We’re heavily borrowing structures and curriculum from the last time we taught this course 2 years ago and I’m totally OK with that. One of those structures is the Explain to Each Other where students try to solve a problem and then explain it to a group with a different problem. The emphasis today is on finding the slope in a linear equation, given an equation and the option to make a table and a graph.What do you notice? What do you wonder?
Last year, our Admin gave us the option to request a certain prep period. Curriculum Partner and I have always had 2nd period prep, which suited us well as relatively new planning partners with a new curriculum. When things went south in 1st period, we’d huddle (usually during prep, sometimes in each other’s classrooms or the hallway during 1st period) and make up a new lesson.
I dreamt of having a later prep period this year. I’m more of a morning teacher, kiddos are calmer, and by after lunch, we’re all done.
We ended up with 2nd period prep, again. Which was cool.
It got even better today.
Our initial lesson (simplifying expressions with negatives) had so many pieces of paper and check-ins to manage. Plus there was a 2-kiddo meltdown, meaning that 1st period looked like:
- Give instructions and distribute papers.
- Check-in with kiddo outside in hall.
- Answer phone call from office politely inquiring as to the nature of the meltdown.
- Handle 3 team check-ins.
- Repeat ad nauseum.
(It’s always an interesting experience to have multiple kiddos basically shouting, “Mister! Mister!” I’ve gotten better at managing it over time, but not so much this day)
So, during 2nd period, we scrapped the whole lesson. Curriculum Partner drew up a problem were kiddos explain different kinds of problems to each other and we turned the initial handouts into a series of Secret Problems. One kiddo is the teacher. They read a problem to the rest of the team. The team builds the expression. The kiddo/teacher checks to make sure it’s right, then lets the next person teach a different problem. We’ve had varying levels of success in prior years, but it went well on this day as kiddos knew enough to move their teams along.
Also, there was a fire drill during prep. Just because.
Photo: The problem where kiddos explain to each other, featuring “Opposite World”: