Monday, March 10, 2014

Seeing, Not Doing

8th Grade Pre-Algebra

The teacher was teaching a new section. I was subbing for the special ed teacher who had eight students in the class. My job was to assist those eight students, but since the teacher had the whole class's attention, I hovered around, watching for misbehavior.

(This was the same class I did battle with on Friday, so there was much misbehavior to clamp down on.)

One of "my" students was playing around. (He thought the middle of the lecture was the perfect time to try to hit the trashcan with his blank wadded up paper.) I meandered over to investigate.

His desk was devoid of notes. Notes that he should have been copying from the projected ones the teacher was modeling. (Note: this was the same projector I knocked over last week.) So, I pointed this out.

"I'm a visual learner."


Several thoughts flashed through my head. In no particular order:
  • If you don't have any notes, you have nothing to visually learn.
  • This is a math class. You take notes in a math class.
  • I'm a visual learner too. And I always took notes in class. To help me. Learn. Visually.
  • Math is a do skill. You must do the notes to practice. To learn.
Yeah, all of these things occurred to me. And I knew not a one of them would make a difference. Because no matter what I say in a situation like this, what I get back is a counterargument.

Don't ask me why I'm so certain of this. Or do. If you have a week or so to hear my examples.

Instead I stood over him. Looming. Until he got out his notes. And started copying down what the teacher was modeling for the whole class.

If only the looming had worked on the kid who told me he was "lazy" and wasn't going to take notes just because.

I had such trouble with these kids when the teacher was out. It's really good to know that it wasn't just me.

(Curious what kind of learner you are? Try the VARK questionnaire.)


  1. "...the kid who told me he was "lazy" and wasn't going to take notes just because." <---LOL. At least he's honest?

    I am a visual learner. And I take notes like crazy, too.

  2. YAY the projector worked!

    And nice use of looming. Too few people loom these days.

    1. Looming is one of my major weapons. Standing over a student is a great motivator.

  3. Liz doesn't even need to say anything. She just needs to loom. Like a volcano. Only the lazy refuse to fear the volcano.


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