Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lions, Tigers, & Bears, Oh My! HELP!

One thing I really like about my school is the rotating periods. Rather than having my classes and prep periods in the same order every day, they rotate each week. For example, there's a class that I'll see 1st period in an A week, 3rd period in a B week, and 5th period in a C week. On first glance it's kind of confusing, but it's definitely worth it. Seeing kids at different times of days means I get to see them in different state of mind. The kid who's late to 1st period EVERY day doesn't end up missing as much from my class. The kid who's asleep after lunch is awake in the morning. I don't have to end every day with the same crazy 6th period group. On the more instructional side, I don't have one group who are always my guinea pigs for a lesson. I really like it.

As a teacher, it's crucial to keep track of your different classes. Most teachers do this by period number, but I can't really call one class "fifth period" when I only see them in that time slot 1/3 of the time. Most teachers end up choosing section names for their classes. The natural inclination is to name them after famous people or themes from your subject area. One math teacher has classes named !, ∞, Σ, and Θ. The physics teacher named his classes Faraday, Newton, Gallileo, and Tesla. In the first semester, I decided against that option. For the symbols, I name my table groups after Greek letters, so that takes out a lot of good math symbols (at least ones that kids are going to use in their high school math careers). When I tried famous mathematicians, I got stuck between on one hand not wanting all my classes named after white men, and on the other hand not being able to understand the mathematical contributions of the more famous female and/or non-white mathematicians. To be honest, I don't understand the math behind 99% of the contributions listed when you google "famous mathematicians," so that seemed a little disingenuous.

For simplicity's sake, I chose to name my classes last semester "Lions," "Tigers," "Bears," and "Oh My!" It was easy to go through the classes in my mind because they roll off the tongue so nicely. Sadly, most of the kids didn't even realize that the names fit together, even when I had them listed on the board (in order). Do people not say that anymore?

This semester, my classes are getting mixed up. I don't want to use the same section names because I've gotten in the habit of mentally organizing kids by what section they're in (and the corresponding color for that section) and it's just too confusing to figure out whether a kid was "Oh My!" this semester or last. So, dear readers, I'm looking for your suggestions on what four things I can name my classes. I imagine that between the eight of you, we should be able to come up with something.

Please stick to a few criteria:
-Keep it positive. For example, I've already vetoed naming them after the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (mostly because it would be too difficult to choose which section is Pestilence).
-Keep it relevant, both to me and the students. I don't really care about the Beatles, so John, Paul, George, & Ringo are out (also, see comment above re: white men). Similarly, my students don't share my affinity for New Zealand, so sadly I am passing on Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, & Dunedin.
-Keep it in fours. There are many wonderful things in this world that come in larger or smaller packages, but I need a group of four that I can easily run through in my head. If I named my sections Zack, Slater, Kelly, any Screech, I'd only end up trying to figure out what happened to Jessie and Lisa (and probably Mr. Belding as well).

You have your mission, now find me those fours.


Linda said...

Never fear! I put a 5th grade class on it. I can't say I was impressed with all of their ideas. Even some of these that I am about to list are not wonderful, but they tried. I promised I would let them know what you decide.

Here are their ideas:
Add, subtract, multiply, divide.
North, south, east, west
Zeus, Poseiden, Hades, Athena--needs work.
Greater than, less than, equal, unequal--problems with that.
Four of the bridges in the Bay
Up, down, left, right.
The four presidents on Rushmore
The four food groups.
Liquid, Solid, Gas, Plasma.
Equator, Prime meridian, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn.
Earth, air, fire, water
The four seasons
Math, science, language arts, social studies
rain, snow, sleet, hail--None of those will keep us from our appointed task of mastering geometry.
Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic
Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth
Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes

I may have to ask another class or two when filler is needed.

Security Retentive said...

How this as *mostly* positive:

Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Satan

Not totally positive, but you figure at least one of the classes has to be worse than the others right?

Geetha said...

I don't know how I'd choose only one class to be Satan. Maybe a better option would be Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, and Purgatory (for the one class that's decent).

Jaya said...

The first one I thought of was Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Bread. Must have been hungry.

How about Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific?

AP said...

This is my new mission, to get the groups of four for the classes. I will post some this evening.

First one I thought of:

LOL, BRB, K and TTYL (Cell Phone Abbreviations)

The all know those, plus you can assign them accordingly.

Geetha said...

Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Bread it is.