Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 04 2010

All I want in life is to be Justin Meli

I have a running challenge with my classes, where whichever class has the highest average at the end of the quarter earns a pizza party funded by me. The idea of a pizza party is huge in my classes, because the kids complain constantly that we don’t get enough free time and all we do is learn. (Which means I am doing my job, thanks kids.)

The competition is really between Period 1 and Period 4. My advanced class has a separate challenge (pizza party when we hit an 80% class average) and my Period 3 is nearly 10 percentage points behind. The two classes have been within a point of eachother, but in our last quiz Period 4 took nearly a four-point lead. Today, I pointed that out to my Period 1, and offered them an opportunity. I told them that after we learned the material for the day (volume), if they felt like they mastered it I would offer the class the chance to take a quiz. I promised I wouldn’t offer the quiz to any of my other classes, and they had to promise not to tell.

The whole class was SO ENTHUSIASTIC about taking the quiz. For the whole period, they were quiet and worked hard. They begged for extra practice problems and wanted me to hurry through the teaching to make sure they had time to quiz. Almost the only calling out I heard was, “Can we take the quiz yet? Are we ready?” I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The kids were desperate to take a test. All of them. In my middle school math class. LOVE IT.

My lucky class did earn the chance to take a quiz, and they rocked it. The class averaged an 86.5%, which is stunning. Only problem is that Period 1 was at a 68% and Period 4 was at a 72.3%. This test brought Period 1 to a 71.3%… amazing, but not good enough.
So I made an executive teacher decision to reward the enthusiasm and encourage momentum, because the last thing I need is my class discouraged because they worked so hard and fell short. So I lied. My posted class average for Period 1 is a 72.5%… 0.2 points ahead of Period 4. Period 1 is so proud of themselves… they found me at lunch and afterschool to hear the news. Period 4 is newly motivated to not let this happen. And this is a secret between me and my blog readers.

If you need the title of this post explained, start here:

2 Responses

  1. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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