Monthly Archives: September 2009

CELDT Testing

I find it interesting that in my school, and many, many others around Orange County,  we have to devote 3 mornings to doing CELDT testing.  CELDT is the test California uses for limited English porficient (FEP) students to check their improvement in English.  when a student is signed up for school, every parent has to fill out a Home Language Survey with about 4 questions on it.  If there is a language other than English on it, then they are considered FEP until the pass high enough on the CELDT.

In my kids’ school, they probably have 3 or 4 kids per class that need to be tested.  So they get pulled out, and the rest of the students aren’t bothered.  Nor is the teacher.  In my school, most of the students have to be tested, so the teachers have to do the testing.  Those who do not need to be tested (those students who are English only or have tested out through the CELDT) are put in another classroom where they can do some activities while the rest are tested.

It is very disruptive.  Your schedule has to change for those three days to get in the testing.  It’s not very hard to do the testing, and it is only 3 days or so.  I find it interesting, though, that in some schools the CELDT is a huge deal, and in other schools the teachers hardly even know about it.

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Teaching Writing

I’m really frustrated.  We don’t really have any curriculum for teaching  any of the genres that fourth grade is expected to know.  I”m tired of making up stuff.  I’m tired of taking what I kind of knew and what sort of worked from a teacher 4 years ago and trying to use that again and again.

I want something, from someone, that is a plan for writing a summary.  I know how to write one, and yes, I’ve told that two my students.  But I want some curriculum that I can look at, tweak, and use with my students.

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Bad News

At our staff meeting yesterday we were told that our school has been identified as a first year program improvement school.  What that means is that we are put in the first of three years to get our act together as a school, because of our low test scores.

Actually, low test scores isn’t right.  We haven’t improved quickly enough.  But the way I see it, we aren’t performing at a high enough level.  It’s the students’ fault, and it’s the fault of the teachers.  And it hurt to know that I am part of the problem.

Look at all the other schools in our district, and ours is one of only a few to be placed in program improvement by the state.  Ouch.

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Detention

I kept more than half of my class in for recess today.  Most of them stayed in because they didn’t get their homework signed by their parents.  Now, I don’t mind if it isn’t signed and they get most of the homework right.  But these students didn’t get it signed, and they missed a lot.

It sounds unfair to me, at first.  But they need to have their parents check their homework.  I figure, if the parents check their homework, they won’t miss so many.  And if they do miss a lot even with it signed, at least the parents know about it.

So you have to get your homework signed.

Last year everyone in my building did detention together, for behavior problems and for those not turning in their homework.  This year we decided not to give detention for those who didn’t turn in their homework.  Instead we would reward those on Friday who turned in their homework all week.

It turns out I don’t like it.  Friday is too far away, and it just feels like those who didn’t turn in their homework are getting away with something.  There is no quick punishment.  So I think I’m going to try to rally some teachers and go back to the detention technique.  Homefuly I can get some other teachers to do it with me so that I don’t have to have detention in my room every day during recess.  So far I’ve had it 2 days in a row.

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Week 2

We’re in our second full week of school.  For the last 3 school days we’ve had “inclement weather” schedule because of the heat, but mostly because of the smoke in the air.  Today they got to have recess outside, but when the air quality report came in, the powers that be decided to eat and play in for lunch.  That mean a short, half-hour lunch instead of our usual 45 minutes.  Hopefully we won’t have to wait until the fire is out before the air quality improves enough for them to play out for recess and lunch.

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Crying in Class

I have a boy, we’ll call him Tomas, who, after 8 days in class, has cried 3 times.  He acts like he doesn’t care when he gets in trouble.  He acts like my discipline just roles off his back.   But when I try to get him to care about making wrong choices, he cries, like I hurt his feelings.

It’s frustrating, because usually criers act crushed when they receive discipline.  But not Tomas.  When he has to turn a pin, he gives me a look like, “You can make me turn your pin, but I don’t care, and I’m not going to change.”  When I talk to him about showing repentance, showing that he is sorry, he doesn’t care.  But when he continues to act that way, and he get’s in trouble, he cries.  Then I really feel I’ve lost him.  His looks change to, “I’m not going to do anything for you.”

To be honest, he usually stops crying soon, and I think all is forgiven, but I just don’t know.

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