Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sincerely Yours, Exhasperated...

This was a hard week. I suppose the children are reaching their breaking point, that crumbling edge of the precipice before they take that final leap into summer lunacy. But who can blame them (me. The answer is me).

My mom has said I look exasperated when I come home. For the last few days, I think I've become tired. On a subconscious level, I think my mind has made the conclusion that if the children don't want to be there, why am I trying so hard. Hours and hours of lesson plans and material preparations, and we can't even get through the whole lesson because I have to discipline. On Thursday I exercised my right to hold students for the first time. Why you might ask.

Thursday and Friday I conducted the second part of my adaptation and evolution games, covering camouflage and the importance of coloring in nature. To do this, I had the kids pretend they were birds hunting for colored yarn worms in colored grass. There were white, yellow, blue and red worms in white or yellow grass:

Now, I know children can hear things. They hear me tell them they can go to recess, and they hear me tell them "we're playing a game today". But their attentions flicker so intermittently, I've learned to repeat the same instructions for a few minutes. Even then, they have selecting tuning. Phrases like "don't throw all my grass on the floor" don't make it all the way through. As such, I held four boys back on Thursday. Their mothers were not happy. At them. Mission Accomplished.

Now, I did this experiment in 9th grade (Bio Honors with Liem FTW), at which time I understood a little bit about scientific methods. I knew I was supposed to pick unconsciously, like a hungry bird would. And I told these kids this: "Pretend you're a mommy or daddy bird, and you have to bring home food for you baby birdies. You need to pick quickly!" But some still spent 5 minutes hunting through the bag searching for their favorite color worm. Or even better, some would pick their worms such that all colors were chosen equally. But I had planned for this contingency. If a person liked a certain color, I told these kids that it was like a bird who liked the taste of a certain type of worm. And if you wanted to survive, you would make sure you didn't look like the bird's favorite food. I didn't really know what to do with the ones who chose evenly, but many of these are my perennial lost causes.

Truth be told, the excitement over this simulation (a word many of the kids don't know) was mixed. Some loved it, others told me straight up it was boring (as hell). It is an easy exercise, but well worth it. Truth be told, I wanted an easy end of the week since we had open house and a sleep over Friday night. And I suppose I got it. Here's Thursday's shirt pocket:

The inventory: Two pencils, a sheet of folder paper I found on the ground (I was teaching character writing to one of my kids, Lauren, who speaks a little Cantonese at home. Cantonese sounds made up.) That's it. Yes, my shirt is odd. It was from my Aunty. She bought it from Goodwill for my Christmas. To be fair, she also gave me $20.

Thursday night, I tried to pull an all-nighter to prepare for my open house. Now, I've tried many many times in my life to pull an all-nighter. As any procrastinating and overworked college student will tell you, the need for one comes up several times throughout the year, more or less without fail. And as hard as I try, I always fall asleep for a few hours, sometime around 5 in the morning. Luckily, I had managed to finish my poster board before I dozed off:

Pictures and other visuals were added later.
Friday rolled around and I had to quickly scramble to finish my video that morning. I learned a little late in the game that my camera saves video as mp4, a format windows' movie maker does not like. So after searching around for the least sketchiest file converter, I finished my movie. Won't post it here. It's rather long (5 min. Yes, that's long) and boring (I think). But the parents loved it.

As a continuation of "I'm tired and don't want to put in much effort right now", we looked at stuff under the microscope with my D group. I had them run around the school and collect samples. We also did cheek swabs to get skin cells and looked at hair of various things. The kids minds (plus my junior leader, Mr. D--, who's going to High School) were collectively blown. I still think looking at plant matter under microscopes is the coolest thing in the world since you can see the cell walls and modulation of the cells. Cheek cells are less interesting. I'm pretty sure half the ones I found were just food particles.

Finally, here's a few videos of the kids doing the first adaptation game with the different beaks. I put more skewers in the restricted environment, hoping to produce the results I'm trying to illustrate (yes, I'm skewing the data. I'm a bad scientist, but a good teacher).

*EDIT: Videos Removed*

1 comment:

  1. Wow, kids have such ADD. I noticed your poster was missing a few quotes, like "It blows air out of its butt!" and "Rub it to make it harder."