Wednesday, December 14, 2005

failing kids

I don't know about you guys-but as we get on to the end of the year, I start to see the writing on the wall to the idea that some students aren't going to pass. And I started thinking to myself. Are we failing students who are failing? There are so many factors to this; but I start to wonder if there was something else I could have done. For the most part, these are students who didn't come to class, never made up work, or particiapted or did their work. I know it's not me for the most part, but I can't help but think of this. I give the grades, they earn them; and for some students I know that it isn't me-I find that many of our students, do not advocate for themselves and I do feel like I shouldn't have to run around and chase them so that they do their work. I also always tell my kids to come in for help if they require it; I am not telepathic, and when I ask for questions or clarification during a lesson and no one raises their hands, I assume that we are golden. It's just frustrating. Any other opinions on the matter?

Monday, December 12, 2005


I have had such great blogs lately. I love this forum for communication within my classroom. For those students who have been doing them, their thoughts have been much more thorough and the level of response has heightened. This has been great thus far and I plan on using it next semester. Hopefully, I can start adding freshmen, God help us! Freshmen blogging-watch out!


We are currently studying transcendentalism and I had a long reading over the weekend where I asked students to react to it in the margins so that they could create their own menaing. Today, we had a great class discussion over the reading and everyone gave their two cents.I had a student come up to me and say are we receiving any points on this? I said no. He said, "I was really counting on this." My response was, "so you need a point value to this in order to learn?" He said, "Yeah, it would have helped." I then patted myself on the back because it was more important to me that each student make their own connections and get their own individual sense of the reading than me rewarding them with a grade for doing something that I thought was important for LEARNING, not to give them more points so that their grades would rise! It's that time of year-where they are concerned about where they'll end up-funny how this wasn't an issue 15 weeks ago.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Take 5-#12

I have a student in my reading strategies class-a kid who is very low-he probably should have started with workshop, but that's beyond the point. He came to me the other day crying that he didn't understand anything and was having a hard time with the strategies. They had a huge project due, and he did none of it. I told him that I was upset that he waited til the last couple of weeks to come see me about his problem (considering that I always ask for clarification or questions when we are doing somehting in class, and he never said a thing-and has never come in for help prior to this). However, with reagrds to our last "grade" meeting and the idea that the learning is what we should emphasize, I told this student that I didn't care about the project; I cared more about him being able to walk out of the class having learned and feeling confident that he can use at least two of the strategies proficiently. To me, it is vital that he take something away, especially when he has such a hard time with comprehension. Nevertheless, I have been meeting with him individually (Anne listened to me talking to him for a whole hour the other day)and helping him little by little with understanding the strats more. It's very frustrating, but to me a project is worth much less than the knowledge he will take away in the end.