Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 59: Try, Try Again

I got fantastic answers to the question I left for them yesterday!  The sub said they came in looking for it.

They know my expectations! I'm so proud of them!

So today, I asked the obvious follow-up.

After my craptastic lesson in geometry on Tuesday, I put out a call for help, and the amazing @JenSilvermath answered!  She linked me to an activity that was similar to the one I had them do, but with more structure and with less room for human error (i.e. rolling straws, or the need for a protractor).  After a bit of a rough start where I had to repeatedly emphasize the need to read the directions, the students seemed to really enjoy this activity!

The activity itself revealed lots of interesting information about the students strengths and weaknesses.  Many students will work amazingly hard if you guide them through.  Others prefer to be left alone and figure it out on their own.  It's also interesting that the students who ask the most questions are the ones who spent the least amount of time reading the directions.

All of my classes have students that require hand-holding, but the difference between the students in geometry and pre-algebra is the type of hand-holding.

In pre-algebra, we spent the first of the double periods talking about estimating square roots.  When I told them to put the calculators down, they just about peed in fear, but we managed to get through it.  I need to start using Estimation180.  Even after a tutorial on making reasonable estimates, it seemed that many of the students either didn't understand, or just enjoyed yelling random numbers.

For the second of the double period, students were allowed to work on their project planning sheets, their passion projects or book work, depending on their choice.  Many of the students in my 4/5 class spent the time walking around, surveying each other about show size and price or using the hanging scales to weigh their shoes.

My 8/9 almost entirely chose to do book work.  I attribute this to the fact that it was late in the day and the kids were exhausted, the idea of walking around the room, weighing shoes, was simply too much of an energy drain.

Tomorrow, we will be Skyping in with Mrs. Neil's classes to talk about Genius Hour.  I have told my students to have questions ready.  I'm very excited to see how this Global Collaboration is going to go.  I don't expect the first one to be perfect, but it will still be a great experience for my students, her students, her and me!  I would love to be able to Skype or do a Google Hangout with classrooms around the world, getting my students to be open their minds and branch out in their worldviews.

I can tell that we are getting close to a break because the kids are starting to get restless.  Their attention span has shortened, as has mine.  Attendance is starting to fluctuate and there are more fights and insanity than is typical.  Even having stayed home yesterday, I can feel myself slowing down, just wanting the kids to take naps so I can too.  My high level of energy and enthusiasm from the beginning of the year have taken me this far, but I'm starting to run down.

Maybe I need to run more...


  1. Check out these methods for estimating square roots if you havent already. Works really well using a number line too. I'd be happy to share more on how I did estimating if you want.

    1. Thank you! I used a few of those methods, but I hadn't thought to use the physical squares!

  2. I do a lab with general science on height vs. weight. I have a list (or they can look up) height and weight of various sports figures and publicly-available people (local football, WNBA, Olympic weightlifters and gymnasts, supermodels, sumo wrestlers, and jockeys). The supermodels weights are hard to find, and aren't often listed during their careers.

    Once they graph a few of the lists (11 people in each list), we talk about averages and BMI and general health and so on.

    1. That's very cool!! I'll look into that data!

  3. "It's also interesting that the students who ask the most questions are the ones who spent the least amount of time reading the directions." This is FACT. I deal with this in middle school everyday. :)

    1. I had to stop the class TWICE to say "If your question can be answered by me underlining something in the instructions, you will get a phone call home about how you are unable to read and should be back in third grade, so think carefully before you ask me something."

  4. I am as excited as the students about Skyping with your class tomorrow. I hope mine have done their homework. This will be a lesson none of us will ever forget, either way.


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