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Thursday, September 30, 2010

And things were going along so swimmingly...

Well it was inevitable. It was just going so well. Today we debriefed the buggy lab. We got through it fine. Kids seem to think they understand what is going on (of course we know they don't really have a clue yet..). But I am just so frustrated with myself today. Why can't I shut up? Why do I keep asking questions? Why do I keep giving feedback? I would do or say something and immediately give myself a mental slap to the head. O.k. next hour I won't do that... and then I do again. O.k. 5th hour I'll do it right. Nope. Not even close. I am my own worst enemy today. I felt like I spoon-fed WAAAAYYYY too much. I think I just wasn't prepared for the way the discussion was going.

Good thing: Kids are talking more.

Bad thing: Unfortunately they are having lots of mini discussions. Most are on-topic but it is difficult to control the flow right now. They all have good comments but don't want to wait to share. I am going to have to work on that. I think next time I may have to try the koosh-ball of speaking.

Good thing: Kids who have not been participating or even on task are now engaged.

Bad thing: Well actually there is nothing bad about that one.

Good comment of the day: Student 1 - "Can we just do book work?" The rest of the class - "What are you nuts? This is good I'm actually learning something!"

Best graffiti of the day (I have a board in the back of my classroom that I let students write whatever they want on it. Just no negative or disgusting comments please.): Why can't I ever leave this room feeling smart?


  1. Sounds pretty good overall. Forgive yourself for your questioning skills. I'm sure none of us are perfect at that yet.

    I like the book work comment. Nice! I gave my students one day of book work while I had a sub... they begged not to do it next time!

  2. I hate to say it, but schadenfreude got the best of me. I'm a tiny bit happy to hear you've hit some bumps in the road. It all seemed to be working out too perfect for you. :)

    I can totally empathize with what you are going through. Too many side conversations, even when they are on topic, are happening in my classes too.

    I'll also wonder whether I'm saying too much or not. Sometimes, kids seem like they are settling on the wrong conclusion and I need to interject.

    The other day, we were going over unit 2 ws 2 and the class was diving as to whether they should show a constant velocity with a straight horizontal line, or a diagonal one. After quite a bit of discussion, they agreed, or so I thought, on the horizontal line.

    The following day when we were discussing another problem, the same concept came up. A student asked why there wasn't a slanted line on the graph to represent the constant velocity. A few others were wondering the same.

    So I broke the class up into "Team Diagonal and Team Flat". They worked it out themselves. However, I'm still not sure everyone is on board. There probably were some permanent converts though. :)

    This isn't the easiest way to teach but I'm starting to see some very valuable and rich conversations develop between students. Some of my students still really hate it but I'm roping in more every day.

    Good luck Bryan, and watch out for that nasty word "origin" in the worksheets after the buggy lab.