After barely making it through our Estimation warm-up, I got tired of trying to talk over my first period. I sat down and began working on some math of my own.
Over the past day, I've been looking at devising a generic form of a polynomial from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (etc) differences from other polynomials. I miss doing math. It works my brain in ways that I want my students to experience cherish.
As I sat there, several students came up to ask my questions. I gave them my full attention. A few others came and asked if they could do practice problems on the board. I handed over my pen and they worked.
There was a group in the room who decided that today would be better spent playing beauty shop.
For the second half of class, we went into the computer lab where they worked on Think Through Math, a web-based math intervention program that our district has purchased.
Geometry was fantastic.
We had the computer lab and I introduced them to one of my favorite tools. I sent them to play Euclid.
This brilliant puzzle game is the brain child of Kasper Puelen. It slowly has students do more and more complicated constructions while slowly introducing them to the toolkit available in Geogebra.
I set a challenge for them to get to the highest level they could. The room was loud, chaotic and productive. Students worked individually or in pairs, racing each other to higher and higher levels.
Each time a level was solved, a cheer went up around the room. Students were laughing and yelling and calling out in triumph and frustration.
They didn't even realize that an hour had passed. As they walked out, I heard several say that they were going to do more at home. This is a game that we will revisit as we cover more topics relating to angles and circles.
And then comes 8th period. On Friday and Monday, they worked in silence as a result of their horrendous behavior in my absence on Thursday. Yesterday, they were on point and some incredible work was done.
Today, they were right back to where they were, yelling insults at each other across the room, off task and unproductive conversations.
I know it's the end of the day. I know they are tired from having to sit still for 5 hours. I know that they haven't had a break all day. I am willing to provide them with latitude for all of these things, provided they aren't making it impossible for me to teach.
And then I remind myself of everything I just typed. I know that I need to work with this class differently. I need to find a way to get them to use that energy in a productive way instead of trying to bottle it up.
I'm just not sure how...