I have been worried that my students didn’t “get it.” I set up work, I help students with work,but I have refused to go through the pretense of “making them work.” I can’t make people learn. I can’t make them want to learn. I can’t fight the social decision to not learn so that kids fit in. Sorry. I just want people to have a go. Just try.
So here we are at the last quarter. Kids came in, asked, “Is this the same as the last three quarters?” Yes, the projects are on the web site. There are puzzles to do, there are reports to write ( I included math games as well as the book reports, I am amassing quite an array of math games that kids like, all of which involve gore and violence), and there is a warmup every day (thanks to mathmistakes.org).
And most kids got on with it. The first day back after break, kids who didn’t feel like deep thinking spent their time on some of the easier puzzles. Those who like to write grabbed a book and started a book report. Then there were kids who were ready for some math work, and they clicked on a new project and got busy! I was so impressed. Even the kids who chose not to work did admit that they knew what to do, they chose not to. Let’s face it, there a re a number of them who don’t have the internet at home, and it takes a while to catch up on 9 missing days of Facebook.
On Thursday I sat down with a small group for almost our entire class time to help them, as they were deeply floundering. Everyone else just carried on. It was wonderful.
No, It’s not the entire set of students. It is more than half overall. I still have one hour where only3 kids work. But I feel that there is no success if there is no failure. Students who choose to fail should have that choice. I am not sure what to do about the odds stacked against them, but they still have a genuine choice. And when students begin to choose to learn, I am happy.