Thursday, February 09, 2006

Classroom Showmanship

Part of teaching a class is putting on a show. One theme that has emerged in my calculus class is a shortage of chalk. I teach in a building where (unlike the math building) the custodians do not replace the chalk. I always carry a box of chalk with me for back-up, but I have also started hiding chalk around the classroom. At the beginning of class I will look at the chalk tray, comment to the class that there is no chalk, and then proceed to "find" a piece of chalk that I had previously hidden on the ledge over the coatrack or perched on the thermostat or tucked into a groove on the windowsill. Today, after my students left, I prepared for an over-the-top demonstration of chalk-finding. I stood on the table at the front of the room and hid a box of chalk inside the drop ceiling.