I have had so many thoughts running through my mind the past 2 weeks – wanting to put them down, yet trying to get through the final days of school.
I struggle with Algebra 2. It is frustrating to me – SOOOOO much stuff jammed into one course. I feel there is simply not enough time to really develop true understanding of many concepts. I try to pick big ideas – focus on enduring skills – from our curriculum that best suits our students in Room 123 and search for strategies that will best meet their needs, helping to move them forward.
As I look at these students at the beginning of the school year, three are meeting college readiness. Several fall within the 10-15 ACT score range and majority in the 15-20 range. Majority are down on math, do not enjoy it and feel there is “only one way to get THE right answer.”
I recall one particular day in class – a student stating, if you don’t get what the teacher said, they move on without you and you’re stuck, set up to fail. This.makes.me.sad.
Our goal: to make it accessible, less painful, allow students room to think on their own, discuss their claims / strategies, test one another’s suggestions and move their thinking forward.
A look at 3 years of EOC results shows improving results. Is it enough? Not sure, I’ll need to look at our district projections.
The 4th year is hypothetical – 20% of students missed the next achievement level by 1 question. 1 question. This is frustrating to have several that close to moving up another step, yet barely miss the mark. Yet, we’ll celebrate their growth anyway!
I am concerned about this though because I experienced a high level of frustration the last quarter of school. Added to weeks of snow days, no spring break to make up some time, it seemed our class attendance was the worst in recent years. In the last 9 weeks prior to EOC testing, there were 33 days instructional time was interrupted – either by scheduling presentations, other state testing, benchmark testing, college visits, competitions, field trips, field trips. The day prior to EOC testing, there were eight students on a reward trip.
Don’t get me wrong – student life and involvement is imperative – some of these activities are the only reason a few students even make an effort to be at school. I would never want to take away these opportunities – they deserve the best. However, I feel that our instructional time is valid, important and needs to be protected in a sense.
I am not a worksheet kind of person. So much of what we do in Room 123 is hands-on, small groups and class discussions. Its impossible to capture those same learning experiences when you’re not there. Trying to continue in-depth discussions and learning tasks was merely impossible. There was no continuity with 7 students out one day and 6 out the next with a different 8 students out on a third day. I failed because I gave up.
What if I had kept pushing through? Maybe those students would have reached their next level.
I’m not trying to whine – I’m looking for strategies – how others handle these same frustrations. This summer, I intend to find or outline a resource, update an old class blog – something to provide for those students who are absent for whatever reason. I’ve tried Edmodo (its okay), Class blog (very few students utilized it). What about evernote? One Drive notebooks?
So, how do you handle it when a students asks “What did we do? What did I miss yesterday?” How do you fill-in for in class learning tasks for your absent students?