Monday, January 22, 2007

I think I'm gonna be tired for awhile

The test seems long over...but I guess it was just last week? Gah.

You know how I have a high-level class (by which I mean that they're on grade level and they work hard), and two low-level classes? And how the low level classes are chattier?

Well, apparently that gets magnified, doubled, whatever, after the test.

Today we began our new unit. I used a great media literacy workbook to create today's introductory lesson. Here's what we did:

1. You have a message you need to get to one person. In groups, brainstorm a list of all the ways you can communicate a message to that person.

2. Share: Things like email, call, pass a note, text message, message in a bottle, etc. Many groups knew about carrier pigeons! I was very surprised. Although later I realized that Harry Potter uses that basic concept. Never mind.

3. Now you want to reach a group of people, say, between ten and one hundred people. In groups, brainstorm a list to reach that small group.

4. Share: posters, flyers, loudspeaker, etc.

5. Let's expand the number of people to up to a few thousand. New list, with group.

6. Share: blimp, local paper, billboards, etc.

7. Now, let's get that message to as many people as possible--like millions of them. Brainstorm new list with group.

8. Share: tv, newspaper, magazines, music, internet, blah.

9. Blah blah, this is mass media!

There was supposed to be a bit more, but my last two classes didn't have time to finish even that amount.

Notice that every few minutes, they had a chance to talk in groups. Notice that they STILL didn't have time to finish, because they were TALKING and making NOISE when it was time to be quiet so we could share. GAH.

I tried to tell myself that it could be so much worse. The noise that bothers me wouldn't bother most teachers. Most of the noise was coming from students who meant well, sort of; they were just calling out. But there was also noise that were boys talking to each other or just literally making noise. And there were too many kids talking. And that bugs me. And I had to keep stopping and waiting and doing the quiet signal. And then it kept being noisy. And then when I took off class points and table points, they LAUGHED. Laughed! Can you believe the nerve? Assholes!

I really wanted to make this unit fun and very group involved, so that they could get out their energy but still be able to focus, when it's time to focus.

But if they can't do that, that makes me want to take it all away. It also makes me want to put the desks in rows and eliminate the group aspect altogether.

GAH! I don't want to give up, but I don't want to put up with this for the next five months. What if it gets worse?! Ack!


Ms. H said...

Damn. The parallels continue.

My Ninjas can do group work reasonably well -- they are doing small projects this week -- but the Pricklies go insane with petty bickering. I absolutely crave desks in rows on the bad days. Do you have actual desks that you could put in rows if you wanted to? (We don't...just tables...) Would it help to rearrange them after school one day, so the kids could get a taste of not-fun lessons the next day? Do you think that would make them any more appreciative?

And you gotta love when "high-level" really means on grade level. It's the same way here. We have SP classes, but they tend to be special in name only -- they pale in comparison to other schools'.

Girlfriend was reading your blog the other day, and she commented "Hey! She kinda sounds like you!" I thought that was a nice compliment (to me!).

Ms M. said...

Just read this after reading/responding to your comment, perhaps it's something in the water...I also sometimes wish I had desks instead of tables. I do have 3 single 'naughty desks' but considering I have about 10 naughty kids, well, it's just not working out so well at the moment.

I sympathize and I also hate it when they laugh at the punishments...grrr!