Tuesday, July 24, 2007

think fast!

Today I was reminded why classroom management is the most important thing I will have to master in my teaching career. These kids would be hanging off the ceiling if given the opportunity. But they are so much fun! We were doing signed numbers with them today in two separate groups. One group learned with algebra tiles while the other was on the number line and then we switched them. But because positive and negative numbers are possibly the most boring thing on the planet and also tricky for them, the kids started to fade fast. Especially those who were having the hardest time. I continued to try and work with my personal project, LIII. He's my slow kid, but he's totally my favorite. When all the other kids blurt out the answers, he raises his hand (enthusiastically!) and waits to be called on. Sometimes he looks bored and disinterested but he's really just not clicking with the material and needs some attention. Well, a lot of attention. But when he gets it he turns into this whole other kid. I love it. Doing my best to keep him from getting lost in the shuffle of the other rowdy students.

When the kids were starting to drag and complain, I had to think fast. We have purple masking tape we were using to lay out stuff on the floor so I used it to make a number line on the wall and made two index cards, each with a stick figure on it. The kids named one Lillian Delilah and the other got named LIV (after my pet pupil). Then we rolled dice to determine how many places the game piece would move and a coin to determine whether they would move forward or backward. It wasn't particularly educational but the kids ate it up. They were suddenly all engaged and jockied to take turns moving the pieces or rolling the die or flipping the coin. We got their attention back before they all decided that we were totally lame and algebra camp sucks. Not bad for a game made up on the fly, if I do say so myself. It was complete chaos but I think it'll keep them coming back for tomorrow's lesson. Fractions is our main activity and then I'm in charge of little history activity involving different numeral systems.

Still working on my $1,000,000 lesson that I have to do for Thursday. Math + entertainment is difficult to pull off but hopefully it pays off.

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