Today was another busy day, but pretty good.
We began the day with four sentences, in which they had to identify the verb and its tense. Sentence two: "She will do her homework tonight." Many kids only got "will" or "do." A lot had random, serious mistakes, like "jump" as past tense (from "Fish always jump out of water."). WTF?! As I walked around and saw a couple who got them all wrong, I knelt at their desk and helped them review the notes and remember the patterns (future tense always has what in front of it? "will" and past tense usually has a what? "-ed" Past participle always has what in front of it? "have or has").
Definitely more review is needed. Plus linking and helping verbs. Next week will be fun! At least I've got resources at my disposal.
For reading, we again reviewed the character organizer that we went over yesterday. I read them the story "Princess Smartypants" and they were to fill it in while listening. They did okay, if their character traits were a little off; things like "spoiled" or "smart." I tried to direct them to being more specific than "mean" or "smart". When we shared, a couple kids had things like "tricky" or "sneaky" or even "devious". Not bad! I made sure, as always, to stress that anything we say, we must back up with EVIDENCE from the story. So when they shared a trait, they had to explain why they said so.
For writing...what did we do? Ah yes, we went back to that fable packet. The first page of questions is all detail questions, so I had them write this down: Recalling Facts and Details: The information to answer the question is right in the story. You don't have to think; you just have to find it! ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE STORY!"
I had them read the first question and then find the answer and point to it. Then someone read that sentence and wham, bam, very easy, right?
One class got to move on to the next page, which are inference/conclusion questions. We talked about putting clues together with your own knowledge and reading between the lines.
Next week we'll continue doing at least those questions, because this is great for introducing and using test skills without being "Test prep! Test prep!" crazy. And we'll continue with all the stuff we did today: character analysis (they'll take it back to their own books and see how they do) and verb reinforcement.
We'll also do some compare/contrast of fairy tale versions, and characters from myths, and other stuff. I will try to introduce plot, using Sisyphus. Narcissus and Echo will prompt vocabulary discussion. Soon after that we'll move into fiction stories, because it will be easier to teach writing that way. Or who knows. It's very confusing for me.
Today was the second day of after-school. At least four more showed up this time. They continued the intro test. Two boys finished, and I corrected them, and they got just about every single thing wrong. Hoo boy.
During that time, an AP brought around a new teacher who is going to take over the departed teacher's program. She is brand-new and seems very nice and happy. I hope she's got some grit; she's gonna need it! I assured her that our grade is all very nice and we like to talk and compare, and there are lots of resources in the [stupid] bookroom. That seemed reassuring to her. But the AP introduced me as "one of our premier teachers!"
This seems to be a pattern. Apparently "they" talk about me a lot, like talking me up and how great my notebook or my teaching is or whatever. It's weird, because I feel like somewhere along the line, I managed to dupe the uppers into thinking I'm some kind of expert. In reality, I'm very knowledgeable in the content, and also stubborn, and creative, and I try to stay organized (definitely doing better with piles this year!)(my notebook organization is, in my opinion, what makes it so "exemplary"), and I like to collaborate with fellow teachers to share ideas, and I like to create some interesting twists on things (like my famous-to-me song/introduction lesson). And my management has gotten good, impressive because it sucked at first. But isn't that just what all teachers should do?
One of my students told me today that I was "one of [their] funnest teachers, because we learn stuff but it's still fun." I was like, "Well, that's great, but you are learning, right?" She said, "Oh, yes." Aw!
I guess I will take those two things, along with a nice hug from a former student, as good 'props' and ego boosts to end my week and have a relaxing break. [And I certainly don't want anyone to think I'm full of conceit or anything like that. I'm still frenzied all day long, not getting enough done, not meeting with enough students individually, talking too much at the front of the room, not finishing correcting papers, they've had literally two days this month to read silently...I could go on.]