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Scientific Discovery - New Inert Elements... My 6th period class... Options
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 6:31:26 PM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 5/19/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Lakeport, CA
Folks -

I've tried just about everything I can think of to get some of my advanced students off their butts. It is beyond lack of motivation.... it's not even on the radar. The students *just* don't care... and no support from the parents.... "He's just that way" or "it's a phase"... I am almost to the point of asking that my advanced classes simply be dropped or greatly cut back. I'm not here to babysit or be a drill sergeant. I have enough good students to fill two classes to a minimum.... The students feel generally that they are entitled to a "B" if they show up, and an "A" if they do *anything* on clean up day.

Sorry, but I had to vent. Any ideas are welcome.

Ed D
Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015 7:56:17 AM
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Joined: 12/18/2007
Posts: 0
Location: MA
Please do not give up. To many give up and I believe that action sets up some of the students to fail @ life. Before anyone jumps on me please under stand I have been teaching for over 30 years and I have seen a lot. Also I under stand you will not affect all the students but believe if you help 1 turn their life around, you will understand why some teachers still care.
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2015 10:40:46 AM
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Joined: 4/2/2008
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Location: Wisconsin
Oh, man...I thought I was going to get credit for discovering that inert element that is 6th hour :)
I don't really have any advice for you, but just the echo of "Keep Trying".

Do your best to try to find projects that might interest them. Some times I have had luck with small crafty projects that have to do with something they do like. (Skate board and video game logos cut on a scroll saw)

Last year I had the ultimate un-motivated kid. I had this student throughout middle school and he always worked really well for me, but something flipped when he got to high school and he made the choice to not do anything. He wouldn't fill out a worksheet, or pick up a tool. I talked to all of the other teachers, called parents, principal talked to him. The last day of the semester he had 23%. I told him that if he helped with clean up I would pass him with a D-, he sat in the classroom with his book.
Gene Luby
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 3:57:46 PM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 9/19/2008
Posts: 0
Location: By The Jersey Shore
And I thought it was just me and my students here, I guess the lack of motivation is something we all have to deal with and find a way to spark their interests. You have to think out of the box sometimes, my school district is located in a very small type of town near the ocean and still have enough of woods near us. My HS students duck and deer hunt, go fishing and some are surfer dudes.
I went and purchased four midi lathes ,the students love to turn duck calls and other things, this is a big hit around hunting season. I also went out and purchased plans for a hollow wood stand up paddle board and a surf board ,they will be wrapped in cedar strips, that seems to have caught their interest ,will let you know how that one turns out.Good Luck
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 8:28:52 PM
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Joined: 6/6/2006
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Ahhhh, the memories.

Going on my third year of retirement after 30 years in the shop. Highly recommend it! :-)

My very first year, at the first inservice, new staff were introduced to the veterans.

My principal called me up to the front and presented me with a "welcome gift." It was a piece of sanded maple, 1/4"x2"x3", and had a name on it in beautiful calligraphy. There was a 1/4" hole drilled in it, dead center.

Principal says to me, for everyone to hear; "Mr. Giz, this student is a senior who will be in your shop. This gift represents the sum total of all of the work he will do for you this semester."

That got a good laugh from the crowd, who all knew this kid. Damned if he wasn't right.

I kept that gift on the wall in my office all the years I taught, as a reminder that sometimes you cain't reach 'em all. That little piece of wood saved my sanity more than once through the years.

It now hangs on the wall in my shop at home. I still look at it and smile.

Good luck, and hang in there!
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2015 2:04:59 PM
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Joined: 11/17/2006
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I've been thinking about this for a while before responding. Most people know that for the past 35 years I've been into looking at teaching wood shop a little differently. One of the things I would do to motivate underachievers when I had high school wood shop, was to involve them in special projects. Other teachers thought I was crazy for allowing some of these (well known to them) students to take a leadership role in special projects. Sometimes it came with unknown rewards that actually changed the lives of many people. I can't tell you how many times a parent contacted me about the change in behavior they were witnessing at home. I saw those same changes going on in my classroom. These usually became some of my best students.

If you look through the folders of the thumb drive I sent, you will find many of these projects in the (over 200 articles) that these activities sometimes generated. It is buried in the "Articles" folder of the "Take Home CD" folder in the "Student Recruitment" folder in the "Co-op curriculum" folder. The spotlights on (what could have been problem) students challenged and motivated them and made them better people.

One of my favorite projects was making a wishing well for the "Make a wish" foundation. I didn't find out until after watching the news clip, that it was the founder of "Make a wish" that had made the request and it ended up being featured not only in print, but also on TV news. We never expected a TV reporter and camera crew to walk in that day. Make a wish later gave me a framed thank you note from a four year old Cody... the beneficiary... that still hangs in my home shop. It was mounted in a "Make a Wish" laser engraved frame.

We also had a special project making an educational wheel about various environmental issues for one of the architects in town. I look so young in that picture. The wheel and surrounding frame are made of cherry. After spinning the wheel, the push of a button would light up a corresponding environmental slide embedded in the wheel making it a great interactive display.

We made step stools from old bleachers as a wood shop fund raiser. Many alumni couldn't wait to get their hands on that piece of sports memorabilia. It was very successful and the furniture store started contracting with students to make those same step stools from oak. It was always fun for me to find the student in another class later in the day to hand them hundred dollar bills. Talk about motivation. Who wouldn't respond to that?

Another special project was when our town wanted to restore the old downtown Elks theater and we made miniature theater seats for table center pieces they used at their fundraising dinner. The whole community came together and we were able to be a part of it. These two students went from zero to hero overnight which made a huge impact on them.

Photo imported from American Woodworker Magazine.
Students working on theater seat centerpieces.

On that same note we made miniature theater seats that our school district gave away when people donated money towards our new school auditorium/theater. It's almost hard not to find stuff like this going on around you that you can take advantage of. In this case we made front page news and the superintendent had to give me a call when he saw the front page of the newspaper that evening.

We made projects for other district schools.

We were also asked to make furniture for the public library. The students designed and planned out the project, calculated materials and contracted to make them. They collected the materials and paid all of the bills. The best part about that is when you see the projects still being used years later. This (1-17-16) link shows the lectern we made still in use 16 years later.

Even the county sheriff asked us to make projects.

If those ideas don't seem fun, then consider something like this automata that students helped create. We had many different automata going at the same time and it was really fun. The idea is to make whimsical colorful mechanical motion machines.

See the video.

We became a center for excellent woodworking in our community. Each year it seemed like the projects got bigger, the number of requests more numerous, and the school loved the attention we were bringing district wide. We even decked the board room (link takes you to the right article but with the wrong photo) out with a new board room table, matching media table, and podium.

Photo imported from American Woodworker Magazine.
Student working on the top of the board room table.

I could give you several dozen more examples form my archives, but I think you get the point.

Photo imported from American Woodworker Magazine.

Find something they can relate to, that motivates them, and somehow make it rewarding in other ways like publicity or pay. That's what my own shop teacher did back in the 70's.

Boat regatta
Hall of fame
Prescott Area Woodturners on the front page 12-8-15

I always say... if I'm not having fun, they aren't having fun.
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