Buzz Teaching

What She Wore: red, short-sleeve, v-neck tee with cap sleeves; blue jean shorts; red flip flops.  Shorts on a pregnant lady?  I looked like freakin’ Daisy Mae, but we were barbequeing and I was too hot to have any pride. 


Today’s topic may be a bit too technical for some people–I’d like to apologize in advance for that.  Even if you don’t get the math concepts I discuss, hopefully the point of the story is still there.
 
Once the big tests are gone, we slow down the year, and begin teaching the kids some things that we know they’ll need in eighth grade.  We take advantage of the fact that we’ve got a lot of time to cover something, and the big test is a year away. 
 
Usually, we devote this time to teaching slope of a line.  Here, in seventh grade, we’re leading them towards some unknown territory. 
 
First, we remind them how to graph points on a coordinate grid.
 
Then we talk about what the slope of the line looks like–without numbers.
 
Then we start counting rise/run between two points.
 
FINALLY, after almost two week of this, we’ll teach them the formula for slope.
 
Unless you’re a technical person, I think this formula looks pretty intimidating.  For seventh graders, it looks like Greek. 
 
 
I had a new idea this week, though.  While the students were counting rise/run I taught one student the formula–only I didn’t call it a formula–I called it a "trick."  He looked at me in amazement and said, "does it work every time?"  Without realizing it, he was doing higher level math than his peers.  Soon kids were whispering about the trick, and I showed a few more, but I was careful not to show everyone.  I told the other teacher in the room, and he wanted to go ahead and show them early, but I said "no."  I wanted it to keep its mystique. 
 
Pretty soon all the kids had heard about the "trick" and were eager to learn it.  Viola!  Teaching the icky formula was a breeze because they all wanted to know it.  
 
I call it buzz teaching.
 
I hope everyone’s weekend was as wonderful as mine.
 
KM 
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About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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15 Responses to Buzz Teaching

  1. Leighann says:

    Good job KM!  Gee, sounds like teaching by a rumor?  heheh  I loved your last post.  One of my girlfriends just got done telling me her neice needed to have her panties tested at labor/deliver to make sure it was amniotic fluid and not urine.  And don\’t forget…regular clothes have parts that get stuck in the toilet too!  I hate shirts or dresses with ties.  Oh, and let\’s not talk about the bathrobe. 

  2. BP says:

    That\’s what I call teaching.  Making teaching interesting is the key and it seems as if you had struck gold with this idea. 
    I mentioned your entry regarding the lap dance in my van and my niece, who is entering the eighth grade next year, was sitting in the backseat. She pipes up and says, "sounds like that child than watching too much \’My Name Is Earl.\’" I then asked her if she knew what a lap dance was and thankfully she didn\’t. However, now I do remember a comment I wrongly made about the way someone was pressed on television and her response. It went something like this, "Man, she\’s dressed like a pole dancer." "Unccccle Billy! That\’s just so wrong." She retorted. "Oh yeah, what is a pole dancer?" I indignantly inquired. "A stripper." She matter-of-factly informed me. Imagine the shock on my face. I know she didn\’t get it from me.  My niece and nephew are normally saying, "I don\’t get it!"
    Billy

  3. Antonella says:

    It\’s all in the wording! I hated learning slopes in school!! Good for you making it more fun for the kids!
    Antonella

  4. Ami says:

    I think you\’re on to something! I believe one of the most difficult parts of teaching anyone anything is making it interesting to your "students," whomever they might be. Creating a buzz sounds like the perfect way to get a class jumping for more knowledge. You "tricked" them into WANTING to learn without them even realizing it. Perfect! Too bad it\’s unrealistic to use this technique every day!

  5. Ami says:

    I think you\’re on to something! I believe one of the most difficult parts of teaching anyone anything is making it interesting to your "students," whomever they might be. Creating a buzz sounds like the perfect way to get a class jumping for more knowledge. You "tricked" them into WANTING to learn without them even realizing it. Perfect! Too bad it\’s unrealistic to use this technique every day!

  6. Becca says:

    Great way of teaching! I wish that there were more teachers like you!

  7. Betsy says:

    You\’re so tricky!  And an awesome teacher 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    Awesome idea!! See? This is why you make such an amazing teacher, you can come up with ways kids will want to learn something that\’s a little difficult. When is your school year done?

  9. Nora says:

    Funny, but after your post about the lap dance, I can\’t help but wonder what some of the kids thought you were teaching.  Yes that is my mind rolling off in the gutter.  Sorry.  Great strategy by the way!

  10. Stacy says:

    What a cool concept!  I\’ll have to try that "trick" with my kids next time I want them to do something.
     
    -S.

  11. Jaysey says:

    What a clever idea–wonder if I can pull off something similar with my college-level writing students…hmmm…

  12. Unknown says:

    Great idea!  Kids love to learn something that\’s "secret".  Gets \’em every single time.I\’m doing another giveaway at my blog – come check it out!God bless 🙂

  13. Aimee says:

    wish i wuld have had a cool teacher like you…maybe i would be better at Math…
    :o) smiles are free and contagious…so pass one right now to the people you love and those you don\’t…soon everyone will be smiling… :o)

  14. Sheryl-Ann says:

    Hi KM, Great job with the \’trick\’ thingy……..I am convinced that students just have a mental block towards Math so those tricks do help a lot.  Cool!  Hope you, the hub and the baby are all okay.

  15. Gina says:

    I probably could have benefited from some buzz teaching in math.

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