Crisis of Conscience

Here I am again teaching math. I was told to teach the EngageNY curriculum. This is about 180 days of lessons and tests. I thought maybe it would be nice to present the material to the students in two ways, in the lecture format and online through Khan Academy.

My team teacher wants us to be within a lesson or two of each other on a daily basis.

Right now I’m trying to teach half the class two lessons at a time and let the other half of the class to do the Khan videos. The next day we switch. I also post the teacher and student versions of the daily lessons on Google Classroom.

It’s not really working. One 50 minute class is just a bit too short to race through two lessons and not every kid actually can be trusted to actually watch and do the work in the Khan Academy lessons.

When students are working independently with Khana, they tend to skip the videos and guess at the questions or play music in the background and not pay attention.

When students are working with me on the packets we are going too fast. They don’t have enough time to stop and think. We can’t spend five minutes ruminating on a problem and discussing different ideas or explore wrong answers. Don’t even get me started on the exit slips, there is barely enough time to get to those.

I hope that perhaps we might get better at this with practice. What I want is the students to be in the room and starting to go right away. I’ve started the eternal rewards for that. If you are in class and working when the bell rings you get a stone in the jar. Fill the jar and we have a party.

I feel, I hope, that if we start right away and get into a groove we can finish the two lessons and still have time to work on the exit slips. I’m also going to change the Khan Academy and assign the same two lessons each day and expect them to get done.

Then the only question is when do we have time for homework? Should students do it at home? Research says that doesn’t help, but then other research says with students who are behind it does help. We certainly don’t have time to do it in class. At the moment my solution is to post the answers on Google Classroom and just give credit for when it is done. The problem is still about 40% of my students still aren’t doing it.

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