Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sometimes, teaching seventh grade is like trying make a snowman in July or fish for ocean perch in your aquarium.

Such it seems is the case with my 2 math classes lately. We just finished the chapter on fractions. Now, please keep in mind that MOST of the chapter should have been review from about 4th grade on..... HOWEVER, MOST of my kids FAILED the test miserably.

I don't know what else to do. I really do not. They do not want to try, they do not want to practice, they do not want to do fractions. Repeatedly they tell me they have never done them before, they do not get them, they hate fractions, etc.....

It is a self-fullfilling prophecy with them, it really truly is. They cannot even take 3/4 and write it as a decimal! And, yes, I have shown them visuals, they have drawn them... we have talked about money... I have done everything I know to try to help them...

Do I force retakes like I usually do for less than 70%?? That would mean all but about 10 of the 40 would be retaking.

Do I let the train leave the station without them all onboard? Do I take more class time even when I think it will NOT make a difference at all???

Someone... please, tell me the answer!!

In the meantime, we are doing something else tomorrow.. totally unrelated..... please let them be more receptive and grant me patience..............

4 comments:

Mr. H. said...

I see the same thing every year. Last year was really bad for me. This year's 7th graders are bad, but not the worst I've ever had. I have felt the same about a self-fulfilling prophecy with my kids. And for that reason, I have not allowed them to move on without me at least trying the entire year to get them on board.

Whatever you end up doing - do not give up! It will make a difference. You're right, they have seen it all before. And every teacher before you has allowed them to fulfill the prophecy. You have to show them that you will not give up and you will not allow them to give up. It IS important and they have to begin to build a foundation for success. You can do it! Even if they are not all successful, the time we continue to spend with them at this age will make a difference. You make a difference!! Good luck!

cossondra said...

Thanks Mr H. I needed to hear all that!! Your words of wisdom ring true and in my heart, I know you are right on all counts. Somedays... it is hard to see the keep straight and true.

Mrs. Romano said...

Fractions are oh so important. I used to teach 8th grade and found the same things. Don't know how to do them, hate them, don't care, even my mom can't do them. I've heard it all, as I'm sure you have too. Oddly enough, when I became a 5th grade teacher, I discovered that 5th grade is when fractions really get taught. I do my best to get my kids to LOVE fractions. We spend a lot of time with them, and I try to make it fun. We also continue to review fractions sprinkled amidst the math starters that we begin our day with. Fifth graders seem to like to learn about fractions -- maybe a conversation with the teachers at the earlier grades about how important this foundation is.

cossondra said...

Thanks Lori.. that is a great idea actually. Our elementary struggles with math so terribly. I often wish I could just teach elem math.. we have reading specialists in elem schools, why not math?? I could teach math, all grade levels, all day. Maybe I am naive, OK, I know I am!! but I think I could teach kids to LOVE math, even fractions.