## Friday, 27 September 2013

### MAT: Heating up the Range

A couple days ago, Christopher Danielson (@Trianglemancsd) wrote a post about Domain and Range, under the header "College Algebra Teachers! Please try this and report back!" In brief, voting on numbers being in the range for the basic quadratic function.

By sheer coincidence, can you guess what my class happens to be studying at the moment? It looked interesting enough, so here's my results.

#### BACKGROUND

First, context regarding the class. I don't know what "College Algebra" actually refers to - I'm guessing a college course. I ran this experiment in my high school University Level Grade 11 "Functions" class. (In Ontario, Grade 11 has four streams: University, Mixed, College and Workplace. Only the first two of those even mention domain and range.)

 "Please get that off my vertex."
We've been spending our time since the start of school on quadratics. I do that unit first because it's mostly a rehash of Grade 10 (ergo kinda familiar), but with more depth on radicals and the discriminant, plus it goes further, looking at intersections. We tested last Tuesday.

(Aside, about intersections: They recognize that for a horizontal line to have one quadratic intersection, it needs to be the vertex. But they think that a line with positive slope can also have the vertex as a single point of tangency. EVERY year. I flat out do NOT know where that comes from. Do you? Anyway.)

On Wednesday, I'd defined domain and range as input and output for a relation, and from there talked about representing inequalities on a number line - which they've never seen before. I ended that day demonstrating that I could toss in a perpendicular number line, and stretch the domain up or down, so that now I have a range. That night, I read Triangleman's post.

To start on Thursday, we took up previous work. Then I flashed up a bunch of Cartesian graphs, and got them to identify domain and range from those. We saw our first "unrestricted domain" - a line - and the proposal was x>=0 AND x<0 to describe it. I challenged "why 0", got them to admit that a number choice was arbitrary, and hence x is simply an element of any real number. We also saw our first "step" graph with holes featured in 2D.

With about twenty minutes left, I said we were now going to consider domain and range if there is no graph, just an equation. And the yellow (for YES) and pink (for NO) voting sheets were brought into play. This is a class of 29 students, 27 of which were present. If you want to see the "script" in advance, read the post I linked to at the top, otherwise, here we go.

#### WARM UP

Quick test to see if they get the voting system. I ask if we're in classroom 128. We are, so mostly yellow, but a few held up both colours simultaneously because they were not sure of our room number. Rousing start. I ask about our principal's name (giving the wrong one), and all pink, so that goes better. Then I ask whether they enjoyed their lunch (which was just before my period), getting a mix. Onwards, to the basic parabola. I write on the board y = x^2.

1) Is 4 in the range of this function? I think this was totally "yes" yellow. Explanation: Because 2 times itself gives 4. (I probably should have written that down on the board, I didn't.)

2) Is -2 in the range of this function? 20 "no" pink, 7 yellow. When questioned, the first yellow guy admitted to mixing up domain and range. (My God, Chris is psychic!) Next yellow guy simply followed suit, so if they did think something else, I couldn't access it.

Explanation for no, along the lines of because you can't have a value times itself being a negative result. (I'd scribbled "As long as no (-)ve" on a sheet as they spoke... forget now what I meant.) Someone DID bring up what number system are we talking about, I said let's stick with real numbers.

3) Is 1/4 in the range of this function? Like 4, above. When I asked for the explanation, I got because 0.5 times 0.5 gives 0.25, so interesting abrupt introduction of decimals.

#### NOW IT'S INTERESTING

 Pi is for the oven, not the range!
4) Is pi in the range of this function? I got 8 red, hence 19 yellow, yet I felt like some of those yellows were a bit late, to see where the majority was going. So again, told them it was time to explain why.

I don't remember exactly how this went down. I do remember that right off the bat, someone was saying "you can use the square root of pi", because "that root would cancel out when squared". The counter argument was along the lines of "what sort of radical is that when what's underneath it goes on forever" as well as "that's weird to look at". I wrote on the board again here: (√π)^2.

