Rookie Year: Day 32 Or Greater Than Si

Yesterday was really up and down emotionally.

I had planned to give the weekly quiz so I knew in each block I had about 40 minutes where I would not be actively teaching, but then 1st block was in almost complete rebellion. Students talking after repeated requests to not talk, refusing to close chromebooks, refusing to move. I finally got everyone clamped down without having to give out any detentions but I had some sullen people in there with me. But some of those same students did answer my questions during some direct instruction on AND and OR and compound inequalities.

I began the talk by asking students what it means when you ask your mom for dessert and she tells you that “You can have cookies OR cake” and whether that means you can have both cake AND cookies. Most of my blocks knew that it was no, but I have a bunch of smarty-pants students in 3/4 block and they told me they would eat both anyway. But the point was to get them to see that there was a difference between OR in every day language and OR in logico-mathematical language. I told them AND means “both” and OR means “one, the other, or both”.

I then drew “buckets” from the top-aka just circles-and labeled them as “even” and “greater than 51” (My Spanish speaking students told me that my 5’s need work. They thought the bucket said “Greater than si” which I found pretty funny. I told them they were perfectionists and then made my 5’s more blocky.) This was probably the most fun part of the lesson as the students just kept yelling numbers at me that went in the different buckets. Of course my bucket circles were just a way to introduce Venn diagrams, but I found out to my pleasant surprise that most of them had seen Venn diagrams already, which made my job a little easier.

In the early blocks I only gave examples of AND and OR using numbers but I revised me lesson by the final block and and after I gave a few more examples of AND in OR with numbers I did some with words. Examples like “Mr. Belcher has a beard OR Mr. Belcher is Gary Oldman” and “Reggie* plays football OR Reggie is dating Jennifer Lawerence”, both of which made my class laugh.

After examples I showed them how to use graphs of solutions to inequalities to graph solutions to compound inequalities. We will definitely be practicing this again on Monday.

In my second block, I was visited by an administrator. This is my third visit and I do want frequent visits and feedback, but this was the first time that my students were not stellar during the visit. I had a constant popcorn of side conversations as I tried to wrangle them and teach before transitioning to the quiz. So at the end of the block I was feeling pretty run down and discouraged. I didn’t really feel like teaching my final block and wanted to just head home for the weekend. But then I talked to the administrator during my planning bell and he had mostly positive things to say so I guess it did not go as badly as I thought it did.

My final block was missing quite a few students and the smaller class made it run a lot smoother. That final block is probably my most excitable block; they really engage with me. But they are also the quickest to get off task. By the end of the day I was wiped, but it was the good tired of working all day rather than a soul-crushing tired. Lauren and Ben came to school to visit me while I entered grades and that helped too.

On Monday I am going to try to use Python to teach AND and OR again. I am excited to see how it goes.


*Name changed to protect those who may or may not be dating J-Law







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