In 6th period, we opened with a Ranking Task warm-up problem.
I asked for volunteers and two kids came to the board to provide their justifications:
- Kid 1 said “I multiplied amplitude (A) and wavelength (λ) to get velocity, then I ranked them by decreasing size.”
- Kid 2 said “I know the frequencies are the same, that v=λf, and that v is constant in a given medium. So, I ranked the wavelengths by decreasing size.”
Later while working classwork problems, I made the kids work silently for 15 minutes. If they had a question, they were to star the problem and move on. Some kids responded better to this “getting in the zone” move (even after I explained why) — some whispered for help from neighbors, others talked openly, and some even looked visibly shaken by being asked to focus individually for that amount of time. Clearly, the other teachers at my school don’t assign a lot of individual classwork. Or maybe it’s just that they’re freshmen. Afterward, we broke out whiteboards to work through questions in small groups. I think it went well because many students left with a completed assignment I might’ve considered ambitiously long in previous years.