They seemed to accept this because I wrote it, thus I said, "So you're telling me that pi IS in the range, but -2 isn't?" That briefly brought up the idea of number systems again, which allowed me to reinforce why it's important to mention the "element of reals" when talking about domain and range. I also asked what sort of number √π was, but aside from "non terminating decimal", I didn't get much, even when I explicitly asked for an approximation.

After some cajoling, someone with a calculator gave me an "estimation" to put on the board (to 4 decimals). I'd forgotten to put them in groups or anything, but we were already over ten minutes by this point (I have lousy time management skills), so I had less than ten remaining in the period. I moved on.

5) Is 0 in the range of this function? Two people voted 'No'. One of the 'yes' people shouted out "it's the vertex!". A 'no' person bravely challenged this with "how do you take the square root of nothing?". Another of the 'yes' people thought that was a good point, isn't that an error on the calculator? Rebuttal that zero times zero gives the range of zero! There was a bit of calculator fiddling, ending with agreement that zero was fine.

At this point, I wrote on the board the range was "y greater than/equal to 0, y element of Reals", to link things back to the earlier graph work in the period. General acceptance of this. Then the wheels fell off again.

 There's always Pros and Cons
6) Is infinity in the range of this function? Five 'No', the rest 'Yes', which led to a heated debate between two of the brighter students in class. It boiled down to:
"Infinity is a continuation of the curve! It's in there!"
"Infinity is a CONCEPT, not an output!"

They wanted me to arbitrate, I said there was merit both ways, but that it is true that infinity was not a number. Her rebuttal was fast: "If it's not a number, how come we can have both positive AND negative infinity?" Wuh huh, well then.

I basically said I didn't have an immediate answer for that, as I only had two minutes left to me at this point. Tossed a couple of textbook questions onto the board for everyone else to consider that night. (In retrospect, maybe I should have asked, what do you square to get infinity?) The two students continued to argue about it as they went to their next class.

#### WRAP UP

On Friday, I started with some time to work since I hadn't given that to them at the end of yesterday. No one brought up the arguments of the previous day. Mostly they were just disappointed that I wasn't going to sing. (I've sung the last two Fridays.) So we moved on to the new lesson, where I finally defined what a "Function" was!

I have no idea if this resembles what might have been expected. I'm going to resist posting my own analysis, because it'd be brief, as well as to avoid prejudicing any comments. But as a reward for reading to the end, here is a post from my serial, about domain and range!

## Thursday, 26 September 2013

### MAT: The Parent Equation

A study from 2012 stated that Parents are more influential than Schools in terms of academic success. Yikes. This is a HUGE problem my subject area, because it means every "I was never good at math" helps to chip away, if not shatter, the credibility of the system.

If you want to know where I'm coming from, read on - if you just want some resources, skip to the bottom!

I went to a social event and presentation this evening put on by the Carleton Ottawa Mathematics Association (COMA - yeah, I know). It featured Dr. Lynda Colgan giving a talk about "Motivating Moms and Dads... Why Parents Matter in Math Education". I hadn't heard of the above study I linked at before then. I also didn't know about much of the following.

#### EARLY PREDICTORS

In households where two parents are involved in their child's schoolwork, the child is 52% more likely to be enjoying school. Effects diminish by about Grade 7, because the kids don't relish the involvement anymore, but effects remain. But (supposedly - didn't track down this study) this was true regardless of socio-economic status.

Note I'm not saying that such status is irrelevant. If a parent has to work crazy hours, or the child has problems at home, obviously there will be an effect. I'm saying that if socio-economic status is removed as a variable, there is still a benefit.

Now, the big education push is for literacy. Many studies have been done on this. However, this one from 2007 found that "mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement" ... yet the opposite IS NOT TRUE. And WE DON'T KNOW WHY. In large part because no one's researching early numeracy skills! Literacy has tons of milestones and benchmarks - the math research is about fifty years behind.

 "Read these imaginary numbers back to me."
And present day attitudes towards math are only getting worse.

