Sunday, October 25, 2009

Parent's Night

So I went to my first parent night. It was to give out the first six weeks report cards. The only way students can get their report cards is to have their parents come up to the school. This is a very good idea because at least the teachers and the parents get to have a conversation one-on-one conversation with the parents as well as make an initial meet between the two. It is also interesting to see the dynamics of the family. Most of the parents that came where women; this is not surprising. There were a few fathers that came with their wives and then there a few fathers that came by themselves. Throughout the night, my job was to make sure that parents were given the child’s work folder so that they could see the kind of grades that their children were making. They were given the folders outside the classroom while they waited to speak with the teacher. Here is the interesting part about this. The parents were actually shocked to see the grade they received on their work and the grade they received on their report card; it just wasn’t adding up. For example, some students were making less that 50 percent on exams, so how could it be possible that they could have a grade of 75 or 80? Well the rule with the school is that if a student fails an exam, the lowest grade given is a 60. While I disagree with this altogether, I find this interesting because students still pass even though they are not giving much effort in the course. I think there is a difference between a student who makes a 40, a student who didn’t study or really doesn’t care that much and a student with a 60, who worked hard for a 60. But if students are getting a 40 on a test, then they automatically get a 60 because that is the lowest grade. Therefore, it would seem as though we are trying to encourage students to do better, when in actuality, we are giving them bonus points when they don’t deserve it.

The other thing I grabbled with that night was the fact that, many of the students that didn’t make the A-B honor roll were students just two years ago competing to see who could be on the honor roll for 4 six-weeks straight. In other words, these students in eighth grade were formally top students of the month for the last two years. What over a period of two years or less could have affected these students to drop down to the lower performing students today? I don’t have an answer for this one. SURPRISED?!!! I am. So the next step for me is to interview the student to see what factors have played in his life for him to have declined. I do have a starting position though. One particular student’s parents said that this year as an eighth grader they decided to let him be independent about his school work; trying to give him the responsibility to make sure he takes care all of that on his own. His parents weren’t going to hound him every day about work or always be on his back. They were just going to ask him if he did his work and they hoped he would tell them the truth. After finding out how he has been performing they decided that this independent privilege was over. They were now going to make sure he does his homework. They took things away from him and then they decided that he had to prove to them he was able to do his work on his own again. When I look at this, I do ask another question. When is it proper to start giving children complete responsibility of their work? This is something that I have a hard time trying to figure out even though I do have somewhat of an answer. However, what is the starting percentage. For example, at the eighth grade level, do you start off with 15%, 30% or 50%? No child should get anything over 50% percent, but what is starting? I don’t know what I can say at this moment, but I do know that responsibility has to take place at this stage in children’s lives.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thought Entry

As a beginning teacher, what other aspects of planning would you need to include to ensure that learning goals are met? Why?
The only extra planning I would do for my lessons is to change their formats and add organizers to the lessons in case a student wants to use one. I would change their formats by using paper, then transparencies, then using the board and then using other means of getting the information across that is suitable for all of my learners. I will also have graphic organizers to make sure that my students stay organized throughout the lessons. These two components are what keeps a lesson most flexible. If a teacher has these types of tools with them always, then they are for sure to get the information across to their students.

How will you seek feedback on lessons you have planned?
I am a teacher who deals with the most obvious. I will most likely ask a class if they like the lesson or not. I will ask them what do they think they need to pass the test or exam or whatever I am trying to help them with. i would use entry and exit slips to make sure that my students are getting anticipated for my class. I think that through these methods, I will be able to always know how I am doing in class. I will also have a sense of what my students are learning, what they are not learning and what they want to know more of. I like teaching complex ideas and concepts, but I must use basic teaching skills and tools.

Clasroom Org Thoughts

What words will you use to state your behavioral expectations? What will you say?
If I had to my behavioral objectives, it would probably say the following. I would first tell my students that participation is the most important aspect of the class. Good behavior is determined by the participation given in class. I think that if a student is giving good input into the class then that student is paying attention and make sure they understand the content I am presenting. Second, I would talk about showing up to class on time. I think that people should go from class to class and have hallway conversations saved for lunch time or have those conversations before and after school. I have noticed that many students are late to class because they like to play in the halls and take their precious time to get to class. If my rules said that they had to be in their seats and have materials out by the time the bell rang, then they would definitely not talk in the hallways. My last rule would be to respect other people’s opinion. In high school, students are starting to become critical thinkers of the world around them. They have their own opinions and because in high school many students are beginning this type of cognitive process, different conclusions do arise. These conclusions can hurt, help and damage a classroom and even a school if people don’t seem to realize that they must respect another person’s opinion. This type of conversation will also prepare them for the college level or just in the real world all together.

How will you be able to effectively redirect off-task behavior?
I think the best way to redirect off time behavior is in two ways. One way, I would definitely give students detention. They would have to come after class and finish the work they started in class but didn’t finish and they would also have to help me with physical training. The only thing with physical training is that I don’t have to do any work; they have to do all the work until I get tired of looking at them. I believe that with a strong mind, comes a strong body. They will definitely be walking out sore of detention and will probably never want to come back again. The other way I would divert off-task behavior is through my teaching. If a student stops me from teaching, then I will stop them from going anywhere else until I get my lesson done. So if students feel the need to talk and get out of hand, they will owe the same time back, even if the bell does ring or is close to ringing. If the bell is 10 minutes away and it takes me 15 minutes to finish my lesson then I will get my 15 minutes and they will just have to deal with the consequences of being tardy to the next class.