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Month: January 2008

Thursday, Jan 31: Current Events & Article

Thursday, Jan 31: Current Events & Article

American Cultures:

Today in American Cultures we busted out the “Week” magazines and read an article on the current possibilities for a recession. The students answered questions that went along with the two articles. The questions are located on page 8 of the chapter 15 packet. Students seemed to have very little idea about economic concepts such as the value of the dollar and inflation. So much of our discussion time at the end of the lesson was taken up by me explaining this terminology.

We looked at the current stimulus package going through Congress and discussed the merit of giving tax rebates. Many students liked the idea of people getting their money back but didn’t really connect this with the need for more consumer spending. So it was good that I could make that connection for them through a brief lecture.

As with most of these current events days, it would be nice to have even more time to cover the material. When I have my own classroom I will incorporate a current events day once per week. I’ll make sure that the current event relates to whatever social topic that we are covering.

Navigating:

Today in Navigating, I picked up teaching the 4th period class as well. I had been teaching it quite often already and it seemed pretty natural to have picked it up. We discussed car insurance and then read an article on it. The students were supposed to read quietly and take notes. A quiz about the reading was assigned for Wednesday. We’ll see how they do on that. 7th period read and took notes just fine. But 4th has some disruptive characters in the cast. I told them at first that I would discuss the article with them at the end of class so that they would know what would be on the quiz. But I figured that that would have only rewarded the students who had not taken notes. So I publicly announced that I would not discuss the article with them and that this was the punishment for the students who did not take notes. That made things a bit awkward, but oh well. The students who took notes didn’t mind.

Wednesday, Jan 30: School Canceled

Wednesday, Jan 30: School Canceled

I have been sick so this was a blessing in disguise. I don’t get any sick days as a student teacher. At first, it was just a two hour delay because of the cold. But then Baldwin couldn’t get electricity to part of their building. So school was canceled. I took naps and tried to catch up on work.

Tuesday, Jan. 29: 15-1 and DeVry University

Tuesday, Jan. 29: 15-1 and DeVry University

American Cultures: Today’s class followed section 1 of the Holt American Nation textbook and section 1 of the “I am the Historian” packet that I created.

Lesson Plan: Stock market crash Section 15-1

This section starts on page four and ends on page six. I had instructed the students earlier that they should refer to the calendar (on page 2) for when things are due. I had told them that section 1 was due today, but a good 80% of them had not done it. I planned for this ahead of time by creating a reaction essay question at the end of each section. I had the students try to answer the question of “What caused the Great Depression?” While they sat quietly — semi-quietly at times — I went around the room and rewarded each student who had done their homework with three bonus points. I then told them that this was their gimme, next time I am stamping it with a rubber stamp. Those who have it done get 10 points; those who don’t will get 5 if they fill it in later. The students seemed to understand. Mr. Geisler seemed not to appreciate this method. He instructed me to either give credit or not. I replied that next time that is what I’m doing and that this time I expected this.

I continued with the lesson by going over the answers to the packet. Throughout the lesson, I related current events such as the Nintendo Wii, Hannah Montana Tickets, the Super Bowl and the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” See lesson for more details.

Navigating: We had a guest speaker from DeVry University come in. Since Navigating is a careers based class these school representatives often come in. It seems as though the kids are getting tired of them though. Many students did not listen or filled out false info on the information cards that were passed out. Who can blame them.

Monday Jan. 28: Taking it up a notch

Monday Jan. 28: Taking it up a notch

It’s the start of the new nine weeks. So today I’ll be officially in charge of all three of Mr. Geisler’s American Cultures classes and also easing in with one — 7th period — of Navigating. In about a week or two I’ll be taking on the other section of Navigating and holding strong with five classes until April 4; the end of the nine weeks. I taught these lessons today…

American Cultures: I created a new packet — “I am the Historian”, chapter 15. I went over new rules about this packet. Such as the loss of 10 points — the packet is out of 50 — if the student loses it and I have to give him or her a new one. There is also a calendar included which shows students the specific days on which quizzes will be taken and assignments will be due. This is an effort to combat the excuses I often get such as, “I can’t take the quiz today because I was absent yesterday… I didn’t know about it.” We then played a game — on page 4 — that simulated the stock market crash of 1929.

