After yesterday’s professional development, which of course took place during my block prep of the week, I wasn’t in a place to teach much of anything. I actually was completely NOT prepped at all for a class for the first time ever by the time the bell rang.
So we played Game Over Gopher on BrainPop for part of each period while I gathered my wits about me. I’ve used it for my EL class the week before winter break in preparation for their quiz on graphing intercepts and finding slope. A good third of my EL students are new comers – they had been in the country for less than two weeks before being enrolled in school. Even though some of them came to me with quite thorough combinatorics knowledge and skills, nearly all of them had no clue what an ordered pair is, let alone how to plot one.
On a side note: I would LOVE to travel overseas and study the math classrooms in various countries. ABSOLUTELY love it!
I made a record-keeping sheet and bribed them with special SOAR tickets (our version of a school-wide rewards system, based on PBIS [Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports] strategies) – which is mixed with a modified version of a GLAD [Guided Language Acquisition & Design] rewards strategy where I print a miniature diagram on the back of the ticket, which can be used on a test or quiz.
Of course the students loved it, even the super apathetic ones. I noticed a few things:
- My lowest skilled student spelled ‘brain’ as ‘brian.’ When I pointed this out to him, it still took him 3 tries before he got it right (“No, no, no…it’s b-r-I-A-N!”). Then he spelled ‘gopher’ as ‘goofer’ in BrainPop’s search bar. Then he had the hardest time scrolling down with the track pad on the ChromeBook in order to see the search results for games. ::sigh:: My next lowest skilled student in that class was already on level 3 by the time this kid got around to actually playing. These are 8th graders, by the way. I also had the name written on both agenda locations on my whiteboards, displayed on the projector screen with the doc cam, AND typed on the record keeping sheet.
- I highly enjoyed standing at the back of the room, watching all the screens. It felt like a holiday.
- Those laptop carts have some seriously gimpy wheels. The only way I can get that darned thing to roll through the hallways to-and-from the computer lab is to spin it along. Like the turtleshell weapon in Mario Bros.
The only days where I let a screen be the ‘baby-sitter’ at school is on the day before winter break, and the very last two days of school (which typically straddles the 8th grade field trip to Great America, as well as occurring after submitting final grades). I try not to do this because first, I think it’s lazy and a cop-out. Second, because I like interacting with students anyway. And third, because I have yet to find anything terribly satisfactory in terms of videos or online content related to the stuff I teach. But perhaps I should do it more often.