All the Warnings are True
It's the start to week four in the schools and so far this experience has been amazing. School is so different in Spain compared to America and no single person, website, or article can prepare you for that. Everyone warns you the students talk a lot and you think they are exaggerating but as you stand in front of the class with eight students yelling your name, six more talking to their best friend across the classroom, 7 just talking to themselves because they can, and the other nine shushing each other, you realize the warnings are so true it isn't funny.
Despite the fact that they love to talk, you also learn that these students actually want to learn, but the trick is to make it so different they get hooked. My class of 4ESO (10th grade) think they are too cool for school. The same two kids answer questions every single day and the rest just make annoying noises and try to sleep in class. As we are about to begin a new book, we wanted to introduce the Salem Witch Trials since our book is based on that. I knew if I gave a presentation they would ignore me and I would just be wasting everyone's time. I needed something different. I needed something new, something they don't really do in any other class. Obviously I needed to turn this into a competition somehow.
How do you turn your new book about the Salem Witch Trials into a competition? Answer- basketball. I gave them a paper on the basic history and a basketball. I'd ask a question from the paper, they had to find the answer and shoot a basket in order to answer the question. Most points at the end wins. For an added challenge I split the class into two teams but one team a 3 students the other has 17 students. Seems unfair right? That's the point. The two kids who are always answering questions and the one kid who I know knows every answer in class but wants to remain cool so they never answer. I placed my bets on the 3 kids winning (I was right) but the 17 students were close. This was the first time they all talked in class. They all were reading the text to find the answer. They were all participating for the first time all semester. Even the ones who didn't care were paying attention.
Now I need to come up with more create ways to get information to stick with these students.