Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reflections on the First Week

The first four days are under my belt and now it's down to the business of school. What worked this week and what didn't? Let's see...

Love the tables... mostly. It is so cool to see the kids turn to each other and actually start talking math. I almost wanted to cry that second day of Algebra 2 when I heard one student say "But don't you think the slope would be steeper if they were eating faster?" to his table-mate while they were doing these graphing stories. They were, by the way, a great way to warm the kids up and they really like the new big whiteboards (16" x 24"). Of course, the tables make it easier to communicate all the time, and there are kids with their backs to me, but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.

The Watermelon in the Desert problem was pretty good for Geometry as a starter. The conversations were good, but how do you keep one student from monopolizing the solution? Actually heard one student say to his team "No, this is the answer, we don't need to talk about it anymore - You just need to agree with me." Of course I had to interrupt, but there always does seem to be those one or two who do the work, while the others are happy to sit and doodle watermelons on the paper.

Now seriously, what is with having at least 4 students tell me that they are going to be gone the whole first week of September? Didn't they just finish summer vacation? And when my lovely junior student said - on the way out on Friday "Mrs. L, I'm going to be gone all next week, are we doing anything important?" I actually held my tongue for half a second before I answered. "Yes, we are doing important things. That's why we're here. You are going to miss some important things." I made her feel a little bad, and I think that was a good thing.
I do not feel prepared for this year. At all. I know I can do it, but I don't want to feel like I am constantly trying to figure out what I'm doing tomorrow. Not the math part, I get that, I can math. But these tables beg for interaction and whiteboarding and rich, thoughtful activities. That's what I want to have, and it doesn't come without planning. I guess that is my goal. Plan.

I'm going to go plan something.

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