Spent today mowing and reading; this lazy bastard spent today laying on my wife. I think my favorite thing about him is that black ring around his neck; it goes all the way around, and if we ever decide to have his head mounted on a wall or turn him into some sort of futuristic head-mounted-on-a-hovering-robot-body cat we have a perfect place to start.
9:02 PM, Saturday May 30: 1,769,776 confirmed cases and 103,768 Americans dead.
Right now this is my new Facebook profile picture, but I felt like it was necessary to share it here too. Sushi hates me so much, it’s adorable.
The kids appear to be having massive difficulties with the assignment I gave them today. I’ve tried to move on a bit from endless review into new material (effectively the entire fourth quarter has been distance learning, so none of the stuff that is supposed to be covered in the last 25% of the year has been taught yet) and something that probably should have occurred to me earlier occurred to me today.
When I’m teaching in a regular classroom setting, if I notice my first couple of groups having trouble with a specific aspect of something or simply not understanding the way I’m teaching it, or a common mistake I wasn’t expecting, I can adjust throughout the day. If kids in 3rd and 4th hour are frequently making the same kind of error, you can bet that 6th and 7th hour are going to hear me specifically address that type of mistake before I turn the kids loose on whatever their assignment was for that day. And in e-learning, not only do I not really have a way to adjust from class to class, but the vast majority of the time I can’t even tell what mistakes they’re making. This could be fixed somewhat if I adjusted how I was instructing– I’ve been defaulting to mostly multiple-choice assignments in a Google form that can grade itself– but it’s difficult to imagine what I could be doing that would let me see their thinking as they’re making mistakes. I mean, sure, I could ask— I could give them a problem, then they answer it, and then maybe explain in a text box how they solved it, but I know my kids well enough to know that that’s not actually going to be as helpful as it sounds like it could be. I’ve only got about 30-40% of my kids even doing the work on a day-to-day basis, it’s tough enough to get them to watch the instructional videos that are showing them how to do the stuff in the first place, and I have no way of telling whether a kid who got a terrible score on an assignment got a terrible score because he doesn’t understand what he’s doing or because he simply logged on and answered “C” for everything– which I suspect at least a couple of my kids are doing.
I need to figure out a way to get this material to teach itself, effectively– because while there’s less than a month of school left, and maybe only 15 days of actual instruction, there is no way that we don’t lose a substantial chunk of next year to this as well, and when that happens I want to be prepared.
If you’re wondering what I mean by “teach itself,” read this excellent article about how– this is not a joke– the first level of Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers teaches you how to play it. That game is a masterclass of tutorial design; I just need to figure out a way to apply that style of learning to math.
It’ll be easy, I’m sure.
6:52 PM, Wednesday (God, is it Wednesday? Is that right?) April 22nd: 837,947 confirmed cases and 46,560 Americans dead. That is a pretty staggering increase in the 31 hours since I last posted.
Apparently this four-level monstrosity that I just spent 45 minutes putting together is the next step once three cats are the only pets in the house. I used to be a dog person, goddammit!
The little bastards are ignoring it, of course, as is their wont. We haven’t settled on a final place to put it; a giant cat tree is not the first thing I want people to see when I let them into my house.
I survived work today. I have to do it three more times. It should be possible.
Freshly fixed, vaccinated, chipped, freed from the confines of the laundry room and master bathroom, and finally named. I note that “Jones” did come in as a suggestion, no more than a few hours after me thinking that I could do worse than naming the dude after the cat from ALIEN. Great minds think alike, clearly.