Post Holiday ‘Monday Madness’–Reminder

Its funny. There are a ton of things I’ve changed in my classroom this year. I decided if I was going to change stuff I was going to change it all and go broke. Note to self—that also means that sometimes you will get unexpected results. While most may be positive, the day when the results are unexpected can be a bit crazy.

I totally take the ‘Monday Madness’ as my fault, for the team. I didn’t admit this to the kids but I certainly hammered down on myself last night. I set the kids up for failure–not intentionally. In fact, the intentions were for good. During a topic that is challenging, requiring more effort than most have ever given before I thought I had figured it out. Do a few examples the Monday before break. As a class, go through a review activity. The Tuesday before break mind the kids how to play and let them play. Award food and prizes.

On the first day back–be the good teacher. Review what you had taught, in the unit, the first day back. Have the students practice their refreshed knowledge using an online animation. What could possibly go wrong?? I guess I was expecting technological glitches. One of which I got–my LCD projector blew a bulb in the middle of the review during the first class. OK–no harm done.

However–the students STRUGGLED with the online animation. The words you don’t want to hear as a teacher came out. There was mayhem. I can remember standing there and asking myself–why can’t they do this? We had just gone over it. I let them struggled–I guided them here and there but really didn’t give too much help. They had to figure this out.

For the second class, I explained the online activity a bit more. Went through the animation and some of its idiosyncrasies. I guess I expected it would be better—but it wasn’t. It was pretty awful–again.

For the third class I took a different approach. I gave them a worksheet that contained a flow chart on how to name the compounds. Well–low and behold–after a brief review things went better. I did have a student complain about ‘flow charts’ and then state, ‘this one isn’t so bad’. OK–progress. But WHAT am I going to do on Tuesday?

Part of me just wanted to jump ship–lets forget about that and move on. But what do students learn from that? That if they complain enough I will give up. And lets just say, “I’m not going to give up–EVER”. I had said I would prep a demo–go over some old examples + notes, and do the demo. After creating a million examples on transparency, I didn’t have time for the demo. Oh well–lets put our big kid pants on.

My first class had a ton of questions that resulted in me teaching material in a different order. Things like why a coefficient wasn’t the same as a subscript. The use of Roman Numerals and prefixes. For many of the students that were confused–most aired things out. We ended doing several problems, on our own. All students were good to go. Whewww…. so–the second class I did the same. It was amazing–all on board. The one student who had been the most miserable did all of the examples–way more than we went through. No verbal complaints. Receptive. Wow.

The third class loved it. We can do this. They gathered so much momentum. As they worked on their sheet from yesterday I was asked ” How many will have Roman numerals??, What about prefixes??” We made that fun. Everyone left feeling great.

This was a valuable lesson for me. Students want to learn–they value their education. BUT it is up to the teacher to provide the proper steps and pathway. If the jumps are too big–there is no way success can be achieved. And hence chaos occurs. They don’t need fun bouncy house time–the need caring and direct guidance. AND–if you can’t remember what you had for lunch the day you taught it–it might need to be reviewed for the students.

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