he will bring it back, right?

So I have some pretty cool kids in my Algebra 1 classes this year.  They are eager to learn and are really digging the investigative approach I am trying to take with math this year.  (Don’t get me wrong. I have plenty that are kicking and screaming the whole way but I am not going to let them bring me down right now.)

Anyway, I am trying to incorporate technology with chrome books (I am really lucky to have a classroom set this year!) and do things to make math a little more relevant and engaging.  Again, they are digging it and are really doing well.  I also use graphing calculators (TI-84s if you are a calculator person).  The problem is, I don’t have a full class set and I don’t ask my kids to buy their own because it is not reasonable for many of my families and I don’t think our level of use justifies it yet.

So I am usually short a few calculators and I just have the kids pair up and work together.  There are also a ton of calculator simulators and apps available. This is only a problem on test days.  I am not “there” yet in regards to letting my kids use their devices for tests.  I haven’t figured out how to monitor this and am afraid the temptation to cheat might be too strong.

So there’s the dilemma. I usually hope for kids to be absent so I don’t have to address the problems.  Only this last time I had perfect attendance on test day!  Can you believe it?  What was I to do?

Everyone had a calculator (they brought their own, settled for TI 30SX, or got to the room 1st and grabbed a graphing calculator) except one guy.  He is quiet and unassuming.  But he is super cool and definitely an outside the box thinker. I really like him and know he is going to invent something awesome one day!

I have 2 TI-Inspires that I have gotten through a grant over the last two years.  This calculator is awesome!  It does more than you can ever imagine.  Check it out here.  I will wait..

Did you look?  What did you think?

Overwhelming, right?  Yeah… that’s how I feel too!  I have had no time to learn all about it.  So I hand the TI-Inspire to my new favorite student. I show him how to do the basics to take his test.  After he finished, he tries to return it.  Of course he finished early (and ACED IT!) so I tell him to play with the calculator for the rest of the class period.  When the bell rings, he brings it to me with a big grin.  He tells me that it is the coolest thing ever and gives me a quick run down of what he figured out.

This is where my judgment gets cloudy…

I dig out the manual (about 5000 pages of how to use this thing).  I hand him the book and the calculator.  I tell him he doesn’t have to read the book.  He says I probably will anyway because I am just like that.   I say figure it out and teach me.  Bring me back something new everyday for the next week.   He agrees.

And he floats out of the room with a big grin.

And then I think… He’ll bring it back, right?

And I know he will.  But if he doesn’t, I know he will use it and become something big!  That kid is going places and I am helping him along the way.

That is why I teach.

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