Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lets do homework!

And now for something completely different: mini break from Math Awareness Month for an update on my tutoring sessions yesterday. Don't worry, I'll put up today's MAM post later.

I worked with some of my fourth graders yesterday. There was another sub in the classroom, but this sub had things much more under control. He put free time on the table and asked for suggestions, but since the kids couldn't settle down he handed out homework and made them work quietly for a few minutes before they got free time.

I was one of those kids in school who liked to do as much of my homework as possible so I could go home and chill or do whatever. My two boys decided they would rather finish up as much as they could instead of play Uno with the rest of the class. One of the boys told me about his new BMX bike and how excited he was to go riding after school. I teased him and asked about the rain outside and how he could bike while holding an umbrella. They were so into their work, it was awesome! I reviewed long division with them to convert fractions into decimals. They picked it up really quickly, but when we tried it again (which they suggested for another problem) I feigned ignorance.

This is roughly the conversation we had:
Student - "Let's do division to get the fraction."
Me - "How do we get started? I don't know how to do it."
"What? Did you forget it? You just did it! I don't know how to do it!"
"Okok I can help you guys out..."
*teasing noise mehhhh~* "I thought you didn't know how to do it..."

I loled and we finished up with the math section of homework.

I had misjudged my other student. He has troubles focusing in the large classroom format and forgets to follow good student behaviors, but he was the one who mentioned he wanted to work with me and reminded the substitute. I was surprised when he focused through the math and almost quit halfway through. Positive peer pressure (or leadership as I've recently learned) from my other student "Lets get it done so we don't have homework!" and they started up on their reading comprehension handout.

They had to read through a passage and answer questions about roly polies. I was amazed at their writing skills. They rephrased the question "because you can't start a sentence with because" before answering and even underlined their evidence for their answers! They read it out loud, taking turns, and even asked me to read a section for them. I was just blown away at these two. My less focused student was really into the writing section, he took his time writing everything out and he really understood the passage.

It's unfortunate that when we're working with one student on one subject that we miss out on their other strengths. It's days like that when I wish I was a full time teacher, so I could have much more time with these students to see their full potential.



  1. Yes! negative peer pressure = bullying. positive peer pressure = leadership. it's almost like a math equation.

  2. I like it! Positive peer pressure > 0 > negative peer pressure :P