Thursday, February 19, 2009

Put Your Hands in the Air and Wave Them Like You Just Don't Care

My kids don't know how to raise their hands. At first I thought this was a cultural thing. But now I am wondering if it's just that no one ever taught them.

Today I handed out the assignment sheet to my Year 12s. I discovered rather quickly that I had not made enough copies. I asked all the students who did not have the assignment sheet to raise their hands. I got like two hands. I knew it was more than that. I tried again. I got like three hands (and not the same two hands as before). I had to resort to pointing and individual students and asking if they had an assignment sheet. No? Why didn't you raise your hand?

I finally managed to get a large group of kids in the middle of the room to raise their hands (I had started passing them out from either side), but smack in the middle of the kids with their hands up was a kid with his hand down. How in the heck could he have a sheet and no one around him have one? 

So I asked him directly, "Do you have the assignment sheet." 
"Yes," he insisted.
"Show me," I demanded.

Then he looked around sheepishly and pulled out his backpack and started to rummage through it. I had literally handed these sheets out 1 minute ago, how could he have gotten one and lost it in his bag?

So he finally admits he doesn't have one. Then why doesn't he have his hand up?

During this exchange, I lost the hands of the other kids. So I had to get them to raise them again. 

Then I tell them that I am counting them so I can make extra copies. I point to the first kid and say one, I point to the second kid and say two. Before I can make it to kid three all the hands start going down.

"I am counting you! Keep your hands up! How am I supposed to know how many copies to make?"

I get maybe, most of the hands as before. I count. I round up an extra two or three, just in case. I go make copies. I return. I distribute the copies until they are all gone.....and I still have kids coming up to me and telling me they didn't get an assignment sheet! 


I think tomorrow if we have time we will have a lesson on how to raise our hands. Of course we won't have time. But it is a nice thought.

— Sara

PS. Today one of my Year 13 students found me in the lab during a free period. He had a math brain teaser. Could I help him? It was a series of math problems where all the numbers had been replaced with wingding symbols. You know a check mark, a mailbox, a heart, a hand with a pen, things like that. Each symbol represented one number 0-9. You know, like a code. You were supposed to figure out what symbol was what number. At first, this thing totally blew my mind and I was stumped. We sat there for like 15 minutes trying all sorts of things that weren't working out. But eventually, I was able to look at it logically. In one of the problems - Y a. So the heart had to be 0. That is the only way to subtract and still have the same number. Once we got that one, things started to fall in to place and in about 20 minutes we had it all sorted. It was pretty awesome.

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