Today I subbed in a sixth grade math class. They were basically working on graphing points and the four quadrants. (I almost ended up subbing elementary!)
Today I post the Chapter 6 Test -- the first test I am posting on a day other than Friday. The reason I am doing so is that the district whose calendar that I'm following takes off an entire week for Thanksgiving break. So I certainly want to end the chapter before the holiday. Also, my policy is that I don't post a test on the very last day before an extended vacation. This is in deference to schools that have a minimum day -- and therefore not enough time to give a test -- on the last day before an extended vacation. No, neither of the districts I work for will have a minimum day on Friday, but I've once been at schools that do. And so today is the day that I'll post the test, and tomorrow I will post some sort of activity instead.
Some readers may notice how accommodating I am of having a test before Thanksgiving -- and that's after posting a test on Halloween. The difference is that unlike Thanksgiving, Halloween is not a holiday on which American schools typically close for even a day -- much less a full week -- nor have even a minimum day. (Of course, I did mention that some local school district apparently has staff development and two days off for students around Halloween.) To me, Halloween is a nighttime celebration, so my policy is no homework on Halloween -- as opposed to Thanksgiving, which is a week-long celebration starting as early as midday (if there's a minimum day) the Friday before.
Then again, the class I subbed in will be taking a test tomorrow. So perhaps I could have waited until tomorrow to post the test. Oh well, I already typed up this test today.
Traditionally schools had only two long breaks during the school year -- winter break near Christmas, and spring break near Easter. Those are in addition to the long summer break. But recently, more and more schools are having a third long break during the school year, Thanksgiving vacation. The first time that I heard of the phrase was in the old Peanuts comics -- and immortalized in the second Christmas special, "It's Christmas Time Again Charlie Brown." In the December 27, 1990, comic, Charles Schulz wrote the following exchange:
Peppermint Patty: Marcie, what book were we supposed to read during Thanksgiving vacation?
Marcie: This is Christmas vacation, sir..
Peppermint Patty: Christmas vacation?! How can I read something during Christmas vacation when I didn't read what I was supposed to read during Thanksgiving vacation?
Marcie: Duck, sir! Easter is coming!!
Now this comic came out when I was in the fourth grade -- and up until then, Thanksgiving was merely a four-day weekend, from Thursday to Sunday. Of course, Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, but schools have been also closing on Friday since before I was born. We discussed back on Veteran's Day how many students and teachers alike feel entitled to an extra day off when Veteran's Day falls on Tuesday or Thursday, so I can easily see how Black Friday and the four-day Thanksgiving weekend for schools first began.
Of course, since I was born, air travel has become more common, and families often live in different states on opposite coasts. Some news reports began to identify Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, as the biggest travel day of the year. Families that travel on Wednesday obviously can't send their children to school that day. So in the 1990's, some districts began to observe a five-day weekend from Wednesday to Sunday, including the largest district in the area, LAUSD, for a few years around this time. On my way home from subbing today, I drove past a school that still takes a five-day weekend, with Tuesday, the last day before the holiday, to be a minimum day.
The schools I attended as a student always held school the day before Thanksgiving, but for a few years, when I was in the sixth through ninth grades, a staff development day was held on the Monday after Thanksgiving (the day now called Cyber Monday, but this was back when the Internet was still in its infancy).
When I was a college student at UCLA, we had only the four-day weekend off. But I once read a Daily Bruin article suggest that the school take the entire week off. The following 2008 editorial published by the school paper (The Daily Bruin) points out that since UCLA began classes on a Thursday, called "Zero Week." So the suggestion is just to start classes the previous Monday so that the entire Thanksgiving week could be taken off. Naturally, travel is given as the top reason for having the whole week off:
As of today, UCLA still has only a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving. But shortly after that 2008 article was written, here in California, the budget crisis began. Many schools started having furlough days, and school years were fewer than 180 days. When districts chose which days to take off for the furlough days, the first three dates chosen were invariably the three days before Thanksgiving.
Then, of course, once funding for schools was restored, students and teachers alike decided that they liked having the entire week off. And so the Thanksgiving week stuck around at many schools districts, including LAUSD as well as both of the districts where I work.
In a way, the entire week off is the next logical step after a five-day weekend. Wednesday may be the biggest travel day of the year -- and so in order to get the jump on the crowds, flyers may leave on Tuesday instead. And once we take Tuesday off from school, we might as well take Monday off as well, since no one wants a lone day, a one-day week. And so the entire week is taken off.
But the week off still causes problems. Not everyone travels for Thanksgiving -- after all, someone has to host all of the big turkey dinners. And parents who don't travel may still put in full days of work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, leaving their children who go to schools that take the full week off without daycare. So there is no holiday schedule that will satisfy everyone.
That's enough about Thanksgiving weekend -- now let's give the test. Here are the answers for the Chapter 6 Test, posted below:
1. a translation 2 inches to the left
2. a translation 2 inches to the right
3. a rotation with center O and magnitude 180 degrees
4. a translation 8 centimeters to the right
6. angles D and G
7. triangle DEF, triangle GHI
8. Reflexive Property of Congruence
9. definition of congruence
10. Isometries preserve distance.
13. glide reflection
14. glide reflection
15.-16. The trick is to reflect the hole H twice, over the walls in reverse order, and then aim the golf ball G towards the image point H". In #15, notice that y and w are parallel, so reflecting in both of them is equivalent to a translation twice the length of the course. In #16, notice that x and y are perpendicular, so reflecting in both of them is equivalent to a 180-degree rotation.
17. glide reflection (changing the sign of y is the reflection part, adding to x is the translation part)
19. 7 (A Thanksgiving reference! These are the seven dates in November which could be turkey day!)
20. d (for dilation, of course!)