On Tuesday I asked my kids 5 questions on the overhead, and gave them a few minutes to write their responses before I collected them:
1. Do you have any seating preferences (near/away from the air conditioner) , front/back, and why? List 2 people you can WORK with effectively.
2. How is class going for you so far and why and what do I need to know?
3. What could you do to improve your grade?
4. How can I help you?
5. Tell me at least one good thing that's happening in your life right now.
The answers are always illuminating. It's always confirmed that the people I've seen dazing off in the back row or chatting with their neighbors are struggling and they actually say not to put them with so and so and not to put them in the back row. Others admit that they should be studying more. Invariably I get the "less homework" answer .... (I only give about 10 math problems a night or so ..... am I unreasonable? I don't THINK so). ... Then I find out that some poor kiddies answer #5 with NOTHING good is going on right now. I'm having a tough time in my personal life, and that's why I'm failing ...
It always helps to remind me that they're people and not math machines and makes sure I don't make any "seating chart faux pas" like ignoring the hard-working girl's request that "I'd like to be in the back seat of a "4 pod" because I don't like anyone behind me ...