As secondary teachers, we have all been in the situation where some circumstance occurs to make one class behind the others. While the most organized of teachers would probably just keep on going, let's face it, that is not me. It drives me crazy to have classes with the same prep in different spots of a unit. However, I'm not one to fill the catch up time with a "free period" or a "study hall". I'd rather do one of those activities that I always say, "Gosh I wish I had time to do that!" So one day this week was was THAT day.
We are in the middle of a unit on Transformation - one of my favorites! I had the students pick apart the lyrics to the song Cha Cha slide. They had to determine if they started at point (0, 0), where would they end up. We all started with a small piece of graph paper with a coordinate plane.
We discussed what it meant in terms of translation to "hop", to "reverse", to "stomp", etc. We came up with a plan to graph it out. Then we played the music while our pencils danced on our "graph paper dance floor". Afterwards, the students shared what coordinates they ended up. In a class of 25, NO ONE had the same answer!!!! We did not even land in the same quadrant. While my younger-teacher-self would have probably panicked at this, I turned it into a teachable moment. We tried to eliminate obvious outliers and group answers that were legitimate possibilities.
...and then I stepped out of my comfort zone....
We moved the desks to the perimeter of the room and had our own little dance party to really (as the song says) work it out. I was right in there in the mix of kids. Me, the one who does not dance, the one who is completely uncoordinated, was dancing with my students. The only way I would agree to doing this was for everyone to agree there was to be no digital documentation of this event. They agreed. They had fun. And hopefully they learned something.
If you're still reading, you'll remember I said I stepped out of my comfort zone TWICE. As if dancing wasn't enough, this week we did our 3rd annual "Band Meets Geometry" activity and we ended up with many observers. Important people such as administrators, central office, state organization representation, and a TV station!
Yes it was my idea to solicit media coverage, but it was NOT my idea for me to be the one interviewed. Needless to say, this was another first for me and I was way out of my comfort zone. But again, it went very well, I survived, and now at least I can say "I've done that." I thought this was a unit on "Geometric Transformations", but maybe it was actually a lesson on how to transform as a teacher.