Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Game Day...

I am SO not a "game teacher". I have never fully worked it out, so that all the kids are involved, and I'm not stressing that there's more "fun" than learning (heaven forbid), and .....

Well, today we gave the PSAT, and so our schedule ended up being 40 minute classes. Being so used to 1.5 hour classes, I was wondering what to do. Poof! Inspiration! Now, I'm sure I'm reinventing the wheel, but I was so excited that it actually worked, and all the kids were working and time flew, and I heard good conversations going around.

Before the geometry kids got to class, I put my 5 tables in a large circle formation (for ease of movement). I put small whiteboards (thank you home depot shower board cutting idea from someone) and dry erase markers and cut up napkins to erase on each table with enough for each kid. When they walked in the room, I had them immediately put their stuff to the side of the room and just find a seat. (side note: this is SO NOT ME, that as I was directing the kids to put their stuff aside and have a seat, one kid asked me, "are we in trouble?")

I told them we were going to play musical chairs and practice for our logic exam coming up soon. I told them why I hardly ever did this (my distraction with them NOT CAPPING THEIR PENS and not being able to help them when they ask a question because all I'm thinking is CAP THE PEN! CAP THE PEN!...). I also modeled with another student that we would NOT BE "slyly" following around our REAL friends, so that we could sit by them EVERY TIME.

Then I turned on the music (I had an Amadeus CD and that was fun in many ways). They got up and wandered. I stopped the music, and they picked the nearest seat. Then I put a problem on the overhead (write the basic truth table for conjunction ... or a conditional is "if it's Wednesday, then I don't get enough sleep" and you write the contrapositive ... or factor 2x^2 + 13x - 7 ... or such). Then they could work with their current table quietly and get the answer on their board. I walked around and gave suggestions if I felt they needed a nudge, but I made them help themselves. After we went over the answers, on came the music and up they moved.

We got through about 7-9 problems in 40 minutes, and I think it ran its course, but I'm glad I did it, and it gave the kids some awareness of what they still don't know or do know for the following test.


  1. The factoring tip was WONDERFUL!! I have struggled with this for a week and have been able to get the kids to practice at home.

    Today they tried, they played, they conquered = and my most recalcitrant student ("I have things to do at home") even said "I want to try some more of these!!"

    She wanted me to tell you she has a new BFF.

    Thank you again!

    I love the Internet!

  2. That should say I was UNABLE to get them to practice at home.

  3. Yay! You can thank my retired math teacher friend that showed me that a while ago, and it WORKED for me to. Glad it was successful.

    Ms. Cookie