Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Regime Reinstated

The Regime of Terror is back! It reappeared in my lesson plans today in the form of a simple, 15-point quiz. Who knew a half sheet of paper could inspire such a cacophony of whining, moaning, bitching, groaning, and finally... sweet, blessed, bitter and glare-filled silence.

The details of the quiz: last week with the 7th and 8th grades, I introduced 16 new words to describe people. Some were easier - amusing, loyal, dominant - and some were more difficult - meticulous, indecisive, vain. I said to each class that we would have a small quiz. So I marched into 7a (one of my favorite classes) at 7:30 this morning and passed out the quiz. They took it with only one or two small sighs (as I said, one of my favorite classes), and although they made me promise that I would grade them easy, they all did really well.

My 8a(Wed) class was the complete opposite. The class started as it normally does: the bell rings, they continue talking. I take stock of who’s there and start the lesson. They continue talking. Two or three students try to listen. I whip out the quiz and, in order to be heard over them yell the single word, “Test!” A collective gr/moan goes up, almost as loud as my shout. I laid down the only rule: no talking. Had I been thinking, I would have also said, no using your notebooks or dictionaries. I had to take two away. The highlight of my day was Tami trying to tell me that he needed his back, because he was going to study English tonight. He couldn’t even hold a straight face. Anyway, with much sulking and shooting me nasty looks, they took the quiz. I haven’t graded them yet, but I have a gleeful suspicion that there will be many 2s and 3s.

I’m excited to give the quiz tomorrow in my other 7th and 8th grades. And to see if next week they’ll actually study the words I give them. I bet it takes two or three cycles before some of them catch on.

Other good ideas this week include Around the World with several levels, and drawing “monster animals” with 4th and 5th graders: they have to pick at random two of my animal cards, then draw them combined as one animal. My favorites were a ducksnake and a squirrelbird.

1 comment:

indiana said...

Have I told you about behavior analysis? Ask yourself what a behavior is doing for your students, and then see if you can get them that in some other way. Also, think quid pro quo--trade what you want (learning) for what they want and try to get closer to what they actually want framed in the positive, not negative. So, not they don't want to fail, but they want time to socialize with their friends. Then see if you can get them to do some of it in english. I'm no teacher (thankfully) but that's my naieve response to your regime.