For math, my district gives me a math curriculum, which comes with several teacher’s manuals and other materials to help me teach the students what they need to know. The same with science and social studies. A little with PE.
But writing? We hardly get any help from our curriculum or our district. Most of the writing in our curriculum is things like, “Writing in a Journal” or “How to Take a Phone Message.”
Really? Who cares how they write in a journal? And let their parents tell them how to take a message.
Our district (and the state) expects us to teach writing a personal narrative, a fictional narrative, a narrative summary, an expository summary, and a response to literature. Our district tests us on 4 of those. And in fourth grade we have the state writing test, which can be any of those (we don’t find out which one until the day of the test). Almost none of that is covered in our state approved, district bought curriculum. And the district sure doesn’t give us any added support. The teachers are on their own.
The state writing test is coming up in a few weeks. Wish me luck.
Today we have a test on Topic 18 – Formulas and Equations. It basically comes down to this; If given y = x + 3, what is y if x=4? Or, if I want to be more difficult, if y=3x, what is y if x is 4? And then we go backwords:
x 1 2 3 4 So what is the rule?
y 0 1 2 3 Answer? y=x-1
Then for a couple, I gave them the rule, and they had to figure out what x and y were, and they graph the ordered pairs. They love doing that.
We’ll see how they do on the test.
Next topic? 14 – Integers.
Anyone know what an integer is?
They say it’s going to rain. It looks like it’s going to rain. Weatherchannel.com says it’s going to rain, but not until around 2:00. Hopefully the administration is aware of that. They have a tendency to call a rainy day schedule if it looks like it’s going to rain. So we’ll see.
So now J goes into the office to bother them about his books. I get a call after school from the office, telling me J is in there asking if he can get his books, and telling them he paid for them and wants them. I tell them to put him on the phone, and then tell him to stop bothering the office. He knows how to get the books back.
He tells me his mom can’t come and get them. She’s too busy. She has too many kids to take care of. Again, that’s crap. He’s important enough to come and get them.
A half hour before recess, the office makes an all-call, telling the teachers and students that we will be going on rainy day schedule for recess AND lunch? Mind you, no rain has fallen yet. I understand that if they are going to make the call, they have to do it before primary recess. But to make that call for lunch, before any rain has fallen at recess time, is way to cautious.
Rainy day schedule means the kids eat their lunches in the classroom. They spend their recess time in the classroom. The only time they get to leave the classroom is to use the restroom. By the end of the day the room stinks like food, and the kids are so antsy they drive the teachers crazy. It also means the teachers only get a half hour lunch, instead of a 45 minute lunch. So to tell the teachers before recess that lunch will be eaten inside just kills their spirit.
And sure enough, even by the end of the day, still no rain.
J’s mom called. Said she couldn’t come up to the room because her she has her newborn with her. That’s crap! She can come up. If it’s important enough for her (and her son should be), then she can come up.
I hesitantly agree to give the books to his sister the next day.
But the next day, J has a TERRIBLE day. There is no way I’m going to give those books to him with that behavior. So I tell him to inform his mother that I have changed my mind. She is going to have to come up.
It’s time for the Book Fair. That means as a teacher, I can send about 3 kids there during lunch, and 3 kids there during recess. I’ve got about 15 kids who want to go. I can’t send them all. Not in one day. So I randomly select 3 who have money to buy books. They get a note. They can go at recess.
J really wants to go. But he wasn’t picked for this recess. Plus he has recess detention for missing homework. But after detention, when he is supposed to be walking to the playground to line up after recess, he sneaks over to the book fair.
He gets busted. The teacher who had him for detention writes him a discipline note.
At lunch, I pick 3 more students to go to the Book Fair, and I remind the class that only the students I pick can go. But guess who decides to go, anyway. J. Yep, even after getting a discipline note, he decides to go to the Book Fair and buy a couple of books.
I was furious!
Of course I bust him. He tells me that he needed to go because his mom gave him money.
Half the class brought money. They know that they have to take turns going to the fair, and that they can’t all go at the same time. Plus, we will have class time to go. He knows that. Every student knows that.
I take the books away, and tell him that if he wants the books back. His mom will have to come up to the room and talk to me.