Margin buying game lesson plan. (follows page 4 of packet)

I told the students that they were all investors in my company “Wraymerica Inc.” we manufacture a product called “Awesomeness” that is selling like hotcakes. We went through ten rounds of play as students bought more stock. They were allowed to cash out and sell their stock only once during the game. “Awesomeness” went way way up in price for most of the game while students were purchasing all of their new stock on loan from the bank (Margin buying), which allowed a certain amount of borrowing each round. Each round, students kept making more and wanting more, but getting further into debt. It looked to them like they were going to make a lot of play money on this. But once the market crashed they found themselves deeply in debt. This demonstrated to them the notion of margin buying. The game went really well 2nd and 6th period but not so much 3rd. I goofed with the numbers during third and some students ended up with +$750 rather than -$750. Oh well. Live and learn.

Navigating: After introducing myself and explaining that I’ll be their teacher until April, I followed Mr. Deemer’s lesson plan and I passed out a note card to each student. On the note card the students were to write questions that they have about cars. I polled the class quickly to get some common responses and answered them informally. Some students asked about insurance, others about inspection and others about things as strange as lift kits. I think I will use one question per day as a sort of anticipatory set, a “showcase” question that I have some good information on. After the questions and discussion, I passed out a reading from the consumer skills book on new car buying. It detailed invoice price, gap insurance, the margin, winter time car sales, etc. The students took notes and I discussed it shortly with them until the end of class.

Wednesday, Jan. 9 – Tuesday Jan. 15: Midterm Reviews

Wednesday, Jan. 9 – Tuesday Jan. 15: Midterm Reviews

Baldwin holds each subject’s midterms on a set day so that students will not be overburdened with two subjects worth of midterms on one day. It seems that teachers like to review quite a bit for these midterms.

In American Cultures, Mr. Geisler reviewed by giving the students practice tests on chapters 4,7,10,11 and 12 from the 9th till the 15th. This definitely helped the students — since the practice tests are composed of the same exact test bank questions as the real test. But I could tell that by the end of this time students were tired of taking practice tests. The way one of these classes would run is as follows: Students would complete practice test on a separate sheet of paper and we would grade them and go over them. I handled all three classes’ review for most of this period. On the last day, I created a study guide for them, which I strongly encouraged some borderline students to complete. I created the study guide with the test in mind. I had seen it and listed the concepts which were on the test. Still, on test day, many students did not complete this study guide. The test consisted of 60 multiple choice questions with 15 matching at the end. The average score on this test was somewhere around 68%.

For Navigating, we reviewed much less. The review consisted of a game where the class was broken up into teams and given questions with short one or two word answers. The teams deliberated on the answers and then a team member per team was selected at random by Mr. Deemer to go to the board with the chalk in the tray and at the mark write the answer on the board as fast as possible. The winner of the showdown would be able to shoot a basket — using a tapeball — into the trash can. The kids loved this game and I think it really helped them review. I’m going to use this in AC next chapter. The Nav midterm consisted of 5 essays where the students could pick two to complete. I think the average score on this was a somewhere around a high C.

Tues, Jan 8: 13-2 Quiz & Review

Tues, Jan 8: 13-2 Quiz & Review

The 13-2 Quiz consisted of 10 multiple choice questions. This is how a quiz in this class happens: The kids answer the questions — using their notes — on a separate sheet of paper and then red pens are passed out so that the students can grade the quizzes themselves. The students are then told to multiply the grade that they received by a common multiplier. Usually 3 so that the quizzes are out of 30 points total. Mr. Geisler then usually has me enter the quiz grades into the pinnacle grade book server and that’s that. I hope to change this system just slightly when I have all of the classes. More on that to come.

After the quiz, we went over chapter 13 section 2. Since Mr. Geisler had been out the day before, I handled all three of the AC classes.

