Monday, January 14, 2013

Stumbling Blocks

I gave an assignment to my classes today that I thought would be a quick review of something they learned in 5th grade, but a few minutes into it with the first group made me reconsider. They did not seem to grasp the directions and when they did, the task took them much longer than I planned for.

One of the benefits of teaching four sections of the same thing is the opportunity to tweak a lesson that needs it right away. The next class went a little better, but it was still not as smooth as I hoped. The third time I started with a little confession about how the day was not going the way I imagined it. "Maybe this is just a hard activity," I warned the class in a tone that was more challenge than admission of defeat. I made the directions very explicit and gave examples.

"That doesn't seem too hard," a student commented.

"I know, right?" I said. "Now show me how it's done!" I ended my pep talk with a little fist pump and then noticed a student raising his hand.

"I think I know what might take so long," he said. I looked at him expectantly. "You forgot to give us the worksheet."


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