Posted by: Magistra | June 15, 2006

44 to go

Between the World Cup and working in a classroom, I’m exhausted. My alarm’s been going off at 5:50am for almost a week now. Since Monday, I’ve been able to catch about 75 minutes of the first match of the day (in between things like showering), completely miss the second match (if there’s anything worse than watching your team lose 3-0, it’s knowing you’re watching the game on tape), and pick up the third match at about the 60th minute.

One more note about soccer before I return to teaching: I still can’t believe the Australia-Japan match. Obviously I’ve got a soft spot for the Socceroos, and I was thoroughly upset when I left on Monday morning and they were trailing 1-0. Who scores not one, not two, but three goals in the final 15 minutes?!? And they didn’t even need 15, since they did it in the last five! This is why you watch the World Cup.

I’m really liking the school I’m at. I’m not really sure why these students failed math during the year. I mean, I know why: they didn’t turn in work (as they readily admit). And I want to tell them how lame that is because while they all have a couple areas where they could use some review, basically, they get it. And yet, here they are in summer school.

The biggest fear I have about teaching math (and this is why I still haven’t really decided to pursue that) is how to keep students’ attention. I’ve got all these ideas for things to do in history/government classes, but the only way I know to learn math is to look at how we get the formula, see a few examples of how we use the formula, and then apply it yourself. Summer Teacher does this, but the thing that really impresses me is that every day she does something that has the students up and moving around.

The first day she read out a series of statements and students had to decide if they strongly agreed (x-squared), somewhat agreed (x), somewhat disagreed (y), or strongly disagreed (y-squared). Statement: Public schools should have school uniforms. Result: 14y-squared + 1y. Results for different statements were then added together or subtracted (the point was to illustrate what terms could be combined and what couldn’t). I don’t think on its own this exercise is enough to teach that lesson, but getting the wiggles out meant the students were ready to sit and listen when she gave her next mini-lecture.

I also appreciate how willing she is to let me get involved. She knows I’m doing this because I’m going into the credential program, and while I’m definitely making photocopies and grading packets and looking for supplies (we walked into the room with no stapler and one white board marker), she let me run a review game yesterday (another idea I’m going to steal: project vocab words onto the wall and get students to swat the right word with flyswatters) and is encouraging me to present lessons throughout the three weeks.

If I’m going to miss the World Cup, at least I’ll be enjoying my time.

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Although I’m a day late, I must mention this week’s chatty Carnival of Education, hosted by The Science Goddess.

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