Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Susan Don't Tell Me Your Lies!

20 minutes ago, a student in my class named Susan (not her real name) told me she was stupid and that's why she couldn't do math, but that it didn't matter. Holy cow - I told her that she lied to me and herself 2x in the same sentence.

1.) I don't believe she is stupid (but I do believe she finds math hard)

2.) It does matter if she doesn't do well at math.

Currently students are creating their own designs for the school that will eventually replace this school here at Moody Middle in 2014. We discussed it in class, then on a discussion forum, and now we are taking these ideas and using them in sketchup. Susan was having trouble coming up with a concrete idea that she could create, and I think she was close to giving up and just looking for a way to go and talk to her friends out of my line of sight. Unfortunately for her, there is no such place in my room.

I asked Susan what she was doing in Math right now. She told me she is learning about integers. She finds her math class distracting because her friends are talking about other stuff around her. She also told me that she only understands some of what the teacher says, but none of what she reads in textbooks.

I showed her this video:

I then said if the front of her "futuristic" desk had a computer screen in it, and all the instructors lessons were on youtube, and her desk had privacy screens on the sides, then she could watch the videos, pause them, do one step at a time, and review them as many times as she would like.

Susan asked if you don't have to practice math to get good at it. I asked her if you could practice something when you don't understand it. If the lessons were on youtube, she could watch it at home, and practice it there. She would be getting some support at home. She said that these ideas made sense to her, and that she would be more likely to learn math skills, and to do her homework.

I wonder if she would go home today, and watch a youtube video on math? This week?

Stay tuned.


Rodd Lucier said...

We're getting more and more students with 'elsewhere-focused' attention. I have found myself sending more and more students for free tutoring via http://khanacademy.com, but I fear Facebook and YouTube are winning the battle for attention at home.

James Gill said...

True that, Rod. I pointed to the YouTube video as it is free, it is a familiar place, and shifts the attention from youtube as a source of entertainment to a teaching and learning tool. I would like to see Susan use streaming video of a lesson to feel she can control the pace of her learning, and take it home with her too. However, I will definitely check out the link you recommended.