29 August 2011

My Hair Is Getting Pretty Long Now

I'm going to take this opportunity to catch up on a few items left over from this weekend.

My girlfriend finally had her floor repaired.  As it turns out, it was merely tiles cracking above a solid concrete floor, with an inch of grout in-between; not really a threat to fall through to the floor below.  But this hardly explains the violent cracking and sharp angles of the sinking tiles – were they really just breaking and shifting the dried grout underneath?  This would have been hard to imagine for anybody that had been there when the damage was taking place.  But, after all that, a tiler came in on the weekend and replaced the cracked floor tiles, and my girlfriend and I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the dust and rearranging the furniture in her room.  So everything is back to some semblance of normalcy now, though she is still dealing with not being able go home for her two-week summer break.

I mentioned on Friday I delivered a presentation on MS Excel; this morning I finished the two-part Office Applications lecture with a demonstration of MS PowerPoint.  The class is very small: just two of my coworkers, and occasionally my boss drops in if she is free.  We spent two hours on each of Friday and Monday morning going over the bare basics of what Excel and PPoint can do; I was pleased with the broad base of topics we were able to cover in such a short period:
E1 > Cells, Rows, Columns, and Sheets
E2 > Basic Functions and Formulas
E3 > Charts & Graphs
P1 > Adding Text, Pictures, and Sound
P2 > Tools for Creating a Memorable Presentation
P3 > Examples
The participants were grateful for the free training, though one expressed a request for an even lower-level introduction to computer basics, seeming to have some difficulty grasping many of the concepts I covered in the overview.  So I may find myself doing some very directed, remedial tutoring in Windows and computer usage.

In addition, this weekend I continued to add to my Math Activities booklet with three new classroom games.  I have to thank my girlfriend here for her brilliant contributions to the creative process, the gem of our musings being one activity based on the traditional Towers of Hanoi puzzle, but reworked so that the shape of the constituent parts is reminiscent of Mt. Liamuiga.  I think students could really get excited about this one, not least of all since the problem is rather compelling in itself.  (Ooh!  I just came up with another game for dice and a number line – better write it down before I forget.)  I'm hoping to get to work with the Department of Curriculum Development this school year to distribute my booklet of ideas to schools that are interested in incorporating the activities into their math departments.  I'll include more details as things continue to unfold.

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