I was so excited to be back in my classroom today!!! I decided that I needed to try and make school more exciting…I know, I always am supposed to be doing that…but I wanted to change things up a little, think of ways to get them more engaged and willingly participating rather than only when I call on them…Sixth graders are super chatty when you don’t want them to be and way too quiet when you crave to know what is going on in their brains. I wanted to turn things up a bit. I have this awesome technology at my fingertips, it’s a smartboard and document camera, they are pretty darn cool, and even better, the kids love smartboard lessons…Today I did a smartboard lesson for math as well as for science (thanks to my teaching partner), and the students were super involved, like really excited, so excited that I had to keep telling them to simmer down a little, that we were having too much fun now :)…Instead of doing the usual math sheet for homework, I told them they could make up their own probability problem, draw a picture about it and make it personal and unique…My example went something like this:
P(Event)= favorable outcome/total number of outcomes….
I have 10 pairs of socks…my sample space is 3 black pairs, 3 white pairs, 2 stripe pairs, 2 polka dot pairs. What is the probability that I pick a pair of polka dot socks out of my drawer?
P(Polka dot socks)= 2/10, which is then reduced to 1/5….then I would draw a picture of all my cute socks:) ….doesn’t this sound a little more fun than a worksheet…It is relatively easy homework, but sometimes I feel like homework is overrated…It is very hard for my students to gain support from parents, and it tends to become busy work…so once in awhile, more artsy homework like this is worthwhile…
I also decided to bring back the “broccoli jar”…That is code for a candy jar…I can’t help it, rewarding kids with candy is such a useful tool. I love candy, and I know that I would be motivated to participate and behave well if I knew I would get a little treat…Sure, kids should just behave and be involved because they SHOULD, but…hey…candy is magic in the classroom and 6th graders aren’t as inspired by stickers and fake tattoos like my first graders were last year, I had to raise the stakes a little 🙂
All in all, it was really nice being back and I left school feeling so grateful for my job and this opportunity…
Also- I write the schedule on the board each day and at the bottom I write an inspirational quote…The kids love these and each morning they beg to be the one who gets to read it and explain what they think it means…So any short but impactful quotes you have, send my way 🙂
Tomorrows quote is “If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention…” This one is sure to confuse them :), but then I can go on to explain how when we are learning about things we don’t know, then our minds are growing, and learning new things means being introduced to things you never thought about, things that can be confusing, difficult at first to understand…so pay attention, because the payoff is knowledge… We’ll see if that inspires them, but again, if all else fails, I have candy!