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Aaron Yang

High school Mathematics teacher,

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Best use of 45 minutes?

There's a teacher-less classroom with 20 high school students. They are instagraming, tweeting, fb'ing, and snap chatting. You can feel their lives tumbling down an unproductive chasm so you decide to step in. What would you choose to be the most productive use of 45 minutes each day to better prepare these kids for the world?

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    Feb 14 2014: I would ask them to share with you their interests and dreams and then customize a program connected to those.
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    Feb 16 2014: As the class is teacherless ... devise a in place treasure hunt using the electronic devices in their possession ... clues would be math problems, history events, literature searches, definations, etc .... The correct answer might be a person, place or thing ... but all educational and informative.

    Each student would draw one piece of paper with the clues on it and work alone.

    Perhaps on some days a crossword puzzle on a school subject

    Draw from a bowl a research subject for a paper of 2 pages long

    Write a biography of two pages

    A blank map of the USA ... place the following cities by their number. 1 LA .. 2 chicago 3 NYC etc

    Plan a weeks meals ... list all of the things to buy ... what is the cost ... how much time to prepare ... utinsils necessary ..

    when complete e-mail me the # of your assignment and your answer no later than 1:45. Written assignments in the basket will be collected at 1:45 ... be sure to post your name. Return all assignments to the bowl prior to leaving.

    Make each challenging and keep it interesting and varied.

    If by step in .. you mean to be physically present ... I will give another suggestion.

    Thanks. Bob
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      Feb 16 2014: Yes, you may be physically present
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        Feb 16 2014: I was confused by the "teacherless classroom" condition at the beginning.
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    Feb 17 2014: I would give 3 minutes to students to write down on a piece of paper 3 things that can be practiced by anyone, anywhere in the world.
    Then each student gets 2 minutes to stand up in front of class and speak about 3 things they chose.
    If anyone makes a noise other than speaker, they stay in classroom, everyone else walks into hallway, door closed. Anyone who makes a noise in the hallway, now joins the other student in the classroom.
    After everyone finished speaking: Half time remaining, students will remain with teacher in hallway, door closed, vote to decide what to practice, and practice as a group. Students return to classroom to join others for rest of the time, teacher stays in hall, door closed.
    When classtime over, teacher opens door, says class dismissed, walks away.
    If everyone is quiet and listens in the classroom, then everyone stays in classroom. Then remaining time, 1 minute to vote, deciding what will be practiced. Then 1 minute practice.
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    Feb 16 2014: The first thing I would teach them is the value of "silence"
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    Feb 15 2014: 45 Minutes Every Class Day

    In Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science: Ten minutes of contemplation, ten minutes of writing, and twenty-five minutes of classroom discussion about what they (students) have written.

    In Math: Ten minutes of review, ten minutes of lecture, and twenty-five minutes of practice - ten equations and two word problems.

    In Arts: Ten minutes of lecture and thirty-five minutes of doing art - drawing, painting, sculpting, designing, etc.

    To achieve the above, there must be:
    - strategic lesson-planning
    - adequate workbooks/worksheets and other materials
    - teachers who know the subject matter, care about children, and capable of individualizing instruction with the help of teaching assistants
    - and school administrators who are caring and competent to institute policies and procedures.
  • Feb 15 2014: Depends on the age, but I think the first thing I would do is have them all stand up and take a walk with me around the campus and ask some questions and perhaps go and do something together that was related to whatever subject I had to teach.

    If it was raining I might bring them all up to the chalk board, break them up into groups of four, then asked them to each first define a problem that is worth solving for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, they would all move to the right by one station and be asked what is needed to solve the problem posed by the preceding group. After 10 minutes, shift again to the right, and this time, Look at the posed problem, what others though was needed, and come up with some ideas on how to solve it. After 10 more minutes, shift to the right and get them to first evaluate the solutions, then evaluate the communications methods of the three preceding groups. In the remaining 5 minutes, I would ask for ideas from the group what works and what doesn't work towards solving problems.

    On a different day, I would have each of the 5 groups spend 10 minutes explaining something they thought was important to the other three group members. IN the remaining 5 minutes let them pick the best presentation. The next day the 5 best all give 5 minute presentations. Afterwards the group discusses who communicated the best and why.

    Repeat the exercises with remixed groups, different themes, and eventually work these communication skills into the subject matter.

    I might try different experiments like turning the lights out and asking group to communicate with just words. Similarly, one day with no words.

    Whatever I did, I would try and reach into my briefcase of tricks and find a way to make things interesting and fun, with a goal of inspiring, fostering, and recognizing self-learning, hard work, curiosity, artistic expression, and motivation towards achieving personal best and overall excellence.

    For non participants, I would offer exercises.
  • Feb 14 2014: Aaron,

    I am making an assumption that this is an ongoing class for at least a semester and it sounds like a study hall or detention. Following Fritzie's advice, you need to find out what would interest them. I would have many different goals depending upon what interest them. It might be getting a job. How many have done a resume? How many know how to interview? How many know how to sell themselves?

    Or they may be interested in games, teach them how to count cards in blackjack and discuss the probability behind the counts.
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    Feb 14 2014: well, I might try to find out what they're communicating about via tweeting, etc. Who knows, maybe they're communicating about something important?