My Sister’s A Ghost?!

The visual project I decided to do was Is That A….Ghost?!

I was really excited about this project, and recruited my little sister to model. She had way too much fun with it, and she inspired me to take this project one step further. I knew I could make a still of a “ghost;” I wasn’t sure if I could make a gif of a ghost. I decided to try something different.

This was really fun, but a bit more work than I expected. I took my favorite picture of my sister, and cropped out the background on photoshop. I added a clear layer on top of that and painted a semi-translucent layer of green to give her a “ghostly feel.” Adding another clear layer I outline her in green and put that layer behind her. Now that she was emitting a ghastly green glow, I flattened the three layers to one.

Then I had to get the ghost to float. I added the gif background, which was a picture of my living room. I still wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to pull this off; I did know I needed multiple background layers and multiple ghost layers, so I made duplicates of both. I hid all the layers except for one background layer and one  ghost layer. I figured I should start with where I wanted the ghost to end up. Then I made another ghost layer visible, and moved the ghost a “head” lower than the one before. I did that until I had about eight ghost going lower and lower.  I made a top layer that had a line that approximated where I wanted the ghost to start to appear from the floor. I used that as a guide to erase the excess. When that was done I moved the layers into the proper order.   Next I changed all the ghost layers to 55% opacity. This created the transparent ghost effect. I still thought it needed something else so I added a darker green around the area where the ghost was rising through the floor. After deciding I liked the final product I merged each ghost layer to a background layer. Then I added a plain background layer to the beginning of the gif and a background layer with just a dark green line where the ghost will start to rise. I adjusted the size then saved it for web devices as a gif.


Call Me, Maybe?

I decided to try the Over-Dramatic Reading. The idea is to take a piece of literature, (a movie scene, song, book, poem, etc) and record a dramatic reading of it. I chose Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me, Maybe.”

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This project definitely reminded me how tone can affect the feel and meaning of words, and how differently different people can process the same information. While, not directly applicable to a math classroom, it is a good lesson to keep it mind when teaching multiple people. I also think it would be a great project for English or Social Studies; it would be fun a project that would highlight the differences between intention versus what is actually said.

Making Real Life Parabolas

After looking through some math projects, I was very underwhelmed. That was until I took another look at one of the “top math blogs” that I discovered after last assignment.

A homemade catapult! This project was used to help students use the information they learned after a unit on parabolas in a fun, and interesting way. I also think it would give students understand how math can be applied in a less abstract way.

Finding Math Education Blogs

finding an education blog that’s relevant to what I would like to do in my career was a harrowing task; more-so than I anticipated

I decided to start my search with google; hoping that I would find a starting point. However a few pages into my search of “math education blogs” made me quickly realize that I needed to revamp my keywords. I tried adding the name of some popular blog sites (like wordpress), as well as changing “education” to teacher. At that point I realized after clicking links that looked interesting, and clicking links on some blogs that I checked out, I had way too many tabs open. After going through and closing a lot of tabs, I found a great list of “top  math blogs.

There I clicked through, and all of them seemed like great blogs with interesting ideas and discussions. I particularly liked one post about making a human box and whisker plot.

I never considered doing something like this. I know that students learn better w(hen they are actively involved in the lessons. It also talked about ways to improve the lesson. In addition I was pleased to see another comment describing how she did the same project, in a slightly different way. From that post I clicked on the blogs that commented. And sure enough I found many more blogs that were interesting in different and creative math lessons. (Which led to more tabs, but this time they were all filled with blogs I connected with.)

100% Graduation Rates

A “dropout factory” is a nickname given to schools with a student dropout rate of 40%. With 1,700 high schools (including vocational) classified as “dropout factories,” American’s are in crisis mode.Yearly, approximately half of the students that do not graduate high school come from about 12% of high schools.These “dropout factories” largely come from poor rural and urban areas.

According to Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, in her article: No Excuses: We Need 100 Percent High School Graduation, graduation rates in America are “crumbling at a disturbing rate.” She notes that 25% of all students not earning a high school diploma, and 60% of minority students do not finish high school. Dr. Bonilla-Santiago warns that if this trend continues that the American workforce will not be able to compete with the global economy. Initivatives that hope to acheive 90% graduation rates may be too low, as it gives students the message that a high school diploma is not a necessity.The article goes on to outline methods to lower, and even elimate student drop out rates, using techniques used at EAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, N.J., a school that had 8 classes with 100% graduation rates. It cites low self-confidence when it comes to learning, and lack of academic resources as some of the main reasons behind students dropping out.

I agree that a higher educated population is positive for society, and that we need to increase graduation rates. However, there complicated reasons behind why a student may drop out. A school may be able to address the majority of these reasons, but students are individual people with their own individual goals and ideas. A school can and should create an environment of learning and provide support, but only the individual student can choose to accept it.

Overall, 100% is a great goal for a school to have. That means that every student is engaged and able to succeed. However, not reaching an 100% mark should not imply that a school has failed.