Related to EQAO results (an Ontario standardized test for reading and math at Grade 3 and 6 levels), 50% of those in Grade 3 felt they were not good at math, and didn't see the value in the subject. Shockingly, girls were MORE likely to say they were not good at math, despite the fact that they would OUTPERFORM the boys on the test.

But then, that's a standardized test. What does that really measure? Let's return to the issue of parental education.

The problem (as I understand it) is that parents share their children's doubts about mathematics. In part, this is because of the changes that are occurring in math education. Children these days, they aren't learning the same way their parents did. There's an interesting contradiction there...

Many parents who say "I was never good at math" don't like that we're changing the way it's taught. Well, if it didn't work for you, SHOULDN'T we update it?? But by doing so, we run into the engagement problem. Parents now cannot help their children with their math, because it's so different. As a result, children see math as not important. (Their parents get along fine without it, right?)

How to address it INCORRECTLY is what's happened in the UK recently. I've seen the periphery of it on Twitter, without really understanding. Here's what I took from today's presentation though, in a nutshell. Pearson (the textbook publisher) ran a huge survey in the UK, out in January 2013, on parents. 2,000 parents of primary school pupils found maths the most difficult subject (after French) for them to help their children to master. The media went nuts about the results.

The upshot: Parents wanted to help their children, but didn't know how. The government fix was to return to the old teaching methods, so that parents would be able to help again. In other words, instead of making the NEW methods recognizable, they returned to the FAMILIAR (archaic, less effective) ones, to encourage more parental involvement.

Oops?

To address this problem more CORRECTLY might be through some of the following items (touched on in Lynda's presentation). Basically, what we all want to avoid is: The student needs help, the parent can't provide it, the message becomes "ok, so it's not that important".

-Assign tasks that require gathering data from the home. Reading water meters, dealing with cell phone plans, measuring for a new recipe. Many parents do not necessarily associate such things with "math".

-Explain the terms. Don't say "please find some examples of rectangular prisms in your house for Johnny", trend to "Did you know cereal boxes are an example of rectangular prisms? Can you find some more examples for Johnny?"

 "I suppose you're wondering why we gathered here..."
-Make maths a community thing. There is a Community Outreach Centre in Kingston - where Lynda Colgan is - check it out on that link. However, I think we can talk online community too, so here's an additional plug for Christopher Danielson's site "Talking math with your kids".

-Don't send it home unless it can be done independently by the student. This may be partly why internet videos are catching on... that's an easy thing to do at home regardless of your entry level. And in the absence of anything else, it's bringing parents on board. For better or worse.

#### HOMEWORK

Of course, this does lead to the question of whether it's worth sending work home at all. Lynda touched on this. Arguments against homework are becoming louder and more popular, in particular after a TIME magazine article. We're currently somewhere in the middle of the pendulum between 'it helps!' and 'it harms!'.

Quick mention on the history, which I found interesting... up until the 1940s, homework was a product of "creating a disciplined mind". It started to fall out of fashion, but Sputnik created a renewed desire for rigor. This lasted until the 1980s, when it started to be seen as potentially doing "social and emotional damage".

In the end, Lynda stated that studies show there IS a correlation between homework and learning. But only for certain populations of students. The more senior ones.

 If not 'positive', at least 'pretty sure'.
It's around Grade 7 that things really make a difference, with learning being extended beyond the school day. This, as long as you don't do more than 2 hours a night, because at that point, the situation gets worse again. A "10 minutes times grade, per night" idea was mentioned, which I'd never heard of. Effectively this means Grade 6 is 10x6=1 hr, and by Grade 12, you're up to 2 hrs. In total, not just for math.

That's about the extent of this issue as presented. I suppose the jury's still out - or maybe it's that we're on our second appeal.

#### RESOURCES

So where does this leave us? With the need to educate parents about the importance of math, as much as (if not more than) their children.

There are direct ways of doing this. That said, having the child explain to the parent is even better, because they're the ones with more credibility. There is also informal education, along the lines of "Mythbusters", which has been shown to improve learning experiences.

