Yesterday I tried another goodie from f(t) . . . Solve, Crumple, Toss. Just in case you've never read that post, make sure you read the part about how you should use "6-8 problems with somewhat lengthy solutions". I either skipped or disregarded that part of the description, and it was the downfall of the day.
My students are working on writing linear equations in standard form, given different types of information. I just printed up twelve problems, six per page. Students cut them apart, worked them out (one at a time) and brought them to me to check. If all was dandy, then they got to take a shot for points. If not, I sent them on their way to keep trying and encouraged partners to check each other's wrong answers and help find the errors. I had no time to coach and help find errors myself, because I had a line of students waiting for me to check their answers. I expected them to finish all twelve problems and make twelve shots. Fine as long as I have a student shooting, like, every eleven seconds. Note to self: Fewer, more complex problems next time!!!
The student response ranged from a few who acted totally tortured because they had to get up out of their seat twelve times, all the way to enthusiastic participation by many. This was fun and productive, and there will definitely be a next time.
In related news, I realized how much more I enjoy my job when I am trying something new. I have been teaching the same classes in the same school for 6 years now, so it is super easy to just pull out what I did last year and do it again. I don't want to take that approach to teaching, so I am always looking for ways to improve on what I have already done. Still, I think my best lessons are the ones that I create from scratch with a fresh perspective.
So today I am just thinking about the payoff for extra time spent trying something new. Sometimes these things work, and sometimes they don't. Still, I am happiest when I am being adventurous.