Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Semester Exams

Yes, it's that time again. Of course, the testing culture here is so strong that it's almost always either that time, or nearly that time--mid-terms, norm-referenced testing, national exam practice tests, national exams, semester exams. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I can't complain, though: in my job, I don't write exams, grade them, proctor them, prepare them, fold, spindle or mutilate them. But I do have to show up for work and sit around for three hours every day during them. And even at that I have no complaint: my contract says my workday ends at 4:30--some schools make people sit there every day just on general principle.

Exams will run tomorrow through next Wednesday, so I'll use this week's lesson plan for two weeks. I went to a really great website called BrainFood at and chose some of the word puzzles and logic puzzles. These I put into a powerpoint with appropriate explanation and some graphics to spiff it all up.

I introduced the concept by explaining to the students that with exams coming, I wanted to help them stimulate what Poirot called "ze little gray cells" and exercise their brains. Most classes have been quite eager and competitive--I think puzzlers are inherently motivating: only one student has asked for candy.

I guess next week, I'll have to tell them I want to relax their brains after all the cramming they did for exams. But still no candy ...

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