Sunday, March 02, 2008

On task

Friday was Stock Market Project check day in the library computer lab. Probably the most popular assignment with Seniors is the Stock Market Project, where students are given $10,000 to invest in the actual markets. The students are to use legitimate technical aspects (EPS, PE ratios, earnings, debt), and some information gained from news items. The kids get really competitive and do a fairly good job on the final projects, which include a report and a power point presentation.

Once a week we use the computer labs to check dividends, compute the total value of their portfolio, buy/sell, and do an assigned task for the day. On this particular day I had go make presentations during the last 15 minutes of each period trying to promote International Studies and AP Comparative. The librarian was kind enough to look over the kids for the 15 minutes to make sure they didn't get too crazy. When I came in at the end of the day she gave me a wonderful report. Her exact quote was,

"I've never had a class not try and play computer games when the teacher leaves them, even for a second. You left for a quarter of the period and they were all on task the entire time."

Wow! It was the kind of report that makes things the job that much better, knowing that your classroom management skills make an impact even when you aren't in the classroom. I would say that this came about because of two things. First, the students realize that I'm consistent with my rules and that follow through is absolute. Second, the assignment is engaging. Students are interested in the real aspects of the Stock Market and how their decisions impact their portfolios. "Mr. Brown!!!! The Dow is down 130 at the open!!!" is not uncommon in the mornings.

What a nice way to start the weekend.
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