Half of my geometry class was gone for some unknown school function, so we went over the test a bit with the remaining students. Then we talked about the school musical, which most of them were in, and the Olympics.
Since tomorrow, our students are taking the PSSA Writing Field Test (A test to test the test...) we have been instructed that we had to read the Code of Conduct to the students 3 times.
Today, I did a dramatic reading. I'm sad that I had not taken my pipe...
For the pre-algebra classes, I signed out the iPads for the whole week so that students would be able to look up dimensions of the various items at their parks. Two of the six groups were working VERY hard and paying close attention during the explanation of scale. The rest had, at most, one person doing what I asked.
I spent the period walking around, trying to get students back on task. When I saw them struggling with a concept, I sat and tried to work with them. They are supposed to be doing a scale drawing of their park, birds-eye-view, with the dimensions of the various park items. One group was drawing a side on view with no scale or proportion at all. I had spoken to them previously about how this was not what was required of them. They ignored my direction and continued doing what they wanted. When I sat with them, they refused to even acknowledge that I was there. They sat quietly, staring at the table or floor, waiting patiently for me to go away.
So I obliged them.
After 3 minutes of asking them questions and receiving no answer, I decided my time was better spent helping a different group.
The iPads were very useful for about half the students. They looked up dimensions of basketball courts, volleyball courts, slides, swings, etc. What they did with them afterwards, I couldn't say. One group was keeping track of the equipment and attempting to draw things to scale. The rest were either arguing about the shapes of the stepping stones that they wanted, or just sketching items on their graph paper with no thought to scale or relative size. The baseball field was smaller than the basketball court.
They wanted us to do projects, but I'm starting to get the distinct impression that what they meant was "free time."
I have one group who seems interested and the rest...
I take that back. Most of the groups seem interested. They want to design the parks and come up with cool stuff to put in them. What they DON'T want to do is the math that's associated with the reality of designing a park.
I spoke with my principal about my frustration. She told me that she liked the idea very much and to keep working it. Have I mentioned lately how much I like and respect my building principal? Not because she tells me what I want to hear, but because she's a realist about the challenges that we face and the effort that we put forth to meet those challenges.
I had to take iPads away from several kids because they simply refused to stop playing games on them. Then they got resentful that they weren't allowed to "work" with the iPads.
We do a terrible job of teaching digital responsibility and I have no idea how to fix it.
In period 8/9, I spent much more time at the beginning explaining the concept of scale, hoping that doing so before they got revved up might keep their attention. It worked to a certain extent. I also went over what was and was not an appropriate way to use the iPads.
"You are to use the iPads to look up information that you need, such as the dimensions of the items you want in your park. What are you NOT to be doing on the iPads?"
"Games, music, shoes."
"Excellent! Thank you!"
I also had a list of items that they were to have completed by the end of class:
- Name, logo and slogan of the park
- Scale chosen
- Rough sketch with dimensions
- List of items needed
Lesson from today: Set up clear expectations, goals and guidelines.
|One group did this! Then promptly left it in the room...|