And then there's our continuing efforts to make math engaging and approachable. Here's some resources out of Kingston, Ontario:
-The second season of "The Prime Radicals" is coming out.
-Mathematical Melodies, a partnership between maths and music WHICH INCLUDES LESSON PLANS.  I must try to find time for this.
-A number of other resources are here, all through the Queen's University page.

Then, as always, there's lots more out there in the so called "Math Twitter Blog O Sphere". As for me, I suppose I'll keep turning mathematics into cute characters and songs over at Taylor's Polynomials... checked that one out yet?

## Wednesday, 11 September 2013

### WRI: Serial Rewrite Recap

As Series 5 has concluded on my maths personified Web Serial, I thought I'd take a quick look back at how that plot, and previous editions, went completely off the rails from earlier plans. This kind of thing, by the way, is why I simply cannot fathom writing in any way other than chronologically. If I'd written the climax first, it wouldn't have existed by the end.

 Didn't expect to be here. Give me a moment.

Incidentally, the blog location for this post isn't an error... I think it relates enough to serial writing in general to be here, rather than specific to "Taylor's Polynomials" itself. That said, the existence of some spoilers below should be obvious.

Before we start though, if you already know what happened in my serial (or have at least seen the recap videos), do me (and yourself?) a favour before you start reading about behind-the-scenes... rank the five series to date in order from what you think was BEST to WORST. I wonder if your opinion will change after reading. I'll provide my list at the end.

#### THE FIRST TRILOGY

The topics for Series' 1 through 3 were known from the outset. Even though I had designed all the characters on this character page from the start, I knew trigonometry wouldn't be appearing for quite some time.

Series 1: Introductions
Idea: Introduce the main functions. Show some transformations.
Execution: Same. Only called them "form changes".

Details:
The line had to be the first thing (Grade 9), then the parabola (Grade 10). Root was a natural extension, being the inverse, or at least a recognizable operation. (You don't actually graph him unless you go to Grade 11 University level.) I was just starting out here, not even aware I was writing a serial, so not much to say.

Series 2: Para Gone
 One of my first "clip art" drawingsto have no real reusability.
Idea: Conics. Deal with the parabola being in two families. Culminate with a second parabola character.
Execution: Same.

Details:
ParaB was always a foregone conclusion. I didn't know how it would be done, but a parametric equation followed naturally enough once I hit on the idea of a Z-Axis Points Module (ZPM). Lyn's standard form being used for infiltration was, if memory serves, always in mind. Another case of the plan coming out more or less as envisioned.

Series 3: Try Angles
Idea: Trigonometry. Tangent leaves Trig, and is thus the only one unaffected by a 'Gradient Mode' virus.
Execution: Tangent leaves Trig, then has to return when Versine tries to blow up the more popular Trig functions.

Details:
That was different! The 'Gradient Mode' thing is still in the back of my mind as a possible future idea, but early research changed my direction shortly after I started. As I stumbled on all the former functions (Versine used to have her own trig tables!), I felt like it held potential for a better story.

Similar to Series 2, I also had no idea precisely what would occur at the climax. The story actually sat for weeks, it's buffer being slowly eaten away with every update, until the mind meld idea came to me. One thing unchanged in this series was the ending - I'd planned for the Maud/Modulus reveal to be either at the end of this part, or the beginning of the next. With the decision to shift to a blog, and episode 100 being imminent, it made the most sense here.

#### THE FIRST MAJOR MIS-STEP

Series 4: After Math
 "Always have a backup!"
Idea: Explore math in other subject areas, try to expand the universe.
Execution: As wishy-washy as it sounds.

Details:
After a trilogy within math, it made sense for me to expand beyond. Bad move. Try not to repeat my mistake. I did it far too soon, and it backfired, for the following reasons:
1) I hadn't even fully mapped out within the math world, only exhausted initial ideas. Why expand?
2) Expanding properly would have required more extensive research in other subjects. Although some colleagues did fire ideas at me after an email prompt, I didn't really have enough to work with.
3) I split the party, to see which group would garner the most reader interest. Before I had enough readers to express interest! So they were all met with an equal amount of seeming ambivalence, and I wasn't sure what to do. I had no backup. Also, splitting them up here was a bad idea.

