Random Thoughts for a Wednesday

Today I did the Sweet Work with Fractions activity from NCTM. It went okay, not a disaster but not a rousing success, either. It made them think, but unfortunately the “level of concern” was not high enough. They are just not good enough with fractions for the activity to go quickly, and without the concern of being called on soon, they got bored and side conversations sprung up. This may be a good one to repeat using one of the variations because now they know what to expect and, hopefully, after seeing their scored answer sheets with the rubric I made, will make them better understand what the expectation is. I am starting to think that some things need to be done several times to work.

As I stated in this blog post, I decided to break up the block by teaching different benchmarks in the different hours. So while first hour is integers and fractions, second hour is equations. We just completed one-step equations, and so today as a review, I did One-Step Equation Bingo. That was fun, although pseudo-compliance is a problem because they can pretend to be working the problem but really not be doing anything. Still, it is a good activity to have in my bag of tricks, good for a shortened day or sub day.

On to Geometry: I completely forgot to teach angle addition. I taught segment addition, and then I ran right off into supplementary and complimentary angles. I just realized my mistake in the middle of class today, so I may go ahead and circle back tomorrow.

Also, I was thinking about changing my bell work but now I’m reconsidering. Since it’s pretty basic, the students ARE getting better at it as they have more practice. Having 20 questions or so means that they are all working, no matter how early they get in to class. I can stop as soon as I want (lately I’ve only been taking the first 5 or 6 minutes of class). So it is working.

What’s not working is the kids who finish early. I’m trying the green pen thing, but they aren’t really “down” with helping each other once their done. I’ve spoken to other teachers, who confirm that our students are reluctant to pair-share, discuss, or help one another. I suppose it is ordinary shyness. But that is an element I’ll need to think up a solution to.

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