Monday, October 27, 2003

I don't know whether to start with the good, the bad or the ugly... how is that for a cliche?

The good.... most of the math kids are doing great with mean, median, and mode, even the higher level of thinking through which best represents the data set and why. Of course there are a few who insist on being led step by step through everything...And the most frustrating part of that is those are students who are perfectly capable on their own - it seems my lower level students are the risk-takers, the ones who do not mind being wrong, the ones with their hands up, the ones LEARNING... are those others bored but so used to being bored they instead choose to not participate? DO they need more challenges? Would they rise to meet those challenges? WHere do I find the time and resources to challenge them?

The bad - my social studies class - the same kids I have in math, just in a different combination... the exact same group I have for AR - who come in and watch Channel One and read for 25-30 minutes every day without fail... with very few exceptions, they are horrid when they are in social studies - they speak out of turn, they whisper among themselves, they snicker to private jokes among themselves, they drive me nuts... The curriculum I am certain has something to do with part of their behaviors - we are teaching 3 sections of social studies together, the 3 7th grade core teachers this year, we plan together, we all do the same stuff the same day - so none of has any real ownership in the lessons, but it does make for easier planning. Still I am sure the kids sense it is not all "my style" in what we do in class. They hate book work - they hate anything remotely "traditional" in nature. THey want it to all be active, with a partner, with a group, up and loud and fun. And today, we read a section of the book together.... icky....icky for them, for me and their behavior showed their whole "icky-ness" with it all.

THe ugly.... another of the core teachers and I have had it with kids not bringing their social studies book to class - we have reminded them - it is posted in a large red poster on the inside and outside of the social studies room door oon days they need it - so... we both warned them.... no more - anyone without a book goes to detention tomorrow. On the door are about a dozen bright yellow detention slips partially filled out : Reason - NO BOOK! Unfortunately, we will catch 2 kids each- the one who would rather sit in detention anyway and the poor innocent soul who will have their book EVERY other single day of class ALL YEAR LONG!!! But maybe the message will get through because today 7 of my 28 kids had no text to use...

How to change the whole mindset of some kids? how can we make school important to them? I try.. honestly, to reach out every day to those "undesirables" in my classes and make them feel welcome, and wanted and loved.... but for some of them, it just is not ever enough to get them motivated to succeed. Even in 7th grade, they are counting the days until they turn 16 and can drop out, or go to the "cool school".. and those are the goals of their parents also for them.... how to change this rut they are stuck in ????

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