Sunday, November 02, 2008

Now entering Worksheet Land!

Where children do as they're told and don't learn to think for themselves! Where note-taking is ignored! Where the students take on the burden of learning!

Ahem.

This past week I achieved my goal of structuring my classes more, with the help of a trusty timer. Beep beep, time's up! Didn't finish your work? Oh well, too bad, use your time more effectively next time! I have definitely seen an increase of work being done, especially in tandem with my sticker incentives that I've been using.

I have accepted the fact that at my school, it is expected that students fill out worksheets for everything. They will not or can not do notes on their own, so I have to just suck it up and keep creating more materials. The next step--that I'm not sure how to do--is differentiating the worksheets and materials for some of my low-level classes and students. Not sure how to squeeze even more work into all those hours at school; I still feel like I get nothing done in eleven plus hours. Argh.

Quiz scores this week weren't too bad. I hope the students noticed that the questions came from the daily end-of-class assessments. When I return them graded, and tell them to correct any mistakes, maybe they will actually LISTEN and STUDY with it. Durr!

On Friday, I had to tell myself, Oh crap, tomorrow's my birthday! It was a decent day; frankly, quiz day is always pretty calm. Most of this week was decent, actually. Colleagues have told me they really like my sticker incentives and think it's making a difference. I'm not totally sure yet, although I have definitely seen a marked improvement in a few students. In the afternoon, our staff discussed the importance of kindness and compliments toward the students. I definitely do that (I see so-and-so getting right to work! Great job!), but I do a lot of corrections as well. Someone talked about their experiment with counting out a handful of good things before saying anything negative, which was definitely inspirational food for thought.

My birthday was nice; it was pretty quiet. I slept in and had a little time to hang around home in the morning. In the afternoon, BF and I went into the city and took the tram to Roosevelt Island, something neither of us had done before. It was fun! Definitely a new view of the city, seeing the big avenues from above, traversing the East River, seeing the downtown bridges through the Queensboro bridge. We took a bus around the island to get an easy view of the town. Everything was painted red or yellow; it was all so clean and pleasant. I saw a white cat on a leash, drooled over pickles at a street market, and was approached by two very fat, aggressive squirrels.

In the evening, two lovely friends joined us at a nearby bar for drinks and a gorgeously delicious chocolate cake. It was low-key and just what I wanted.

This morning was lazy; I love snuggling under my covers on a chilly morning. Worked on next week's worksheets while catching up on television from last week. I'm looking forward to an even better week at school.

3 comments:

Schoolgal said...

It's good your colleagues are taking note of the improvement (which means they are talking to you). So, your charter sounds more like the chalk and talk approach. If so, play along. Once the kids get to know you and testing is over, you can go back to your own creative lessons.

Ms. George said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Yeah for a calm week, too!

jd2718 said...

Worksheets? Ugh.

They are easy to teach with: pass them out, the kids fill them in. They are not so easy to teach well with.

And then at some point someone has to break the kids of "worksheet laziness" -- they will fill in blanks - that's it. Even the first stage to the cure - copy a heading and copy notes - it's not enough, but it's too much for those who've become fully addicted.

Rant off.

Jonathan