Today was not a usual day at school. At the end of 2nd period, there was a "fire drill" announcement. Turns out it wasn't actually a fire drill -- it was a gas leak in the building. We stood outside with the kids for a little more than hour (all during my planning period -- I really have the worst luck!), then the kids went to lunch, and then school resumed as usual.
I was expecting my kids to be totally off the wall when they came to 5th period. Instead, we got right down to work, and even the kid who came in saying "I ain't doing any work today," later told me "I changed my mind" and handed in a perfect worksheet. I was impressed. In fact, I'd say that my kids worked even better today than usual -- my 5th period tends to be a little crazy, in part because it is right after lunch.
I tried something new today, and I was really happy with how it worked. I wanted my students to review finding missing angles, so I created three worksheets, each harder than the last one (I think this is called a "tiered" assignment -- but whatever). I told the kids that when they finished the first worksheet, they had to bring it to me at my desk, I would check it, and if everything was right they would get a 100 and then move on to the next worksheet. If they had mistakes they had to fix them to earn the 100.
The kids were really into it, and they wanted to get at least two 100's for the day (no one got the third possible 100 -- the last worksheet was very difficult -- and it kept those upper level kids really engaged). I think all but one student got at least one 100, so I was really happy with that.
Also, I picked up something from Artscape this summer that I think helped the process. There was a booth with a trash can and a recycling can in front of it that had a bunch of young men in suits standing around it. Every time a passerby correctly recycled something, the guys would start cheering like crazy. We stood there for a while, waiting for a friend to meet us, so I got to see this happen a bunch of times -- and the guys' enthusiasm never faded.
So every time a student handed me a worksheet that earned a 100% -- I would yell (I mean, really yell) "WE GOT A 100!!! WOOOOOO!!!" I think the kids thought it was fun -- and they are now sure that I'm insane.
Intersections, a high school math-science journal
18 hours ago