a good chance of solving them successfully. Learning math and solving problems is mental exercise and improves your thinking ability. It's like running and weightlifting, but it's for your brain instead of your body. Learning different kinds of math is good for you, even if you never use all of that math in your life. You might be tempted to avoid learning math until you know you need it (like for a job you want). That's risky. It takes a long time to get good at math, so you shouldn't start only when you realize you need math skills. Your mathematical abilities probably will be greatest when you are college age, so that's a good time to be learning the most difficult math for the first time, rather than learning basic math. So try to learn as much of the simpler math as possible, as early as possible, even if you don't think you need it.