Welp, kids already checked out.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 9, 2016

    It's only the beginning of fourth quarter, and I already sense that the kids are completely checked out. I clued in where after asking the same question to five different students where each of them provided blank stares [after having heard the answer from the previous students], and a choral response where EVERYONE say out the answer, I asked one more kid, and he STILL didn't know the answer.

    I almost literally banged my head into the desk, and instead popped two Advil and jokingly berated them for having left their brains behind during Spring Break and demanding that they bring them the next day.

    It just feels like everyone is focused on the end of the year now and not on learning new content.

    What do you do when your class gets like this (and too early, I feel)? We're beginning our space unit (I save our most engaging unit for last usually specifically because of this) soon, so hopefully that will get some up-and-at'em.
     
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  3. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Apr 10, 2016

    I would have seen that as the perfect time for a pop quiz. They would have pulled out notebook paper and answered five questions on the material just discussed, and it would have been graded.
     
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  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Apr 10, 2016

    I think this happens a lot in April - May. I always make my lessons / units very short, and not ongoing for a few weeks. Short attention span = short units.
    For example during the year we would read a novel and that goes on for 2 months. Of course it's that long because I break it up with all kinds of activities, but still, it's 2 months spent on the "same" thing. That wouldn't work now.

    For this year this is what I came up with:
    - 1 week persuasive essay writing on raising the minimum wage
    - 2 weeks reading short stories. Each story and its related activities will take no more than 2 days
    - 2 weeks of poetry
    - 2 weeks spending time on election
    - 2 weeks of persuasive unit (methods, etc)

    Right now we're doing the minimum wage writing. The rest of the things I planned I might mix up in order, and we may not do all of them. I might find that reading short stories is engaging, then I might add another week, we might not do or have time to do elections.
    I feel that by the time they really get bored, we're moving on to something else.

    In the past we did reading biographies of people who overcame great difficulties, such as Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Ceasar Chavez. Ceasar Chavez grew into 4 weeks with watching documentaries, etc (and he's from the same geographic location where we are, well, about 1 hours south). That turned out to be one of my best units. Unfortunately I can't do what i did last year or the year before, because we have a lot of students who were here then. My lessons can only be reused in every 4 years. (that will start next year, yeay!!)

    So I'm going to stay flexible and try to offer a variety. I have to be like that also because we have a lot of sports events during the day and field trips where 25 % of our students are gone, and then I have to excuse them from the lesson; those days I have to switch to something different. (watching the news, or grammar worksheets, the students actually like that, it's easy, but only do it here and there)
    I'm lucky that I can do this, in alt. ed we don't have a set curriculum, and because I teach several grade levels in the same class I can really chose what i do.

    My P always says to do our lessons differently than during the year, for example, more project based learning. That wouldn't really work for me, I feel that it would be less structured, and I would have a lot more behavior problems. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong, I don't know, but I will follow how I've been doing it so far. However I know the math teacher does a lot of projects at the end of the year and it works great, I'd think science could work the same way.
     
  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Apr 10, 2016

    Why?
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2016

    Change it up. Have you considered the role you play in this? Q&A is boring, low critical thinking, ad focuses on one kid at a time. Throw in some hands on, cooperative learning, engaging, high stakes kinds of activities....you'll see a difference.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 10, 2016

    Yeah, we do that too, and have done it all year. But some days are just notes and discussion (because then I get burnt out on hands on labs and things projects, since I have a tendency to do them back to back). There must have just been something going on that day (it was a day after a sub, and 3 days from Spring break, so they might have been finally feeling sleep deficit, and I was feeling pretty lethargic that day too, though I pretended to be uber engaged). Things improved later in the week, since we did rockets, and submarine labs, but they were more just interested in doing the fun activities and not the work.

    Man, Linguist, that would be very hard to not be able to reuse anything for like 4 years! I am feeling a pinch by only being able to reuse things every two years for my elective class because a lot of kids like to retake it. I'm thinking of doing different sections within one class (advanced and beginner [students who already took the class and students who are just starting]), but I don't have that fully planned out yet. >_< I hope the principal follows through on her idea to make it a semester long elective this year, but it doesn't look like that will be happening.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 10, 2016

    Lol! That might have lit a fire under their butts, but then it would only affect those who cared about their grade. I also don't think their lethargy was intentional this time. I'll file that idea away though if it seems like they are intentionally being obtuse.
     
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  9. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Apr 10, 2016

    Because they couldn't repeat answers that had already been given several times. They need to get it in gear.
     
  10. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Apr 11, 2016

    I usually have a discussion saying "school is not out yet". Your grade can still go down if you decide not to do the work!
     
  11. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Apr 12, 2016

    How does throwing a punitive quiz at them do that?
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 12, 2016

    It wouldn't be punitive to those who are engaged in the lesson. That being said, I am NOT a fan of pop quizzes, mostly because I know how many of my students have sincere test anxiety.
     

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