Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Learn Solitaire

I used to have a MySpace account.  I started my blog there.  But after I had a few too many technical difficulties, I moved the blog here.  I have since closed the MySpace account.  I hate to lose some of my better blogs from that time, so from time to time I'm going to repost them here.  

This was originally posted on Saturday, January 6, 2007.

School starts back up on Monday.  I wonder if I'll get called.

Before the break I'd been spending a lot of time at the continuation high school.  I ended up covering this math (mostly algebra) class two days--a Thursday and a Monday.  I think that this occurred on the Monday.

In this particular class the students all work on computers.  It's kinda cool.  The problems are first demonstrated online, and then the students have a chance to try them.  The computer spits out a score, and this score is recorded in their grade books.  They complete so many assignments for a credit.

But, they're on computers, and these computers are connected to the Internet.  And remember, these are the kids who couldn't make it at the traditional high schools.  So, while there was work going on, there was also a whole lot of goofing off happening as well.

One girl was playing the evil Solitaire.  The boy next to her was trying it as well.  But it was obvious that he had no idea what he was doing.

I watched for a bit.  I did a lot of wincing.  The boy basically had the computer deal for him many times.  He'd try to put cards in the aces pile--random cards like kings and fives, just to see if they'd stick (they didn't).  He'd move cards around the screen randomly, and of course the cards would go right back to where they started.  Then he'd deal again.

I watched this for a bit, and then I couldn't take it anymore.  He should have been doing his math.  He could have been making some sort of progress.  But what I asked him was: Do you know how to play Solitaire?

He lied.  He said he did.  The girl next to him said that he was just trying to do what she was doing.  So, I got a real answer out of him, and then I tried to show him how to play the game.

There were only about seven minutes left in the period, and five of those needed to be devoted to "cleaning up" or at least an announcement that it was time to clean up (log off).  So, it wasn't a very in depth explanation of the game.  But I tried.  I had to.  I couldn't bear to watch him do whatever it was he was doing.

Later, the aide in the class told me that he had done no work since he had been in class.  Sure, I felt a bit guilty, but then again, it wasn't like I was going to convince him to do any math anyway.  And maybe he'll learn the game that we all know (and know is evil).

I saw him a week or so later.  He still didn't know how to play.

I saw him a few months after this.  By that time he had learned the game.  He thanked me for helping him learn to play.  I haven't seen him recently.  I hope he graduated.  


  1. It's cool that you can share old sub posts. How long have you been subbing?

    Last spring, I had a job to bring middle school students to do computer research. I had the same problem of a few students trying to play games. The teacher was in the school for staff on assignment. When I saw her later, I told her the problem. She said, "I have that problem too."

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I've been subbing way too long. If only I started blogging then...


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