An issue plaguing us during lunchtime in the winter is that our students don't like to use our cafeteria. They have off-campus privileges to get food but instead of getting food and eating downstairs, they climb the five flights and eat in our hallways (or classrooms of teachers who let them). It's a huge problem because we can't pass by in order to prep things or give ourselves a break. We are working on dealing with it but it is seemingly endless. Hopefully it will get fixed soon.
We have a tradition at BCS whereby students who perform well academically and have showcased positive habits of working and learning (HOWLs) get an opportunity to go to Brooklyn Boulders to practice rock climbing and then spend the afternoon with free lunch and activities at NYC Outward Bound headquarters. It really is a lot of fun to watch them be challenged in this way and I enjoy going. It's really different when students who perform at a high level get a chance to interact just amongst themselves without distraction from others who might not. I was glad to go and had a lot of fun myself.
This week and next students are preparing for their two-day midterm. In order to do so I am having them write goals for themselves on a weekly basis. I appreciate the honesty of this student's reflection on his goal and hope that it means he will actualize on his goal for next week. Unfortunately, he is frequently absent without notes so I'm not sure if he will.
We gave a test in our geometry class and whenever that happens it is inevitable that students finish before the end of the class period. In this case they usually read a book or take out work for another class. For the end of this test, however, there were two students who I noticed just staring off into the distance. Nothing negative occured - they just looked bored. So, I gave them a task: draw me a picture. You can see the outcome - they were both funny and sweet at the same time. This was a fun afternoon.
It is a regular occurence for me to see different ways that students prepare for exams, projects, and study in general. These two pictures are presented here as an example of this comparison. On the left is a student who has completed almost no work in my Algebra class and continues to play games on his phone despite almost every single teacher telling him to stop, his advisor talking to his mom, and even some of us directly talking to his mom. On the right are five (although you can't see the 5th) students staying after school until 4pm to clarify some pieces of information for the test tomorrow. It truly is remarkable how different the outcomes for these students will be.
I talked to students today who have very high grades and levels of mastery of various subjects in my Algebra 1 class. Because of that, they have been given a separate assignment to the other students in the room: they are to complete either a more rigorous Algebra example problem or to research and write a paper on a topic of their choosing related to mathematics. In the past, I've had a few students do this and receive some high marks and demonstrated their knowledge well. I look forward to seeing what they have to offer in a couple of weeks when they are finnished.
Today we made sure our Algebra 1 students understood what it will take to get a high grade on the midterm we are giving in a few weeks. It took only a few minutes to review the schedule and provide them with time to self-assess. I am really hoping that by providing this time they will take more initiative to ask more questions and determine what they need in order to be successful on the midterm. I am worried that they won't. But, I'll only be able to tell the weekend of January 20. Oy.
I am a math teacher in the New York Department of Education. I infuse technology and real-world problems into my curriculum in order to prepare my students for the future. I would love for people across the country to recognize we teachers can't do it alone. If you don't believe me, come visit my classroom!