Monday, August 26, 2019

How will I ever be able to teach this group of kids?

 29 new sixth graders- cute, innocent, intense, active and some do not like school! About 1/3 of my class has social, emotional and extreme academic needs. After my first math lesson, during recess I sat with my hands on my head, repeating to myself, "How do I teach Math and ELA to this group?". There are SO different than last year's sixth graders. 

The inner voice said, "You teach the student not the subject." Every problem has an opportunity. I told myself, "This is a good problem to have." 

The next day I was going to teach them about the types of polygons. I had to make it super engaging or else I would lose a lot of kids, who think this teacher is kind of different. Simply because, I started the year saying,"Students it is okay to fail, make mistakes and I don't care about your spelling mistakes." I heard one kid yell, "yes!"  So here is my lesson to meet the needs of this unique group of students.

 I was talking to the kids about different types of cars, but the kids were confused. Wait, it is supposed to be a polygon lesson, why are we talking about cars? They got hooked and all of them wanted to tell me their favorite type of car. So how are they different? We nailed it down to what I wanted to hear- shapes, sides. We did go off a little bit, talking about someone's mom's favorite car or another kid's dream car and oh the vintage cars!

I had tangrams with me and asked them to spot the difference. They said they have a different number of sides. I told them once they learn different kinds of polygons, they will be playing a game and going on a scavenger hunt. You should have seen the engagement level especially in that kid who clearly told me, she hates math and everything else about school. She actually started writing and looking at me intently! The keyword is GAMES! I introduced the list of polygons by asking them to come up with the definition by what they saw unique about the shape. They took notes, I must add they did it very diligently  😀

I took out the white bag out from my secret spot. One of them said, " she has a bag, I wonder what is in it." I feel sometimes teachers have to be magicians. 🧙🏽‍♀️ I presented a bag of shapes, polygon names, visuals. It is sorting games, look at the picture and match it to the names of the polygons.

 Then we went out looking for hexagon, octagons, heptagon, quadrilateral. They were drawing, walking in nature, talking to each other, engaged and learning. This made my heart so happy! Sometimes I feel jealous of them, I wish when I was growing up, I was in a class like this. For a longtime, I felt dumb in my math class.  The question I ask myself if I would be a kid in my own class. If the answer is no, I will change my lesson plan!

The next day, the lesson was about teaching different types of angles. I did a kinesthetic activity of acting out what does an acute, obtuse and right angle look like. I asked them to take out their phones. They were shocked. 
Johny (pseudo name) said, "Mrs.Sethi are you sure you said to take out our phones." 
I said, "Yes now go around the campus find all the three angles, come back present to the class!"
All of them were in awe! 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Play-Doh and Parts of Speech Activity

Looking for a fun and simple way to kick start the school year, let your kids play with PLAY-DOH!!

Don't worry you can still structure it using this slide deck that describes the activity. I was inspired to use Play-Doh in my middle school ELA class after reading the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and Quinn Rollins's blog. I integrated ELA standards into this activity and build game like anticipation by using a dice and prompt choices on a slide deck. 

Game Objective- To get to know your student, build classroom community and to (stealthy) review parts of speech all on first day of school! It is a surprise hope none of my students read this blog post :-)
Click here for your copy of  Play-Doh Parts of Speech slide deck.

The idea is to keep it fast paced that will keep the excitement and engagement so give them only 3 minutes. Total each students will be sculpting six times using the prompts on this slide deck. I don't want them to just throw their creations, so students will use devices to take pictures. I got play-doh from WalmartAmazon and Michaels with coupons are great place to buy reasonable price play-doh especially before the school starts.

Noun- Sculpt a thing that you cannot live without

At the very end of this activity, I have students complete this sentence frame :

This year I will like to get better at ____blank 1   by doing this ____blank 2  .  They will first sculpt their idea for blank 1and blank 2, then draw and write the sentence on a 5 x5 card. I will collect the cards.

Please let me know how it went for your class. Please leave me a comment and feedback on how to improve this activity.