Saturday, August 02, 2008

Halfway gone

As you may surmise from my four-week blogospheric absence (an absence that has elicited chagrin from at least a small handful of dedicated readers...most of them connected to the primary reason for my absence in the first place), things have been a mite busy in my neck of the woods.

The program's nearly complete: four have now left, four remain.

Yesterday was the last "official" day of the 2008 REU, on which the students gave their final presentations and partook of a summative ceremonial repast at the West Asheville Asiana Grand Buffet on Smoky Park Highway.


The presentations were wonderful, truly of a quality greater than that of most faculty conference talks. Although a few of the kids were obviously nervous, they did marvelously.

I'm stunned by the caliber of research they've produced, as well. The new knowledge they've brought into the world should make fodder for at least four or five papers, and all of the projects they've begun are worth following up. Some have barely started! I'll probably spend a good deal of time in the next few weeks beginning my share of the papers that should come from the program.

The better part of my time, however, will be dedicated to getting ready to teach this coming term's courses: Precalc and Abstract Algebra. I've not taught Abstract here before (I did a semester in Illinois), so that'll be something new...and I've never taught Precalc...nowhere, no how. I'm looking forward to that experience. I've already met a few of my students (they're friends of past students), and they seem a good lot. It's going to be a departure for me content-wise, but a worthy challenge pedagogically.

Elsewhere in my professional career, I've now written about four or five pages of my paper on math poetry. I've yet to really pick apart many of my students' responses to the experience of writing math-themed poetry, aside from identifying a "sense-making" trend in their poems (about which I believe I may have blogged before). My reflections on the students' reflections should form a core part of the paper, and I hope to get to that soon.

I've also got two papers to referee and one to review...reading material for the beach when Maggie and I head down to Savannah for a few days at the end of the week after next.

Ah, well.

I'm going to go now and have a bite of breakfast. I plan to return more soon than four weeks hence, so stay tuned.

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