FYI At my school we refer to students as scholars. I am going to use that term, since by now I have to consciously think about using the word student.
This week I worked on Lesson 2 and started Lesson 3.
The scholars had trouble brainstorming problems they had, even when I gave them several examples. I was able to write a short list on the board, but overall I don’t think they understood. They did understand how to evaluate their Aluminum Boat Activity through the lens of the Problem Solving Process, but their answers ranged from very specific and detailed to very vague. The next day I had all the scholars copy the best response so they could practice writing an ‘A’ answer. A lot of my scholars have a limited English vocabulary, and that is reflected in their writing. The class then continued on to the second page, which they completed. They are generally used to writing as little as possible. Some of my SpEd scholars’ handwriting is illegible. I am working with their SpEd teacher to arrive at a grade.
I will revisit the Problem Solving Process several more times.
This week I dealt with scholars who do not normally bring supplies to class, and who don’t normally do much work. I posted the supply list on the wall to remind scholars who would otherwise claim they didn’t know they had to bring anything. This afternoon, during class, several scholars asked to go to the library to buy spiral notebooks. The school has a color poster-maker and laminator which is much appreciated. I am making posters for the room.
I also made a seating chart to create heterogenous groups, which took some time as I reviewed their fall semester grades. Each group now has an ‘A’ scholar, a Special Ed scholar, and two from the middle. I was surprised that it worked out, given 36 random individuals.
I am pushing forward at what I think is a reasonable pace, but I have scholars who are used to not putting in a whole lot of effort, and try to make up the work before progress reports or report cards. I am always watching the clock, and how much work is getting done, but I am not going to slow to a snail’s pace, which would happen if I let it.
I took a look at Lesson 3. I knew the scholars would not understand the point of the word search, and will insist on finishing it, even when I tell them to put down their pencils. Instead, I discussed the fact that when they complete a task, even a basic one, they don’t think about it in terms of a series of steps. A computer does, however. I assigned the groups the task of listing at least 10 – 15 detailed steps required to eat an Oreo cookie, starting them off. I will have cookies on Monday to have them compare what they wrote to what is required. THEN, 5 minutes before the end of the period, I passed out the word searches, which only a few were able to complete. On Monday, they will come up with a system for completing a word search more efficiently, and continue with Lesson 3.
I am very happy with how this week went.