Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Lesson Learned: There is still some hope for the future.

Last week I got tired of teaching, so I planned a week's worth of activities and arranged them in a gameboard-style format; the kids do an activity and their grade determines how far down the page they "move." Wait...it gets even better! The activities are differentiated (the newest buzz-word in the public ed forum). Kids that don't "get it" do a slightly modified version of the activity I want them to do. They are all similar, and so far only 1 kid saw through my little game. However, he is doing it, too. The kids like it because it is very student driven; the instructions are all there. I help the first ones, and they help each other. Students can even land on a free day. Of course, I have it set up so that if they have a D or F, they work on missing assignments instead. Go ahead and say it, I'm brilliant. I know that's what you're thinking!

Anyway, yesterday I was so disgusted with the # of F's in my period 6 class that I handed out detention notices. The couple of students who would have given me excuses for not showing up got an additional phone call yesterday giving their parents a heads-up. I made sure I got the parent's OK for today, so they had nowhere to run to...nowhere to hide. Bwahahaha!! I was so proud of them! They all left with their missing work done and turned it and all of them passing!! I am so glad that some kids and their families still think that school and good grades are important.

Yes, I'm on a teaching high right now....oohhhooohh the colors....

Dude, Friday is the last day of school....cool....hey, don't bogart that progress report...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Rat Lesson: Eat the good stuff first. After all, life is short (especially for rats).

Boy, have I lost my momentum for the motion unit (pun intended). Tomorrow we are looking at graphs of position vs. time. Wed is the quiz; just on calculating speed. Then, we start acceleration, friction and gravity. Why is gravity in the motion section? Because falling objects on Earth have a constant acceleration. You'd think we'd talk about astronomy next, but I think we're going to go into forces in fluids--bouyant force, air pressure, etc.

My 4th period class is coming together. 6th period is behaving like a bunch of monkeys released from the zoo. But, grade print-outs come out on Thursday, so the kids will all get a big scare, as many of them are failing. BWAHAHAHA!! Evil laugh.

I thought motion was going to be fun, but it's kinda boring. Things move. That is called motion. When we measure how fast they move, that's speed. Then, if they speed up, slow down, or change direction, that's acceleration. Oohhhh! Isn't that exciting?? BOR-RING!! OK, I'll admit they did enjoy playing with toy cars and calculating their speed, and today they had fun with a map, finding the average speed on a road trip or finding time given speed and distance. They spent most of that time deciding what places they wanted to see, though. I suppose that was fun to see. *sigh*

Well, on Thursday we're going to see a couple of car chases from Gone in 60 Seconds and The Fast and the Furious to get data for calculating acceleration. That will be kinda fun. It does mean that I have to actually sit and watch the movies. I was looking forward to it, but Gone was not very good, and Fast probably won't be either, except that it has more eye-candy. *sigh* The things I do for my kids.... ;-)

Did I tell you that many of my students feel that science is their favorite class??? That does make me feel good. The language arts teachers told me so. My friend Marcy says that on lab days they kids come in chattering away about what we did. I did begin this path with the hope that more kids will leave me with a better appreciation for science. I guess I'm doing it here! Tim and my geek friends believe that it is my job to make science interesting enough to get them to want to study it in high school and college.

BTW-they are all a-twitter with the fact that they have been doing algebra w/o knowing it. A lot of them see algebra as complicated, which it is, so they are very proud of themselves.