Sunday, January 31, 2010

My part-time student

I have a sweet, sweet little girl who has been absent about 30 days so far this year. When she isn't absent she is tardy. The social worker at school has been to the parents' home to try to get her attendance up. They have been reported to the sheriff. But nothing changes. 

She is behind in work. She is lacking in skills. I have sat face-to-face with mom, practically begging her to bring "sweetie" to school. Promises are made, even attempts to improve are made. But sweetie goes missing again. I don't even miss her when she is gone. I hate to say that, but she is gone so much that our community was built without her, or built knowing she was going to be gone. 

When she comes to school I enjoy her so much. She is smart and oh, so funny. She is witty and wise. We have fun and I start to love her. Then she is gone again and I feel let down. But every day she comes I will love her, and hope she comes the next day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow days

Over the weekend the weather guys started talking about a really big storm. As the week unfolded I was pretty sure we would not have school on Thursday and possible Friday too. Sure enough, no school. We are covered in ice and snow and, thankfully, the power has remained on. I have a bag stuffed full of papers to grade. Haven't touched it.

I am enjoying this time at home, this unexpected (sort of) down time.

I will jump back in on Monday and we will adjust our schedules and lesson plans and it will all work out. I won't stress about what I cannot control. Instead, I'm baking bread and making soup.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moves that make sense!

"Moves that make sense" is my chess club's motto. They are a great group of kids. We just get together once a week to play and in the spring I have a mini-tournament just with our kids. Well, a tournament came up in OKC and I told these kids and they were determined to go. I was not able to attend because of prior commitments (which never came up because I was home sick this weekend) but five of my boys went and with no tournament experience they took the 2nd place trophy in their section. Whoohoo!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sparta vs. Athens! and a few other things...

We had a busy week! We are still studying ancient Greece in Social Studies. It can take so long to get through a unit because of afternoon interruptions, like assemblies, counselor classes, etc... 

Anyway, Friday the students held a mock debate arguing over which city-state was better. Sparta was very well prepared and did present much better. I really liked the Athenian's acrostic. But they both did a very good job. I made a video of the debate and hopefully today I can get it edited to show the kids tomorrow. I had never listened to myself as a teacher before and it was interesting. During the debate I did have to remind kids to quiet down, redirect some students, etc... I always think I sound so mean but when I played back the video I was shocked. I don't sound mean at all! I sound like a pretty nice teacher trying to gently redirect!

It was what I call a colorful week. Those little strips are pulled for misbehavior. If that behavior chart is all green on Thursday afternoon then I bring donuts on Friday. No donuts this week. 

Reading goals are set for the next nine weeks. Last time only five kids made their goal. Hopefully I will have more at the reward pizza lunch in March. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Check your child's homework

 I received this in an email and it gave me chuckle.

"Dear Mrs. Jones, 

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic

I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. 
Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot. 
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Mrs. Smith 


Thursday, January 7, 2010

You can't fix lazy? Can you?

I have 24 student and the same 12-14 keep failing math tests. They do alright on their daily work. Sometimes they have to do papers over, but I pull them into small groups and teach and reteach. They nearly always get their first 3-4 problems correct and then miss everything else. Over the break I gave my math grades to my principal. She gave me some advice, observed me yesterday, and I think we both have the same conclusion ~ they're lazy and they truly don't care. I'm at a loss. I can sit with one of these students and watch them work the problems and they do fine. Then I send them to their seats and the remainder of their work is not like the work I just observed. I had nine kids fail an assessment today. I had seven absent, so that nine was a lot. Shoot, it's always a lot. I gave them practice problems as homework. I gave them a lot. I told them if they do the work and get a good percentage correct then I will give them a passing grade on the assessment. If they choose not to do the work they will sign a statement saying so and it will get sent home in the mail. 

I've always had 2-3 kids like this. But never this many in one class. What really bothers me is that I know they know the work. They just refuse to show it

Monday, January 4, 2010

Two steps forward...

And one step back.

I'm not surprised this class lost some ground over the two week break. I don't mean academically, but in their behavior. We have spent so much time building community and getting procedures down pat.

For the first hour or so they were sleepy and quiet. I was too! Then they perked up, got chatty, lost control and forgot where they were. I reigned them in and things got better. Gosh, they are exhausting! Despite some bobbles and wobbles today, it was good and I was glad to see them.