NMSA2010: Winning the “This is Boring” Battle

MY THOUGHTS IN ALL CAPS…REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS ONE, ROOM IS PACKED!!

Presenter: David Shepard

Math teacher from a Lexington, KY. Also used to be a science teacher, asst. principal, principal…now pursuing life-long dream of being a substitute teacher.

PD is a lot like teaching but without the hassle of the kids.

Daughter Kelly is also presenting with him, and she is a 7th grade science and language arts teacher.  Both from Kentucky, and plugging the 2011 Conference in Louisville.

We hear: Kids come to middle school and they come to an intellectual wall…we need to go back to junior high schools…there are a bunch of systems destroying middle schools and going back to K-8…Dave is tired of us getting blamed for it.

Middle level kids have a bunch of different learning styles.

It’s time to teach to their minds, not from our minds.

Traits of Middle Level

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Flexibility
  • Passion

RateMyTeacher.com – Go there and see if you’re on there. Kids are going to say “he’s boring, this sucks, this is stupid” because EVERYTHING is boring even level 395 of the latest Xbox game after they’ve mastered it.

Latitude, Flatitude round and round…Longitude, Longitude up and down

Learning Culture

  • Organization Culture
  • Instructional Culture – if this piece is dull and boring we have lots of problems…be less boring
  • Assessment Culture
  • Relational Culture

Songs in the classroom: The Atom’s Family

Tom Lehr

 

Bet you can’t write a country & western song about the Periodic Table…there it is…Kids need to sing as often as they possible can…

Photosynthesis Song…Big Bang Theory song with lyrics…Columbus singing “Wow I discovered America…No, ya didn’t, no, ya didn’t, no, ya didn’t”

If you know it you can show it, get an A on it…If you know it you can show it, get an A on it…Beyonce

Daily Objective

Middle school kids don’t need to guess where you’re going with something…post it even if it’s obvious “Today all students will learn…”

Do our kids separate the word learn word from the word do?  “Today all students will do…” Keeps them from misunderstanding what they’re going to learn and do to learn those things…

Take roll…but ask students to name a president…have a name on a sticky note that “wins” and give them something like homework pass, 5 pts on quiz etc NOT SURE I GO ALONG WITH LAST PART…BUT PERHAPS IF IT’S ON SOMETHING THAT’S NOT HAVING A GREAT IMPACT ON GRADES…

Learn to say the phrase “I’ll come back to you…”

Recent research that suggests light switch flipping can cause issues with students with Tourette’s, ADHD, Autism…WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE SPECIFICS OF THIS ONE…ANYONE KNOW??

Mix and Match activity…I’ve Got/Who’s Got…Presidents/Quotes (I still don’t understand why my wife won’t let me invite Monica and Paula over for dinner/Clinton)…Periodic Number/Element…Kids need to talk with each other…

Science connection for Abraham Lincoln…think he had Marfan Syndrome…

Stick or Pick: More activities than you have time for during a unit…write activities on index cards…divide kids into groups…give me a group leader…group leader takes card back to the group…if group doesn’t like it, return it, get another card, but then you’re stuck with it…NOT A BAD IDEA…LOTS OF PROJECTS THAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH THIS KIND OF ACTIVITY.

You must get this many points for the test…if it’s 100, MC questions might be 4 points, constructed response might be up to 50…Kids do math in their heads and determine if they want 25 MC questions or 2 constructed response…

Using cards for math…black are positive, red are negative…show two and tell them what operation to perform

Higher Order Thinking Questions

  • Justify your answer
  • Why does it work
  • Why does it not work
  • Explain that to the class
  • Prove it
  • Does it work in all cases?
  • This _____ is better than _____ because…
  • Why did _____ do _____?
  • The reason this event is important is ______
  • I agree/disagree with the author because ______

Run off six of these on bright colored paper…tape them to the wall in your line of site…you’ll use them more often…

I’VE DONE THE SAME THING WITH A NOTECARD AND A STRATEGY I’M TRYING TO WORK ON…LESS OBVIOUS FOR THE KIDS BUT A GOOD REMINDER FOR ME TO FOCUS…

The Thinking Cube – Questions on each side, why or why not, where will I use this…etc…students have started calling it The Cube of Death.

Code: XF3

 

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