Rookie Year: Day 113 or Paul-Lee-Gnome-Eels

I feel like I’m repeating myself on here a lot, but I guess I just haven’t gotten past the same problems I’ve been having yet.

My students respond to traditional classroom instruction like lecture but they don’t always respond to other activities.

And by respond I mean they behave and know what to do and don’t disrupt class. If I run through examples on the board they sit quietly and most of them take notes and pay attention.

If I give them a task where I ask them to do something that I have not already explicitly showed them how to do, I get a variety of behaviors. Some of them immediately start talking to neighbors. Some of them try for a little bit and then give up and talk to neighbors. Some of them work steadily the whole time, but they don’t interact with anyone but me.

I am still struggling with training them how to respond and behave to activities other than notes.

However overall today I would say that my lesson went decently well in all three blocks.

After the bellringer I had them try an addition and subtraction problem with polynomials without any prior instruction. I asked them to write their answer up on the board and then I wrote the most common answer (not necessarily the correct answer) and asked someone to explain where they thought it was from.

It’s funny because this idea seemed to work BETTER when students did the wrong thing and then I had them talk about it. Or I led a class discussion. I am trying to wean them down from me talking about it. And if I’m honest I am probably weaning myself too.

After this I had them try problems with the answers already given. Their task was to explain why the answers made sense.

I made my classic mistake of giving too many problems at this stage. (Ed Realist is going to give a good old “When will you listen to me?”. Again. It’s okay, Ed. I have a thick skull.)

But I managed to correct this error by final block.

Finally to end the lesson I did some direct instruction with notes where I did worked problems on the board and explained solutions. This seemed to go much smoother since the students had already spent some time wrestling with the problems.

I definitely will try this format again.

As for the title of today’s post, as student was having trouble saying polynomials and my breakdown of two garden gnome eels named Paul and Lee seemed to help them.

I am also waaay behind and am finishing a post for Thursday’s lesson on Sunday night. Terrible.

Thanks for reading.

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