Try, try, and try again…

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have already been in school for three weeks (thanks to the district decision to go to a “balanced” yearly schedule).  Not that I am counting, but a two week vacation will be here in 7 weeks!  I think every year, we as teachers, try a handful of ideas out on our students.  Some work and become part of our courses and others fail (some miserably!).  My question is why do some ideas work better than planned and others fall so flat?  I guess if I could answer that, I could make millions teaching others…

So, as this school year is getting into a flow here are two ideas (one I extended from last year) and one that I am trying to get the kinks worked out quickly.

Last year, second semester I started using what I like to call Math Buddies.  The first day I assign each student a Math Buddy (usually the student sitting right behind or in front of them).  We do a couple non-math activities to show how they can rely and use their math buddy to accomplish more than they could by themselves.  In class, when I ask a question, I give them “buddy time” (10-15 seconds) to work out their ideas before I call on a random student.  I think this year I am going to allow them to use their buddies on an occasional quiz.  I love it; because I do not have to worry about how my desks are set up (I share my classroom through the day with two other teachers)…it is an instant grouping that I can use without any previous set up.
My goal this semester: Create at least 1 daily need for their math buddy.

My second idea is to create a BYOD activity once every two weeks in my Algebra 2 honors course.  In our district there has not been fast push to put devices in our students hands.  So if we want an one-to-one interaction, you either have to request to be in a computer lab or have students bring a device that can access the wireless.  Tomorrow we are starting light and I created an online quiz for them to take to demonstrate that they can use their graphing calculators and then get into a chat discussion about what they know or still need help with.
My goal this semester: BYOD at least once every two weeks.

I hope I am better at these two ideas than most people are at their New Year’s Resolutions….

  1. lmhenry9 says:

    I’ll be curious to see how your math buddies work out for you in class. I have heard of the concept for students to have someone to contact when they are absent for notes, but this is a different use than I’ve heard of. I hope you blog about how it’s working out as the year progresses.

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