Saturday, January 30, 2010

And while I'm on a roll, I've been thinking about an activity that I did Thursday in my Integrated Geometry classes that clearly demonstrate the differences between the classes. I'm in my 13th year of teaching and it still amazes me how different two classes can be! They're back to back (6th and 7th periods) and have 10 and 11 kids, respectively.

I wasn't in class on Tuesday or Wednesday because I had strep throat; the kids reviewed on Tuesday and took a quiz Wednesday. Thursday we were finally ready to get out of Chapter 5 (Geometry - yuck!) and start back into some algebra topics. We're going to be writing equations of lines and graphing them, so I wanted to make sure that everyone knows the quadrants and how to plot points. I have a worksheet for it, but they've really done well this year with some different activities so I checked around the 'net on Wednesday to see if I could find something to do.

Luckily, I ran across a blog called "I Want to Teach Forever" where he talked about a Battleship game that he'd done in class for the very same topic. Kids plot their own ships and as a class try to find the teacher's ships before s/he finds theirs. Because my numbers are so small I thought it might be a good thing to do and they would bond together to take me down.

6th period: Starts out crazy (like always). I had two boys that I'd found out took their quizzes to the library to get help from the math tutor down there (obviously not something that's allowed). I also had a first-year teacher in there observing. It's always interesting to see how the kids react to another adult in the room! My recent big-time trouble maker was having issues settling down and decided not to play (actually, he ripped his paper in half and crumpled it up.... then kept asking if I had tape so he could tape it back together). Kids seemed bored by the activity, but I still think it was good practice at locating points and it gave me a chance to check to make sure that they know how to plot them. Trouble-maker kept mouthing off and ended up in the hall. I eventually walked him down to the office.

7th period: I'm not sure that I've ever enjoyed an Integrated class like I do these guys. There are just a couple of kids that really seem to enjoy class and it really is contagious. They had a good time with Battleship and got all of my ships pretty quickly (6th period got 3/5 before we stopped). I managed to hit at least one of each of their ships (go, me!) and even sunk a couple of little ones.

It was like two totally different activities.

The boy in 6th period is a tough case. I actually like the kid overall, but he really gets rude and disrespectful and out of control. I've e-mailed with mom, talked with the ass't principal, talked with football coach & weight-lifting coach about him trying to get ideas of what I can do. He grew up in a bad situation and is now living with foster parents in our community. The foster parents are really responsive and supportive of what we do at school, which is nice, but I hope it's not too late to get him to realize what he can do with their help. I've been in contact with John Thornton (a former Cincinnati Bengal) about coming in to school to talk with the kids about staying motivated and such; I'd like the two of them to sit down one-on-one and see what John can do. I'm hoping that since he was a professional player and this student is a pretty good football player that he'll listen. He was actually ineligible 2nd quarter because of grades and could be facing the same thing next year if he doesn't turn things around for 3rd/4th quarters.

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