Friday, November 15, 2019
Just a Few More Minutes
Integrated math 1 (what used to be algebra) for eighth graders. (They expect them to take this class in ninth grade, so these are the advanced math kiddos.) They were solving systems of equations.
After I got class started, I noticed a bunch of yellow passes on their desks. That's when I remembered something that had happened on Wednesday, the last time I had been on this campus.
A stack of yellow passes had been delivered during second period. The co-teacher was the one to receive them, so she passed them out. One of the recipients happened to be absent, so I had a chance to look at it.
They were perfect attendance awards. As a reward, the kiddos were to be released ten minutes early from second period on Friday.
So, there would be a few dismissed early from the group in front of me. I was glad I had seen the pass on Wednesday or I would have been completely blindsided.
At the appointed time, I dismissed the pass holders.
"I need a couple more minutes."
Nine of the pass holders left. But the tenth was still working on the assignment.
It was one of those assignments where whatever they hadn't completed in class became homework. So there was no penalty for not finishing. The students could just go.
But the boy wanted to finish before he left.
This is unusual. Most of the time, when an assignment can be completed for homework, I struggle to keep them on task. They'd rather play in class and "do it for homework".
The early dismissal was a reward. I'm not going to "enforce" a reward.
The boy spent about five more minutes working quickly. Then he packed up and left.
See, some of them do truly care about their work. Not all of them are slackers. (It's just that the slackers make much better stories.)