Monday, September 23, 2013

“We can TRAIN them later.”

Don’t you hate it when you speak too soon?


Last time, I wrote:

This is about the time of year when I feel like the students start to break out of their slightly nervous, semi-tentative, “not-sure-how-you-want-me-to-behave-in-here” shells, and begin to open up and start to feel comfortable with you as a teacher.

Specifically, I wrote that that was a good thing – that the students start to feel comfortable with you and begin to open up.

Well. There’s also a downside to that:

The students start to feel comfortable with you and begin to open up.

In particular, this past Friday and today kinda sorta somewhat made me want to pull my hair out. Like… maybe you sometimes liked it better when everyone was in that “shy” phase. -_-

I’m gonna blame the change in weather.1

. . .

So… I tell my students that in Statistics, we sometimes have to discuss generalizations and stereotypes.

One of my favorite activities in AP Stat is “Rent-a-date”,2 which we did this past block on Friday/Monday.

Students are given $22 to spend on an “ideal mate”. 3

Rent-a-Date Menu

Kids are then given sticky-notes with which they head to the whiteboard, which has a list of qualities along a ready-made horizontal axis, and stick their notes to mark their desired qualities.4 Girls and guys get different colors so that we can see the contrast. Here are a couple of pics that demonstrate what we’d pretty much expect (I won’t need to tell you which colors represent which genders):

Photo Sep 23, 9 11 19 PM Photo Sep 20, 2 37 53 PM (1)

Yes, guys usually spring for “Attractive body”, “Hot”, and “Good-looking face”,5 while the girls want stuff like “Goal-oriented”, “Sense of Humor”, and — of course — “Tall”.6 Very few kids — guys OR girls — care much for “Popular”.7 8

One of the things I find most amusing: Girls don’t always want to shell out money for things like “romantic” or “well-mannered”, and in almost every class, you can hear the girls saying stuff like,

We don’t need to pay for those things — we can train them later.”9

Mmmm hmmm. -_-10

  1. which, by the way, has been gorgeous. []
  2. I borrowed this activity from Penny Smeltzer over at WWHS, by the way – it was not my concoction. []
  3. We have to throw out the disclaimer that we are talking about qualities that we would find desirable in a long-term relationship, and not just a cheap one-time fling. That always draws some groans of disapproval. -_- []
  4. By the way, in four years of doing this activity, I think this is the first year in which a few kids have quipped — mostly jokingly — “this isn’t school appropriate!” But then they usually just go along with it cuz… well… it’s all in good fun. []
  5. I know — SHOCK. []
  6. Double SHOCK. []
  7. This is actually somewhat reassuring. []
  8. Here’s a funny footnote: I noted that in one of my classes, we had a LOT of sticky notes — both genders — for “Intelligent”. A student quipped: “Dude, almost everyone in this class is either Indian or Asian.” LOL! []
  9. To which, the guys usually look around the room, befuddled, as if to say, “what ARE we, dogs?!” []
  10. Oh, by the way, the point of “Rent-a-date” — YES, there IS a point to this superficial ridiculosity — is to discuss side-by-side bar graphs, and to discuss proper — and improper — ways of describing a graphical display of qualitative data. Specifically: Don’t describe center / shape / spread with categorical data. But really we just do this because it’s fun. []