The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 26 2012

Category 5 Homework Lab

Day 16: A hurricane made landfall in Room 105 at approximately 3:22 pm Eastern Standard Time. Intense rain, gusting winds and persistent 6th graders continued unabated for a period of one hour during that time. Below is the real-time transcript of the events that transpired on the ground.

  • 3:22: Student 1 arrives because he owes community service. He is directed to sweep the room.
  • 3:22: Student 2 arrives and claims she cannot serve homework lab. She is re-directed to the office to plead her case.
  • 3:23: Remaining students in the hallway shuttled into Room 105 for homework lab.
  • 3:24: Student 3 tries to leave homework lab, despite owing at least three Science assignments. She is directed to sit down and take out Science homework.
  • 3:25: Students 4, 5, 6 and 7 all arrive and claim they are bored and have nowhere else to go. All three are handed different tickets-to-go or pre-unit diagnostics to grade.
  • 3:25: Student 8 arrives asking to speak about her latest idea for an invention. She is asked to wait patiently because there is far too much insanity to discuss her new type of headphones.
  • 3:25-3:40: Student 3 alternates between asking for help, pleading ignorance of Science knowledge, successfully attempting her homework, and trying to surreptitiously switch to her math homework. All of these attempts are thwarted. In the meantime, Students 4,5,6 and 7 alternate asking if various answers on the ticket-to-go are correct or not.
  • 3:40: Student 9, whose presence has been requested in homework lab for two weeks for individual tutoring, makes his debut appearance of the year. He is asked to sit down and take out his Science homework. He is not happy.
  • 3:40-3:45: Student 9 makes slow and surly progress. While Student 9 continues working, Student 3 continues to whine.
  • 3:48: Student 1 is thanked for his service, reminded not to talk in class, and dismissed.
  • 3:45-4:00: Upon correction of a carrying error during long division, Student 9 figures out that he is getting helpful guidance from a teacher willing to help him in any subject. Surliness abates. Student 3, in contrast, continues to complain loudly. In related developments, she has ceased to make significant progress on her science homework.
  • 4:00: Students are dismissed from homework lab. Student 9 promises that he will return on Thursday. This reporter is skeptical. Student 3 is dismayed to learn she cannot leave until she finishes her work. Student 3 offers up various protestations, most significantly that she isn’t sure what to do, all of which are met by the single response, “Read the directions.” Despite obligations to remain objective, this reporter is enjoying this standoff (which he is winning).
  • 4:00-4:15: Students 4,5,6 and 7 are called to the office at various points, leaving felled trees and graded exit tickets.
  • 4:15: Student 3 remarks, “Mr. Adler, no offense, but you are no good at jokes.” Students 10 and 11 arrive. Both were coming to visit this reporter, but are redirected to fix their exit tickets, which showed incomplete understanding of the material.
  • 4:15-4:35: Students 10 and 11 make good progress on the material, re-take their exit tickets and receive perfect scores. Their progress is in spite of the fact that Student 3 is still complaining loudly.
  • 4:35: Student 3 completes her work, and quickly evacuates. She returns moments later upon realizing her math homework was left behind, then departs for good.
  • 4:35-4:45: Students 10 and 11, having completed their work, speak with this reporter and sing to his turtles. They then depart.
  • 4:45: After a tumultuous 83 minutes, the storm has cleared. This reporter, having weathered the storm, finally evacuates himself upon realizing he will be late to meet his high school friend for a burrito. He thinks, “Until the next storm …”

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