Just a brief post, but after yesterday’s lament, I feel that I must share that today’s Geometry classes all went awesomely well! It was a day of practicing angle addition – which can be fairly mechanical – but I had the students work in pairs using worksheets inside plastic sleeves, which allowed them to mark up the sketches and better visualize the combinations of angles. A lot of the kids jumped right in due to the wonderful M.E.F. (Marker Engagement Factor), giving me the freedom to circulate, refocus those students who needed some assistance, question the students and have them defend their work, and correct misconceptions. It was beautiful -the more the engaged students worked, the more their initially apathetic colleagues wanted to join in. The classroom was happily noisy – with math talk! And there were wonderful moments – Mideline, the girl who emigrated from Haiti three years ago with no English and little formal education, working successfully through problem after problem, the ‘brain trust’ in the back corner challenging me on every problem until they all made sense, and Sitara, another English Language Learner, who persevered on her own – correcting and self-correcting without flagging (after meeting with me at 7:30 this morning to redo some homework). I can’t overstate my respect for the students who struggle daily, often without success, but continue in their efforts for days, weeks, months, years. I’m fairly certain I would not be able to sustain that level of commitment in the face of frustration and failure.
Here is one of the worksheets I used; I created another [which I don’t have digitally] which repeated the more basic problems several times before introducing a new twist. I am also including the templates for this worksheet for which I do not have an accurate source; they were passed along to me on a CD with other resources at least five years ago. Whoever created these templates – a big thank you from me.
So I’m feeling much heartened by today’s energy and active learning. Tomorrow is test day – so less on my feet time, but mega-grading time ahead. It should be very interesting – in the inclusion class, 11 students require a ‘separate location’ and 15 are allowed time and a half to double time. My co-teacher is taking all of the separate location students to a small classroom – where they can distract each other? Hmmm….