I must elaborate. When writing a serial, splitting the party is GOOD (I've written about that before), but only if you have a reason for them to cross paths again on occasion - something I've been trying to FIX now for quite a while. The only thing saving me is the psychic link between Para and ParaB, so 20/20 foresight in sending ParaB along. I also made sure there was a representative from every mathematical section in each group, which has helped. But I'm having serious intersection problems.

Series 4 was also when my buffer ran out, and my wife was in the hospital, and I figured hell with it, if not even a dozen people care about this meandering nonsense, why am I still going on with it. Perversely, if it hadn't been for the Ontario Government screwing around with teachers, causing me to take a good look at how much extra curricular work I was doing, it might have remained shelved far longer than it did.

Though I think I always would have come back to it.

 "How am I supposed to fix this mess?!"
The first thing I did upon resuming was wrap up the "other subject areas" arc. It's been my most colossal misstep. The second thing was to give the characters the goal of reuniting with Logan's crew, and the third was to get said crew to Signum's location, and have a plot. Research on step functions helped here.

At the same time, my real life antics of "singing in class" were coming up short as far as my statistics course was concerned - I wanted more statistics in my serial. So closing off Series 4 with a quest for probability made sense. The other thing I drew from my classes was the problems with parabolas - seriously, despite seeing it in Grade 10, students are still making crazy mistakes with her in Grade 11.

I have no idea how obvious any of my problems seemed from the outside. But, moving into series 5, I was back to planning things a lot more definitively.

#### THE SIGN CHANGE

Series 5: Sign Change
 "This scene never existed in the draft!"
Idea: Explore depression gradually through the parabola. Have Logan's crew find statistics and probability personifications, and end with the destruction of their ship, with only Sine on board, as they're restored to maths.
Execution: Well, not that.

Details:
I've previously written about "Why I Write Series 5", and the depression angle DID remain a focal point of the arc. Which was good. Except I'd wanted the depression to play out over weeks, not days. The timing issue came from the realization that I couldn't tell Para's story and Logan's simultaneously - because his was longer, while Para's was so much more interesting to me.

Here's the OTHER thing about splitting the party - when ONE group has their climax and plotline wrap up, you kind of need the OTHER group to reach some sort of resolution too. It didn't help that the Hyper/Nisano and Csc/Radik subplots demanded screen time too, as I saw ways I could wrap them up.

I think Logan's plot could have fit the timelines if I hadn't detoured via Mink and Con... but too late for that, I publish as I go. I'd put them in partly because I hadn't had time to create any of the other functions I wanted yet, partly because I was hoping someone out there might suggest one. A good rule of thumb is now sinking in: If anyone had anything to say, they'd have done it in the first 24 hours. Assume you're on your own.

I could also have resolved Logan's plot simply by having the crew arrive at Fractal City and settle in... except the Series was called 'Sign Change' for a reason. SINE HAD TO DIE. It was the third layer of meaning, after Para's depression and my own renewed enthusiasm for the project.

 More art with little reuse value.Para doesn't go Factored Form much.
So I was tripped up by my own climax, which I had to retool. Para ended up out by the cliffs much earlier than originally intended, and look, a Hilbert Curve! What to you was (hopefully) clever plotting, to me was pretty much a deus ex machina, so that I could kill a character on schedule. Cosine is now throttling me in my sleep. If it's any consolation to her, as a byproduct I ended up destroying the Cone of Science, to contain the initial Fractal Fallout to a select set of people. So my groups are STILL SEPARATE. >headdesk<

I kind of needed Sine out of the way though, for plot ideas to work going forwards in Series 6. Yes, that's a hook. Also, my main idea this time around is going to connect statistics back to my posting about Diversity.

So that's some behind-the-scenes from the first couple years of serial writing. Only time will tell as to whether my next expectations will match final execution. For now, back to the rankings I mentioned at the start! My preferences are: 2, 5, 3, 1, 4. Roughly a match to the amount of planning done, which seems like more than coincidence. The shorter ones are also higher, generally speaking, which may or may not be relevant.

