Friday, September 18, 2009

What makes donuts so good?

Not the donut I ate, but close enough.

This week was a long one. Or maybe it was just today. I could tell the students were glad it's Friday too. I picked up my art teaching supply refill this afternoon, going out of my way to pick up my favorite cake donut with vanilla icing and peanuts as a celebration.

I'm learning a lot in this new classroom. Many things I see that I would like to use in my own classroom. The grammar is backwards in that previous sentence but I'm too lazy right now to fix it. One of the things I'll be using happened today:

(My CT draws a raffle to give out "crowns," which are his extrinsic motivation for all things academic - except during the raffle, which students get if they manage to keep the number of cards pulled to a minimum. I guess I have to explain the card system too, sooner or later. Maybe later.)

CT: Ok, here we go, we have six to draw today. Right now are the ones from ::pauses and thinks:: Wednesday.
Student: From Wednesday.
CT: If your name is called, come up to draw the next one.
Student: Draw the next one.
CT: Is there an echo in here? ::pointedly looks at student::
Student: ::blushes and shuts up::

So many pedagogy/management books tell you to not use sarcasm in the classroom, but I'm glad that decision is up to me. Sarcasm is fun, I think. And as long as I'm tactful about it, it won't leave any emotional scars. Like the above example. Half the class probably didn't know who was doing the echo. The other half that did know forgot about it the next second, because the raffle is exciting. The kid who echoed probably forgot too - but the action solidified the teacher's authority.

Not that I agree with my CT all the time. Actually, I'm surprised it took until today before I found something I disagreed heavily on. He doesn't have much mercy on EL students - which I understand, because only half his class is EL. A relatively low proportion. So he keeps the class on their toes by not really giving full and complete instructions.

And it's true - I see myself getting hung up on making sure every single student is on the same page. Which isn't really a good thing, especially if the goal is to bring students up, not take the standards down. But all my CT did in giving instructions was say there would be a quiz on the parts of the cell on Friday. Nothing more. Not surprisingly, only a handful of students passed the quiz. And the ones who did pass were the ones who were in his class last year too.

Personally, I wouldn't throw something like this at any student younger than 7th grade. If I did, and 75% of my class failed the quiz, I would definitely add this material again in the next test. I would also re-teach it - especially when the first (and only) instruction consisted of reading the textbook. A very dry, very boring reading.

I know "babying" students is something I need to work on. But I'm pretty sure I won't take it that far.

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