Problem/Question: Is there any way in the world to get these dang 6th graders to sit down and do their math? (experts tell me no, not with this bunch)
Research: After considering results in several other grades, playing music seems to help settle kids and help them concentrate. Older kids especially are motivated to behave because if they don't, the music goes off.
Hypothesis: I believe if I make a deal with the 6th graders--they work and the music stays on, they dink around and the music goes off--they'll perfom better.
The test: I created a playlist of school-appropriate music in my iTunes (since shuffling my music invariable brings up I Touch Myself, anything by The Beastie Boys, certain Aerosmith or Guns and Roses songs--or George Strait, not a big hit with adolescents, because kids don't know what's good, right?). The next day at school, I taught the lesson and set forth the assignment. I told the kids I had music for them and I'd play it, but not until they quieted and only as long as everyone continued to work. Several kids immediately responded with, "We don't want music" and turned to their neighbors to talk.
Conclusion: This crop of 6th graders are from another planet.
Prediction: I will not be subbing in 6th grade any more this year.