What did you come up with for ranks? Was any of this background a surprise? Let me know below!

## Monday, 2 September 2013

### TCH: Summer's End 2013

I'm heading back to school tomorrow. It's that time of year, more so than January 1st, when I look back... and think about all the stuff I failed to accomplish over the summer. Along with some of the stuff I did manage to do, with an eye to wondering whether it was worth it in the end.

This strikes me as painfully silly. I shouldn't be so focused on the teaching aspect of my life that I neglect my other achievements. Therefore, I'm creating this post to remind myself of what I DID manage to do during Summer 2013. Why post it up? I suppose for your amusement.

Well, okay, this will also remind me what to consider going forwards - and perhaps remind you to remind me. Plus, it helps to close things off, and (one can hope) make me as ready for the return as some of my colleagues. Perhaps by the end of the post, I'll even have no regrets, as Lois posted up here.

#### JULY

Let's get this out of the way first, I went to France. Now that any traces of sympathy for me are gone, I'll clarify - that's where most of my in-laws live. I even got married there. We make this trip every couple years, and this year it was to see my brother-in-law get married. So that was something! Of course, we left Canada before July 1st (National Holiday) and left France before July 14th (National Holiday), thus did it completely backwards. But I like being unconventional.

 A rare picture of me!
I also went to Philadelphia, for "Twitter Math Camp", where I blogged daily. It was my first time flying into the United States in... I'm not even sure. On years when we haven't gone to France I've sometimes driven through bits of Maine or New York state, but I've never been a huge fan of flying. Anyway, the camp itself was... a bit of a game changer. A lot that I'm still thinking about. Not only professionally, but also personally. In the end, it's a large community, which troubles me, but it's full of amazing people, so on balance I'm coming out ahead.

In between those two events, I was part of a video shoot for Dream Weaver Communications' HormonesTV series; working title "Rainbow Warriors". The company is owned by a (now retired) teacher from our school, as well as some former students, and the cast for this shoot (featuring a story about a closeted gay teen) is comprised of students from all over the area. Before you get too impressed, my role was merely to memorize some dialogue and then be available for the two days when they were shooting the teacher scenes. Kerry Chalmers had the unenviable task of dealing with scheduling throughout the whole summer. Well, maybe you can be a bit impressed - it's not my first time doing video, you can spot me (at 1:41) in the Alex Lacasse song "Like This Like That", shot at our school some years ago.

So that was July. I also put up 13 blog posts, in part because I could craft them while I was away from home.

#### AUGUST

August was the month where I had NOTHING planned, and thus I could devote time to the more miscellaneous things in life. I'm going to start with what I DIDN'T accomplish, so that I can build up to a better ending:

1) Fiction Writing. Didn't happen. This is the one I kind of hate myself for, because I really wanted to get to it. I have this whole idea for a continuation of "Time Trippers", but it's contingent on going back and revisiting Season 2, and I just... DIDN'T. Unless there's cause, I'm not going to get to it during the school year either, which is a shame. Last year I wrote 50,000 words during JulNoWriMo (while maintaining my web serial!), this year, blah, epic fail.

2) Roleplay. Didn't really happen. My online groups went on hiatus, and every Saturday that my regular gaming group got together, there was something else going on in my life. But I could have been more proactive if it was a real sore point, and I did meet with a friend to do some chargen. So there.

3) Home Improvement. Problematic. There's fewer weeds on the lawn, but something is infesting a couple of my trees, and I still have no idea what, or what to do about it. I also need to get a clue about my property lines; why did I want to own a house again? There's plumbing issues too, but they're only periodically annoying, thus status quo. My visions of an herb garden remain a pipe dream, but I knew that going into July. I remain an unhandy man.

4) You know when you have that one thing you really NEED to do, so you couple it with something you really WANT to do, figuring that way you'll get both things done? But then neither happens? It's only about sifting through some boxes to find some information too. I WILL do this within the next week, damn it.

