The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Monday, May 19, 2008

Oh. My. Goodness. Today I am teaching the sixth graders again. The regular sixth grade teacher has been bogged down with meetings, so the school is nice enough to ask me to fill in for her. Last week for math I reviewed lesson 8-3 with them (perimeter and area of a triangle) and taught them lesson 8-4 (areas of other figures, like trapezoids and adding areas of combined shapes). Today I had the option of either continuing on with lesson 8-5 (circumference and area of a circle) or with doing review.

I decided that I'd review with them for the first few minutes by putting some questions from the book on the board and having them work on them for 10 minutes and then move on to lesson 8-5. It quickly became apparent that the students didn't know how to do the questions from either lesson. SO frustrating. One of the questions was to find the area of a square if the total perimeter equalled x. That might as well have made their brains explode. Somehow I don't think this is the first time that they've encountered 'x' in place of a number but, if they encountered it before, it went in one ear and out the other.

The most curious thing is that I'd say, "Well if the perimeter of the square is x, then what is the length of one side?" They'd say these random answers like "2." And I'd say something like, "Where is that number coming from? It's not in the equation. The 'number' you have is 'x.'" And then they'd say something like, "Well, it looks like 2." And then I'd respond with, "But you can't just make up numbers."

Ah, the joys of trying to explain that in algebraic equations sometimes you won't have any numbers, only letters.

In other news, this weekend I went to Ojai again with Gavin to celebrate his parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Saturday we just sort of hung out in the heat and then went out for dinner at the Ranch House where, I swear, every waiter of the 15 we had seemed totally frightened of us even though we were perfectly nice. It was so odd. Nonetheless, the meal was very nice and the ambiance of dining on a tiered patio amidst bamboo was neat.

Sunday we all (minus Gavin's dad) went to see Iron Man, which reminds me that I forgot to mention a helpful tip my dad gave to me the other day. My dad happens to greatly dislike lawyers. In fact, I don't know if anyone in my family necessarily has a high view of lawyers. I don't think it's that anyone has had a bad run-in with lawyers, per se, but because they're generally seen as being unhelpful to greater society, like by suing people over frivolous things and such. Despite the fact that Gavin is very nice and likes to take pictures of tame things like kittens, it has not been super great to my dad that Gavin is a lawyer.

What does this have to do with Iron Man, you wonder? Well, the other day I was minding my own business and my dad said to me, "You know, I've been thinking about Gavin. No one likes lawyers." "Uh huh," I cautiously replied. So he continued on, "So I've been thinking that Gavin, to preserve his image, should call himself a crime fighter because everyone likes crime fighters." You see my dad has worked out that as a federal prosecutor pursuing people who don't pay their taxes, Gavin is, in a sense, fighting crime.

It only helps Gavin's crime fighting image that he keeps his suits in his office and changes into them there...

- Jenny, 5/19/2008 10:23:00 AM

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