Monday, January 03, 2005


This time last year I arrived at school with an arsenal. I was armed to the T with behavior management plans and curriculum ideas in hopes of ensuring a more orderly second semester. I'm one of those bleeding hearts who knows how to "reach" kids but can't organize her class or set procedures and expectations (uh oh, the jargon begins). I asked a behavior whiz (sped teacher) to observe my classroom and took her advice (you have no procedure, you need to follow through on your expectations). It worked... better.

This year I have a greater handle on the organization and discipline. Okay, I'm still working on the organization but my classroom runs way smoother. Now I'm concerned with curriculum and organizational skills...which is like getting uphill with no legs. But this problem will resurface in later entries, I'm sure.

My new requirements for this semester are:

  • journals. My students wrote journal entries last year and, frankly, this year I postponed the journal writing because they require so much grading. At first they were academic in nature but slowly morphed into character development. I will add the necessary daily test-prep questions in there. Just to bore the hell out of them and me.
  • folder checks. One thing that shocked me last year was the co-dependency of high school kids. They can barely find their ass so you can imagine what their folders look like. At first I stubbornly refused to do folder checks and note checks and book checks (although I got scared into this in the first week). I was fresh from the college environment and I expected my kids to keep track of their stuff. But if my student's grades plummet because they can't find their homework than my ass is grass. It's one of the wonders of teacher accountability. In addition, this past semester I realized that you can't just require them to have a folder. You can't just check it once a six weeks. They'll turn in a mangled, nonsequential mess if you don't establish a regular checking routine.
  • more tests. I'm a huge fan of collaborative group work. I love "big picture" projects. I count them as test grades. Unfortunately, my kids live in a test happy culture and I'm not helping them by giving them one written test a six weeks. Maybe I'll settle for quizzes. I haven't decided.


Blogger your math teacher said...

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4:55 AM  
Blogger your math teacher said...

I give a short quiz at the end of every week. I usually do a review right before the quiz. Plus, it's much easier to grade than a full blown exam and you can quickly assess if your students are understanding the week's material.

4:56 AM  

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