There were also four serials/webcomics I wanted to get completely caught up on. I managed only most of one. I also feel I should have done more with Nix the Tricks - only tossed in a thing here and there. My email didn't get organized, and I still haven't figured out HootSuite, which is a problem as Twitter is now DYING every time I load it on my laptop computer. Finally, I only went biking four times.

So, crud. Now I need to try to redeem myself.

 From "Being Parabola"
1) Web Serial. In a sense, I'm no further ahead - I had two weeks worth of material in the buffer to start the summer, and I have two weeks worth of material there now. But of course, I was publishing all through, and damned if I didn't get more comments than I remember. I also have a really good plan for Series 6 now that Series 5 is done - it may require a bit of a hiatus as I get my head into it, that's the only problem. The drawing slows me down.

2) Giving Feedback. I wanted to post comments on more blogs... I did, if not to the extent I'd hoped. However, I also read through the second volume of an entire story by a friend, offering some commentary. He agreed to the extent of even tweaking the climax of his book, so that felt helpful. (His first volume can be found here, if you're interested in reading about vampires and religion.) I also offered feedback through the one (of four) web serials that I was trying to catch up on. So while I never picked up a new book, I suppose I managed more recreational reading than I credit myself for.

3) Videos. I put together six videos: One song parody video, and five related to my web serial. The former (which took a couple days) managed over a dozen views in a month, the others (about a day each) as a collective garnered the same number of hits last week. So I've amused 30 people once, or one person 30 times, or something in between. But more to the point, I'm feeling a lot better about using FinalCut Express.

I've also increased my online presence. On the blog, 20 posts (the 13 for July and 7 for August), I made it out to three Global Math sessions (for a total of five all-time), and for the first time, I have more Twitter followers than people I'm following. I've now gone over 4,625 tweets which is something like 4,500 more than this time last year.

Beyond the MTBoS, I participated in a Skype chat with people from "MuseHack" (formerly FanToPro) and kept up to date with Linkara's "Atop the Fourth Wall" (he even tweeted a response at me). That hits my three key Notoriety places, which I've blogged about before. I also helped the environment in that I only had to fill my car with gas once, managed to do at least a bit of unpacking and reorganization in my home workspace, and was paid a visit by my in-laws, my parents, and my aunt.

So, okay. Fail on the writing, but things got done. In the end, I think I'm satisfied after all.

#### GOALS

Now, where is this going as a trajectory? On her blog, Tina Cardone mentioned that some of us are mandated to have at least a couple teaching goals in mind. Plus this year is an evaluation year for me, so I should probably get on that sooner as opposed to later.

However, my first goal (after that #4 above!) is unrelated. I want to try to maintain updates for my web serial through the launch of Series 6. That's going to be tricky. Still, I didn't participate in Web Serial Writing Month because I knew I wouldn't have the time for it, while - I think this is doable? My plan is to use song parodies and a couple other items to bridge, but... euh, even Twitter might get thrown under the bus for this one. It means that much to me, even if it's incomprehensible to so many others.

Anyway, back to teaching. I resolve to attend at least one Global Math session per month. I know, sounds weak, and hopefully I'll attend more, but Wednesdays tend to be very heavy days. I can easily see myself writing off the night before, saying that I'll go back over the GM recordings on the weekend - nope, gonna be there. At least once.

I'd like to say my other goal is to hammer the "Functions" course into something a little less Unitized, but I didn't do much thinking for it over the summer, and I have a new prep. Ergo! Second goal is to get that course, or at least a set of notes for it, up and running on my course website too... moreover, to try and do a better job with it than I did with my new prep last year. >.<

I also want to fix the issues I was having with my math club and marking schemes, as blogged about in July. I'm also trying something new, a seating arrangement of threes, as I'm not actually sharing my room. And I should turn an eye towards helping with details related to the school trip to the Edinburgh Fringe next August.

Before all that though, LOTS of administration ahead. Time to turn on the A.C.S. Driver - Strike Flame. Raising Heart, Cartridge Load!