did you ever have a class like this...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by GTB4GT, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Oct 12, 2013

    I am in my 3rd year teaching (math). one of my subject areas is precalculus. I loved teaching this the first two years - the students were curious, asked questions, participated in discussions, etc. this year's group is reserved, quiet and not engaged. They are not bad kids - I don't have any discipline issues of any kind. But they are very passive. Based on the first two years, I have a feel for where there might be questions from students. I don't get them this year. I don't see them stopping by before or after school or at break to discuss the homework.

    It's not that they are getting the material - their grades and scores are significantly lower than in the past. for example, we just took Chapter 3 test. The mean score from this group was 75 and a standard deviation of 16. from the previous two years, the average was an 85, std. deviation of 12.

    I have tried (as always) icebreakers and group projects in the computer lab. Like I said, it's not a problem but I find the class is less fun for me to teach as it's not interactive.

    any thoughts or ideas. or is this the normal ebb and flow of teaching that one experiences due to ever changing dynamics from group to group each year?
     
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  3. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Oct 12, 2013

    Every year, I have one class like that. Totally passive. Perfect behavior. Group work and turn and talk help.

    Set up a mailbox in your classroom and provide index cards. Have them write their questions on the card - without signing their names. That way, you can address their questions without any of them feeling singled out.
     
  4. Barbd

    Barbd Rookie

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    Oct 12, 2013

    My first thought was they might be feeling overwhelmed.

    I agree with the options above too.

    I've used nameless exit tickets to get a true read on what the kids are understanding and feeling.

    Did all (or most) have the same teacher last year? Can you discuss with that teacher? Sounds like you weren't their teacher last year, so perhaps this group has been like this and the previous teacher might have strategies. Or they missed an important Algebra concept which may leave them struggling early.

    Structured group work might help them become more engaged. I've successfully used Kagan strategies to loosen up some students. Snowball fights (sounds like it wouldn't get out of hand), find someone who, and match mine might get them more engaged and help you get a better grasp on their academic downfalls.
     
  5. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Oct 13, 2013

    we are a very small school. So the overwhelming majority of my students follow the same path through high school - algebra 1 from Mr. R , geometry from Coach C and algebra 2 from Mrs. F. This is true every year so this is why I attribute the difference to the group dynamics of this group. Mrs.F observed the same behaviors from them last year for the most part.

    as a whole, this class of seniors appear to be less skilled and motivated than the previous years. In discussions with other teachers outside the math department my peers are making he similar comments. I guess their has to be variation from year to year. mathematically, at least,this makes sense.
     
  6. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Oct 13, 2013

    I have a class like this this year. It's HARD! I've been working on loosening them up and it's 2 months in to the school year. Just now are they starting to warm up and be comfortable talking and asking questions.

    I did A LOT of partner sharing. First I'll have them write the answer, and then read what they wrote to their partner. I found that if I just asked them to share without writing it down, I got maybe a 30% response. Written first, it's about 90%. I also make them get up to find new partners (talk to someone wearing a similar shirt. Talk to someone with the same color hair. Etc). This makes it a little silly, and once they get up, they're more apt to talk and stuff too. I have about 80% active participation with this type of activity.
     

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