Friday, August 17, 2007

Free Advice from 2006-2007 Students

Free advice from last year's class:

Do your portfolio each chapter before the chapter exam; it will really help you to understand the info better. Plus you will have a lot less stress when it comes time to turn in your portfolio. Do the homework. Know your parent functions and what they look like. Know the unit circle by heart. Know how to do the problems with yams in them because you will see very similar ones on the tests. Have a good attitude, it will definitely be a difficult cours but you will neet to be positive in order to be successful.

Learn the material before the test. Don't use the tests as a way to figure out problems for the first time. Time is of the essence in this class. Know your stuff and use the tests to show it off. Ask the questions you need to ask to make sure you get it. Don't worry about sounding too dumb or too smart. From questions comes learning. As you will hear Mr. May say, "Make it your own."

Read the section in the book the night before. It truly does help. Review stuff you don't know very well every night. When you get tests back correct you mistakes while going over it. Then review your tests for future tests. Calculus is difficult but not impossible. Survive until second semester! Don't give up. Don't wait until the night before it is due to do your portfolio.

READ. Life is so much easier when you read and get it all down the first time around. Take notes. Going back and looking at the examples he gives you could be the difference between understanding the material and remaining lost. Don't wait until the night before the portfolio is due to do them. You won't have time!!

Do your homework every day you get it.

Ask questions out loud during class. If you are in a team, use your team. If you do not like math take another class.

Relax! You learn better if you just calm down. No noe will get their head chopped off. You need to do the homework. It is a must to be successful. If you don't get something, ask questions. You'll find that being shy is a bad thing.

KNOW THE UNIT CIRCLE!!! Portfolios ar meant to help you out -- it is worth the effort come the end of April. It really isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

When you are doing your homework, if there's a problem you don't understand, take the time to work it out. Try to go to sleep early in order to wake up early and get extra help from Mr. Mayo on anything you couldn't figure out. Work on the portfolio ahead of time. It is doable the night before, but then you probably won't get a chance to sleep at all that night. Good luck!

Always do your Calculus homework first. It is much easier to concentrate at 4:00 than it is at 10:00. If you do not understand a problem, go in for help in the morning. Mr. Mayo will not eat you, I promise. Know the unit circle - seriously. Do not get behind on your portfolio. It is way too much to do the night before. Keep everything: notes, tests, hand outs, worksheets, etc. You will want them come AP time. When you are in groups, talk to each other! It is much easier to learn that way. Making flash cards for equations/Taylor Series/whatever really helps. Read the chapter the night before the test. The true/false questions at the end are quite useful.

If you have never had to study for a previous math course, don't think it will be the same for Calculus. Even if you understand everything in the chapter, don't take it as "I don't need to study. I got this." You will get burned if you don't take just a little bit of time to review. And don't cram the night before or the day of the test -- start reviewing at least a coupld of days before. Do the Calc portfolio as you go along. It took me a couple of all-nighters before I finally learned this valuable information. Never say, "I don't know," which means do your homework. Read the section the night before. Bad grades on those little 6-poing quizzes will be hard to make up as the end of the 6-weeks approaches.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Free Advice from 2005-2006 Students

Once again this year after the AP Exam, I asked the students what advice they would give to those following behind them. Here you have it.....

Get in the habit of staying current on the lesson and the homework. You will quickly find that falling behind is not an option.
If you're not sure you are understanding something, say so. Chances are someone else is thinking the same thing you are.
You will not remember a process simply by seeing it done for you. Get in the habit of taking your own notes with all examples that are done for you.
Just as Mr. Mayo suggests, compile a "cheat sheet" that contains easily forgotten formulas, rules, and theorems.
Regardless of what you may think coming into this course, the grade you receive will accurately reflect how much effort you put forth, so consider the first before you shortcut on the second.

Understand concepts, general ideas.
Only be concerned with memorization secondly.
Never be close-minded when approaching problems, there may not be a single method of obtaining the solution.
Never feel inferior because you are incorrect.
Try as much as possible.
If you cannot understand something, sit and look at it and try to wrap your mind around it.
Visualize everything.

Respect the Calculus! It is a gift that should be used and cherished.
Do your homework! You might think that you are pulling a fast one because Mr. Mayo is not grading it, but it will catch up with you.
Study! If you think that you know the chapter like the back of your hand, there will be the one question on the test that you forgot about but could have studied.
If Mr. Mayo says that you should study something, study it! He is not out to trick you. If he says it is on the test, then it is on the test.
If you do not understand something, go in for help! Mr. Mayo loves helping people if they need it and he might even drop a very helpful hint.
Just learn for learning's sake. Don't worry if it will be on the test or not. Just learn it because it's good to know. By the way, it will be on the test.
Don't worry about your grade! If you just worry about learning calculus then your grade will take care of itself. Also, worrying about your grade makes a certain someone a little angry.
Have fun! That one doesn't really need an explanation.

