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! 

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