What has become difficult, however, is that there are some students who are absent and come in the next day — the day of a quiz perhaps — and say that they can’t take the quiz because they didn’t know about it. I think I’ll include a calendar in the next packet so that students will have no excuse. Makeups are a pain. Might as well minimize the pain as much as possible or else try to avoid the pain altogether.

In Nav Mr. Deemer taught an interesting magazine-pictionary game which I will adapt at some point in other classes. It was awesome! On several large sheets of paper were scenes from magazines such as a bank with a water cooler with lock representing a savings account because it is liquid and safe. Other sheets had a security guard with a flag and a crossed out rushing stream. Safe, government and not liquid = U.S. Savings bond. This technique was enviable. The kids loved it. I’ll have to do something like this in AC later on.

Monday, Jan. 7: All alone…

Monday, Jan. 7: All alone…

Today both of my cooperating teachers were sick. I handled 5 classes. Which seemed like a lot for so early on. Feet to the fire as they say. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
In American Cultures — Where Mr. Chmiel was the substitute — I taught and we covered section 2 of chapter 13 by splitting the class up into 6 groups, having each group take one bold heading section and explain it to the rest of the class. This was a bit disorganized but I learned from my mistakes. Afterward, I went over the concept map located in the packet. And told them that there will be a quiz tomorrow.

In Nav — Where Mr. Hall was covering — I taught by handing out a reading on investments. The students read and took notes for about 20 minutes. Then I conducted a short discussion highlighting the main points of the reading. Margin, liquidity, dividend, interest etc. Norma — the paraprofessional in the room — and Mr. Hall said I did a great job.

For 7th period Nav I brought in Mr. Chmiel — who had worked as an investment broker for numerous years — to be a guest speaker. Good times.

Friday, Jan. 4: Quiz and Chapter 13 section 1 of packet

Friday, Jan. 4: Quiz and Chapter 13 section 1 of packet

Today we quizzed on chapter 13 section 1: my second period using the packet and Mr. Geisler’s 3rd and 6th using their notes. Mr. Geisler instructed me to not allow my students use the packet I had made during the quiz as his students do with their notes. This miscommunication did not sit well with the second period class, who have been used to relying on their notes. They were under the impression that the packet would be all that they would need.  Sadly, I was under that impression too. Many of my 2nd period students had not taken notes hoping that the packet would be fair game for the quiz, but unfortunately, this was not so.

To combat this, I decided to conduct a quick review of chapter 13 section 1 so that the students who pay attention and are concerned for their grades would be able to at least pass without their notes. The students loved this, of course, other people not so much.

After the quiz, I went over chapter 13 section 1. It went really well. The directed questions allowed for participation from people who don’t typically participate and I feel like the students were able to take an inventory of the pertinent information. I assigned chapter 13 section 2 for Monday.
The real problem is that we are still going to be using the quizzes designed
by Holt and Winston. I dislike the format of these quizzes: multiple choice and true/false with very little subjective content. So for the time being, I’ll have to adapt my lessons to include the exact material included in these quizzes rather than the information that I’ve picked out and put in the packet. Problems like this are interesting and unexpected, mainly because of lack of clear communication between myself and others. I’m sure things will continue to flush out as they happen.

In Nav today I observed Mr. Deemer teaching a fun lesson using dice to simulate the risky nature of some investments. Safe investments such as savings accounts were rolled much more often than risky investments like commodities. The students chose which investments to put $400 of play money into beforehand. Good times. I can’t wait to teach this class.

Thursday, Jan. 3: Movie & Investments

Thursday, Jan. 3: Movie & Investments

In American Cultures today we began to watch a movie–Fat Man & Little Boy–about the Manhattan Project of WWII. It appears that we will do this sporadically throughout the preceding chapters of the 1920s, the depression and the new deal. I could see this causing a headache for me later on when I take on all of the classes. I would rather save this movie for the chapter on WWII. But the whole course is not mine yet.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Geisler’s neighbor worked on the Manhattan project and might come in as a guest speaker this year. That would rock!

In Nav, Mr. Deemer detailed several different types of investments. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds etc. I observed. I seem to get along quite well with his 7th period class. I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking up their class first.