Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too much candy?

The kids were a little hopped up on an entire day of sugar last Friday. It took a lot more effort for me to keep them focused on their work. They had a substitute so we had a review worksheet the kids had to get through. Adding and subtracting decimals and then comparing decimals ( < , > , = ) that sort of busy work. I managed to convince them that the comparing decimals side was much easier, and they whipped through it. The other side was a lot more tedious and boring for them. I got a lot of "can I go get a drink?" and "can I go sharpen my pencil/can I go get another pencil?" today. I put up with it and let them go as needed, but compromised with their work.

One of my girls is extremely studious and finished the worksheet by herself before the other kids had a chance to finish just one side. One of my other students is a very sharp student but had a lot of trouble focusing today, so I bargained with her. She could finish the rest of the addition problems if she could make up a fraction of what she had finished. At first she balked and said that was too hard. Fortunately for me, I pushed her a little more and worked through it with her. We talked about numerators and denominators and came up with a reduced fraction representing the addition problems she wanted to do. I also used this trick with the boys on Friday because neither one was very intent on finishing a review worksheet.

In summation, it was tough to keep all four students focused on their work, but I managed to trick them into doing "less work" with a challenge question that actually required more work than simple addition and subtraction.


Steven's third installment of his math column discusses negative numbers.


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