Friday, February 26, 2016

Day 109: Relatively Bright

"We like worksheets!"

While I hate this sentiment, I totally get it.

Worksheet provide tasks in small, discrete and easily digestible packets.  Completing a worksheet means that the task is done.

Many of my students struggle with task completion, especially when it comes in the form of abstract goals, such as "write a paper about..." or "do a presentation on..."

I also suffer from this.  I've written numerous times about how much better I do with tasks when I have a checklist from which to work.  This isn't just in academic pursuits, but also chores around the house and in learning guitar.  The idea of "practice guitar" doesn't work for me.  I need things to practice and task to complete.

So I completely sympathize with my students who only do worksheets.

The activity that I gave on Wednesday, having them find the coordinates of stars and constellations, was a huge success.  Several students asked for more sheets.

Today, I started by talking about perspective.

"Is the car I'm holding up larger or smaller than the one I drew on the window? What about the ones in the parking lot?"

We had a conversation about relative size and how to tell which car is REALLY the largest and which one is just closer.

With this segue, we talked about absolute and apparent brightness of stars followed by **gasp** a worksheet to practice the concepts.

And they did!!

They worked very well and asked good questions.

I think I'll go back to using worksheets for a while...

The Physics kids received the second part of their chapter test today, but I was pulled into a parent meeting and wasn't able to be there to answer their questions.

When I returned, the room was in total chaos.  The kids were upset, frustrated and slap-happy.  This portion of the test had 4 problems on it and most of them had only finished 1.

I turned it into a take-home test.  I hope that the extra time will relieve some of the stress for them.  I'll send a reminder out tonight to let them know that I'll be checking my email if they have questions over the weekend.

I also think that I'm going to try an experiment.  I have become concerned about the stress level of one of my students.  It appears to be reaching a boiling point.  I think the world of him and do whatever I can to help him.

I fully recognize that my teaching methods are not great for everyone.  No teacher is perfect for every student.

I'm going to move back to a more tradition model of teaching for the upcoming unit.  Perhaps doing so will allow this student to regain his confidence in the material.  His work is already excellent, but I can't seem to make that clear.

In any event, I am happy to make this change for him.  If others don't benefit as well, I'll be shocked.

This was a crazy week and I have lots to work on and think about this weekend.

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