Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm always scouring blogs, articles, etc. for ideas of how to make life easier for my special education students in their regular ed classes. They struggle, oh how they struggle. Even when they are motivated and want to learn and excel, the content is often difficult for them to comprehend, the course moves at a pace too quickly for their processing speed, and they simply cannot keep up.

When I read Response: Celebrating our Students' Good Writing today, I was excited about the ideas tossed around by Mary Tedrow, one of my favorite writing teacher gurus.  Her WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW idea struck me as a YES WE CAN WRITE opportunity for my kids, as well as other struggling students.

Now to pitch it to their 'regular teachers' in a package they will buy.

The idea is painfully simple:
  • Lecture for a short time (Tedrow suggests 5-9 minutes. I would go with the number of minutes per grade level - 7 minutes for 7th graders, 8 for 8th, etc..Research shows that is a fair indication of how long students should be able to sustain attention without needing a transition.)
  • Now, students write what they just learned. (WOW! Instead of trying to write while someone is talking, you LISTEN?? What a powerful thought!)
  • After allowing time to write the new information, students share with partner. (I would love to see my kids partnered with strong students who would have great note-taking skills to share.)
  • Then, come together as a whole group to clear up misconceptions, and have one more reinforcement of ideas.
It sounds a bit time consuming, but imagine... in reality, you have taught, students have had independent processing time, collaboration time, and review time, all in one quick activity.

Would it work? I can see some potential drawbacks:

  • Some students  may not be able to remember what they heard, so they will be contributing little to their partner in the pair/share time. (hmmm.... I guess it will be a learning process, and hopefully, as time goes by, and the process becomes more automatic for them, they will be able to contribute at least something. Perhaps with an adult guiding the individual sharing time, allowing the struggling student to share first?)
  • Some students may think - well, I will just get the info from my partner and write it then. (To this, I would suggest close teacher monitoring during writing time could help this.)
It comes back to the theory of intentional teaching, teaching students to learn. We expect them to TAKE NOTES, but do we ever give them strategies for learning to take notes?

This activity serves a dual purpose. 1.Writing, writing, writing - writing what you know.. 2. Intentional teaching of note-taking strategies.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The swearer and I had another.. well, make that ANOTHER... little heart to heart today. He admitted he lets the F-bomb fly just to get to go home.

Then...... he wrote his paper for language arts class. The assignment was to write about a problem you've had and how you solved it. He wrote about his swearing, and how is teacher (ME!! 'mrs goerge') is helping him with him.


Somedays it DOES pay to get out of bed and plod my way here.

Once in a while.... they remind me why I love them.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

So there's this kid.....

He swears. The F-bomb. Anytime he gets frustrated.

F-bomb = suspension.

Perfect solution for him.

I am tired of him getting suspended, but not sure how to solve the problem.

Today, the wireless on his netbook wouldn't work. NO biggie, really. He had a paper due that did NOT require him to be online, but the lack of wireless was a huge stresser for him. I tried to fix it, I did. But no luck. He is not the only student I have, and certainly not the only student I have who needs attention, immediate attention, constant attention.

So... after giving it my all to fix his un-needed internet connection, I told him he would just have to turn in his netbook to be checked, and that for now, he could just type his paper. BAM! F-$%^&*(

The frustrations I have are....

    #1 I cannot just choose to ignore. That opens the door for ALL of them to swear at will.
    #2 He knows F-$%^&*( = a suspension so when something doesn't go his way, swearing gets him out of doing the task at hand.
     #3 Suspension leads to more frustration on his part. He misses classes, doesn't do the work he misses, so he gets further behind, and becomes more frustrated with school.
    #4 He comes back apologetic, contrite, and promising not to do it again. He admits his responsibility. He seems to want to be more responsible. He seems to want to try. But as soon as the road gets rocky. BAM. F-$%^&*(
 #5 With no alternative to out of school detention, the school is in a corner, with few options. The parents say all the right things, seem supportive, are always upset with the boy for his words. But nothing changes. Suspension is NOT working. WE NEED AN ALTERNATE PLAN!