The person who can find a way to get students to read directions will make a trillion dollars and retire to their own private island. This problem is universal.
When I got fed up with going over the test and finally admitted to myself that I was the only one who cared about the answers and methods, I changed topics.
The next section in Math 8 covers geometry. We begin by talking about translation, rotation and reflection. I thought the best way to cover these topics was to introduce the students to Tangrams.
They LOVED it! They raced each other, they asked for harder ones, they yelled when people cheated!
It was such an incredible shock after the previous period of detachment that I had to pinch myself. The next time I do this (tomorrow) I need to have shapes for them to make for each table or student. Since I only had one picture up on the board, after two or three students solved it, many of the others gave up.
Tomorrow, I also plan to have them challenge each other by making shapes of their own.
Another great problem from Go Geometry capped off the class.