I told class to use colored pencils and I allowed them a "cheat sheet" so they could just apply the laws without memorizing them. This girl was really working. She told me the colors and the sheet helped.
I have a habit of photo copying exams and mailing them home when my students do not do well on them. I make no comments, just present the parents with the papers. Most parents get the papers but even when the kids manage to intercept them, the mailing makes a difference.
One of the girls I taught last year is not doing well this year. Her teacher is not sending the papers home and she is sliding down. I told her I was going to make up an exam, add a failing grade, put her name on it and mail it home. She was not pleased. (She also knew I would never do this.) When her mom knows she is not doing well, her mom puts on the pressure, she attends tutoring, studies and passes.
One Friday I gave a geometry test. All week I heard, "Are you going to mail them home?" I just answered "Study and we will see."
Ari is one of my most difficult students. Somehow I attract all the difficult kids. It has been a battle of wills with him since day one. He knows that I play to win and that I am determined not to lose my battle to a teenager. Mailing Ari's test home might be the one thing that works.
Ari's last test was bad, not bad enough to mail home but, I mailed it anyways. His mom went ballistic on him, yelling and grounding him for the weekend. Friday, as he looked at the test, he yelled out "Mailing this test home would be the same as if I told your husband you were cheating on him. " To which I replied "My husband would be thrilled that someone was interested in cheating with a woman as old and as ugly as I am. I have a feeling he would never believe you. On the other hand, your mom will believe the test when she sees it."
Ari did not pass that test, but his grade and his attitude improved (for the moment). Maybe I found the straw that broke this camel's back.