Rookie Year: Day 132

On the bright side, all three of my classes showed large improvements in behavior today.

On the down side, part of that improvement was really more a lack of disruption rather than engaging with the lesson.

But they really were better today. I gave each class the same talk because it was true for all three blocks. A strength of this class is listening and paying attention during notes. A weakness is when we try an activity.

For some reason this talk worked with all of them. I didn’t have chatter during notes and most of them worked at a reasonable noise level during the discovery activity.

I did have some sleepers and zone-outers and I want to engage them, but some days I’ll just take them not disrupting class.

My lesson plan involved notes where we simply recapped what we had discovered doing the Desmos Activities on Quadratics the past few days. I told my students we were putting words to the concepts we had talked about. I did add some new information, but most was a recap.

Then I had them do a discovery activity on how values of a,b and c affect the graph of a quadratic. This went alright, but some students got lost just from trying to sketch a graph that they see on Desmos. I guess this was an instance where I thought a certain skill was obvious but I was suffering the curse of knowledge. Apparently it isn’t obvious how to sketch a graph even if you have software to help. I guess if I thought more about it I should have known. If I consider a function that would be proportionally difficult for me to understand as quadratics are for my students, I would probably have difficulty parsing its structure.

Although I did have one student who I told “It’s not hard, you just don’t want to do it” to which she and her friend responded “Yeah.”. And then they did the work they didn’t want to do. I tolerated the grumbling.

So today went mostly well. I wish I would have had more engagement but trying to get students to pay attention and almost as tiring as getting them to stop disrupting. I can be obnoxious and persistent, but at the end of the day I can’t force my students to pay attention. I can only present material clearly well and choose good tasks for them to try and good questions for them to practice. I’m sure I will get better at both inspiring students to choose to participate and also policing them when they choose not to. But for today I’ll settle for a class that at least sounds like it is on task even if a portion of them aren’t.

Thanks for reading.

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