Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 38: Routine

I need to do a better job of planning activities for my students, especially the pre-algebra classes.  I'm falling back too heavily on worksheets.

My two main justifications for doing so are "they need the practice" and "if I give them the practice for homework, they won't do it."

While both of these are true, there are better ways to get them practice.

I could also come up with dozen of reasons why I'm not developing the activities, most of which would be student/system blaming and would be not really true or productive.

I'm also feel less enthusiastic about writing this blog every day.  There are fewer and fewer things happening in my classroom of which I am proud or about which I wish to talk.  This isn't to say that things are going poorly.  They are simply routine in a way that I'm not sure needs attention.

Or perhaps the routine is what needs attention.

I know we can't do amazing things every single day.  I don't have the energy or the creativity for that.

Rather than interesting and unique activities, I have been working on relationship building with my students.  There have been several incidents where student behavior has made it impossible for me to teach and my interventions have been ineffective.  I am still solidly of the belief that a kid will work for a teacher they like, even in a class that they hate.

This doesn't mean that we should be working to get our students to like us.  Our job is not to be liked, but to teach.  At the same time, a student will not learn from someone they hate.

It's a very difficult balance.

Period 8 sat in silence doing their work again today.  Several students (including trouble makers) received rewards because they were on task, working hard and not distracting other students.  Conversely, several of my favorite students did not get those rewards because they had not completed the tasks I set out for them.

I'm glad that I was able to do that because it helped to solidify that I was punishing behavior rather than students.

I want my students to be at the bottom of this pyramid, but getting them there isn't as simple as "read Chapter 3 and teach each other."

In geometry, I saw that my students need a ton of practice in justifying their arguments and I will probably switch over the verbage that Chris Luzniak uses (My claim is that... My warrant is that...).

Somehow, we managed to get into a discussion about motion in multiple dimensions, which is something I've been thinking about all year.  I was able to emphasize the importance of good questions.

"When you are on a rollercoaster, are you moving in 1, 2 or 3 dimensions?"

I need to start a Question Wall...

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