Friday, March 19, 2010

Tricky students

Today's volunteer sessions went pretty much the same as usual. My 5th graders worked on division problems. It was asking two ways to divide and I was stumped to help them with their worksheets. The long division or the standard algorithm we got through very quickly. The second way to solve a division problem, we used partial sums to get back to the answer. If anyone has any other solutions for division problems please let me know!

The last part of working with the 5th graders was a pop quiz division question that the students were supposed to do by themselves. I asked the kids to spread out and work on the problems. Two of my students whipped through the problem and two had a very hard time focusing. Once I asked one of the slower students to move, he finished the problem by himself pretty quickly. I think he has trouble focusing when others are distracting him. My last student sat for a long time and didn't work on her problem. When I asked her what's up, she told me "I'm thinking" which is code for "I don't know what I'm doing." She then made up excuses that the other kids knew what they were doing, and that she forgot everything, but when I nudged her and sat down next to her, she got it done. I sometimes wonder if she needs extra attention to be able to work. I know she knows her math, but she doesn't think so and gets distracted, then she distracts the other students.

My 3rd grade students were working on line graphs of different cities and their monthly temperatures. Ms. Ph later commented that the line graphs were too complex to start with, and the workbook has much simpler graphs after this first one. The three students I was working with were a bit behind on their workbooks so I was trying to help them get through the last few pages. A student aid told me not to help one of the students and I got confused - I was there to help that specific student. The student aid later told me that some of the students are tricky and want you to give them the answer instead of making them work for their own answers.

I didn't want to let her know that I already know this trick, and since I started tutoring last year, I haven't given away answers. I've gotten tutor training that has trained me to stop doing the work for the students and leading them towards the right answer by asking follow up questions that get the students to reread the question, firmly understand what the question is asking, and then figuring out how to get the answer.

Please disregard this line graph, it's a joke.

Haha! I'm smarter than 3rd and 5th graders and won't fall for their tricks. I still have to reward/bribe my 5th graders because I owe them from a few weeks back...More updates next week, have a great weekend!


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