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Today Was Horrible But I Don't Feel Bad

I was looking at my journal and it appears to say my posting from today was done in August of 2004? How strange.

Anyway - today didn't go so well in class.

So I was trying out the Jig Saw activity in class this week. The idea is you break the students up into groups by counting off. For example, count off 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3... Each set of 5 becomes a "home group". Then all the 1's go off together, all the 2's go off together, etc. They become five "research groups". These research groups review a chapter, an article, a topic - whatever - and report what they have learned back to their home groups. It sounds like a neat idea, they get to teach each other (which reinforces concepts); they get practice at picking out and organizing main ideas/key points; they get practice working in groups. Lots of good points and it can work for any age group.

My class meets three days a week for 50 minutes each day so I had to split this activity up between two days. Monday went fine. We broke into groups, the research groups met and were given a section of the textbook and some supplemental related articles. Today we were to meet in home groups to present their information to each other. But I had three people absent. Worse, I had forgotten that while I had five groups Monday there were only four people in each group - which means I should only have four home groups. So I could not for the life of me figure out why I was not able to form five home groups. I had three people physically absent but was eight people short according to my calculations. Impossible. After three failed attempts at reconstructing the original home groups from Monday I just had them reform their research groups to figure out who were my 1's, 2's, 3's etc. Then I formed three new groups that contained at least one of each number. It worked, but I felt like a ninny when I was up there trying to figure out what to do.

Yet I don't feel horrible. For my first time teaching this was the first day that I felt like I'd really messed up. I should have had a back up plan to handle absences and I will next time. Still, I figured out a workable solution, even if I was doing the math all wrong and causing my own problem. We ended the class with a fun "rumor" activity that went over really well so I got to end on a positive note. And, I think I may have finally grasped the whole "what's done is done, don't dwell on it - just do better next time" philosophy! Hooray! That or I'm really really tired and incapable of feeling anything.



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