Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Since it's the end of the 6 weeks, shockingly a hoard of students are now just realizing they better get their act in gear and turn in late work or do "retests" to bump up their smelly grades. Because of that, I ping-pong back and forth after school from one kid to another reteaching or helping and such.

Yesterday, two kids wanted their memory refreshed on old topics so they could understand their homework or take a test. I was just about to sit down and talk with each of them, when I thought to show them the textbook in one case and some copied notes in another case. I made one kid look in the index for his topic (solving systems of inequalities), and I showed him how to look through the examples and try to understand it. I told him to ask me when and if he had questions. With the other child, I gave him the same instructions with the notes (on graphing polynomials and finding their zeros). I told him to look at his old test and find similar problems on the notes and to ask me questions when he had them.

Whew. That worked out great. They both diligently poured over the texts and worked things out for themselves. I guess this is one skill they need to practice/learn: how to learn for themselves without thinking someone else is the ONLY source of knowledge.


  1. Anonymous12:09 AM

    Well done! I'm trying to teach my students to be more independent of Human Resources too - they are too reliant on "bouncing ideas off each other" and asking me for one-on-one tuition. Keep up the good work - teaching them how to learn. :)

  2. Not to mention the fact that this helps the late-assignment-crowd learn an important life lesson; if you don't do it right the first time, it's a liiittle more difficult the second time around. Sometimes I worry that my over-eagerness to help students no matter what (get math in those kids whatever way you can!) will hurt them in the long run in college/jobs where they won't have so many second chances.

  3. Anonymous9:05 PM

    It is pretty hard to remember to let them do more work than I do. Hopefully, this incident will ring a bell in my memory whenever the situation comes up again.

    Ms. Cookie

  4. Elaine C.11:11 PM

    *heh* I do that with my middle school kids ALLllll the time!

    My kiddos ask for help - my first response is 'did you check your notes and your book?'

    If they say yes, I ask what they learned, and then help them fill in the gaps from there.

    If they say no, I tell them I can't help them until they do some work first - because I already gave them the answers, so they just need to find them now!

    It's taken two trimesters, but MOST of them seem to have finally gotten a clue. Hopefully it'll carry over to next year, too! (So I won't have to retrain my 8th graders!)

  5. Anonymous5:28 AM

    "horde" of students - like the Mongolian hordes of Genghis Khan - rather than "hoard" (to save up in a hidden place)...