Usually the source of most of my material for this blog is what happens in the classroom. I sort of depend on the shenanigans of my students to generate the entertainment element, if you know what I mean…

The comedy material this year has so far been pretty thin. This bunch, for the most part (so far), shows up on time with their stuff, and they mostly listen attentively, with only the occasional stick-whacking to bring a few of them to heel. The “sit and stare” phase — you know, like the first day of school, when they just sit and stare at you while you jabber away; your best material is met with embarrassed smiles — is lasting a lot longer than usual this year.

They might be too good. (Be careful what you wish for.)

I mean, they haven’t yet really even settled into having separate class identities. Right now it’s hard to tell third period from fourth or fifth, except that I am a lot hungrier during third period, which is right before lunch. First period is easier to distinguish, because it’s has the most kids (every desk is full and we use every clicker), and they’re the “homies” with an extra 10 minutes for “sharing” and other such shtuff.

Lately I’ve been torturing them with an old internet brain-teaser; Petals Around the Rose. I always tell them that I will never tell how it works, and when (not if; it’s just a matter of how long it takes some people) they figure it out, they have to promise not to tell anyone else,

“Under penalty of death!”

“Nuh uh!”

“Ok. A knee-capping from the Popple Mafia.”

The ones that take the longest to figure it out always try to make it harder than it is. I keep reminding them that it’s all about figuring out what the question means. There aren’t any calculations beyond counting. (D’oh! That was a hint.)

And no fair trying to Google search for the solution. The Popples will find you.

(You might want to shut off the sound.)

The question: How many petals around the rose?