Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 83: I Am Tired

I'm running on about 3 hours of VERY broken sleep and my back hurts, so it worked out well that 90% of my geometry class was out, either for a field trip or for standardized testing.

The remaining students and I watched an episode of Mythbusters and then played games.

In pre-algebra, it was another day of direct instruction.  It was almost as successful as yesterday, but close enough to make feel alright about it.  Our warm-up on Estimation 180 lead to a discussion about comparing volumes, which lead to a discussion about gas mileage, at which point I managed to get us back on topic.

My throat hurts from talking so much and from trying to wrangle kids back to attention,but I've noticed two very important things:

1) The kids who weren't engaged with the projects weren't engaged in this lesson either
2) The kids who spend class talking to each other, continue to talk to each other and refuse to complete tasks unless stood over.

The old me would use this information to claim that disruptive students will continue to be no matter what you do, but I don't believe that's true.  I completely and whole-heartedly believe that different students will engage in different way for different types of lessons.

There are those who prefer and excel with projects, those who prefer and excel with direct instruction, those who prefer and excel with group work, individual work, etc.

The true trick of education is finding a way to organize a classroom full of all of these types of learners in a way that maximizes attention and engagement.

But if you're reading this blog, you probably already know that.

I just don't know have any idea how to do it.


  1. Have you heard of FAT City? There's a video and a book by a guy. He was a SpEd teacher, but a lot of what he talks about is motivation and how to get to kids. Might be something to try from the library or something.

    1. Is that the one about boxing? I'll check it out! Thanks!

  2. The students in my algebra classes are your pre-algebra students 2-3 years later. Direct instruction works better here because these students are not self-motivated. I spend my time attempting to increase the motivation and self-direction of these students, as do you, and it is energy zapping. I often feel like I am the only person in the room, attempting to have a discussion with myself. They will put their heads down on their desks or, in my class, move into the "too cool slouch". By the time these classes are over I am exhausted, and these are my first two periods of the day.

    I hear you loud and clear.

    Teresa Ryan

    1. One of the things I find so frustrating is that direct instruction DOES work better for these kids. That isn't because it's a better mode of instruction, but because they are used to it and, therefore, more receptive. I think I need to find a way to use direct instruction to hook them (as insane as that sounds) and then move into something that's actually worth while.

      It feels like they are kids in the supermarket screaming for a lollypop and the parent who gives them one just to get them to stop screaming long enough to let us finish what we need to. I feel as though it's detrimental in the long run and teaches them the wrong lessons, but I don't know what else to do.

      I can't finish my shopping with a screaming child.


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