Sunday, May 23, 2004

As the school year winds down (9 full days, 3 halves!!!), I find myself spending more time reflecting, and less time planning. Somewhat of a relief timewise, but looking back at the things we have done in math, I feel somewhat reluctant to call the year "successful" overall. In some ways, with some topics, I feel I reached a majority of my students, at least having them more a level higher in their understanding of the topics we have covered. But on the other hand, I feel too often I have lost a chunk of them, partly due to their not being ready to learn that particular topic, due to lack of background primarily,but also other factors. I have felt impatient with them this year, as a whole. Frustrated... the discipline issues have really worn me thin. I feel almost punitive in my lesson plans for I know the consequences of lessons with less structure, with outside activities, with group work...

And then I think of the "good" kids - those who have been short-changed this year with the "worksheet addiction" routine I too often found myself slipping into.

It's not all been bad though... our "track meet" has been going well overall - after 2 days outside collecting data, most of the projects are coming along well. With me not being there Friday though, I fear what went on- the note from the sub said several had to go to computer lab...hmm... that worries me... what were they doing in there??? They had 1 laptop per group which should have been adequate to finish their charts/graphs/etc.. There are 2 posters left in the classroom - one seems close to being complete, with accurate info, clorful illustrations, etc.. the other - it is primarily a recreation of the data collected outide with little acutal computation of ratios, percents, etc... no real use of the data, and it looks as if they think it is "finished"... did they read the directions? did they look back to see that everything is done??

I don't know - I am leaning more and more towards a tracked math program... and that scares me - I have always, and still am, an advocate for inclusion. But I know next year's group may be an entirely more focusable group to work with so I think I will let that decision rest on the back burner.. I do know I want a textbook! CMP is just not cutting it with the new grade level expectations for the standards and I am tired of reinventing the wheel with each new topic we study.

9 more days in math class.... 9 more chances to touch their inner mathematical souls... is it too late?? Have I done my best with this group this year? What would I do differently had I known then what I know now?? Things to think about this cold and rainy May Sunday afternoon..

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