Sunday, November 13, 2011

I've got to get better at this!

Ok, so one entry a month isn't very good for blogging is it??? I just don't know how to find the time to write down what I do every day like some people do. By the time I get home I am so exhausted and I still have school work to finish, so I just never get around to it. I've got to try harder.

This past week I worked on decimals with my class. Now remember, this group is WAY behind where they should be. I introduced decimals, we made place value charts that were foldables that I had them attach in their notebooks. I also have a huge chart on my bulletin board and most students seemed to use that one instead of the one they made. Oh well! We talked about place and value and we learned to compare and order decimals. I was skeptical about how well they learned all this but when I gave the quiz on Friday, all but 1 passed. So now we get to move on to rounding of decimals. I am not sure how well they can round whole numbers so I think I will start with a pre-assessment to see if they have any rounding skills before I move on to rounding decimals.
I have a step-by-step chart that I will have them put in their notebooks to hopefully help them as they go through the steps. I gave the chart to the 5th grade teacher and she said she taught it to her students so hopefully next year they will come to me already knowing how to round.
After rounding I am hoping that we can get to adding and subtracting decimals. We'll see how long rounding takes!

I started the year using the Connected Math Project curriculum, but I have had to step away from it for a bit as this class was really having trouble with it. Maybe it was how I was teaching it, but no matter what, they weren't doing so well so I have moved back to a more traditional approach to teaching the math concepts. I am adding some of the higher level thinking skills that connected math offers, but I have to be very careful not to overwhelm this group.

Now it is not just in math that this group is behind. Their reading skills are atrocious! If you just want them to regurgitate what you tell them, most can do that. But if you want them to dig deeper and actually answer questions that require them to take the information they have read and then compose their own answer, they can't! This is across the board. I do not have one student that can do this even half the time. They really do not comprehend what they read. So I have to do a lot of reading and stopping to discuss/explain what was just read. I keep hoping that eventually some will start to be able to actually come up with well thought out responses, but it hasn't happened yet.

I gave a social studies test this past Friday and all the students did really well on the multiple choice, fill in the blank and reading the timeline portion of the test, but when they got to the essay and short answer section, they failed miserably. I only had 4 students pass that portion of the test. I just wanted to cry. I gave out the essay question the day before the test, discussed it with them and encouraged them to work on a response at home so they would be prepared when they came in for the test. I only gave the essay portion to about half the class. The other half had short answers. This group was allowed to use the text. Anyone out there feel my pain??????

I have been using the Scott Foresman Reading Street program for my language arts block. I really like to incorporate novels into my program, but I just can't find the time this year. This group requires so much help just grasping the skills that I don't feel comfortable trying to use a longer piece of writing. I think they would just get lost. I wish I had the accelerated reader program at my school. I do have some students that read a number of novels on their own and I would like to see just how well they are comprehending those.

I do assign independent novels to the students that they are required to read and fill out a short form about. I'm not sure they are all actually reading the books though. Some of the responses on the forms are WAY out there!

This week I am taking time to get caught up on some writing skills. We spend so much time focused on our reading skills that I often don't get to our writing block. Now that is really sad!

Well, I promis to try to keep up a bit better with my blog for those few of you out there that actually read it. I am hoping that in the summer when I have a bit more time I can actually add some links to things that I actually have made/do with my students. Till then, I don't know that I'll be able to do much more than just tell you about my day!

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