Math = Love: What Were You Doing?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Were You Doing?

One of my New Year's Resolutions for teaching was to demand respect from my students.  I'm just tired of fighting and arguing with students over whether their behavior is appropriate or not.  Now, when students disrespect me, I hand them a form to fill out and send them to the hall.  After they have reflected on their actions and made a plan to move forward, they are free to come back in my classroom and get to work.

Reflection Form

The other day, I got to flipping through these forms, and I decided they needed to be shared!  I tried to order these from funniest to most mundane.  I have a few habitually tardy students, and I've started making them fill out a form every time they are tardy.  If you look at these closely, you should notice the same handwriting repeated over and over.

I saw a picture on another blog (I don't remember which one.  Sorry!) of a teacher who also used forms that students had to fill out.  She kept these on a clipboard by the door.  And, there was a pen attached to the clipboard.  I think that's a brilliant idea, and I definitely plan on implementing that next year.  That will free up space on my desk, and I won't have to worry if students have a writing utensil or not!

What I like about these is that it gives me the student's side of the story in their own handwriting.  Come time for parent teacher conferences, I will be able to pull these out if students ask me how their child has been behaving.  Then, it will be the child telling their parents about their behavior instead of me telling the parents about their child's behavior.  

If you wonder why I sometimes doubt that I actually teach high school, this is why...

What were you doing? Being Stupid.

What were you doing? Hitting my chest.

What were you doing? Chillin.

What were you supposed to be doing? "Sorting awsome cards that the best math teacher prepared for are Algebra II class."

Were you doing it? "Beside [another student] my best friend."

What are you going to do about it now?  "I will go back to class and strive to be a better student to contribute to the nations economy." 

This student was so mad at me when I would not read his reflection form immediately upon his reform.  I placed it on my desk to look at later.  He really wanted me to read it aloud to the class.  The whole idea of these forms is that it takes away the audience.  Reading this form to my class would give my student an audience for his disrespectful behavior.  The awesome cards he is speaking of are Cindy Johnson's Conic Cards.  Of course, he was sitting and doing nothing instead of sorting the cards.  That's the reason he got sent out in the hall.  And, I think he must have thought the third question was "Where were you doing it?" instead of "Were you doing it?"  

The next day, he again asked me if I had read what he had written on his form.  I told him that I had.  I also told him that I had spoken to his mother about it.  Again, I refused to share his form with his classmates.  After this refusal, he pulled his cell phone out to show the class a picture of the form he had taken before turning it in.  This led to me confiscating his cell phone and having ANOTHER conversation with his mother!  

What were you doing? "Puttin Elmers Shool Glue on [Another Student.]  

I cannot make this stuff up, guys.  I seriously have some students with maturity issues.  We are in high school.  Under no circumstances should you be squirting glue on the back of the person's head in front of you. 

What were you doing? Singing Math Songs

I have no problem with singing math songs.  We sing lots of them in my classroom.  But, a problem arises when you break out into song while I am trying to explain something at the front of the classroom. 

What were you doing?  "I used my scissors to cut [another student's] glue and it went off of his desk and it went Ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh and hit the floor LOL."  

This next form is stapled to my bulletin board.  It was not filled out by a student in trouble.  Instead, it was filled out by one of my top students who comes in sometimes during her free period to work on making her interactive notebook a true work of art.  She decided to fill this out as a joke.  

What were you doing? "Sitting quietly, loving math"

What are you going to do about it now? "Love math because it makes people cry."

What were you doing? "Singing my favorite song"

The rest of the forms are below.  I don't want you to think that all of the answers I get are noteworthy.  Many of these below are for tardies.  You will notice that some students (like above) will write a lot, and some students will do the bare minimum amount of writing.  


  1. It is amazing that kids will think they are not tardy as long as they eventually make it to class!

    1. Agreed! Tardiness doesn't really have any consequences at my school, so it's been hard for me to motivate my students to get to class on time each day. Each tardy counts as 1/3 of an absence. Some of my students did the math. 10 allowed absences * 3 tardies per absence = 30 allowed tardies. I was proud of them for using math to figure this out, but I hate the mindset behind it.

      I've got to come up with some consequence of my own for tardies next year...

    2. Do you have warm up problems to start class? Tardies could have to do the warm ups as homework and get graded on them- so late to class = more work to do after school. Also, it is symetrical as you are taking away their free time after school because they wasted your instruction time in class.
      I will say, these answers are just too funny! It is easy to forget that these are still kids. Tall, smelly kids, but still such kids. Glue, hitting their chest and scissors.

    3. I used to do warm-up problems, but I've gotten away from them. I've also stopped giving homework. I think I want to go back to doing warm-ups again, though.

  2. Does the question 'Were you doing it?' refer to the misbehavior or to the appropriate behavior stated in the preceding question?