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Adventures in Virtual Academy (pt 3)

Friday, September 11, 2020

First a comment on my niece in college at UT Knoxville:

There is a tiger on the loose as of last night. A Tiger. In Knoxville. So I text the niece with the link to the article and told her "I see you are out sightseeing. You better get back to your dorm. It's almost curfew." She thought it was good aunt humor and was pleased I told her, in my weird way, to stay safe. Seriously though, a tiger? It really is like a game of Jumanji...

On with my show:

This week in math the class is studying integers. Now, I remember this!

Miss B is trucking along and we come to one that's 2 negatives. (-2-6 was the first problem. I don't remember the second equation) I told her "You can't have 2 negatives side by side. You have to change the sign of the second one to a positive sign and add." She says, "They haven't told us that." I said, "Well I can't help what they have told you that's the law of math. You do it whatever way you want." She ignored my advice. I made note of the problems because I knew a second attempt was coming. Sure enough, she missed 2 problems. Both of which I knew were the ones with 2 negatives side by side. She huffed. I said, "Go back and next time try it my way." And she did, sure that she had missed something else and the 75 would stand. Wouldn't you know it, she got a 100 on the second try. I said, "See I really am not as dumb as I look." She laughed at me then fussed at the teachers for giving them a trick question. It really wasn't a trick, but I do have an issue about it. I bet you other kids miss those same 2 problems. I was in there for every video and I read along in the book. Double negatives were not addressed.

In case you are wondering the solved equation looks like this: -2-6 = -2+6=4

They finally addressed double negatives yesterday.

In science, they are watching a lot of Bill Nye the Science Guy. I loved Bill Nye and Mr. Wizard as a kid. She doesn't need help with science unless it is a software issue when editing a worksheet, but hey if I'm going to be in a 7th-grade class I may as well get to pick one I enjoy.

What I did not know: Not only am I assisting with 7th-grade academics, I'm having to teach all the bells and whistles Microsoft office has to offer. Yesterday's lesson, how to draw circles and arrows in a word document. Considering these kids have barely been taught how to type it's a tall order. Might I add I have not used this particular set of skills in over 20 years? They are just a bit rusty. At least I'm combating old age brain frog...

Oh, and did I mention the dog now thinks it's appropriate to wake me up at 1:30 to chase a cat that's started roaming the neighborhood? She isn't a cat chaser, she's more of a herder. She counts their heads at bedtime. Seriously. But this cat isn't HER cat, so it's an invader and must leave the yard. While I'm happy she's trying to protect us, 1:30 am isn't the time to be protecting us from some random feline just passing through that decided to survey the world from my deck. I'm not even sure why she knows it's out there. She should be sleeping. I guess for some weird reason she takes a nightly patrol and looks out all the windows she can find.

Maybe my problem is not old age brain fog, maybe it's just a lack of sleep this week.


Edit: If I post anything that pertains to a question/answer from my daughter's class, this is the answer as accepted by a teacher or a digital worksheet that is auto-graded.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hope you get some emoticon my friend!
    283 days ago
    Hey! You are doing REALLY well! You get a gold star. emoticon
    284 days ago
    A tiger? Seriously? emoticon From where? How? emoticon

    It's great you are passing on issues that are doubtlessly creating confusion for many students and parents. With all the virtual tasks, it would be good to offer lessons or units in computer skills for extra credit, if nothing else. These days that would count as survival skills and good job training!
    284 days ago
  • no profile photo MLR_00
    Stay safe, stay healthy
    285 days ago
    Good morning,
    I didn't expect to be commenting here but as a math and computer science teacher for 30 years (retired since 2007), I have question about your niece's virtual learning experience.
    -2-6 isn't an equation just a computation like 22 + 25 = ? or 25 -8 = ?

    If we read the computation as written we are being asked to subtract a positive 6 from a negative 2.
    The result (think of the number line) would be -8
    or use a calculator - The answer is -8

    if the question really implied a double negative, it would be written -2-(-6) = ?
    Then the answer would be 4

    My daughter and son in law are both teachers adjusting to the distance learning environment, so I understand the difficulty teachers are facing. They are putting in tremendous effort.
    Congrats to you helping with this huge task

    But in this case, I agree with your niece, maybe not a "trick question" but definitely an ambiguous one,

    Edit: I hope the creators of the online program could be made aware of their error, but I understand the difficulty in doing that. All we can do is be aware ourselves that those creating the material are fallible and if a student questions the result, they should be heard.
    285 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/11/2020 8:52:03 AM
    Oh, lack of sleep is not a pretty thing! Hope that issue gets conquered.

    AS for the academics, how I remember those days w/my 2 (now adult) kids. Things were a less complex back then, but always questioned "what are they NOT teaching these kids". Lots left to the parents. NOW I can't even imagine the load. BUT the upside for me is I always enjoyed learning - - still do.

    Good luck w/school!
    285 days ago
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