## Tuesday, May 13, 2014

### Day 157: High Tech, Low Tech

After demonstrating quadrilaterals with GeoGebra yesterday, I wanted the geometry kids to play around with it a bit today.  The "class set" of laptops was going to inadequate, so the computer teacher was nice enough to let us use his room.

Good News:  All of the computers were equipped with GeoGebra.

Bad News: When students added a slider, half of the programs froze.

Good News: All of the computers were equipped with Vision software so I could take control from the teacher desk and demonstrate more effectively than using the overhead.

In the end, I demonstrated a few things and let them spend the rest of the time creating, exploring and finding things on GeoGebraTube.  With one exception, every student in the room was on task and exploring.  I heard several cries of "COOL!" and "Where did you find that? I want to do it too!"

I hope that I can figure out a way to get them on there more often. I'd like to find or create a set of tasks that would help direct students through the circle explorations.

In pre-algebra, we finished talking about complementary and supplementary angles.  Then I had them work on some questions that were more later thinking.

"How could you fill a 10 pint container if you only have a 9 pint container and a 4 pint container?"

Listening to the discussions, I was fascinated by the directions that the students went.  Several kids argued that they could just pour the 4 pint and the 9 pint together and let the extra 3 spill out.  A few others began arguing about how many cups are in a pint and tried to convert them to quarts.

I tried to move them back in the direction they needed to be by asking specific questions.

"What are we trying to find?  Do we need cups or quarts?"

They got back on track until I went to help another group, then looked up conversion tables again.

Even after 9 years of working in education, I still have trouble sometimes knowing when kids are being purposely obtuse or if they genuinely don't understand.  This extends beyond content.

I had a student arrive to my class late, then enter the room WAY too loud and disruptive.  When I told him to go back out and try again, he pitched a fit, claiming that he didn't understand why he was being singled out.  When I tried to explain it, he yelled over me and walked off.

It's too hot to be fighting with kids.  Especially kids who enter my 80 degree room wearing sweaters...

Talk about not understanding how students think...

Period 8/9 was completely out of control.  There were 4 students who refused to stop singing, talking, crying, moaning, whining.  Once I sent them out of the room, the other 20 kids were able to learn.  Every time I brought them back in, they became disruptive again.

It feels like giving up on them, and I know that it is, but I don't know what else to do.  They are not responding to my interventions.  Parent calls have yielded no results and the disruptions are constant.  I feel awful for the rest of the students in my class whose needs I can not meet as a result.

I don't know what to do.

1. Mr. Aion...I have been thinking about this for a while and I know you may not like what I am going to say but you should take it into account. It may be giving up to send them out everyday and it may go against your "new Justin" policies but what you have to think about is the rest of your class. If those kids are not accepting your ideas still with a month left in school, it is likely they never will. I know first hand how hard you have been trying and trust me, we all appreciate it. So my advice, having grown up surrounded by these kids, is to not totally give up, but focus more on the kids that you can make an impact on. Because, you are. I have friends in those classes who love you. Maybe it wasn't totally what you were hoping for, but you also dove in headfirst, with both the kids and the personality change. You have to compromise. And who knows...maybe a mix of the "old you" and the "new you" will be great. Maybe it will suck. But I am pretty positive it will be just what they need. That's just me...and a 14 year old girl can't be very insightful, can she?

1. You're very wrong.

A 14 year old girl can be VERY insightful.

Thank you.

:-)

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2. Wow! Claire is 14? That's very close to what I was going to say.
So... yeah: all of that, and something about "sacrificing one little lamb on the altar as an example to the rest" or something.

Really, if you pounce on the first one to derail the train, the remaining passengers should fall in line. With a month left, they will need those firm boundaries.

Put another way; which group of students do you want to focus on? The Frustrating Four or the Top-Notch Twenty? Which group do you think deserves the reward of your attention?

1. Unfortunately, when I remove disruptive students, I am frequently told that I am not allowed to deny any student an education. It doesn't seem to matter that they are denying it to themselves by their behavior, or that they are denying it to others.

However, in the last month of school, I can no longer justify the disruptions. I put them out and tell them that they can come back in when they can respect the learning of the other students.