My annoyance and frustration at having my students answer questions either before I ask them, or that I'm not asking at all sent me down an odd path today.
"For this next example, I don't want to hear any voices at all" I said, making direct and pointed eye contact with each student individually.
"I'm not asking you any questions or looking for any input. I'm showing you my thought process. If you have a question, you can ask that, but don't give me any answers, don't shout out numbers or steps or ideas. Just be quiet and listen."
"For the next example, I'm being asked to give an estimate for the square root of 23. I'm going to start by..."
Three hands immediately go up. Two different students yell out "BETWEEN 4 AND 5!"
I'm having some deep internal struggles with this class. I love the enthusiasm that some of the students are showing. They love the problem solving aspects and are excited to move quickly through the material. The issue, however, seems to be one of empathy and understanding of others in the room.
As with all classes, not everyone is at the same pace. The students who are excited and ahead of the game are constantly running back and trying to drag the rest along. It reminds me of children running through a museum or zoo, not allowing others to appreciate what they want.
The way that I design my lessons and my questions are in the form of a story. I try to build scenery, characters, suspense and drama before coming to the conclusion. When I teach a lesson, it's for a group and I attempt to bring them with me on a journey. I have stops planned, sights to see and things to discover.
When The Sixth Sense was released, I went to see it with a group of friends. In the first scene where Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment interact with each other, one of my friends looked down the line of us and said "something's weird with the mom. She's not talking to Bruce Willis. I'll bet he's dead."
This was a pretty innocent statement and was just a theory. However, since it turned out to be true, I watched the entire movie in a completely different light than I otherwise would have.
I don't want to crush the enthusiasm of my excited students. I want them to be excited to come to class, excited to participate and excited when they discover things. Added to this is the complication that they are middle school girls.
Middle school is typically the age where female students lose their excitement for math and science and I refuse to contribute to that. These young ladies are talented and I want to push them forward.
I'm just not sure how to help them understand they can do those things without spoiling the surprises for anyone else.