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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Acts of Vengucation

Back in the day, I used to be an avid comic book collector. Last week? No, I'm talking about when I was in high school. Instead of dating, I had my superhero stories. Worked out ok in the end.

One of the cross-over storylines that I remember most was called Acts of Vengeance. This mult-part event involved Spiderman, Iron Man, The Avengers, and many other of Marvel's heroes. In a nutshell, 5 or 6 of the top villains got together and decided that they were tired of constantly getting beaten up by their archnemeses. Spidey knew all of Green Goblin's moves, so he could always defeat him. The Fantastic Four had faced Dr. Doom so often, they could handle him without issue.

So the villains decided that they should swap dance partners to defeat the heroes. Magneto would pick a fight with Ironman, who had never fought him before. And why they never thought of THAT one before, who knows. etc, etc

Did I lose you yet? Thankfully, I know Joel, Chad, and Ed u Cater sometimes read this blog and at least know what I'm talking about...

I was thinking a few weeks ago how possibly this strategy might work for us at school. One of my teaching partners is having trouble with some of her kids. They are used to her, but what if I came in and worked with them? Basically doing the same things they've already heard in class, but coming from a different voice.

A 4th grade teacher comes occasionally to MY room to work with a couple of my lower kids with the same intent.

The problem seems to be that these kids, who seem totally clueless, in class and on tests, seem to know what they're doing with the new tutor.

I have worked with Mrs. Math's kids a couple of times now. She told me that these kids do not know how to regroup when they subtract. That they always forget to regroup, or that they do it the wrong way. Yet when I sit them down and give them a few problems to work, they do it just fine with no prompting from me!

I mean, there are slight issues, but overall, if I didn't know any better, I would say these kids know how to regroup!

Sounds like good news on the surface -- these kids HAVE been listening! They DO know how to subtract! But the fact is that they still are not doing it when it counts -- in class, on homeworks, on tests.

That can be very frustrating for the teacher of record.

Maybe I just need to sic Dr. Doom on them and see how they regroup...


Nick James said...

The voice that delivers the instruction seems to be pretty important. We had one of our ace teachers go out on maternity leave this year and her replacement- a veteran and in my opinion very good teacher- had huge troubles with the students even though she was literally using the other teacher's lessons every single day. When the teacher came back from maternity leave most things calmed down.

Eric Buffington said...

In my cyber school we have teachers of the same courses work together all the time and I like it a lot. I like knowing that if I can't get through to one of my students maybe a teacher from California, or Ohio, who did a short recorded lesson on the same material will say it in a way that will reach them. Sometimes I help students from across the country who just needed the material said in a different way.
This past week I did a new type of activity with one of my classes. I like to try new things with my students so they were used to it but it really threw the other kids for a loop and they didn't much appreciate it. I guess I helped them to like their regular math teacher better.

Mister Teacher said...

Hey, you gotta try it at least, right?

Mr. W said...

Ok you had me with the comic book reference. I remember Acts of Vengeance pretty well, isn't that the time Spider-man got the cosmic powers?

Anyways glad to see that there are more comic nerds in teaching besides me.

As to the question, I don't think it would hurt to try it. Most students do become complacent and it might wake/shake them up a bit

Mister Teacher said...

Mr. W, it was indeed the time that Spidey got the Power Cosmic... I remember Magneto first approaching him, and Spidey just beating the CRAP out of him.

Unknown said...

I think it all depends on who is asking the child to do something. If a teacher is telling a student over and over again to do something they may just stop listening and will need a fresh face to come and sit down with them. I know several children that will put up a fight with simple instruction, but once someone else enters the equation they understand and follow instruction perfectly. It is all about how the instruction is delivered.