Eet’s weenter and thees ees Meesheegan

It took me an hour to drive the eight miles home from work this afternoon. When I finally got home, I took a picture of the snow-covered bushes outside our front door, thinking I would post it. But why bother? It wasn’t really a lot of snow and therefore not a very dramatic picture. This is pretty much the first (what I’d call) major snow storm of the season here in southeast Michigan. Don’t ask the folks in the western and northern parts of our state. We’ve had some snow and a few trips with nasty ice-type driving conditions but in general, commuting has been pretty dern easy. This is probably the worst snow we’ve had to deal with. The Ninja’s “performance tires” [whatever that really means] did just fine, although I wasn’t wheeling around like some of the SUV drivers were until they started sliding all over the road.

Anyway, I posted Donald instead. I got him from amberalexander at Etsy. He fits right in here at the Landfill. The GG has been battling constant shirrel cirker squirrel scream incursions to his bird feeder since early summer 2009. Nothing he does keeps them out. This provides a lot of entertainment for all of us. I would blame Donald for inviting all of those squirrels over except that Donald only invites cultured squirrels over. The kind of squirrels that drink martinis and nibble on fancy little hors d’oeuvres and things. Not the kind of squirrels that defy everything the GG does to deter them. We love Donald.

So what do y’all think about online math for all students. High school students, that is. Yikes. I am a geek and I spend a lot of time online and I am all for on-line classes. But I do not think that moving all of the math classes for a high school on-line is a good thing. One of my children took an on-line math course as a high school senior. She did that so she could take two (count ’em) foreign language classes. How many kids do that? Okay. The first thing that happened with the online math class was that she could not load the registration stuff. Why? Because she was using an Apple computer! Say what!!!!! Yes, that is a lot of exclamation points. If I am remembering correctly, she was told that she would have to use a Windows machine either at the school or the public library. Somehow, she eventually managed that but… Not cool, okay. It was a long slog and I won’t go into any of that except to say the the kid passed just fine. That was a long time ago, so maybe the course now actually recognizes more than one browser and operating system. Sigh…

An online math class is great for some students. It would’ve been great for me when I was in high school. I couldn’t get enough math in those days. I loved it. I was good at it. I always wanted more and would go through old books that my dad had from his early days as an engineering student at MooU before World War II interrupted his studies. Online math courses will not work for every student. Face-to-face teaching will not work for every student. I can’t figure why getting rid of the math department will *ever* be a good way to lower a school district’s expenses. For the record, I do not want to eliminate football either. What to do? I don’t know. Do *not* eliminate face-to-face math courses.

3 Responses to “Eet’s weenter and thees ees Meesheegan”

  1. mouse Says:

    As you well know, I took one of those. It was probably easier for me than learning it in the class. BUT. The class was so badly organized (with so little room for error) that it was nearly impossible to complete. If you hit the wrong button/entered the wrong key, you were WRONG. Even if you’d just done all the work with your pen and paper and were actually right. EVEN BETTER, the woman who was supposed to “oversee” the class had no idea how that particular program worked. So, when I was 90% done with everything, she was harassing me for having nothing finished. Why? Because only one of my pie slices was complete. Why? Because you couldn’t complete them one at a time; it forced you to skip around between the sections.

    So unless they can come up with a better system…NO ONLINE MATH.

  2. Margaret Says:

    As you might imagine, I am not a huge fan of on-line classes, not total ones. Our older daughter tried to take an on-line French course; if she hadn’t had me to help her, she would have had major problems.

  3. pooh Says:

    Well, that shoots my theory of job security — “they can’t outsource my job to India!” Or the teachers become, as Mouse noted, “overseers”. I’ve seen some students work with Cognitive Tutor, an on-line math program that SUPPLEMENTS instructor-led teaching in our district. Some students seem to like the fact that it sort of herds you to the right answer, others get frustrated. (Just like regular teaching…) One thing that on-line classes may not be able to provide is that AHA moment when a student finds understanding and can communicate it to others. In math, there may be only one right answer to the problem, but often several ways to get there. Ask people about long division, for example. Or subtraction, ala Tom Lehrer in New Math. See an example at
    This link references a CD, but I first heard it on the album, “That Was the Year That Was”, probably late 1960’s vintage.