Do the homework: you will be glad you did later on.
If you don't understand something, ask about it. It's better to look stupid before you supposed to know it than to look stupid when you get a really bad grade back.
Don't procrastinate on the portfolio.
If you procrastinate on the portfolio, set more than two alarms the morning it is due.
Use the portfolio as a study guide for midterms and the AP Exam.
Make sure your calculator is on RADIANS!
Learn the unit circle!!
Know that a stilleto is not always a shoe.

Do all of your homework every night.
If you don't understand something go in for extra help.
Realize that it is the class vs. the AP Exam, so work as a team with everyone in the class.
Do all of your homework every night.
Help each other out.
The day before a test, get together in a small study group and go over questions and free responses relating to that section.
Don't wait for the last minute to do your portfolio, keep up on it.
Have confidence in your ability to learn and understand calculus.
Don't get frustrated because you can still get a 5 on the exam even though you missed some questions.

Take Calculus as a Senior.
Work on your portfolio every night.
Come in for help.
Ask questions!!!
Call your peers.
Study for tests individually and in groups.
Do ALL of your homework (at home!)
Don't miss class.
Don't give up.
Always work hard.
Never sit on the desks.
Don't beat yourself up, stay positive.
Make sure you have the time for Calc.
It's not for everyone.
Don't take it to raise your GPA.
Don't argue with him about grades (you want your partial credit, believe me!)

Do your calc homework FIRST - you will always have it so it can become routine.
Read the next section, or two.
Take good notes - it really helps.
Pay attention in class and ask questions - you are usually not the only one who is confused.
Use the internet to study and understand - calculus can be taught in many ways, maybe another one is better for you.
Use your colleagues, talking to others ALWAYS helps.
Come in early, stay after, stay up -- care.
Study a little each night.
I'm not going to say do your homework, if you don't you're stupid. Period.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Assignment: Technology

In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins and his team of researchers identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great in order to determine why one set became truly great performers while the other set remained only good.

One area that the researchers considered was the use of technology by the companies. Collins’ team found that, “when used right, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. The good-to-great companies never began their transitions with pioneering technology, for the simple reason that you cannot make good use of technology until you know which technologies are relevant.”

You have used technology in your study of the Calculus this semester. In this assignment, I want you to discuss the role of technology as you see it in the study of mathematics in general and Calculus in particular. Has it been an accelerator of learning or a hindrance? Has it assisted you or not helped. Support your answers with concrete examples. Please write this entry in the form of an essay prior to entering it on the blog.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Assignment: PDSA Part 2

Now that we have completed the second six-week term, I want you to again reflect on your experience in AP Calculus. Think about all the topics and concepts that we have explored. What seemed the hardest? Why? What was the easiest? Why?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Assignment: Favorite Functions Revisited

Now that we have explored the derivatives of functions, it is time to take another look at favorite functions. This time I want you to choose a function whose derivative function you like and explain why you chose it.

Mine is good old e to the x. You probably know why. Sure, it is its own derivative. Imagine that. A function whose rate of change is the same as the function itself. What a concept!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Assignment: Plan, Do, Study, Act

At the end of WWII, General Douglas McArthur was placed in charge of the army of occupation in Japan and was tasked with rebuilding the country. He called upon the assistance of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a statistician whose methods had been shunned by American industry. As it turns out he was instrumental in getting Japan's industrial base back on its feet. In less than 50 years, Japan went from making cheap and low added value products to the manufacturing of the highest quality precision work in the world and we probably know the rest of the story as we look around to see Honda, Sony, Mitsubishi, et. al.

Deming is credited with developing a tool called the Deming Cycle also known as the PDSA Cycle. The cycle is a tool for continuous improvement. PDSA stands for Plan-Do-Study-Act. Deming maintained that as we go through life with all of its processes, we should strive for continuous improvement by applying the cycle.

Plan: Plan ahead for what we are going to do.
Do: Execute our plan.
Study: Study the results of our plan.
Act: Decide if we are happy with the results and then make changes as necessary.

The cycle is never-ending and should result in continuous improvement. As I have coached over the years I have urged my runners to analyze their performance by determining what they were happy with, what they were unhappy with and deciding how to change. As the first 6-week term ends, it is time for you to do just that. Please take some time to reflect back upon your experience in AP Calculus for the first term. What are you happy with? What do you want to change? How are you (we) going to change it?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Assignment: Real Life Derivatives

Now that we have explored the meaning of the derivative of a function, let's think about some things in our worlds that can be modeled using rates of change. My example is my 1969 Volkswagen Westfalia. It is obviously old and, because I live at the beach, it has to endure the harsh elements. So, what does this have to do with functions, you ask. Well, I am constantly worrying about rust. My function is the amount of rust on my VW as a function of time, R(t). As much as I wish it were not the case, I think this is probably an increasing function. The more rust there is, the more there is going to be. Perhaps a never ending battle with the elements. Oh to own a garage.

What is the meaning of the derivative of my rust function? Liebniz would consider dR/dt...the change in the amount of rust with respect to time. In other words, the amount of rust that is added at any given moment. Argh, continuous function? Does that mean my beloved Math-Mobile is rusting away as I write this? Maybe I should get out of here and start sanding and grinding. Ah but back to the Calculus...

In this blog, I want you to consider some function in your world and discuss the meaning of the derivative of your function.