In the Lou

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 03 2008

Funny on an unfunny day

We were playing the pyramid game, which is essentially like the $30,000 Pyramid tv show, to review vocabulary from the last lesson which was part of their homework. Unfortunately, my students were woefully unprepared for the task. This of course was extremely frustrating as we prepare for another crash-and-burn quiz experience later this week.

I do hand it to two girls today who were at least trying their hardest to get the words even though they had no idea of the definition. In trying to describe sublimation, the first girl says to the other, “You know those $5 footlongs? It’s the first half of the word where you get them from.” Similarly, when they switched and the other girl had no idea how to explain condensation, the other girl says to the first, “It’s like that soup. Like condensed soup. The first part of that word.” At this point, I just burst out laughing.

On one level this was certainly humorous, but on another, I’m laughing more in the frustrated sense that this is where my students are 12 weeks into school. Why is the material not getting through to them? I think they think that what we’re doing really is just fun and games. Maybe it’s time to pull back on the fun and crank up the old-style fill-and-drill methods.

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    a Teach for America science teacher in St. Louis

    St. Louis
    Middle School

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