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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why I brought a soapbox to school today.

Every once in a while students just need a swift kick to the pants. I have gotten very bogged down lately. I am hopelessly behind where I should be right now. Like WAAAAYYYY behind. I worry about the semester exam coming up. My students haven't covered half the material on the district mandated test. Whiteboard sessions have become completely unproductive and useless. I am close to throwing in the towel. I won't because I am hopelessly stubborn. But it is definitely a trying time for me now. Add to the mix two snow-days the week before vacation and what I have is a ticking time-bomb of apathy and slothiness. (yes I made it up but I think it perfectly describes my juniors right now!)

Anyway, I gave a father- son/daughter talk today. I explained the reason for modeling again. I have had many grumblings lately about how the method is not helping them learn. They need to put in the effort if they don't understand something. They cannot just sit like sponges hoping to absorb physics. They have to get involved. Get excited. Get discussing.

I realized I made some huge mistake in the month of November. Perhaps it was my overconfidence in the method. Perhaps it was Jupiter aligning with Mars. But for whatever reason I have slipped on using the method effectively. I have begun saying WAY too much during whiteboarding sessions. Tomorrow I will put myself in the penalty box on the other side of the room. I also have stopped using real world examples. I have let my class slide back to a place that is totally disconnected from their lives. But thanks to the wonderful contributors to Win. Fail. Physics! I have some new ideas to spice up the topics. I have decided I am going to be that jerk who assigns homework over the holiday. The kids have to watch some of their movies at home and find an example of motion that we are discussing. Then we will have a movie party when we get back where we will watch the clips and put them to the test of our models. Should be informative, fun, and maybe I will finally be able to put kinematics to bed. (Yes. Still on acceleration. )

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